Lyndon LaRouche: Steady Leadership in Times of Change

This is the first election cycle without a Lyndon LaRouche campaign since 1976, a milestone in many ways. One of them is personal: My first coherent political memory is being taken into the voting booth by my father to vote in Delaware's (by that point irrelevent) Democratic primary to prevent "this crazy person, LaRouche," from winning by default.

The great Conor Clarke of the Guardian has a TNR piece on that crazy person. He asks the question no one else bothered to ask: Since everyone else is running this year, why aren't you?

"I've stepped out of the presidential campaign," he grumbles with an unexpected New England lilt. "After all, I'm close to eighty-five now. And a candidate should have at least eight years [left] before running for the presidency of the United States."

It's too bad. Not even Duncan Hunter musters the combination of bitterness, slashing political attacks, and terrifying psychosis that LaRouche gets across in a 1000 word profile.

The prospect of darker times is a subject LaRouche brings up a lot. In the course of an hour-long conversation, he warns that "the worst financial crisis in modern history [is] in the process of hitting" and "the world financial monetary system" is "disintegrating very rapidly"; that "civilization may not be here when we come to our senses"; and, rather cryptically, that we are approaching a "Tower of Babel." And, just as he has done for decades, LaRouche maintains that he is the only one with the qualifications to save us from an unappealing fate. "My personal identification will go back to ancient Greece, to Plato and so forth, but more immediately to Franklin Roosevelt's tradition, which was essentially to save civilization from a nightmare."

Clarke makes some effort to understand LaRouche's current obsession, very visible if you live in a big-ish city or college town: Absorbing gullible twentysomethings into a leaflet- and choral-song based cult.

"He's a very tall guy, very imposing, and he can drop so many names--Plato, Leibniz, Kepler, on and on," says one former devotee. "You have no idea what the fuck he's talking about, yet you think he's a genius."

It's a description LaRouche is perfectly happy to cultivate, especially since he is now hard at work on a new "educational program" for the [Larouche Youth Movement]--which, he says, starts with "questions of the Pythagoreans," then dips into "[Carl Friedrich] Gauss's 1799 doctoral dissertation," and then moves on to the work of nineteenth-century German mathematician Bernhard Riemann. "If you don't understand Riemannian dynamics," intones LaRouche, "you don't know how economies work." He chose the curriculum based on "the kind of things that a leading cadre of economists"--like himself--"should have mastered."

One 2006 interaction I had with the LaRouche guys is memorialized here.

UPDATE: What the hell, it's Friday. Here's a video.

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  • The Wine Commonsewer®||

    .....taken into the voting booth by my father to vote in Delaware's (by that point irrelevent) Democratic primary to prevent "this crazy person, LaRouche," from winning by default.

    But WAIT! Everyone knows that LaDouche is a LIBERTARIAN! There. I got to say it first. Nanny, Nanny, Goat.

    I almost fired a guy once for getting in my face about LaRouche being a libertarian. He was gay and apparently LaRouche is anti-gay. Yes it was a pretty hostile exchange.

  • ||

    I don't know shit about "Riemannian dynamics", but I do know that if you idolize Franklin Roosevelt, you don't know how economies work.

  • Randolph Carter||

    LaRouche provides steady leadership in that... he continues to exist on this mortal plane?

  • ||

    Personally, I hold out hope that Cynthia McKinney will get the green party nomination. Odin knows, comic relief is a plus in any presidential race.

  • ||

    agreed J sub D.
    I wouldn't exactly welcome LaRouche to the presidential race, but at least it would be more interesting.

  • Grotius||

    Anyone else remember LaRouche's 1984 day before the election TV spot?

  • ||

    There's no such thing as "Reimannian dynamics", but there is Riemannian geometry. Good luck finding any correlation between that and any sane theory of economics. Not that someday someone won't find an application for advanced geometry in the study of economics, but it's safe money that that person's name won't be LaRouche.

  • Slut machine||

    that crazy person



    Why are we allowed to read this here?

  • ||

    Rimfax,

    I don't know shit about "Riemannian dynamics", but I do know that if you idolize Franklin Roosevelt, you don't know how economies work.

    Ditto for his gold standard fetish. Loonie. ;-)

    But seriously, that's the thing about LaRouche - go back, and look at what he says about Roosevelt and why he idolizes him. There isn't a single word about his policies, his positions, or his ideology.

    No, "Roosevelt saved civilization," which is true - he was the Top Dog when the U.S. led the western democracies through the greatest crisis they had ever faced.

    LaRouche sees himself as a world-saver, and the actual details of what he's saving it from, how to do so, and what he's actually saving are trifling details.

    There is some weird shit going on in that man's dome.

  • ||

    Grotius,

    Do tell. Did it open with a mushroom cloud?

  • Grotius||

    joe,

    I don't remember any specifics. It (even at that early age) just seemed odd to me.


    ________________________

    Technical Question: My computer will no longer load youtube videos, won't load the youtube the page even. Any suggestions?

  • ||

    Riemann was a fricking genius. I've studied pieces of his work, and that's about as advanced as I got. Of course he also postulated the Riemann Hypothesis, one of, if not the, most important outstanding mathematical conjectures.

    I have no idea if his work has any application to economics. But insisting that your audience first master Rienmann dynamics in order to understand what your saying, is a good way to cut off critics ("your not qualified to judge my work") and also give the impression that you're super smart to just about everyone who has no idea what you're talking about (because it's pure bullshit?).

  • Grotius||

    Never mind. I had a brainstorm and figured out the issue.

  • dhex||

    i like larouche because of his vendetta against bertrand russell.

