Introduction: Lyndon LaRouche's employment history began as work under his father's direction during vacation periods 1938-1942, which was intended to prepare him for a future career as consultant in the footwear industry. During 1947-1948, and from 1952 through 1972, he was employed as a management consultant. Since 1972, he has withdrawn entirely from consulting practice, into full-time duties with the publishing and related activities of the philosophical and scientific association, which he participated in founding. During the interval 1976-1992, he has sought the office of President of the United States five times. In 1976, he ran in the general election as a candidate of the U.S. Labor Party, an independent political association committed to the tradition of Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Henry C. Carey, and President Abraham Lincoln. In 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1992, he sought the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, and has also sought election to the U.S. Congress, as an independent Democrat, from Virginia's 10th C.D. He has written numerous published articles, pamphlets, and books. Of those books published, the most notable are: an autobiography, The Power of Reason, written for the 1980 presidential campaign; There Are No Limits to Growth, 1983; and a second autobiography, written for the 1988 campaign, The Power of Reason 1988. The most influential books are on economics. His 1984 introductory textbook in the science of physical economy, So, You Wish To Learn All About Economics, circulates internationally in English, German, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, and Armenian editions; the 1991 The Science of Christian Economy circulates internationally in English, German, Spanish, and Italian.
Daily Bell: Your writing and thoughts are well known. But for the purposes of this interview, please answer our questions as if our readers and we were not aware of your broad curriculum and equally broad thought. Can you give us some background? Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Lyndon LaRouche: In Rochester, New Hampshire and Lynn, Massachusetts.
Daily Bell: Can you summarize what you are doing now professionally? How do you describe yourself and your organization in a paragraph or two? Is it worldwide?
Lyndon LaRouche: I am in fact the leading economist, in performance, in the world today. My influence is fairly described as "worldwide," in one fashion, or another. I am, for example, the most successful forecaster on record since 1956-57.
Daily Bell: How did you become interested in politics? Why did you end up as a leftist as a youth and how did your politics evolve?
Lyndon LaRouche: Since my initiative in Calcutta, India during the late winter and spring of 1946, hating the British Empire and desiring the fulfillment of President Franklin Roosevelt's intention to bring an end to colonialism and imperialism in the post-war world.
Daily Bell: Would you describe yourself as a socialist today or a free-market person, or a regulatory libertarian? Do you have a label for your politics and belief structure?
Lyndon LaRouche: None of those categories are to be regarded as relevant for defining me. I am essentially a devoted proponent of the American model developed inside the U.S.A. since A.D. 1620. I am myself; the alliances which I have embraced from time to time, have been exactly that. The mission remains the same as that anti-imperialist commitment which I adopted in Calcutta during the Spring of 1946.
Daily Bell: What is the biggest problem of the world today and how can it be solved?
Lyndon LaRouche: At the present moment, the world at large is trapped in an onrushing general breakdown-crisis whose principal pathological feature is the lunatic spread of what is generally identified as "financial derivatives." A return to a fixed exchange-rate credit system of a type consistent with a Glass-Steagall standard, combined with a return to a fixed-exchange-rate system, is the absolute requirement for evading a global breakdown-crisis during the immediate period ahead.
Daily Bell: Why are you such a fan of Franklin Delano Roosevelt? Wasn't Roosevelt a fairly manipulative fellow who tried to pack the US Supreme Court and to do other things to increase the size of government and decrease freedoms? Wasn't he complicit in dragging the US into war after maintaining that he was anti-war?
Lyndon LaRouche: None of those characterizations is true of the FDR administration.
Daily Bell: What do you think of free-market thinkers and the Austrian economic school?
Lyndon LaRouche: Implicitly, the school is a fraud in fact, and a disaster in effects.
Daily Bell: What do you think of marginal utility?
Lyndon LaRouche: The dogma of an irrationalist form of late nineteenth-century cult.
Daily Bell: What do you think of Adam Smith?
Lyndon LaRouche: He is disgusting.
Daily Bell: What do you think of von Mises's great work, Human Action?
Lyndon LaRouche: It is a childish concoction.
Daily Bell: What do you think of Thomas Jefferson?
