<< ARI Watch
Andrew Bernstein’s Tribute to Carl Barney
|Tell the truth, or eventually someone will tell it for you.|
|— saying |
The latest salvo in defense of Carl Barney is
“A Tribute to Carl Barney”
by Andrew Bernstein, contributing editor of The Objective Standard
Though published on his own website it can be considered Part Four after Craig Biddle’s three part effort in TOS
Like Mr. Biddle, Mr. Bernstein acts as Barney’s mouthpiece. Before we comment on what they say, recall that in 2016 Barney led a New York Times reporter to believe that his past involvement in Scientology was “dabbling briefly” and that he admitted the involvement “with some embarrassment.”  We followed up on that admission and published our exposé in 2017. 
After Barney’s exposure on ARI Watch one reader made the following analogy (with minor copyediting and leaving off our external quote marks):
If Barney merely “dabbled” in Scientology, the person who went through medical school and residency then opened a medical practice, merely “dabbled” in medicine.
And his involvement was “brief,” if measured in geologic time.
After an introduction Mr. Bernstein begins:
Carl Barney has made a curious switch. Instead of saying he is embarrassed about his work in the Church of Scientology he now says he is proud of it, though not so proud that he will call the organization by its full name.
“Thirty years ago, Carl told me of his prior involvement with Scientology. He was and remains proud of his achievements within that organization.”
Barney may have told Mr. Bernstein about his past but he didn’t tell you or me or that Times reporter. If Barney is so proud of his achievements in the Church of Scientology why did he keep his pride bottled up all these years and only now, under duress of the publicity we have given his involvement, does he boast of it? 
Mr. Bernstein’s article adds a trickle of truth to Mr. Biddle’s earlier account:
This is the first time Barney and his defenders have mentioned a time period, though the numbers are wrong and the verb “ran” a half-truth. The facts: for at least nine years Barney ran five Church of Scientology franchises, which Barney owned not merely ran. Still, admitting to a long period of major involvement is a step forward from the earlier article, the one by Mr. Biddle. Even if Barney/Bernstein can’t get the facts quite straight the admission as it stands shows Barney has further abandoned his “dabbling briefly” story.
“For seven years, Carl ran a franchise ...”
Why didn’t they give out the seven years right at the beginning, in Part I of Mr. Biddle’s mendacious article? Their method seems to be “trickle truth” or “limited hangout” – they admit to only what they have to. At this stage it makes one think: what more are they hiding? 
Mr. Bernstein says he had known about Barney’s Scientology connection for 30 years ! If he knew, probably Yaron Brook and everyone else at the Ayn Rand Institute knew, all along.
Mr. Bernstein retails some of the same points as Mr. Biddle. For example:
Indeed it was but what of it? Profit or non-profit makes no difference in the amount of money Barney could take out of his franchises. Mr. Bernstein continues, insinuating that Barney didn’t make much money:
“His franchise was a nonprofit organization.”
If true, again what of it? Barney owned the franchise, or rather franchises; he was not an employee. He can call his remuneration a salary but he could pay himself anything not exceeding revenue minus his franchise fee to L. Ron Hubbard minus expenses. The words “salary” and “non-profit” are not part of the explanation of the fortune he possessed when he left. These words serve only to obscure, which makes one wonder what is being obscured.
“He drew a salary from the organization and derived no other financial benefit.”
Even if Barney had been an employee rather than the owner, a non-profit employee can make a lot of money. Ask Yaron Brook, who in 2011 received $472,610 in compensation from the Ayn Rand Institute, about $590,000 in present-day dollars. That was his highest year but several others were almost as high. By the time he left as CEO in 2017, staying on as Chairman of the Board, he had extracted over six million dollars. 
To account for the fortune Barney had when he left Co$, Mr. Biddle, in Part Two of his article, says that while Barney worked at Co$ he turned a real estate investment of thousands of dollars into millions of dollars – a thousand-fold growth factor. It is possible to be sure, but between that and taking it out of five lucrative Co$ franchises which is more likely?
