Does LaRouche have any valid ideas?

Ex-LaRouchians address this question on Factnet, Jan. 11-13, 2008

{Note: On Jan. 11, a person writing under the user name "dk_70" who claims never to have been a member of the LaRouche organization posed the following question to ex-LaRouchians who frequent the Factnet message board: "Independent of what you think of LaRouche the person, are there any of his values/beliefs you still hold?" dk_70 (who is not Dennis King, by the way) went on to list a number of legitimate theoretical issues that LaRouche had supposedly addressed, and also a number of conspiracy theories that had been elaborated by others prior to LaRouche and that dk_70 personally thought had merit. This posting triggered the entertaining and deeply illuminating remarks below.]

eaglebeak, Friday, January 11, 2008 - 1:21 pm:

On the validity of Lyn's ideas, or his borrowed ideas, etc.

The fly in the ointment is always that, whenever Lyn wraps himself around an idea (or around his blurry approximation of a great idea), he has an uncontrollable need to possess it, dominate it, own it, so that he winds up proclaiming that no one can understand Plato, or Kepler, or Shakespeare, or Moses, or Ibn Sina, or Marx, or Luxemburg, or Lincoln, or Jesus--without embracing Lyn's understanding and Lyn's line and without publicly admitting that Lyn is the only door to truth.

That fact right there should tell you that he doesn't have a clue what these people were talking about and who they were, and never will. Because Plato and Jesus and Moses and all the others do not exist as grist for Lyn's mill, and are not "perfected" by Lyn's "higher understanding."

Lyn doesn't entertain ideas (a wonderful phrase) or consider them, or--heaven forbid!--discuss them, he appropriates them, expropriates them, and devours them, gobbling them down with the same vulgarity with which he eats and drinks.

The idea ("thought-object" in Lyn lingo) is an object all right--one designed to feed him and make him more powerful, awesome, etc.

So your list may have important things on it, and those ideas may be important--some right, some wrong, many ambiguous--but none of that has anything to do with the perversions Lyn performs upon them.

Most of the dualisms are oversimplifications, though some are useful. Most of the analysis of history is overwrought and virtually hysterical, and much of it malignant (e.g., the obsession with Syria/Mesopotamia, once called by Lyn "dirty Semites"--don't include Egypt in there, because Lyn now loves Egypt, ever since the 1980s when EEC members [members of the European Executive Committee of the ICLC] trotted out Schiller on Moses and Egypt, and Lyn found out the Ancient Egyptians weren't Semites).

The one thing you can count on with Lyn is that history is crammed full of villains running anti-human conspiracies, and nothing was ever a mistake, it was ALL planned by some insidious influence.

Basically, the guy can't think, can't examine an idea, can't consider history soberly. Why? Because he is afraid of people, hates them, and believes they're all out to get him. (Children of Satan...)

In other words, mental illness paralyzes his capacity for thought, and he has duped a small but energetic handful of people into believing that his mental illness is genius.

dk_70, Saturday, January 12, 2008 - 7:26 am:

One danger I can see is that once you are out of the cult in an attempt to "free yourself" from all L-influence that you go against ("rebel" against) everything LHL says because he says it, which cannot be good either. Not saying you do that, of course.

eaglebeak, Saturday, January 12, 2008 - 8:58 am:

Another alternative: You could ignore what Lyn says.

I did that for many years in the org, and have seen no reason to alter my judgment on that matter since.

(Excluding his demented personal attacks on individuals--he shouldn't be given a pass on those. Nor should he be given a pass on his anti-Semitic, anti-American ravings.)

In general, however, "theoretically," because what he says is endlessly repetitive, with the same core truth--"L'univers, c'est moi"--one need not trouble oneself too much with testing its "idea-content."

I spent enough time, years ago, examining LaRouche's various dicta on philosophy, theology, science, music, art, psychology, history, politics--to realize that it's basically content-less.

Note the way Lyn uses long strings of names as incantational material. He believes, not in the "Power of Reason," but in the Power of WORDS, much like a shaman, convinced that repetition and manipulation of Words (his word lists) enables him to manipulate Reality.

