Loafing with LaRouche

by Scott McLemee on October 29, 2007

As you may recall, the economy was supposed to have collapsed as of two weeks ago today. Right now, you should not be able to afford a loaf of bread with a wheelbarrow full of $1000 bills.

I understand that bread baskets have been sent to headquarters in Virginia by ex-members. The sarcasm is tinged with philanthropy. LaRouche’s true believers are in serious trouble; their economy is collapsing, anyway. The group is being forced to come up with money for the IRS, and facing renewed investigation by the FEC, in the wake of events described by Avi Klein in a major article appearing in the new issue of Washington Monthly.

How LaRouche drove one of his most devoted supporters to suicide is interesting not just as a case study in political pathology (that too) but for the mediological story there between the lines. Klein makes the point that one way to understand the LaRouche cult is to regard it as the support system for a vanity press. But Ken Kronberg, who ran the movement’s printshop, also built it into a fairly successful commercial enterprise—among the top 400 in the country, at one point. The profits were looted on a regular basis to keep LaRouche in the lifestyle to which he has grown accustomed.

All of this began to fall apart over the past decade or so—with the internet playing a fairly important role in the collapse both of the business and of the cult’s ability to control interaction between current and ex-members. Efforts to recruit a new layer of youth have only complicated matters by adding to the internal tension. The group has lately been targetting MySpace as an instrument of diabolical forces. (The design is certainly evil, so they may have a point.)

As a supplement to the Monthly article, there is an interview at the Political Research Associates site with Kronberg’s widow that discusses how they tried to deal with the movement’s obvious strain of anti-Semitism. Molly Kronberg mentions that LaRouche “developed a theory that all the ‘good stuff’ in Judaism came from the (non-Semitic) Egyptians and that everything ‘bad’ came from those ‘dirty Semites’ from Mesopotamia.” If this theory rings a bell, that’s because it echoes Freud in one of his more peculiar flights of speculation.

LaRouche turned 85 just last month. Some ex-members think his recent proclamations are touched with senility, as opposed to the more cogent expressions of bizarre thought they were accustomed to hearing back in the old days. Maybe so. In any case, the whole story is just about over. Some of the followers must be looking forward to that, whether they admit it to themselves or not.

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1

lemuel pitkin 10.29.07 at 3:16 pm

Barkley Rosser has some interesting thoughts on LaRouche. Apparently his Dialectical Economics wasn’t bad, if that’s your kind of thing.

2

kid bitzer 10.29.07 at 3:19 pm

yeah, the final collapses of the larouchies will bring a marked increment to the total goodness of the world.

next up: waiting for the end of the elron hubbard cult. those people are *really* sick.

3

Rich B. 10.29.07 at 6:38 pm

Any thoughts on whether the LaRouchies (a) die out without LaRouche or (b) get stronger and messianic without LaRouche?

4

Scott McLemee 10.29.07 at 8:12 pm

There are factions within the group in conflict with each other but trying to hold things together until the old man dies. One is headed by his wife, who is German and may be in touch with the group of European members who walked out (with quite a lot of money it seems) a few months ago. The other is led by a longtime American supporter who was recruited out of SDS, way back when.

It sounds like LaRouche is knocking some heads together right now — a couple of top staff people are being criticized, a process which can get really ugly. For a while there, the “youth movement” could do no wrong, but now the guy who was in charge of it is being denounced for not understanding LaRouche’s astrophysics or some such thing. (You can’t make this stuff up.) What that probably means in sublunar terms is that the happy days of singing German art songs and contemplating Keplerian mathematics are over, and how the kids better start bringing in some serious money or else.

In short, the following will probably fracture pretty quickly once LaRouche is gone. None of the contenders for the throne has his…uh, “charisma”? “Fuhrerprinzip”? On the other hand, the whole point of the special advanced classes for LaRouche Youth over the past couple of years has been to train them to be geniuses just like him. So who knows. A new generation of strangeness may yet be spawned.

