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Theos-World Scholars and jackals (fwd)

Nov 12, 1997 08:03 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

According to K. Paul Johnson:
>Date: Wed, 12 Nov 97 9:33:02 EST
>From: "K. Paul Johnson" <>
>Subject: Theos-World Scholars and jackals
>Message-Id: <>

In response to a question about why people appreciate Besant
and Judge despite their flaws, several people offered
suggestions.  Mine, for example, were frank in describing
Besant's flaws as perceived by virtually every author who has
written about her life, but also her accomplishments.
Meanwhile, the Ballards have been taking quite a
beating with strong language being used to condemn them.  Not
long ago, Leadbeater was a bone of contention.  Now, we have
three posts agreeing that unnamed "critics" of these "great
ones" are wicked people who have only the basest motives for
saying anything less than high words of praise for all these
paragons.  Throw in anyone who criticizes HPB into the
bargain.  While we're at it, let the Baha'is weigh in saying
anyone who criticizes a decision of their Universal House of
Justice is an evil person with no redeeming virtues.  And the
Eckists can chime in that any criticism of the proven
deceptions of Paul Twitchell is evidence that the speaker/
writer is evil.  The Net is absolutely full of people making
such statements, while missing out on the obvious fact that
*they themselves* (often behind a passive-aggressive mask of not
naming their targets) are quite bitterly denouncing others.  In
fact their attacks are usually far more sweeping and personal than the
criticisms of the historical "great ones" who are perceived as needing this
kind of "defense" by attacks on their critics.

Is there really any unanimity here, though?  I feel sure that Brenda is
including the CWL and the Ballards as "maligned great ones" in her remarks,
and that Dallas, ostensibly agreeing with her, is not.  Perhaps if
people were more explicit about what subjects they were talking
about and what criticisms are perceived as evil, there would be
more light and less heat created by this discussion.

The gist of the remarks made by people defending several
different historical figures as "beyond criticism" would, if
carried out in practice, totally prevent any objective
scholarship at all.  The whole point of studying history and
biography is to *understand* people, the whole complex mixture
of light and shadow that we all, great and small, manifest.  To
denounce as evil any criticism of anyone perceived as "great"
by some partisan faction seems to amount to saying "I don't
want scholars to analyze, weigh, evaluate this person.
Anything less than absolute adoration (or total silence) is
unacceptable."  That would lump the majority of writers who
have ever written about HPB, Besant, Leadbeater, the Ballards,
ad infinitum, into the same category of "wicked denouncers of
departed great ones."  But very few of them were out to
denounce anyone.  They were all, with a few exceptions, simply
doing their best to understand them.  I salute them all,
including the ones whose conclusions I mostly reject.  They at
least made a creative effort to share their understanding of
the nuances and complexities of history.  That's a lot nobler
than dividing the human race into three categories: "great
ones," those who "malign" them, and those who "defend" them by
bitter attacks on the "maligners."  

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