  • thoreau||

    LaRouchies are always good for entertaining brochures.

    I've heard people say "Oh, he's so far to the right" or "Oh, he's so far to the left." And no doubt if you look at one or two anecdotes you can persuade yourself of either position. But if you read one of the brochures, it quickly becomes obvious that he's in some parallel dimension where left and right have no geometric meaning.

  • ||

    Left and right is a false paradigm. For example if you are anti statist or even minarchist (small government) then the left and right won't address this.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    thoreau:

    Further proof that the political spectrum isn't linear but circular, which is how LaRouche manages to straddle both extremes.

    I was living in Leesburg, VA around the time he and his merry band of loonies moved to its outskirts back in the early 80s. On the whole, they behaved themselves reasonably well and kept a more or less low profile, the one exception being a small bookstore they operated in the center of town. In those pre-internet, pre-chain bookstores, it was a welcome addition to the only other tiny bookstore in town, the odd stock selections reflecting LaRouche's personal tastes aside.

    Also, hey, the guy hates Dick Cheney, so blind pigs and acorns and all that. And what's not to like about Verdi Tuning?

  • thoreau||

    No, DAR, he's not even on both extremes. He's in his own extreme.

    You need to understand the Riemannian geometry of a multi-dimensional craziness space...

    :)

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    My mistake, thoreau. I thought Riemannian geometry was only necessary for a "proper" understanding of economics. :)

  • dhex||

    yeah dude definitely has his own thing going on.

    his street teams are, uh, interesting to talk to. once. and only once.

  • ||

    I wonder how long the economy would have to continue to expand in order for LaRouche to reconsider his "end of the world" scenario. I was very entertained by his theory that, as of when Greenspan took over the Fed, we were already mired in a 1929-style Depression. Best. Depression. Ever.

  • ||

    There are some people with tables set up outside my local post office (Mahwah, NJ) today with signs that say "LaRouche" and "Impeach Cheney." If they're still there later I'll stop and say hi. :)

  • ||

    "He's a very tall guy, very imposing, and he can drop so many names--Plato, Leibniz, Kepler, on and on," says one former devotee. "You have no idea what the fuck he's talking about, yet you think he's a genius."

    Onion-worthy.

  • ||

    LaRouche should run again. Using a certain song, with new lyrics: "LaRouche! LaRouche! LaRouche is on fire!"

  • Bhh||

    I always sort of liked the guy. He's no more crazy than, say, Bill Kristol.

  • ||

    "My personal identification will go back to ancient Greece, to Plato and so forth, but more immediately to Franklin Roosevelt's tradition, which was essentially to save civilization from a nightmare."

    What!?!? You mean Bush did not invent using fear for political gain!?!?

    And FDR did it also?!?

    NO FUCKING WAY!

    Someone better tell Gore....oh wait he is busy working on selling movies and books on global warming.

  • ||

    Dave Barry:

    "One concern of mine: Mr. Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. Mr. LaRouche has formed his own political party in the hopes of running for president. This concerns many people because his views are somewhat unorthodox (What I mean is he is crazy as a bedbug. While you have a brain, Mr. Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. has has a whack-a-mole game, but I am not about to state this in print, as I do not wish to have his ardent followers put poison snakes in my sock drawer)."

    I first saw his cult of gullible twentysomethings outside the county courthouse in Detroit around Christmas, caroling "Fa la la la la la, la la LaRouch."

    One more: "Aliens! Bio-duplication! Nude Conspiracies! Oh my God, Lyndon LaRouche was right!" - Homer Simpson.

  • uncle sam||

    My conversation with a LaRouch table/borchure volunteer ended with him wanting to spank us libertarians.

  • ||

    There's no such thing as "Reimannian dynamics", but there is Riemannian geometry. Good luck finding any correlation between that and any sane theory of economics.



    The Lovecraft School of Economics?

  • DT||

    FDR led the west through one of it's greatest crises after he first extended what should have been a short economic downturn into a decade long depression.

    Let's not pop too many boners over his leadership in WWII.

  • ||

    Joe:
    Ditto for his gold standard fetish. Loonie (sic)

    His "gold standard" is not a gold standard. He advocates another Breton Woods agreement, which is like having a gold standard, except without the gold...

    Also, "gold standard fetish" is a fallacious (in itself) phrase coined by Marx... and we know the guy was incorrect in many other issues, was he not?

  • Gene Berkman||

    In the early 1980's I was at the LA International Airport, so I went over to the LaRouche literature table. They had a sign advocating sending the entire State Dept. to Iran, 50 at a time. (Sam Konkin had the same slogan)

    The woman behind the table tried to explain how LaRouche supporters are persecuted, and she mentioned that a Jerry Brown supporter had socked her in the face. I told her I was impressed, I thought all Jerry Brown supporters were wimps.

    On a more positive note, when Lyndon LaRouche ran for Congress in 1990 from his prison cell, his campaign slogan was "George Bush, read my finger!"

  • ||

    Is Lenora Fulani running this time?

  • Robert||

    So are any NCLCers running for POTUS in 2008?

  • ||

    There was an actual LaRouche chorus - singing - in front of Borders on Washington St. in Boston recently.

  • Derrick||

    I don't mind that the guy exists, but I'm annoyed that libertarians are mistaken for LaRouchies. I have had the "Oh, so you're a libertarian. Like Lyndon LaRouche, right?" conversation several times, although it has been a few years. Hopefully that will stop happening.

  • ||

    My conversation with a LaRouch table/borchure volunteer ended with him wanting to spank us libertarians.



    It it were an attractive her I'd say give her my address.

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