But we needn’t conjecture. The following is from a transcript of Chris Shelton, a former Scientologist, interviewing someone who had been on the staff of Barney’s Pasadena missions in the 1970s. Mr. Shelton is speaking (some grammar silently corrected): 
This confirms that Barney is lying when he says, through Biddle and Bernstein, that his income was only a small salary. According to the above his income was (90% of revenue) – (expenses). The 70s were the heyday of Co$ and the revenue was huge. Barney must have been raking in a fortune every year.
“The missions holders ... get the rights from Scientology officially to use the trademarks and copyrights of Scientology and deliver the services. And what they were supposed to do ... was send up 10% as ‘tithing’ or something, just straight right off the top 10% of the money goes up to Hubbard. ... the franchises – they were originally called franchises not missions, like MacDonald’s franchises – and they were set up that way so that the money went straight to Hubbard.”
Mr. Shelton emphasizes that the 10% went directly to Hubbard to explain why Hubbard became worried about any mission holder setting up a bank to loan money to students, which in fact Barney did (calling it Nationwide Acceptance Corporation), because then Hubbard would be liable. Hubbard was already in trouble with the law, so this was one reason to kick Barney out of Co$, together with some other mission holders who he suspected wanted to imitate Barney.
Barney, through Mr. Bernstein, makes a virtue out of his involvement in Co$ (which, to repeat, was nine years owning five franchises, not seven running one):
Before you regret not having enrolled to get those substantial benefits note that Mr. Bernstein leaves out the hefty prices (called “donations”) Co$ charged for the courses, one course leading to another ad infinitum, and that the auditing goes on and on leaving many people in thrall to a cult.
“For seven years, Carl ran a franchise that provided substantial benefit to its students. This value was conferred by means of courses on communication, personal relationships, and by auditing – a sort of psychotherapy.”
Focus just on the auditing. Barney calls it psychotherapy. Others call it mind-control but let’s suppose it was some sort of psychotherapy. Barney had no experience in that field. Who was he to be offering such therapy? What are his credentials? (Though now an owner and manager of several colleges Barney never attended a college or university himself.) What were the credentials of his employees?
They got their knowledge of psychology and their technique of psychotherapy from L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics, which views man as a stimulus-response machine suffering “engram” bugs which when confronted make you “Clear,” a materialistic version of the phony-baloney Freudianism popular at the time. Then there are higher levels beyond Clear that give you, Barney’s Church of Scientology advertised, vaguely defined superhuman powers. In fact auditing’s high priced can-squeezing procedure does not work and belittles those subjected to it. Many attest to the harm this quack psychotherapy did to some people beyond the financial. Having peddled it is nothing for Barney to be proud of.
Barney’s franchises not only engaged in assembly line psychotherapy, they mass produced the psychotherapists, calling them “auditors.” Then these, besides auditing, trained others in turn.
Mr. Bernstein repeats how wonderful the Church of Scientology used to be then relies on the assumption that Barney is a fine fellow to argue the point:
Far from our Barney to be attracted to anything bad !
“In its early years, Scientology did a great deal of good for many students. Anyone who knows Carl even a little bit knows his immense good will and his benevolence that motivates his desire to help countless good persons. This is what drew him into that movement.”
There you have it. Scientology, in its original form (assuming with Mr. Bernstein that it changed), helps lead people to Objectivism. Perhaps sensing that something is wrong here Mr. Bernstein continues: “Objectivism was and is incomparably better.” But the damage has been done: he puts Scientology of the 1970s and before – what he would have us believe was the Golden Age of Scientology – and Objectivism in the same category.
“His desire to advance his own life and his selfish pleasure in aiding many other good persons is what impelled him to discover first Scientology and later Objectivism. Scientology, in its early years, was good for this.”
The purported Golden Age of Scientology didn’t last; Mr. Bernstein writes, and note the word “movement,” a disguise for “Church of Scientology”:
Or was kicked out and couldn’t get back in when he tried, as some of his contemporaries claim.
“As the movement went into religion and bizarre beliefs and practices, Carl got out.”
Barney is betting on you not being able to look up old Scientology documents. Consider the Source (Vol. 1 No. 1) “the official publication of Scientology Coordinated Services.” On page 12 you read: “Its [SCS’s] President is Carl Barney, Class VIII Auditor, Clear,” the highest level of Auditor. That means Barney also made Operating Thetan (OT). The cover of that Source shows the year to be 1970, eight or nine years before Barney left Co$.  Besides that, Hubbard introduced Thetans into Dianetics in the early1950s, long before Barney began studying Scientology (around 1965). Who does Barney think he’s fooling?
