I read the Column Left by Alexander Cockburn (March 13) and his account of the Church of Scientology's troubles with the German government.
I have seldom read a piece in which the writer attacked his adversaries with such abandon, meanwhile having such little insight into his own prejudices. At the end I was not sure whether, as he said, he was "try(ing) to put some perspective" into the debate or was trying to demonize the churches (especially Catholic), Boeing Corp., the German government and several others.
Cockburn paints with a broad brush. He should be aware that people who do this usually end up with more paint in their own eyes than the surface they intend to cover. He ended his article by warning against the "application of devil label" by Hitler and his cronies. I doubt he saw the irony of what he was saying: Self-analysis is not his strong point.
PETER A. O'REILLY
Cockburn writes "let's stipulate" that Scientology "can be vindictive, tireless in trying to destroy those they perceive to be their enemies" and goes on to write "my point is to introduce some perspective."
Surely the Germans have a valid perspective on what it means to grant social and political legitimacy to a group that is known for, among other things, being tireless in trying to destroy its enemies.
A person who spends "many interesting hours discussing the evils of . . . pet peeves we share" and writes "I always say folks who hate the organizations listed above can't be all bad" really has no place criticizing either the creation or use of "devil labels."
I want to highly commend The Times for running Cockburn's most poignant view on Germany's attack on Scientology. I am a Jew, born in Germany, whose entire family died in the Holocaust. I have firsthand knowledge, having gone to Germany about two years ago, of the extreme prejudice they hold toward Scientologists and, of course, still to Jews.
Cockburn was totally correct in his data and evaluations. There's something going on in Germany still today that should not be. And all good people of the world, whether in agreement with L. Ron Hubbard's writings or not, should speak out against these seeds of hatred that can grow, as evidenced by past performance, into something the world does not want again.