Fish in a barrel. David Miscavige is the leader of the Church of Scientology, succeeding L. Ron Hubbard upon Hubbard’s death in 1986. Miscavige has a reputation for being an asshole, and has had numerous allegations made against him in court documents and media reports regarding his treatment of staff, including physical assault, coerced abortions, human trafficking and child labor (some recent allegations here). Not that any of those factors, correct or not, would make any difference to whether he counts as a loon – the Narconon alone would suffice aplenty. Miscavige had in fact already assumed much of the control before Hubbard’s demise, instigating a thorough reorganization of the church, starting a large-scale publication program of new versions of Scientology’s books and courses, relaunching The Sea Org, scoring an epic win in 1993 when they reached a settlement with the IRS over the taxes Scientology had been withholding ever since their tax exempt status was revoked in 1967, and beginning its legendary war on all criticism on the Internet (with the usual Streisand effects hot on the heals) and famous defeats).
Miscavige has also compared Tom Cruise to Jesus Christ, and believes that Cruise will spread the gospel of L. Ron Hubbard all over the world, so even a commitment to dianetics is strictly superfluous to merit inclusion in this Encyclopedia. The latest antics of his church include the building of a “space cathedral” in New Mexico, not far from Roswell, apparently to help future devotees find L. Ron Hubbard’s original works after a nuclear war.
For a good biographical documentary on Miscavige, this one is hard to beat (recommended, as is this).
Diagnosis: It is, as the documentary suggests, a little hard to believe that someone as cunning and clever as Miscavige actually believes the teachings of scientology, but then again, there is always the question of whether scientology is a cult or a religion.