A taste of his own medicine

Monday, May 14, 2007

One of the little things that always got in Benjamin Franklin's way was copyright law. Britain's Ministry of Contrivance and, later, America's own Office of Patent and Copyright, issued constant citations to Franklin, who had little patience for academic integrity. One thing which neither bureau could deny, however, was that as far as anyone could tell, Franklin's The Unsteady Colony (a largely forgotten 300 page account of the period from 1753 to 1759 when the Massachusetts Bay colony was caught in a power struggle between France and Britain) seemed to be his own work.
Ironically, that very composition itself fell prey to Franklin's specialty, plagiarism, over 200 years later. In 1954, science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard found himself in something of a time crunch. He had promised his publisher three novels, and had so far only completed one. Flipping through the old classics in search of inspiration, Hubbard stumbled upon Franklin's book. Desperate to make his deadline, Hubbard copied the text nearly word for word, altering it only to remove the obligatory thees and thous, and to change its setting. Thus, the British became the "Xenu", the French became "Betans", etc. The book, called "Dianetics", became the foundation for Hubbard's religion Scientology.
So who plays the part of George Washington in Hubbard's version? Risky Business actor, Tom Cruise.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm highly interested in looking at a rendering of the "The Unsteady Colony"

What a discovery! and a hoot!

Is this online somewhere? Examples, please!!!

There is interest in seeing the sources Hubbard stole from. Including Wikipedia...

Several hypnotic techniques listed below have been identified. My, my, Lots of old sources indeed...

Good on you for figuring out a piece of the puzzle!

Take an E-Meter Test and buy a Dianetics Book

L Ron Hubbard's use of the Confusion Technique

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK..It has been an interesting scavanger hunt so far...

This is the only thing found so far, written in 1751 - preceeding the dates you've given - which may have expressed Franklin's sentiments about the British colonies allowing German immigrants...and "overpopulation" thus requiring "scouring the planet," due to "aliens:"

Observations (1751), on the increased population of mankind.

And since Detachments of English from Britain sent to America, will have their Places at Home so soon supply'd and increase so largely here; why should the Palatine Boors be suffered to swarm into our Settlements, and by herding together establish their Language and Manners to the Exclusion f ours? Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion.

24. Which leads me to add one Remark: That the Number of purely white People in the World is proportionably very small. All Africa is black or tawny. Asia chiefly tawny. America (exclusive of the new Comers) wholly so. And in Europe, the Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians and Swedes, are generally of what we call a swarthy Complexion; as are the Germans also, the Saxons only excepted, who with the English, make the principal Body of White People on the Face of the Earth. I could wish their Numbers were increased. And while we are, as I may call it, Scouring our Planet, by clearing America of Woods, and so making this Side of our Globe reflect a brighter Light to the Eyes of Inhabitants in Mars or Venus, why should we in the Sight of Superior Beings, darken its People? why increase the Sons of Africa, by Planting them in America, where we have so fair an Opportunity, by excluding all Blacks and Tawneys, of increasing the lovely White and Red? But perhaps I am partial to the Compexion of my Country, for such Kind of Partiality is natural to Mankind.

No luck on the "Betans" or publication you speak of. Interesting parallel anyway.


10:37 PM  

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