The Crisis in the Affairs of the Triple Nine Society
and the Founding of the Phoenix Society

Kevin Langdon
with the support of Richard Adams, Fred Britton,
Hal Darancette, Michael Huston, Anne Paradise,
RonaldPenner, and Richard Weatherwax

What country before ever existed a century and a half
without a rebellion? . . . The tree of liberty must be
refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots
and tyrants. It is its natural manure.

--Thomas Jefferson
Letter to William Stevens Smith
November 13, 1787
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, p. 374

It is an unfortunate fact of life in the high-I.Q. societies
that these societies tend to become rigid and authoritarian.

From time to time, the tyranny exercised by the leaders of
these societies becomes so odious as to compel self-respecting
people to remove themselves from its yoke.

A decade ago, there were serious abuses of power by officers
of the International Society for Philosophical Enquiry. A few
members unwilling to be relegated to an inferior class of
membership chose to rebel. The result was the founding of the
Triple Nine Society by Richard Canty, Ronald K. Hoeflin,
Kevin Langdon, Ronald Penner, and Ed Van Vleck. As many
intelligent people who had joined the ISPE were also unwilling
to be treated as subjects of a ruling class, TNS rapidly became
larger than its parent organization.

The founders of TNS were expelled by a secret ethics
committee of the ISPE whose members were never disclosed
to us; the ISPE membership was kept in the dark about the
entire episode.

Now history has repeated itself. There have been very serious
violations of the rights of members by officers of the Triple
Nine Society during the past two years, as chronicled in "The
Trouble with Triples," in a mailing from Members for
Democracy in the Triple Nine Society in November 1987
(sent to voters in the most recent TNS election and signers of
the petition on the back cover of "The Trouble with Triples"
and available on request from Members for Democracy), and
in the current booklet.

My expulsion from TNS, as reported in Vidya #88, is only
the latest in a long series of despicable actions by the ruling
clique and is due to my leadership in speaking out against the
abuses perpetrated by this self-serving band of liars and frauds.

Once again, this has been accomplished in such a way as to
conceal the identities of those behind the expulsion (see Richard
May's "Regent's Third Quarterly Report," reproduced on p. 10
of Vidya #88, and the January Regent's Report on p. 14 of this
booklet), but those voting for Patrick Hill's expulsion motion were
Rita Beechey, Audrey Guild, Patrick Hill, Ronald K. Hoeflin, and
Barry Kington. Richard May and Barry Zaslove abstained. Sadly,
only Gary Bryant and Michael Huston voted against the motion.

Hoeflin's participation in this action is particularly culpable, as he
was on the receiving end of the same treatment from the
leadership of the ISPE when we founded TNS.

Hill's expulsion motion, printed on pp. 12-13 of Vidya #88,
contains many misstatements. I will respond to only one.

Hill attempts to justify the imposition of the extreme remedy of
expulsion by reference to the addendum to the Regent's report
on the annual meeting (reprinted on page 5 of the November
Members for Democracy booklet), which specified a number of
conditions which could lead to expulsion of members. Observation
of the prohibitions contained in the addendum would effectively
prevent members from exercising their constitutional right and
moral duty to speak out against abuses of power by officers of
the Triple Nine Society and to demand that members' rights not
be further abridged. This argument is morally equivalent to
claiming that I have a right to punch you in the nose because I
warned you that I would do so if you didn't hand over your wallet.

Nowhere in the TNS constitution is the Executive Committee
authorized to expel a member; indeed the constitution is not
silent with regard to the conditions under which one becomes
and remains a member of TNS but prescribes specifically that
"Members shall only be expelled for actions which seriously
damage the society and only upon due process, which shall
include but not be limited to the opportunity for a defense and
an initiative."

The phrase "due process" has been held by the courts to
imply enactment of a specific procedure prior to actions
according to that procedure
. The TNS constitution was
deliberately silent with regard to procedures for expulsion of
a member, according to Hal Darancette, Michael Huston,
and Ron Penner, who were present at the meeting in Bullard,
Texas at which the present constitution was drafted. In the
absence of such a procedure, the Executive Committee had
no power to expel anyone.

A further note on my expulsion: Ron Hoeflin stated, in an
editorial note on page 13 of Vidya #88, that "Kevin Langdon
was given an opportunity to submit arguments for his
reinstatement but has declined to do so." While I did not
respond to Hill's motion for my expulsion (which was out of
order, as indicated above, and which I was not about to
legitimize by responding to), I was not notified of the passage
of the motion until after Vidya #88 had gone to press and
thus had no opportunity to offer a statement for publication.

[Historical Note: My explusion was finally put to a vote of
the membership, who decisively rejected it.]

Those of us concerned with democracy and fairness in TNS
have objected to a number of serious irregularities in the
society's business, including Ron Hoeflin's practice of deceit
on Bill Hoon to obtain funds for publication of an election
issue which he had been ordered not to publish by the
Executive Committee and Barry Zaslove's disbursement of
funds to Hoeflin for issues produced after Hoeflin had been
removed as Editor.

