Who Is Lyndon LaRouche?
1 January 2009
LYNDON H. LAROUCHE, JR. emerged, over the course of the 1970s and 1980s, to rank among the most controversial international political figures of his time. This controversy, which also features such related issues as his efforts to destroy the international drug traffic and his initiating role in formulating what President Ronald Reagan announced on March 23, 1983 as the “ Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI),” is principally rooted in not only domestic U.S., but, also, global political-economic issues.
The recent, fresh demonstration of his exceptional qualifications as a long-range economic forecaster, has placed him at the center of the presently erupting, global systemic crisis of the world’s economy. Thus, the relevant resumé is that which helps to situate his career in terms of his actual and prospective role in dealing with that present global crisis.
LaRouche As an Economist
Both Lyndon LaRouche’s standing as an internationally known economist, and his exceptional successes as a long-range forecaster, are the outgrowths of his original discoveries of physical principle, dating from a project conducted during the 1948-1952 interval. These discoveries arose out of his opposition to Bertrand Russell devotee Professor Norbert Wiener’s efforts, as in the latter’s 1948 “ Cybernetics,” to apply so-called “ information theory” to communication of ideas. As part of that same project, he also opposed Russell devotee John von Neumann’s efforts to degrade real economic processes to solutions for systems of simultaneous linear inequalities.
The outcome of this project was LaRouche’s introduction of axiomatically non-linear notions of individual human cognition, explicitly, to that science of physical economy which had been first established by the relevant 1671-1716 work of Gottfried Leibniz. His own work located the determining, non-linear factor in increase of society’s potential relative population-density in the relations exemplified by the role of the machine-tool principle in linking proof-of-principle experiments to the development of advanced designs of both products and productive processes.
In his subsequent search for a metrical standard for this treatment of the functional role of cognition, he adopted the Leibniz-Gauss-Riemann standpoint, as represented by Bernhard Riemann’s 1852 habilitation dissertation. Hence, the employment of Riemannian conceptions to LaRouche’s own discoveries became known as the LaRouche-Riemann Method.
His work is best known through his success in two long-range forecasts. The first of these was developed during 1959-1960, forecasting, that, if the axiomatic policy-shaping assumptions of the Truman-Eisenhower Presidencies persisted, the second half of the 1960s would experience a series of international financial-monetary crises, leading toward a breakdown in the existing Bretton Woods agreements: this occurred during the interval from the British Sterling devaluation of November 1967 through the breakdown of the Bretton Woods agreements, on August 15-16, 1971.
The second was premised upon the implications of the 1971 breakdown. He forecast, that, if the dominant powers resorted to a combination of increasingly rapacious, monetarist forms of austerity measures, the result would be, not a new cyclical crisis, but, rather, a systemic crisis, a “ general breakdown crisis” of the global system. Since the October 1987 U.S. stock-market crisis, and the strategic, economic, financial, and monetary decisions of the 1989-1992 interval, the existing global financial-monetary system has become locked into the presently erupting series of seismic-like shocks expressing such a global systemic, or “ general breakdown” crisis.
A Figure of Political Controversy
His work and activities as an economist have always intersected a continuing commitment, since military-service experience in post-war India, to what has been often termed “ a just new world economic order:” the urgency of affording what have been sometimes termed “ Third World nations,” their full rights to perfect national sovereignty, and to access to the improvement of their educational systems and economies through employment of the most advanced science and technology. On this account, he has continued the same quarrel with the policies of the British Empire and Commonwealth which U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt had, on these same issues, with Britain’s war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
To similar effect, he opposed the economic and related policy-matrices of the administrations of Presidents Truman and Eisenhower, and Nixon, Carter, Reagan, and Bush (most notably). Today, inside U.S. domestic and foreign-economic policy, his commitment is typified by intractable opposition to the relevant policies of Henry A. Kissinger, of Robert Bartley’s Wall Street Journal, and also the neo-malthusian doctrinaires generally. On these issues of both U.S. domestic and foreign policies, he is aligned with the tradition of what used to be known as the “ American System of political-economy,” as that patriotic, anti-British tradition is typified by the policies of Benjamin Franklin, and such adversaries of the dogmas of British East India Company apologist Adam Smith as U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, Philadelphia’s Mathew and Henry Carey, Friedrich List, and President Abraham Lincoln. He has always supported the kinds of “ dirigist” policies associated with that American System tradition, and that tradition’s emphasis upon fostering investment in scientific and technological progress, and development of basic economic infrastructure, against the “ free trade” and related dogmas of the Haileybury and positivist schools.
Since his studies of the 1948-1952 interval, he has always situated the deep political basis for the opposition between the two modern camps in economic policy in the struggle of those forces which find their self-interest in national economy, such as farmers, industrial entrepreneurs, and operatives, against those oligarchical financier interests which loot the national economy through mechanisms of financial and analogous forms of usury.
In a related matter, he has located the historically exceptional importance of the American Revolution and Federal Constitution in the fact, that although the ideas of the American revolution were products of the European tradition of the Fifteenth-Century Renaissance, North America provided the relevant strategic distance from a Europe still dominated by those combinations of feudal landed aristocracy and feudal financier oligarchy which were typified by the Castlereagh-Metternich alliance at the Vienna Congress. Thus, the nation-states of Europe emerged chiefly as quasi-republican, parliamentary reforms within nations still ruled from the top by feudal oligarchies, such as the United Kingdom, rather than true republics, such as the 1789 U.S. Federal republic.
