Leipzig Award










"Reason must be bold if freedom is to win"

Speech of Dr. Norbert Blüm
2001 Leipzig Human Rights Award
June 10, 2001

Dear Mr. Minton, honored assembly, dear comrades-in-arms,

The twentieth century has surpassed all prior hopes of progress, it has brought us accomplishments which formerly belonged to the realm of Utopia. We have conquered outer space, viewed Mars with probes and walked on the moon. Always higher, always faster, always larger: that is the Trinity of progress.

But looking back to the earth from the moon gives us another view of this world: 200 million people in this century - tortured, murdered and annihilated. 200 million. That, too, is a new record, but it is a record in the annihilation of people.

Back on this earth, and proud of its progress, we recognize a world suffering from hunger and poverty. Millions of children perish because they have nothing to eat, or because they have no roof over their head. Torture is still used in 150 countries on this earth.

We have become observant of and sensitive to the agony of people. We have finally woken up. We cry out when people are tortured. Rightly. We cry out when blood is shed. Rightly. 

Human rights must be defended everywhere, without regard to skin color, religion, gender, intelligence or wealth. There may be many reasons for getting involved with human rights. My reason is that all people are children of God, and are therefore fundamentally equal in dignity.

But the dignity of mankind is not first endangered when bodily integrity is violated; it is not first endangered when blood is shed. There are new, sublime forms of annihilating people without shedding blood. There is a new form of imperialism. 

We conceive of imperialism as a subjugation of the population, as a conquest of geographical territory. It has been recorded in history as colonization.

There is a new imperialism that no longer conquers geographic territory. It conquers people; it conquers their spirits. It does not drive people out of their houses, but out of their heads and minds. Among these new conquering organizations, colonists and imperialists, is Scientology. 

Scientology is big business. In order to understand this, you only have to take seriously the words of its founder Hubbard, "Make money, make more money, make others make more money." That is the abridged Creed of the Scientologists.
Dr. Norbert Blüm 
Foto: Tilman Hausherr

And they have put this business into operation with much finesse. The great yearning of people to improve, to transcend and outdo themselves, this great yearning of people for God, is what they shamelessly exploit.

It is an old trick of the Devil to use the mask of dear God. For the good folks who do not have as great a sense of religion I have a different example which comes from Grimm's fairy tales: the wolf that eats chalk, dips his black paws into flour and pretends to be a good mother - that is the folk version.

Naturally they exploit human yearning. Wanting to surpass oneself and be better is an old dream of mankind. Nietzsche announced the program of the Übermensch. That was a break with the two thousand year old culture of the Occident. In the Occidental culture and in the Christian ethic the weak are to be protected by the strong. Nietzsche proclaimed the reverse program: the strong should be protected from the weak. Nietzsche himself had gone mad over it.

Hitler then put the Master Race program into effect. And the Scientologists are trying, in their own way, to exploit the old longing. They offer training and technology to train away the old human traits and instill new ones in the alleged Übermensch.

Ladies and Gentlemen, such techniques, which are better known under the label of "brainwashing," destroy humans. It starts with putting people into debt, then it continues until they are made totally dependent.

They even pervert language. "Ethics," that lofty word for the teachings of good - in Scientology terminology that is the word for surveillance, control and annihilation of the opponent. "Rehabilitation," which we know as restoring a person's integrity, is the Scientology term for concentration camp. Scientology has transformed Orwell's "1984," a horrible Utopia, into reality. Orwell called the Propaganda Ministry the Ministry of Truth.

Scientology occupies people's heads. The goal of the new conquest is "heads." No blood is shed. The new oppressors are not arriving with horsewhips and combat boots and they do not need tanks or missiles. They use psycho- tricks to bloodlessly annihilate people. And those who end up in their clutches practically don't stand a chance. I am also accepting the award in the memory of Lisa McPherson. I cannot bring her back to life, but I will do anything I can to prevent others from having to suffer the fate of Lisa McPherson.

This is the new war which we have to carry on. Not with force of weapons, but with the power of argument. With trust for reason, that reason has not died out but is here in this world. I am an optimist inspired by the Enlightenment. I insist that people demand

  • freedom,
  • to be able to think what they want in their own heads,
  • and to speak the thoughts they have in the heads with which they were born
Therefore our most powerful weapon is not force and is not prohibition. Our strongest weapon is information. Pulling the mask of "religion" and "therapy" from the face of Scientology - that is our task. Exposing Scientology as an inhuman monster and as a cynical cartel.

Neither the language of diplomacy nor the language of agreement are appropriate here, this is about clarifying information. Without force, oppression or prohibition. But with clarity.

Using your head for your own thoughts, that's what Freedom is for. For your own thoughts, not for rehearsed text, not for the indoctrinating concepts of ideology. And I trust that is what people hunger for. My trust is founded on cities such as Leipzig. This is not to compare the communists with the Scientologists. The similarities are that socialism did not collapse from fired missiles, but fell apart because it could not answer the most important question, because it could not conquer the people's yearning for freedom.

But brave people, such as those ten years ago in places including Leipzig, are needed in this discussion. Freedom does not fall from heaven, it did not happen that way in Leipzig, either. Reason without courage is an academic blind alley. Reason must be bold if freedom is to win. That is what the courage of the people in the GDR and the word "Leipzig" stand for.

Europe and the United States make up an Atlantic partnership. The best thing we could bring about together in a globalized world is the idea of human dignity. That is one of the major ideals of the American Constitution.

Yet it was a European discovery; the concept of freedom of conscience originated in Europe. But its first powerful, historical splash was made in the United States by citizens who fled European suppression and left their homeland for freedom abroad because freedom of conscience was being suppressed here in Europe at that time.

This memory should not be forgotten, in view of the new, refined threat to freedom. It needs to be protected and defended, and for that we need an Atlantic partnership in a globalized era that gives us a common humanity. That would be the best contribution of the Atlantic partnership.

Let me express my appreciation and thanks in closing. Mr. Minton, permit me to express my thanks to those who have helped to fight for the dignity of all the people living on this earth. Many people on this earth have already paid for that with their lives. And brave contestants will continue to be needed in this major discussion.

That is because it is possible today, using modern psychological and technological means, to produce a society of happy idiots. To keep this from happening it would be worthwhile to organize an undertaking against the new imperialists, against Scientology.

I'll close with the text of a song which is 150 years old and, I hope, that people will be able to sing it 150 years from now, too:
Die Gedanken sind frei, wer kann sie erraten, sie fliehen vorbei, wie nächtliche Schatten. Kein Mensch kann sie wissen, kein Jäger erschießen es bleibe dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei. Thoughts are free. Who can catch them, they fly past like nightly shadows. No person can know them, no hunter can shoot them. The fact remains: Thoughts are free.





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