Lyndon LaRouche: A complex figure, who was reliable while Benjamin Franklin lived, but a foolish Romantic as secretary of state and later president, who came to his senses during the presidency of Monroe.
Daily Bell: What do you think of Alexander Hamilton?
Lyndon LaRouche: He was among the key architects, after Benjamin Franklin, of the American System of political economy.
Daily Bell: What do you think of Ayn Rand?
Lyndon LaRouche: A mentally disturbed personality, like her devotee, the sometime chairman of the Federal Reserve System, Alan Greenspan.
Daily Bell: Why are Descartes, Leibniz and Kant such great philosophers?
Lyndon LaRouche: Only Leibniz was honest, competent and one of the greatest geniuses in modern history. Descartes had a sick and foolish mind. If Moses Mendelssohn had not succumbed to his own illness, Kant would have cautiously kept his mouth shut during his own later years of the 'Critiques.'
Daily Bell: Please fill our readers in on the history of the Venetian banking conspiracy.
Lyndon LaRouche: In the aftermath of the developments leading into the founding of the actual city of Venice, Venice emerged, about 1000 A.D. as the control center of the Mediterranean-based international monetary system, and the author of the monetary manipulations which launched the 14th-century "New Dark Age." It remains a key element of what is identified as the British Empire of today, as the case of Lord Jacob Rothschild's founding of the Inter-Alpha group launched in 1971, illustrates the case.
Daily Bell: Was Luther an agent of the Venetians? Was the Reformation really inferior to the Renaissance? Why?
Lyndon LaRouche: All significant forms of European imperialism have depended, as did the Roman Empire, on "divide and conquer." So the Venetian circle gathered around Cardinal Pole generated that break within Europe, which dominated Europe and the Mediterranean through the time of the 14th-century New Dark Age. The Renaissance was the antidote to the New Dark Age, and was also the founding of a new form of European society, which defined modern Europe, as distinct from medieval. That accomplishment was significantly ruined by the religious warfare of the interval 1492-1648.
Daily Bell: Some free-market thinkers decry the Age of Enlightenment (Rousseau etc.) as a precursor to humanism and the idea that humankind is perfectible via government programs. What do you think of Voltaire, Rousseau etc.? What do you think of the French Revolution? Was it a Venetian conspiracy?
Lyndon LaRouche: Rousseau was silly and Voltaire was a disgusting lackey of the operation conducted, until 1749, by Abbe Antonio S. Conti. The French Revolution was a product of a countermeasure launched by Lord Shelburne's circles against the nations which had been crucial allies of the U.S. victory over the British at Yorktown. While Venetian interests were a significant factor, the essential fact was that Napoleon's regime launched a wave of warfare in continental Europe that destroyed the power of the nations of continental Europe to the great advantage of the rising British Empire.
Daily Bell: Do you believe generally that Protestantism is inferior to Catholicism? Even today? Why?
Lyndon LaRouche: Without the Protestant-Catholic conflict, it would not have been possible to maintain what became British control over continental Europe.
Daily Bell: You were brought up as a Quaker, yet one could link Quakerism to Luther as an element of the Reformation, couldn't one?
Lyndon LaRouche: Not in my book.
Daily Bell: Were the Renaissance and Reformation influenced or caused by the Gutenberg printing press? Is the current free-market ferment (Tea Party, etc.) the result of the Internet?
Lyndon LaRouche: These are not relevant matters of concern in respect to the context of our exchange here.
Daily Bell: Do you believe as we do that the "elite" manipulates people by fear-based promotions, also known as dominant social themes?
Lyndon LaRouche: In some significant degree, yes.
Daily Bell: Are the Venetian banking families or the Rothschilds more powerful today? Does it matter? Do such families in a sense "rule the world" or is that merely a simplistic and silly way to view modern history?
Lyndon LaRouche: They are, essentially, the same thing, even when apparently rivals.
Daily Bell: Do enough people listen to your philosophy and take heed of it? Do you have a ways to go yet?
Lyndon LaRouche: I do not think, or act, in such terms of reference.
Daily Bell: Is Barack Obama an agent of change or just an agent of powerful interest groups?
