I am not a supporter of Lyndon LaRouche or his movement, but I do sometimes read the LaRouche movement’s publications because they are rather interesting for several reasons. For one, the LaRouche movement is fiercely dedicated to the New Deal system, and pulls no punches when it comes to attacking neoliberals, whether Republicans or Democrats or non-American leaders. Some of the most powerful attacks against austerity measures that I have ever read were penned by writers at the Executive Intelligence Review. Also, I think one can discern some kind of unified ideology behind the movement, which largely seems to be based off of Lyndon LaRouche’s interpretation of Renaissance humanism, as opposed to Enlightenment or modern secular humanism. I can definitely find at least some common ground here, even though I strongly disagree with the way the LaRouche movement characterizes the Middle Ages and some great Catholic thinkers, such as G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, mostly from a failure to understand what distributism really means.
But what has really caught my attention was the recent announcement that six “LaRouche Democrats” will be running for office in 2012. While I don’t think the LaRouche movement has much of a chance to win a great deal of political power, isn’t it interesting that somebody like Lyndon LaRouche and his movement represent what so many New Deal Democrats have been longing for? A commitment to infrastructure development, domestic manufacturing, opposition to fiscal austerity that crushes the old and robs the young of their future, and support for muscular financial regulation are all part of the LaRouche movement platform. How many major Democrats have been as vocally supportive of such New Deal ideas?
Yet, I still can’t support the LaRouche movement. The wild conspiracy theories, the bizarre hatred of the British monarchy and general anti-British bigotry (I know the constant use of the term “British Empire” is supposed to refer to some nefarious international financial cabal that just happens to be operating out of the City of London, but I still get the sense that the antipathy for Britain runs much deeper than that) as well as reports about the movement being cult-like and involved in shady financial dealings and other odd activities leads me to reject the LaRouche movement.
Still, I think it is telling that men like Lyndon LaRouche and Ron Paul (so great on so many subjects, but his support for Austrian School economics is a major letdown for left-populists like myself) often make more sense than more “mainstream” politicians. Both men and their movements are a mix of good and bad ideas from a populist perspective, but I can understand their attraction. In an age of “triangulation” and other forms of corrupt, totally unprincipled politics, it is not surprising that fringe figures are becoming more compelling to the average citizen.