It’s people like Barney and Mr. Bernstein who give selfishness a bad name.
After our review of Mr. Biddle’s earlier article a reader of ARI Watch pointed out some of the many books, articles, and documentaries exposing Hubbard and his Church of Scientology. For example Russell Miller’s The Bare-Faced Messiah, Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear, and the chapter “Dianetics” in Martin Gardner’s Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science. Even a cursory investigation, he points out, shows that Barney’s characterization of the Church of Scientolgy as a kinder, gentler organization when he was in it isn’t true. After reading these books, if anyone connected with ARI/TOS still believes Carl Barney’s pathetic alibi that Co$ used to be a benevolent enterprise they must be willfully ignorant. Barney’s claim is not supported by virtually all accounts – outside of official propaganda published by the Church of Scientology.-oOo-
The second paragraph of Mr. Bernstein’s article contains these “disclosures”:
He goes on to say that anyone “claiming that I write this short essay to merely defend my revenue stream, and that I therefore lack integrity” will be committing “the logical fallacy of ad hominem” and (self-righteously generous as if to forestall the action) such a person is “free” to do so.
“Carl has been a friend for thirty years; he funded the Ayn Rand Institute, which hired me to perform multiple intellectual tasks; he helps fund the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism, which hired me to write a book on the nature of heroes; he paid to provide editorial comments on a draft of that book. Last year, Carl gave me a productiveness grant to support my writing career.”
Mr. Bernstein has a financial interest in Barney therefore he wrote the essay to keep the money flowing, would indeed be a fallacious argument. We do not do that. We argue that Mr. Bernstein’s defense of Barney, by itself, is a load of codswallop. Now there must be an explanation for him dishing it out; what is it? Is Mr. Bernstein stupid, insane, ... or does he know which side his bread is buttered on?
Put it this way. Suppose Barney had never given Mr. Bernstein a dime and it looked like he never intended to. Would Mr. Bernstein contradict many reputable accounts and write (to paraphrase) “Scientology used to be great and went bad?” Would he write as if nine were seven and five were one? That owning was nothing more than running? That making a fortune from a franchise is impossible? There must be some explanation for it all. What is the most likely?-oOo-
Like a seventeenth century courtier Mr. Bernstein can really lay it on thick. The first paragraph of his article is:
The last paragraph:
“I wrote a book about the nature of heroism.
I know a hero when I see one.
Carl Barney is a hero.” 
Barney’s donations and their effect are irrelevant to the question at hand – whitewashing his involvement in Scientology, then whitewashing Scientology itself – but if we do consider his funding of TOS, ARI and affiliates, what did Barney accomplish? Much of it is wrong or out and out evil. During the run-up to the Iraq War, ARI etc. made a massive propaganda effort to get people to support the invasion; these days they target Iran. They support government institutionalized torture. They promote open borders, working to make whites a small minority among a majority of migrants from the Third World; then they broadcast the transparent lie that the result will be more people who vote for capitalism. They promote the likes of Jason Hill, Richard Minns, and Nat Turner. They say people who voted for Trump are stupid. In their advertising, the white male practically disappears. Etc. This advances your life? This is Objectivism?
“Objectivism is the philosophy for living on Earth.
Carl’s contributions to it are immense — stunning
It is possible that third behind only Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff, he has done more to advance Objectivism than any other individual.
So, that’s why I say Carl Barney is a hero.”
Using the money he left Co$ with Barney first went into rental properties, then he got out of that business and began purchasing trade school colleges. Barney’s foundation that controls his colleges now has an estimated value on paper of about half a billion dollars, and though much of it might disappear at auction still doubtless it is a large amount.
Mr. Bernstein has nothing but praise for Barney’s post-Co$ career, concluding: “In providing enormous value to his students over 30 years, Carl has become wealthy ...” When Mr. Bernstein wrote this Barney and his CEHE foundation had been charged with defrauding students and a year later the verdict was guilty. 