Lyndon LaRouche: Obama is a British tool who happened to be deployed because of certain interests' fear that Hillary Clinton might succeed in winning the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
Daily Bell: What did you think of the Bush administration?
Lyndon LaRouche: It was a disgusting puppet regime.
Daily Bell: How is the LaRouche Youth Movement doing? What is the future of your movement? Do you have a successor?
Lyndon LaRouche: We have good reasons to be proud of as much as we do accomplish. The present and future of my mission is crucial; there, the matter ends for me.
Daily Bell: There are many rumors about you as a government agent, a disinformation agent of some sort spread by your enemies, no doubt. Please take the time to rebut them, at least generally, if you don't mind.
Lyndon LaRouche: "Disinformation agent" – never. Truth is my idea of genuine fun. The issue is, still today, that of the American Revolutionary period and later, between our patriots and the agents of the legacy of Lord Shelburne's British East India Company.
Daily Bell: Where do you receive funds from? How do you make a living? How can people reach you to donate?
Lyndon LaRouche: We are funded with considerable difficulty. The reach is presently, all things considered, very broad and rapidly spreading, again, since the summer of 2007.
Daily Bell: What do you think of Ron Paul? Despite your age, do you plan to run for president again?
Lyndon LaRouche: I am nearly 88 years of age, with a certain career likeness to Helmuth von Moltke on that account. Ron Paul is not really qualified to be president, but he does do some useful things.
Daily Bell: What books and articles from your extensive writings would you recommend most and where can they be found?
Lyndon LaRouche: My concerns are far too broad to be judged so. The bibliography is very large, and, when taken in sequence, has an organic sort of unity as a process of development of concepts which have grown up, so to speak, around a consistent motive and theme.
Daily Bell: Thank you for your time. It has been a most fascinating interview.
Why do an interview with Lyndon LaRouche when he has been damned (often) with such faint praise, and when his political tactics can be called "hard ball" – to put it mildly? Well … he is also an interesting person intellectually. No matter what else can be said of LaRouche, his analysis of the problems and internal contradictions of the current globalist mercantilist central banking system has been broadly justified by the events that have taken place early in the 21st century. Meanwhile, his world view, while often extreme, seems to us in some areas broadly confirmed by such books as Carroll Quigley's highly documented Tragedy and Hope, which is a history of the power-elite that LaRouche so despises.
Even libertarian Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex) gets plaudits from the mainstream every now and again, but LaRouche evokes mostly controversy. Perhaps this is because LaRouche's message, given its complexity is seen as, well … weird. Or because of the brusque way he frames it and delivers it, or because it seems to emerge from the communist politics in which he was engaged in for so long. Or perhaps it is because of his everlasting support for the crooked and indefensibly socialist Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Rather than try to define Roosevelt ourselves, we will let Robert Higgs of the Independence Institute do it for us in an excerpt from his late 20th century article "How FDR Made the Depression Worse":
Franklin Roosevelt "did bring us out of the Depression," Newt Gingrich told a group of Republicans after the recent election, and that makes FDR "the greatest figure of the 20th century." As political rhetoric, the statement is likely to come from someone who does not support a market economy. The New Deal, after all, was the largest peacetime expansion of federal government power in this century. Moreover, Gingrich's view that FDR saved us from the Depression is indefensible; Roosevelt's policies prolonged and deepened it.
There's no doubt that Roosevelt changed the character of the American government—for the worse. Many of the reforms of the 1930s remain embedded in policy today: acreage allotments, price supports and marketing controls in agriculture, extensive regulation of private securities, federal intrusion into union-management relations, government lending and insurance activities, the minimum wage, national unemployment insurance, Social Security and welfare payments, production and sale of electrical power by the federal government, fiat money—the list goes on.
Roosevelt's revolution began with his inaugural address, which left no doubt about his intentions to seize the moment and harness it to his purposes. Best remembered for its patently false line that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," it also called for extraordinary emergency governmental powers. The day after FDR took the oath of office, he issued a proclamation calling Congress into a special session. Before it met, he proclaimed a national banking holiday—an action he had refused to endorse when Hoover suggested it three days earlier.