So I think you can feel relatively confident in discounting Lyn's oeuvre. If you're ever worried that you're missing something, a glance at whatever he's written most recently will allay that fear.

The point is, there's no reason to measure God, Man, and the Universe by what Lyn says. If he manages to be right occasionally about something--so what? It could happen to anybody.

boomersage, Saturday, January 12, 2008 - 1:32 pm:

Concur that LaRouche's endlessly repetitive, name- and concept-dropping tours d'horizon of Fifty Centuries of Human Thought--i.e., his basic body of policy memoranda and "theoretical" work--are largely a breathless, non-substantive performance meant to dazzle the credulous reader while making some too-facile connections between far-flung ideas, events, etc. (more like tours de farce, or the "Power of Words," as the distinguished senator from Eaglebeak called them).

I'd add, however, that LaRouche's writings tend to me more grossly simplistic than flat-out baseless or wrong--i.e., they make approximately enough sense to be dangerous, since they're mostly meant to create a intellectual mystique about him, which he's able to wield to recruit and galvanize a following of people at the cusp of adulthood by posing very graphically the moral dilemmas seriously idealistic people confront about how to conceive and mold their lives. So it's not that there's simply nothing at all to any of it; there's just a lot less there than meets the impressionable eye, and much of what IS there, at least in terms of some reasonable stands on particular issues the Org has taken--i.e., the kind of thing that attracted most of present company--is pretty unoriginal.

So I'd say he certainly doesn't lack intelligence or intellect, he lacks wisdom. In fact, he's a deeply foolish person. After 40 years in the vanguard political organization business, his principal achievement has been to make himself notorious. On the occasions when he's been on the "right side" of important issues, I'd be hard-put to say he's done more good than harm to the causes he's espoused. On the other occasions...well, enough said.

It's sometimes easy for ex-members, who worked so long and hard, took so many risks, and sacrificed so much, to lapse into wholesale bitterness. I've seen it in many, including myself. But among the other things that might be said about LaRouche, including justifiably harsh ones, I'd add that he's a tragic figure, in the simple sense that the guy undoubtedly had something to contribute to society, but his egomania and distortions undercut his own ability to do so--let alone that of many other good people.

xlcr4life, Saturday, January 12, 2008 - 2:05 pm:

To dk_70 -

In my opinion, [re] the individual issues which you ask about, I would answer this way based on my own experience. Most of what you [generic "you," not dk_70--ed.] were in favor of when you joined the LC will stay intact with you. What you discard is the pile of rubbish which was clouding your head when "connecto" is used to create a massive cacaphony of lunatic interpretations.

What I am getting at is that in my own case, the return and expansion of critical thinking seems to be the number one priority to clear one's head. The critical thinking component of this is what then allows you burn away the years of trivial cult droppings like skin tags on your body. As someone here just pointed out, it is a big waste to decipher what is useful in the LC/LYM because the whole schmegegi is infected.

I would not waste my time trying to retrieve a few correct items from David Duke, the Krishnas or any other cult or hate group when there are so many other sources of info and analysis.[FN 1]

I cannot overemphasize the importance of critical thinking, which is different from having a preference for something.

For example, I would like to see more power generated from nuclear sources. However, there is a big difference between how the cult views this and how someone in the real world would. In the LC/LYM cult case you have Lyn screaming that he would build 1,000 nuclear plants in a few years or humanity will die. In the real world you have real problems to resolve like subsidies, location, security, financing comparative costs vs other sources, long-term waste management and a host of other issues.

The real world uses highly trained specialists and the input of other diverse opinions to figure out what is a viable option. Lyn of course loves the Chinese methods since they can run roughshod over any criticism. Lyn could care less what happens to anyone else and the monstrous environmental disaster in China is not part of the cult's worries.

This erosion of critical thinking is part and parcel of being in the LC/LYM as by stripping it away bit by bit, you get a better cult. Thank God I still had some left in me when I saw what we were doing with promissory notes and our fundraising.

Seeing firsthand how we ran the finances and the horrific abuse of members, it was shocking to see how many members glossed over this. This truly was the Bizarro world, coupled with The Twilight Zone, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. From where I was perched in the LC the logical next step for us was to be indicted and placed in prison.