For those who would like to get rich too here in outline is the business model Barney uses for his colleges:
1. Accept anyone. From the Times
article referenced above: [2 again]
“Almost everyone who applies is accepted. As Mr. Barney acknowledged, getting some of these students ... to graduate is difficult. ‘We don’t select the best. We take who comes there and do the best we can’, he said.” The investigative reporter David Halperin is on Barney’s case. He writes (ellipsis his): 
“In 2013, I obtained a letter that an employee of Stevens-Henager, another school in the Carl Barney chain, wrote to government authorities alleging a lack of standards and integrity in the school’s recruiting. It read in part:
‘Our admission representatives are required to enroll anyone and everyone. All entrance and diagnostic testing has been eliminated…
Toothless and homeless people are not marketable and will never pay back student loans. We still enroll them….
Our director said,
“Get 40 people and I don’t care what you say or do to get them.” ’ ”
2. Help them obtain a government guaranteed loan in order to enroll in Barney’s courses. If they default it’s not Barney’s problem, he gets to keep the money regardless.
3. Hire unqualified faculty, give bonuses to recruiters despite agreeing not to, fudge attendance records and grades so a student can continue getting government guaranteed loans. 
Carl Barney created what he has called his “heaven on earth,” his feeling “on top of the world,”  by first duping attendees of his Church of Scientology missions then by exploiting the federal student loan program.
Do you want to get rich that way?-oOo-
Barney knows how to sling Objectivist sounding phrases (something he, Jason Hill, and Richard Minns have in common). He titles his website “Love of the Good for Being Good.” He has a blog there and in the entry “Assault on CollegeAmerica and Change of Judge” (9 January 2020) he laments the time it is taking the judge to reach a decision in the lawsuit against CollegeAmerica:
His self-righteousness is misplaced for he is partly responsible by being uncooperative with the court. David Halperin reports: [11 again]
“The judge has been sitting on the case now for over two years without making a decision. Yes, you read that right. It’s now been over two years, and the judge has still not issued a decision.”
Hey Barney, would furnishing the documents have moved things along by proving – or giving the lie to – your case?
“In 2014 the U.S. Justice Department joined a separate employee whistleblower lawsuit charging that CollegeAmerica paid its recruiters bonuses, commissions, and other forms of incentive compensation in violation of the federal ban on such payments [as a condition to participate in the Title IV guaranteed loan program – AW]. The suit further claims that CollegeAmerica employed faculty members who lacked the minimum qualifications required by the school’s accrediting agency, and that CollegeAmerica officials falsified student attendance records and grades. In 2016, a federal judge refused to dismiss that case. As the lawsuit’s endless docket sheet reveals, the Barney chain has been fighting in court ever since to conceal documents relevant to the case, even though the judge keeps ruling against it.”
Barney completely lost the Colorado lawsuit [12 again] but may yet slip through the cracks on the federal lawsuit. In the midst of it there was a change of federal administration and Betsy DeVos became Secretary of Education (confirmed early 2017). I suspect she does not fully appreciate that some businessmen are less than honest and that the labels “private” and “profit” can hide chicanery. David Halperin writes: 
“The Center for Excellence in Higher Education, operator of a chain of colleges repeatedly caught deceiving and short-changing students, has quietly dismissed its lawsuit against the Department of Education, a case aimed at reversing the Obama administration’s 2016 rejection of the company’s bid to be treated as a non-profit institution. It’s unclear from the court record why the case was dismissed, and whether the Department, under Betsy DeVos, has agreed to make any concessions to CEHE, which operates Stevens-Henager College, California College San Diego, CollegeAmerica, and ubiquitous TV advertiser Independence University.
“A December 21, 2018, filing in the United States District Court for the District of Utah states simply that the two sides ‘hereby stipulate to the dismissal of this action with prejudice, each party to bear its own fees and costs.’ Earlier filings by CEHE and the Justice Department, which represents DeVos, informed the court that they ‘had reached an agreement on a means of resolving this matter without further litigation.’ So what’s in the agreement?”
“In late 2017, CEHE went to trial on fraud charges brought by the attorney general of Colorado. More than a year later, the two sides still await a decision in the case from Colorado state judge Ross Buchanan. CEHE hired as an expert witness for the trial, to testify against the fraud charges, Diane Auer Jones, who is now DeVos’s top higher education aide, with the title acting under secretary of education.”