Invoking the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, Roosevelt declared that "all banking transactions shall be suspended." Banks were permitted to reopen only after case-by-case inspection and approval by the government, a procedure that dragged on for months. This action heightened the public's sense of crisis and allowed him to ignore traditional restraints on the power of the central government. In their understanding of the Depression, Roosevelt and his economic advisors had cause and effect reversed. They did not recognize that prices had fallen because of the Depression. They believed that the Depression prevailed because prices had fallen. The obvious remedy, then, was to raise prices, which they decided to do by creating artificial shortages. Hence arose a collection of crackpot policies designed to cure the Depression by cutting back on production. The scheme was so patently self-defeating that it's hard to believe anyone seriously believed it would work.
The goofiest application of the theory had to do with the price of gold. Starting with the bank holiday and proceeding through a massive gold-buying program, Roosevelt abandoned the gold standard, the bedrock restraint on inflation and government growth. He nationalized the monetary gold stock, forbade the private ownership of gold (except for jewelry, scientific or industrial uses, and foreign payments), and nullified all contractual promises—whether public or private, past or future—to pay in gold. Besides being theft, gold confiscation didn't work. The price of gold was increased from $20.67 to $35.00 per ounce, a 69 percent increase, but the domestic price level increased only seven percent between 1933 and 1934, and over the rest of the decade it hardly increased at all. FDR's devaluation provoked retaliation by other countries, further strangling international trade and throwing the world's economies further into depression.
Having hobbled the banking system and destroyed the gold standard, he turned next to agriculture. Working with the politically influential Farm Bureau and the Bernard Baruch gang, Roosevelt pushed through the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933. It provided for acreage and production controls, restrictive marketing agreements, and regulatory licensing of processors and dealers "to eliminate unfair practices and charges." It authorized new lending, taxed processors of agricultural commodities, and rewarded farmers who cut back production. The objective was to raise farm commodity prices until they reached a much higher "parity" level. The millions who could hardly feed and clothe their families can be forgiven for questioning the nobility of a program designed to make food and fiber more expensive. Though this was called an "emergency" measure, no president since has seen fit to declare the emergency over.
Doubtless LaRouche would disagree with much or all of this analysis. He sees Roosevelt, or at least some of Roosevelt's policies, as in line with what must be done realistically to fulfill the promise of nation-states, the only kind of political entity that can deliver true progress to the human condition, in his view.
One of the very best summaries of LaRouche's idea can be found, ironically, at Amazon.com, which features a book, among others, entitled Lyndon Larouche and the New American Fascism. The reviews of this book feature the inevitable denunciations of LaRouche, but they also provide the following review (by "a customer") which, in our opinion, artfully summarizes LaRouche's worldview in a very few paragraphs:
In general, LaRouche believes that the primary responsibility of a legitimate government is to promote the general welfare of the public through targeted low-interest, long-term, state-issued credit to build infrastructure and promote agro-industrial production. This approach stands in opposition to protecting the shareholder value of predatory lenders and parasitic speculators who strangle the physical productive capacity and the quality of life of the workforce in order to prop up high interest rates and inflated share prices and real estate values.
To issue such credit, build such infrastructure, and promote such agro-industrial development, national governments must be sovereign rather than subsumed under supranational organizations, or broken up into weak and ineffective micro-states. The tangible measure of the effectiveness of such governments is their ability to increase the potential population-density of the nation, and increase the quality of life, as measured by reduced infant mortality, expanded life-expectancy, and overall reduction of infectious and other diseases, per square kilometer of the earth's surface.
This can only be done through extensive infrastructure development, including water systems, power generation, new high-speed rail transportation systems, etc. The historical precedent for such activities include FDR's "New Deal" and World War II mobilization drive, Abraham Lincoln's trans-continental rail transportation project, and Alexander Hamilton's First National Bank. To bring this social and economic transformation about requires a cultural renaissance based on Classical Humanism, centered on the distinctive qualities of humanity. These include our capacities for cognitive insight and cognitive play, as expressed in poetry, music, and the arts. Classical Humanism also means engaging current generations in a principled "dialogue" with their cognitive forbearers and their posterity, and rejecting the random and arbitrary measure of truth that is typified by Romanticism and associated cultural fads.