On this account, as soon as LaRouche began to achieve some degree of political influence, first inside the U.S.A., and then abroad, he came into increasingly embittered political conflict with the financier-oligarchical strata and its lackeys, both inside the U.S.A. and internationally. In the U.S.A., these are the combination of oligarchical families formerly associated with the New England opium-traders, Manhattan bankers in the tradition of Aaron Burr, Martin van Buren, August Belmont, and J.P. Morgan, and those who cling to the tradition of southern slave-holding.
Additionally, since 1964-1972, he has been a leading organizer of the opposition to the 1964-1972 cultural paradigm-shift. On this account, he has become a leading target of bitter enmity from ideologues of such sundry New Age cults as the “ rock-drug-sex counterculture,” “ post-industrial utopianisms” generally, and “ neo-malthusian” forms of anti-scientific, “ environmentalist” fads.
As a result of that, he has been the target of sundry known efforts to eliminate him, even physically, by sundry official and private agencies inside the U.S.A. and abroad. This pattern is typified by a 1973 plot directed by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, as admitted in official documents subsequently released, and by a 1983-1988 U.S. official operation run under the cover of Executive Order 12333
Campaigns for Public Office
He has campaigned repeatedly for the office of U.S. President, beginning 1976: six times for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. He is presently a candidate for that party’s nomination for the year 2000. In each of the 1976, 1980, and 1984 campaigns, the leading motive was the same: the virtual inevitability of a long-term, downward slide into a global, systemic financial and monetary crisis, unless certain specific types of changes in economic, financial, monetary, and social policies were introduced. In 1988, the theme of the campaign was the imminent collapse of the Soviet system, and prospective early reunification of Germany, beginning in eastern Europe as early as 1989. In 1992, the theme was the fact that a financial-monetary “ mud-slide” was already in progress, leading toward a threatened general financial-monetary collapse sometime during the course of the decade. In 1996, that the outbreak of a general, global financial-monetary systemic crisis was imminent. The premises offered for this perspective were always the same, the long-term prospect for a break-down crisis, already forecast in the setting of the 1971 breakdown of the Bretton Woods agreements.
During each of those campaigns, the proposed remedy was always the same: a fundamental reform of the planet’s economic, financial, and monetary systems, emphasizing:
a) A return to the best features of the 1950s Bretton Woods system;
b) The general replacement of central banking by the kind of national banking which U.S. Treasury Secretary Hamilton attributed to the U.S. Federal Constitution’s implications;
c) A just new world economic order as a new quality of partnership among sovereign nation-states;
d) Emphasis on both large scale development of basic economic infrastructure, adequate food-supplies, and fostering of growth of per-capita productivity through investment in scientific and technological progress.
During the 1976-1984 campaigns, a leading included feature, were proposals for measures of scientific and technological cooperation between the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R., to realize what Dr. Edward Teller described, in late 1982, as “ the common aims of mankind.” Exemplary of such proposals was the original, 1979 version of the “ SDI,” featured as a leading plank of the 1980 campaign for the Democratic nomination. In 1988, SDI was superseded by a program of “ food for peace,” premised upon the cascading economic crisis expected for eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, beginning 1989. For 2000, the currently ongoing campaign is intended chiefly to foster the early establishment of a “ New Bretton Woods” agreement, centered around cooperation between the Presidents of the U.S.A. and China, long before the year 2000 arrives. The campaign is presently geared to foster the realization of that objective by the incumbent U.S. President, William Clinton. The aim is to establish a new form of global financial and monetary stability, one consistent with the principles of a just new world economic order, one established in time to prevent the presently ongoing process of financial, monetary, and economic collapse from plunging the planet, very soon, into a planetary New Dark.
Science and Classical Art
The central feature of all his activities, is emphasis upon those sovereign cognitive powers of the individual human mind whose functions are merely typified by validated discoveries of physical principle. Since his original discoveries of the 1948-1952 interval, he has always emphasized that the processes responsible for discovery of physical principles are identical in nature with those responsible for the composition of metaphor in great compositions in Classical forms of poetry, music, tragedy, and plastic arts. This view he acquired in rejecting Immanuel Kant’s Romantic dogma for aesthetics. Accordingly, he rejects the empiricist, cartesian, and positivist notions of both “ objective science,” and the separation of science from art. He treats science and art as intrinsically subjective, rather than objective, as the subjective generation of objectively validatable new principles of science, new ideas spawned as resolutions of metaphor.
These were leading considerations in his co-founding of the scientific association, the Fusion Energy Foundation, during the mid-1970s, and his support for his wife Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s founding of the International Club of Life and international Schiller Institute, during the 1980s. During the 1980s, he launched a project for clarifying certain crucial principles of Classical musical composition and performance, out of which one important book has been produced. He is currently working with some among his collaborators in developing improved approaches to education, based, inclusively, upon pedagogical models adduced variously from the scientific work of Classical Greek culture, Leonardo da Vinci, Johannes Kepler, Gottfried Leibniz, Carl Gauss, and Bernhard Riemann. The principle underlying this effort, is that the student must know, rather than merely learn the subject-matter, this by reenacting the original act of discovery of a principle in such a fashion that the student reexperiences the mental processes employed by the original discoverer of that principle. This is his definition of the Classical Humanist method in education.
There are No Limits to Growth (1982)