It looks rather cozy to me.
Mr. Bernstein spends the bulk of his article arguing two points: 1. When Barney was involved in (the Church of) Scientology it was a beneficial organization and movement, and 2. Barney’s colleges are beneficial too. But Mr. Bernstein must be uncomfortable with this because he ends by saying, in effect, none of this matters. In the following, ask yourself what was bad, what harmed life?
In other words: Maybe Barney is a liar and a crook but look at the millions he’s given to ARI, TOS, etc. spreading goodness everywhere. (Including inside Biddle’s and Bernstein’s pockets.)
“... it is more important to reward the good than it is to punish the bad. That which promotes life is vastly more important than that which harms it.”
Bernard Madoff and Jeffrey Epstein gave millions to charity so at the end of the day they are heroes? The argument is the same.
Mr. Bernstein’s position is: When judging a man’s career we are to turn a blind eye to evil and see only good (Mr. Bernstein considers ARI and TOS good). And such tunnel vision is an “uplifting principle of the Objectivist ethics.”
It is not uplifting and it flies in the face of Objectivist ethics. The following is from Galt’s speech in Atlas Shrugged:
Denouncing evil is the counterpart of praising good; they are two sides of the same coin of moral currency. As Aristotle put it:
“Justice is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake the character of men ... that your moral appraisal is the coin paying men for their virtues or vices ... that to withhold your contempt from men’s vices is an act of moral counterfeiting, and to withhold your admiration from their virtues is an act of moral embezzlement — that to place any other concern higher than justice is to devaluate your moral currency and defraud the good in favor of the evil, since only the good can lose by a default of justice and only the evil can profit ...”
Bernstein not only withholds his contempt from Barney’s vices, past and present, he turns the vices into virtues! He loves Barney, through and through.
“Justice consists in loving and hating aright.”
Perhaps the most disgusting tell of all against Barney is his failure to disassociate with and denounce the odious Richard Minns. This goes also for Mr. Bernstein and everyone else at TOS, and everyone at ARI, ARIC, and in their orbit. It’s a long story, too bizarre and horrible to reduce to a few words. See Who Is Richard Minns? on this website, then “A Wonderful Tribute to Carl Barney” in The Objective Standard. The latter features a chummy side-by-side arm-on-shoulder photo of Barney & Minns.Barney’s Big Lie »
1 Andrew Bernstein’s article is dated 21 October 2019.
Craig Biddle’s article in The Objective Standard which eventually grew to three parts is “Regarding Carl Barney and Scientology,” nominally dated 15 July 2019 (the date of the first part and that date remained even though a few days separated the subsequent parts). It is reviewed in the series Barney Tells His Story and Barney Continues Telling His Story and Barney Sticks to His Story, on this website.
2 “An Ayn Rand Acolyte Selling Students a Self-Made Dream”
by Patricia Cohen, The New York Times, 7 May 2016
3 See Who Is Carl Barney?
4 Barney gave an autobiographical talk at OCON 2016, “The Objectivist Ethics Applied to Life and Business.”
Then he goes into his life, how he grew up in England, traveled across Europe and Asia, lived in Australia for several years, then came to the U.S. Then, suddenly he is renting apartments and then buying colleges. There is a gap of about 15 years that you wouldn’t know about to hear him. Gone are his years of Scientology studies at Saint Hill and in the U.S., gone are his nine or ten years running Co$ missions – business experience indeed. Nary a peep about what he is so proud of now.
“Through the power of the Objectivist ethics I was able to make my life anew. And using the ethics I was able to achieve considerable success and wealth as a businessman.”
5 As briefly indicated in the first footnote, Mr. Biddle’s “Regarding Carl Barney and Scientology” began as an undivided article, then after ARI Watch reviewed it Mr. Biddle appended a Part Two, retroactively subtitling the original Part One. Then after ARI Watch reviewed the new part, his article sprouted a Part Three. An ARI Watch reader comments on this progressive release and the article in general. What he says applies to Mr. Bernstein’s article as well (minor copyediting and without our external quote marks):
1. What Barney is doing is known as trickle truth
, the method that a deep liar caught in his lie engages in. They only admit to the bare minimum that they can get away with, and only to what their audience has demonstrable evidence for. And if their audience gets more evidence, only then do they confess to that little bit more. So the truth “trickles” out, bit by bit. It is obvious that Barney has been engaging in trickle truth from the start, which should be a red flag that what he is admitting to now (and only because he has to) is still not the full truth.