5

JP Stormcrow 10.30.07 at 3:32 am

Some ex-members think his recent proclamations are touched with senility, as opposed to the more cogent expressions of bizarre thought they were accustomed to hearing back in the old days.

I don’t know, this segment from his recent webcast – “Save the American Republic From the British Empire!” – is a veritable reverse St. Crispin’s Day speech (timely too).

If we decide that we’re going to defend the U.S. economy, in particular, against what is now an immediate and virtually inevitable collapse, disintegration of our economy, of our republic—if we decide to do that, and use the methods I indicated, that can change the world. It will break the power of the British Empire: the empire which gave us 9/11.

6

Andrew 10.30.07 at 11:58 am

“It will break the power of the British Empire: the empire which gave us 9/11.”

wt-bloody-f??????? I didn’t know LaRouche wrote for Fafblog!

7

John Emerson 10.30.07 at 12:26 pm

…. a process which can get really ugly.

Really? They seemed like such nice people when I talked to them

8

John Emerson 10.30.07 at 12:37 pm

People always forget to mention the leading Dutch role in the empire, and the “free-trade” empires’ ideological foundations in Grotius’ neo-Achaemenid Arminian dogma.

9

John Emerson 10.30.07 at 12:46 pm

That’s where LaRouche went wrong, of course. He saw so much, but he did not realize the degree to which even the great Leibniz had been drawn into Grotius’ Achaemenid web. LaRouche’s contribution was enormous, as was Leibniz’s, but the time has come for us to move on.

10

John Emerson 10.30.07 at 12:55 pm

LaRouche also overemphasized public life and objectivity at the expense of subjectivity, an analytical philosopher (as it were) whose work contrasts with Elron Hubbard’s more “continental” approach. Thus, the supposed liberation attained by Leibnizian, anti-Aristotilian deprogramming, while valuable and revolutionary, really is only a half measure, amounting to the supplanting of the original thetan parasites with a somewhat less crippling thetan.

11

John Emerson 10.30.07 at 12:56 pm

I’m on a roll, folks. Send me all your money and nubile relatives. Get in on the ground floor while you can.

12

JP Stormcrow 10.30.07 at 6:41 pm

The building of the multimodal Bering Strait Tunnel-Rail link between Russia and the United States—a project long championed by American statesman Lyndon LaRouche

Setting the stage for the US to attack Kamchatka with multiple armies. A good example of foresight in applying “game theory” to real-life international politics.

You go Lyndon! The Anglo-Dutch Liberal outgrowth of Paolo Sarpi’s Venetian financier-oligarchy must not prevail! Death to Boomers!

13

John Emerson 10.30.07 at 11:34 pm

In 1972 the certifiable crazy crank candidate Dean Templeton proposed a bridge from Alaska to Russia. LaRouche picked it up. Templeton was later apparently murdered in circumstances unknown to me. His story is told in the very eccentric, rare book “From Asininity to Assassination”.

14

a very public sociologist 10.31.07 at 6:55 pm

What a shame that the LaRouche cult is being hounded in the man’s twilight years. One supposes he’ll be quickly forgotten when he snuffs it.

15

Scott McLemee 10.31.07 at 9:39 pm

A “shame”? “Hounded”? What a strange thing to say. The guy spent decades turning idealistic but gullible college students into fundraisers for a deranged group with ties to right-wing kooks (and worse) around the world. He’ll never suffer enough in the time he has left.

16

Edward 11.01.07 at 7:32 pm

As you may recall, the economy was supposed to have collapsed as of two weeks ago today. Right now, you should not be able to afford a loaf of bread with a wheelbarrow full of $1000 bills.

Are you sure this is an example of an incorrect prediction, rather than yet another example of disaster averted due to the timely warnings of LaRouche?

Who can forget that in 1976, a conspiracy involving the Clamshell Alliance and Noam Chomsky was on the verge of nuking Philadelphia during bicentennial celebrations until LaRouche blew the whistle on it?

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