A very wise friend of mine who had more inner-circle knowledge than I did commented that he could not help but laugh when he would hear Lyn yap about Dante.

He said to me, "the only Italian Lyn follows is Ponzi, and even that he can't do right since we are not even paying back the first round of our supporters."

larouchetruth, Sunday, January 13, 2008 - 3:37 am:

I concur with everything said, and each person who responded managed to identify distinct additional points to all that had been posted by those responding before them. I will now add my two cents on this topic.

At the most basic level, everything Lyn says about anything in history is derived from his conclusions. He doesn't discover anything by investigating anything to see what it is, he doesn't read to find out what is written about [it]. He starts by knowing the context, the weltanschauung, the purpose and end, of everything and everyone, so he merely "finds" in history what he already knew was there. He starts with his conclusions, and then goes out (or has others go out) to "prove" him right by finding whatever can somehow, no matter how tortuously, be teased into appearing to be evidence to support the predetermined and preselected conclusion.

The result, as several commented upon, is that many of the factoids thereby "discovered" can prove to be "true." They just don't prove the point they were adduced to prove--generally for two reasons: they don't prove it, only appear to be consistent or to suggest what Lyn wants them to show, and, most damning, they were cherry-picked from what would generally be voluminous information on the topic, 99.99% of which is ignored, such that the full picture would not support Lyn's construction at all.

Now, and this I think Lyn is doing increasingly now, he often dispenses entirely with even the appearance of doing research. Lyn already knows who the good guys and bad guys are, so he literally just makes stuff up, especially about the intentions and thoughts of public figures. One really grotesque example is what he says about Paulo Sarpi, who has become the evilest genius of the past 400 years in the LaRouche anti-Pantheon. According to Lyn, Sarpi single-handedly spearheaded a new tack in the oligarchy's millennia-long battle against humanists, by, rather than just attacking all science, embracing science, or appearing to embrace it, but in reality gutting it of its theoretical underpinnings, and turning it into statistical analysis.

Which is just a tad anachronistic, eh what? "Statistical analysis"? In the 17th century? I don't think so. So, the historical Sarpi turns out to have been a reformer in Venice, who also opposed the papacy in the era when it was trying to reassert itself with the Index and the Inquisition, and helped Venice remain independent of it. He was one of the most learned men in Europe for 70 years, and contributed to mathematics, science, and several other disciplines. Since he was fighting the Church that Lyn himself says was a force for evil at that time, you might think Lyn would embrace Sarpi. I don't really know what has gotten Lyn to get his rocks off on Sarpi,[FN 2] but [he purports to know] exactly what Sarpi was thinking, what his intentions were--to try to stop the march of science by adopting it in appearance, while opposing the "Kepler faction" of those trying to seek "valid scientific hypotheses" as the way forward. How does Lyn know this? Nobody knows this about Sarpi, and since Sarpi wrote no such thing, and no contemporary wrote any such thing about him, Lyn's assertions are simply inventions. I doubt he even attempts to show which things in Sarpi's life demonstrate his devotion to the oligarchy.

[1] I agree with xlcr4life's advice that one should not waste a lot of time on fringe ideas, but the Hari Krishna movement is not the best example. Its founder, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, represented as a theologian and scholar the 600-year-old Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition of Hinduism. In addition, he translated over 60 volumes of classic Vedic scriptures into English with massive annotations--an achievement widely praised by academic religious scholars.

[2] I think LaRouche hated Sarpi because the latter courageously stood up to the Vatican and the Inquisition by arguing that Jewish converts to Christianity suspected of secretly continuing to practice Judaism should not be subject to the authority of the Inquisition since their original conversion had been obtained under duress (click here). LaRouche hates Jews (including those in his own movement--witness the case of Ken Kronberg), but he is so overflowing with bile that he constantly extends his hatred in ever-widening circles to embrace anyone (past or present) whom he perceives as a friend of the Jews. This can be seen in his inordinate hatred of the Churchill family and his excoriation of various gentile political leaders in the United States today whom he perceives as staunch friends of Israel. Perhaps he thinks they're all of secret Jewish descent.