2. Another classic technique of liars is minimization
. “What I did wasn’t so
bad, because ... because I only did it once ... because I didn’t really like it ...” etc.
Obviously Barney is doing this also, with Biddle as his mouthpiece. In fact, Biddle’s writing is an utterly despicable whitewash of Scientology. He makes it sound like, at worst, Mormonism (hey some nutty ideas, but oh well). There is no recognition of the evil (and even criminal) nature of the group (the deep psychological manipulation, the literally sociopathic principles and practices that Hubbard instituted from the top). However I’m finding people I talk to don’t know much about Scientology. Some of them think it’s “not so bad” and give Barney the benefit of the doubt.
3. Biddle is just repeating what Barney tells him, with no critical thought or research of his own. In fact, he tells us that is what he is doing. “Carl says ...” Well, why on earth should we believe what Carl Barney says, given the trickle truth, the minimization, the failure to directly and forthrightly address the historical record, the sickening whitewashing of Scientology, etc.?
Craig’s whole essay rests on the flimsy and question-begging argument that: “Barney says ‘X’, and we should believe Barney. Why should we believe Barney? Because Barney is a good and honorable man.” That is circular, the question at issue is whether Barney is a good and honorable man. So far it is not looking good – both the Scientology connection in the past and his evasive responses about it now. So he gave a lot of money to liberty causes? Well, anyone can give money – that in no way makes him a good and honorable man.
6 All the while begging for donations. See Who’s Who and The Objectivist Gravy Train.
7 Part 2 of “Me, My Mom and Scientology” by Chris Shelton.
The interviewee makes a few errors. (1) She says Barney left his missions in the early 1980s. Actually he left in 1979 though he was on the Scientology scene through 1981. (2) Barney didn’t just plan to set up a bank, he set one up and operated it.
L. Ron Hubbard’s cult is hard to shake off. She doesn’t fully realize that she’s been had, first by the Catholic Church, then by the Church of Scientology.
For more on Barney’s Nationwide Acceptance Corporation see Who Is Carl Barney?
8 To see page 12 of the referenced issue of Source click here. To see the cover click here. For more commentary see Who Is Carl Barney?
9 Some indication of Mr. Bernstein’s standards in heroism is that he thinks Nat Turner is a hero. Yes, that Nat Turner, the mass murderer and darling of present-day Leftists. In “Black Slaves Who Could Have Been American Founders” (The Objective Standard) Mr. Bernstein says Nat Turner was a freedom fighter who could have been “among the heroes who founded the United States of America.” The article is reviewed in Valedictorians of Yesteryear.
Mr. Bernstein’s book is Heroes, Legends, Champions: Why Heroism Matters, finished in 2019, self-published in 2020. (I haven’t read it.) Does honesty matter?
10 See the student evaluations referenced near the end of Response to Barney Revelations above the double line. Triple-click a URL then copy-paste into your browser’s address field.
For the result of the lawsuit against Barney, see footnote 12 below.
11 “CollegeAmerica’s Legal Battles Go On”
by David Halperin, Republic Report 3 April 2019
12 “Big Win For Students: Colorado Court Slaps Carl Barney Colleges With $3 Million Fraud Verdict”
by David Halperin, Republic Report August 21, 2020
See Who Is Carl Barney? footnote 26b for further references.
13 “... I’m on top of the world.” – the conclusion of Carl Barney’s talk:
“The Objectivist Ethics Applied to Life and Business” at OCON 2016.
“I’m creating a heaven on earth in my life.” – said in an interview conducted by Craig Biddle:
“Carl Barney on Objectivism and Success” TOS 21 February 2018.
14 “Troubled College Operator Drops Lawsuit Against DeVos. Why?”
by David Halperin, Republic Report 6 January 2019
Barney’s Big Lie »