Therefore, LaRouche's approach to economics is that of physical economy. His approach to politics is centered upon a community of nation-state republics. His approach to culture is rooted in Classical Humanism. And his approach to religion is based on an ecumenical dialogue that centers upon the distinctive qualities of humanity as a species, regardless of "race", religion or nationality, and the promotion of the general welfare. Racist? Fascist? Anti-Semitic? Hardly. Again, I would suggest reading LaRouche for yourself and coming to your own conclusions about his ideas.
Those willing to peruse The Daily Bell and other such publications will realize that the above approach is in some sense actually pretty similar to the one recommended by Ellen Brown in her influential book, Web of Debt. In fact, Brown cites LaRouche several times in her book and when she summarizes his views toward the end of the book, one can see they fall in line with some of what she has suggested – especially the idea of reconfiguring, reducing or eliminating national debts now owed to mercantilist central bankers, and the idea that money ought to be the preserve of the state not external and irresponsible third-parties.
We have criticized Ellen Brown's stance in the past from a free-market perspective and, obviously, LaRouche (and Roosevelt) can be criticized the same way. But we have also acknowledged that the strain of thought that Brown represents is certainly a robust one within American politics; in fact, LaRouche, Brown and others seem to be arguing along the same lines.
LaRouche believes nation-states are in the best position to provide a framework to deliver basic goods and services to their populations. He is set against agglomerations of nation-states because they are fundamentally incapable of delivering what they must. That argument is certainly along the lines of Ellen Brown's, but LaRouche (many years ago) decided not to stop there. He went back into history and actually sorted out the varying intellectual influences that led to the development of the nation-state and also those influences that militated against it.
For this reason, LaRouche puts some sociopolitical and intellectual movements into the "positive" category and some into the negative. He believes the Reformation militated against the nation-state (and human wellbeing) while the Renaissance was an inspirational positive. He believes in classical humanism and defines philosophy and philosophers based on their contributions to it. In order to arrive at these conclusions, he has researched the underlying fundaments of what he (and many others) call the Anglo-American axis (or empire) and traced it back to Venetian bankers and even earlier. For LaRouche, Western history is a recitation of Anglo conspiracies that have ever attempted to draw ever tighter the noose of mercantilist central banking and its torrents of debt-laden fiat money.
During the time that LaRouche worked most intensively on these theories we can only think of one other high-profile intellectual who had a similar range of endeavor and that is Ezra Pound, also reviled as an anti-Semite as LaRouche has been. The careers of the two overlap, but we would argue that LaRouche's intellectual ambition and the complexity of the task he set himself outruns even Pound. What LaRouche came up with is the following:
• a history of money and its sociopolitical application and benefits via nation-states
• a history of how philosophy interacts and supports his conclusions
• a history of how the Anglo-American (banking) axis has fought against the benefits that LaRouche has isolated.
This represents a substantial intellectual agenda by any measure. Disagree all you want with LaRouche's rhetoric, conclusions and the way he has represented them (often truculently as can be seen the interview above), the man's passion for integrating humankind's most fundamental and eloquent ideas with action-based (modern/political) solutions is unusual, even surprising. One cannot, for instance, imagine Bill Clinton, George Bush, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel – or any one of a hundred other pre-eminent world leaders creating such a unique political philosophy with so many disparate elements and overlays.
The world is a feast, truly, when one begins to accept that the great ideas of humankind can actually be put into an active rather than passive (academic) framework, one that can motivate people to create philosophically grounded lifestyles. We disagree with LaRouche (and Ellen Brown) on many points, of course, especially as regards the validity of free markets and free banking, and the impact of the Internet, generally, and the influence of communications technology. But despite all the controversy, we find the arguments of LaRouche and others who actively seek to integrate the "great conversation" and its historical insights into their thought processes to be more compelling (in terms of process) than those who do not.
Anyway, from a purely informational standpoint, we were pleased to get the chance to interview LaRouche, given that he is not a young man. We believe that aspects of his thought, as well as his life and times, have perhaps, in some ways, been misunderstood. Of course, he and his organization, especially in times past, may be seen as brutal and manipulative, and there is surely a broad gamut of suspicion regarding why he has acted as he has. But his tools, underlying all, have been those of ideas, developed idiosyncratically from the warp and woof of history.