Hal Darancette made a motion, which was ignored for several
months, for an audit of TNS finances. Michael Huston brought
it to the attention of the Chairman of the Executive Committee
that this motion had not been acted upon. Five members of the
Committee voted against an audit, as reported in the January
Regent's Report included on page 14 of this booklet.

It is apparent that in order to compel an accounting by the
officers of TNS, the membership must be given the opportunity
to vote on the initiative contained in the booklet circulated by
Members for Democracy a few months ago. The TNS
constitution prescribes no time limit for receipt of petitions for
the placing of initiatives and constitutional amendments on the
ballot for a vote of the membership. As reported by Eugene
Primoff in Vidya #88, all of the initiatives and constitutional
amendments proposed in that booklet are within a few
signatures of qualifying for a vote of the membership. For the
convenience of those who may wish to add their voices to
those already calling for a vote on these matters, the petition
form from the earlier booklet is also included in the centerfold
of the present booklet.

The democratic procedures of the Triple Nine Society have
been subverted and the situation is now completely out of
control. The current election is a mockery, as members were
not notified of the deadline for filing to run for office until after
the filing deadline had passed and my candidacy has been
compromised by my expulsion from the society. (It is strange
to note that someone who, by the tortured reasoning of the
current leadership, is a nonmember of the society, has been
permitted to remain on the ballot.)

I was one of several members to complain about the
irregularities in the 1987 election, including a one-sided
presentation of the crisis in TNS affairs and the
disenfranchisement of all foreign members. Complaints to
the Ombudsman regarding this election, by Kevin Langdon,
Michael Huston, and Ron Penner, were reproduced on
pages 48-52 of "The Trouble with Triples."

Excerpts from Anne Paradise's Ombudsman's report concluding
that the election was invalid appear on page 31 of "The Trouble
with Triples."

Those responsible for this mailing are convinced that there
will never again be a fair election in the Triple Nine Society as
long as the current leaders remain in power.

With the tragic death of Thomas M. Barnes--who had the
courage to speak out against the abuses of the current Executive
Committee, after having been persuaded temporarily of the
justice of their position by the half-truths which Patrick Hill, in
particular, is so skilled at putting over on those who have not yet
learned to be wary--the ruling clique will continue to have a
majority on the TNS Executive Committee after the election, no
matter what the outcome of the contested race for four Member-
at-Large seats, which pit Jack Giles, Audrey Guild, Loren Harris,
and Patrick Hill against Fred Britton, Richard Weatherwax, and
me. (There are three other candidates who are unaligned.)

Therefore, not wishing to remain subject to the dictates of
officers who continue to pursue a partisan and divisive agenda,
we have decided to found a new society at the 99.9th percentile.

High-I.Q. societies are, in a certain sense, abstract codifications
of the terms under which members of an intellectual community
have joined together to exchange ideas and experiences. When
these codifications cease to serve their purpose, new
organizational structures must be established as a vehicle for the
life of this community.

In recognition of the fact that our new society is intended to
provide such a vehicle for the life of the 99.9th percentile
community which has previously been embodied in the MM
Society, the ISPE, the Triple Nine Society, and the Cincinnatus
Society, we have chosen the Phoenix Society as the name of
the new society established by concerned members of the Triple
Nine Society.

[Historical Note: The name of the society was changed to the
Minerva Society after we discovered that there was already a
Phoenix Society for burn victims.]

We believe that there must be safeguards against arbitrary
actions of officers; deliberations have already begun on how to
embody such protections in a constitution for the Phoenix
Society which will not permit the society's institutions to be as
readily subverted as those of the Triple Nine Society.

We expect a constitution to emerge from suggestions, debate,
and decision-making involving all members who wish to
participate, with final ratification by the membership, followed
by election of officers.

Until their successors take office, the Phoenix Society will
be governed by an Executive Committee consisting of: Richard
Weatherwax, Editor; Richard Adams, Membership Officer;
Jalon Leach, Treasurer; Fred Britton, Ombudsman; and Kevin
Langdon, Publicity Officer. Serving on the Psychometrics
Committee will be Ed Van Vleck (Chairman), Fred Britton,
and Kevin Langdon.


If you wish to participate with us in the founding of a
society based on principles and not on the arbitrary exercise of
power by officers acting against the best interests of the
membership, write to the Membership Officer, Richard Adams,
[address omitted], or send your $20 yearly dues to the Treasurer,
Jalon Leach, [address omitted].

Excerpt from a Letter from Catherine Brueckel to
Members of the TNS Executive Committee and Others

[not yet webified]

Excerpt from a Letter from Michael Huston to Richard
May, Dated January 13, 1988

[not yet webified]

Please indicate whether you support each of the initiatives
and constitutional amendments by checking either yes or no for
each, or the box at the bottom of page 9 to support the whole
list. Sign and submit to the Elections Officer, Eugene Primoff,
[address omitted], with a copy to Members for Democracy in
the Triple Nine Society, P.O. Box 795, Berkeley, CA 94701.


Back Cover of a Booklet Mailed to Selected Members
of the Triple Nine Society, Purporting to Originate from
"The Watchdog Committee, P.O. Box 795, Berkeley,
CA 94701"

[not yet webified]

[Historical Note: After the crisis passed, members went back to
TNS and Minerva was shut down.]

 

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