Monday, January 3, 2011

Fringe Benefits

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.

1 comment:

  1. The challenge to the Democratic Party is clear. It needs to become once again the party of those who would end the bailouts, restore Glass-Steagall, bring home the troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, eschew future such adventures, invest in key infrastructure (not least including nuclear power), uphold the traditional definition of marriage, really fight against drugs, introduce single-payer healthcare, resist climate change hysteria, and defend both classical education and working and middle-class access to it. The party that would indeed have impeached Dick Cheney, even if not quite for the reasons given by LaRouche. If the mainstream party will not do this, then it will be done by the LaRouche Movement. Which, considering that Kesha Rogers is in her early thirties, shows every sign of outliving the man himself.

    But remember, if you believe in any conceivable connection between the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the Shia-persecuting “Taliban”, then you are as stupid and as credulous as anyone who believes in “al-Qaeda”, or in “the global terrorist network”, or in “Taliban” distinct from the Pashtun as a whole, or in any connection between Afghanistan and 9/11, or in any connection between Iraq and 9/11, or in WMD in Iraq, or in such WMD as a threat to any Western country even if they had existed, or in an Iranian nuclear weapons programme, or in such a programme as a threat to any Western country even if it existed. In which case, you are on exactly the same level as birthers, or as truthers, or as those who liken Obama to Hitler, or as those who likened Bush to Hitler, and as the followers of Lyndon LaRouche. Are you?