|Drink the Kool-Aid|
|But you WANT to stay|
Neo-Tech® (or perhaps ZONpower) is a bizarre self-help ... something. It sells a mystery soup of claimed secrets of the world known only to the famous and successful! ... that turns out to be warmed-over Objectivism.
It was created in 1984 by Frank R. Wallace (born Wallace Ward; 1932-2006), a tax protester best known as a prolific writer of "how to cheat at poker and blackjack" books. It is now sold by his son, Mark Hamilton (real name Wallace H. Ward; he claims "Mark Hamilton" is a "trademark").
Their company is called Integrated Management Associates; marketing names include Novatech, Nouva Tech, Novus Tek Society, Nouveau Tech Society, Neothink Society, Neo-Tech Las Vegas, The Secret Society, The Society of Secrets, Newly-Forming Neo-Tech/Illuminati Societies and The Athenian Secret Society.
Wallace claims to have discovered his philosophy while playing poker: he identified others using similar strategy as his own philosophies. "With his knowledge of poker and Aristotle's Philosophy he developed Neo-Tech®."
The philosophy seems to be warmed-over Objectivism (but without the Ayn Rand worship), repackaging it in the pseudoscientific and cultish style of Scientology. As with most cultish belief systems, Neo-Tech® uses jargon understood only by its followers, like "neocheaters" and "fully integrated honesty". Like objectivism, Neo-Tech® promises to help people eliminate all forms of mysticism and irrationality from their life and become a perfectly rational person. Like Scientology, Neo-Tech® uses this indecipherable jargon as a hook to sell Really Expensive Books (at over $100 each) that leave the reader more confused than they were before reading them.
Neo-Tech® makes outrageous claims about how their teachings will lead to Eternal Life, but disappointingly their plan for this consists of "Make a completely Free Market, and someone will invent it for us".
Neo-Tech®'s current main work is The Nouveau Tech Package of Miss Annabelle's Secrets: Neo Tech Secret Society, Earth's First Immortals (2006) by Mark Hamilton, about a woman, Miss Annabelle, who has a number of super-intelligent children who manage to solve all the problems facing humanity, including death itself. One of Miss Annabelle's children is elected President of the United States under the aegis of the Twelve Visions Party. (Mark Hamilton is the founder of an actual American political party of the same name.)
They sell other material as well. As well as Frank Wallace and Mark Hamilton, authors have included libertarian Carl Watner and objectivist Yasuhiko Kimura.
Neo-Tech®'s sales method is to send out stupendous quantities of junk mail. These letters speak of a secret magical society, which all successful people in the world are members of, and YOU can learn about them too if only you send somewhere between $100-$140 for a book explaining how they do it. After the first book, you are meant to buy a second book, at similar prices, to understand the really real secret. Really this time.
They used to send truly amazing green ink junk mail in the late '80s and early '90s, composed entirely of in-cult gibberish. Earlier ones talked about Neo-Tech®, later ones talked about The Power Of ZON.
In popular culture
British comic writer Alan Grant included a "rationalist" hero, espousing a philosophy based on Neo-Tech®, in Anarky #1, published by DC in 1997. Grant appears to have bought into the philosophy. The comic didn't do so well.
Wallace's tax conviction
On March 29, 1990, Wallace was indicted on three counts of tax evasion and three counts of willful failure to timely file federal income tax returns or pay taxes. At his trial, Wallace proposed an alternative oath written by him, to be used before testifying, using the phrase "fully integrated Honesty" (a Neo-Tech® buzzword). The court denied his request, insisting on a "standard oath." He was convicted on all charges.
He appealed, in part on the ground that the District Court had violated his freedom of religion, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed Ward’s conviction. The Court of Appeals held that by refusing to allow Ward to testify unless he used only the oath prescribed by the District Court, the District Court had indeed violated Ward's First Amendment right to freedom of religion. Ward used his own wording for the oath in the 1993 re-trial — in which a jury found him guilty of tax evasion for years 1983, 1984 and 1985.
- The previous Neo-Tech® website archives on the wayback machine.
- The current Society of Secrets website.
- Neo-Tech: The Grand Integration of Effectiveness Models.
- From Objectivism to Neo-Tech and Back by Luke Setzer
- David Lazarus (November 19, 2013). "Do you have what it takes to learn Society's 'secrets'?". Los Angeles Times: p. B1.
- Steve Blow (March 24, 2013). "People can be gullible, and that's no secret". Dallas Morning News: p. B1.
- "Steven Hinz Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison, Ordered to Pay More than $500,000". Targeted News Service. February 2, 2013.
- Jennifer Abel (March 18, 2014). "Miss Annabelle's money pit: Neothink, the League and the Twelve Visions". ConsumerAffairs.com. http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/miss-annabelles-money-pit-neothink-the-league-and-the-twelve-visions-031814.html. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
- This RWian has no idea how he got on their mailing list.
- Daily News of Los Angeles (August 20, 1992). "Tax-Evasion Conviction Reversed"