A Letter on the the Lyndon Larouche Political Group

Ray Hengst sent us a well written letter he thinks the student body should read. Thanks, Ray. The majority of his warning can be seen after the jump, linked below.

I am writing to the campus community about the Lyndon Larouche political group, which has recently been tabling on Library Walk. Larouche uses a combination of philosophy, history, and polemics to argue for the existence of a worldwide conspiracy. I have had much experience in dealing with the Larouche group and would like to warn everyone: It is two-thirds cult and one-third political organization.
I first went to a meeting of Larouche supporters two years ago, in northern California. Some friends and I were interested in the controversy surrounding the group and the political claims it made. The meeting essentially consisted of a three-hour-long diatribe against everything from empiricism to subjectivism to political and historical figures. The audience frequently punctuated the speaker's statements with loud calls of agreement or disgust, matching the speaker's emotions. One recurring theme of the speech was that economic catastrophe was nearby, and it was the special responsibility of Larouche supporters to prevent this disaster.

During a 10-minute break in the meeting, the Larouche supporters tried to engage us in conversation. I found that everything I said fell flat: they weren't actually listening to me. They were so sure that they were right that nothing I said could have changed their opinion. Yet I was surrounded by them, and I thought at the time that perhaps my facts or opinions were just completely wrong: everyone around me was so quick to point out my errors, and so sure of their logic.

The complex, absolutist ideology espoused by Larouche is perhaps designed to avoid being summarized. Larouche believes that a worldwide conspiracy led by bankers is attempting to control world events. For example, the Madrid bombings were the work of this network, and the entire 60s youth movement was orchestrated by a satanist. Important historical figures are catalogued as being either humanists, and thus implicitly pro-Larouche, or empiricists, and thus satanic.

Larouche attempts to tie together history, science, religion and politics
in an intricate web, thus creating an entire world view in which his followers become trapped. By combining polemical denunciations and hundreds of references to literary, scientific, and political figures, Larouche convinces his followers that he "may be the smartest man in America," to use his own words.

The Larouche group constantly instills a fear of some imminent economic disaster in its members and reminds them that only the Larouche movement can "save the world." New members are made to realize the moral certitude of their work, and consequently spend more and more time doing Larouche-related activities.

Right now, one of my best friends works for the Larouche group fourteen hours a day, six days a week. He dropped out of college, lives with other Larouche supporters, and rarely communicates with the outside world, except for trying to convince people to join the Larouche organization. For him, an economic disaster is just around the corner, and time is so precious that he no longer can have the luxury of regularly being with friends or family for considerable lengths of time—it would be morally wrong for him to spend time on personal concerns.

I urge everyone who reads this to be aware of the power that cult-like, emotionally-based organizations can wield. Before my friend joined, I would have never guessed that someone as level-headed, intelligent, and savvy as he is could possibly join a group which essentially squelches independent thought.

I want to warn everyone: This could happen to anyone. If you're worried about a group that your friend is getting more and more involved in, then do something about it. Research the organization thoroughly, talk to your friend, figure out what tactics the group uses, and if you're still worried then keep researching and trying to reach out to your friend. The Larouche supporters can be fanatical, but other groups are ten times worse.

Nom de Guerre, Nov 12 2004, 01:52 AM
Reader Comments

YES. The Larouche people are nuts.

Posted by: Prescott Andover [TypeKey Profile Page] on November 12, 2004 05:23 PM

you got experience with 'em too?

Posted by: trolanye [TypeKey Profile Page] on November 13, 2004 12:05 AM

On one hand Larouche people are scary, but on the other they are hilarious.
I don't mean funny in a good way, funny like the scientologists are funny. They are basically a cult. I mean Lyndon Larouche himself has been in prison for treason for the past 30 years or so, and yet he's had enough support to run for president and campaign in many cities every time. He's got to have a cult like following to pull that off.
But that's exactly what makes these people such endless sources of entertainment. As Ray states above, Larouche's tactics are to use a lot names of famous historical figures, movement, and events to convince the listeners that Larouche and his followers know a lot about everything, and consequently this makes listeners eager to accept more new information without questioning its reasoning. However the truth is that there is very little logic behind all their assumptions, very little support.
The first time I encountered the Larouche campaign, I didn't know what it was, figuring he was just some third party candidate with possibly intriguing ideas, but probably too radical/conservative to get any mainstream support. The Larouche supporters pestered me to come to their meetings and wouldn't leave me alone until I gave them my number, figuring they'd realize that was a soft rejection, and would never bother calling. My mistake was to give them my REAL phone number.
A week later I get a phone call from them saying they're having a meeting later than evening and will provide transportation to pick me up. I was in no mood to go anywhere, but they pressed on. While in the process of convincing me, they started telling me what their campaign was about.
It began with fairly standard "rampant unemployment, economy failing, etc" political campaign stuff, so I listened on. Soon though they began telling me how Bush was leading our country to hell, was a Nazi, like Hitler, and that our economy would soon collapse like Germany's economy did. "Did you know that the German people had to cart barrels of cash just to get a loaf of bread? Money was cheaper to burn than any sort of fuel??" At that point I couldn't take it anymore. Now I am no fan of Bush, I think he has the IQ of a chimp, but he is no Hitler. "Yes, I know about Germany's inflation after WWI, but that was before Hitler came to power. In fact Hitler fixed Germany's economy, that's why he had such support from the people despite his policies of mass murder. Granted he was a psychopath, but from a strictly economic standpoint, he did good for Germany."
This is what I politely pointed out to the Larouche supporter on the phone. But of course he didn't agree and continued with his crap.
"Larouche guy: WHAT??? Are you saying Hitler was a good man??? YOU LIKE HITLER???
Me: No... I'm saying he was a psychopath, but he did fix the German economy.
Larouche guy: *pause* How can you say Hitler was a good man???"
We ended up arguing for about 40 minutes, during which he called to the phone a self proclaimed european history "expert" as well as an economics "expert" to convince me. They all did essentialy the same thing, throw out more buzzwords and names at me, while I continued to point out to them that the buzzwords they used were improperly defined and the names they threw out were often used out of context. After 40 minutes they ran out of "experts" to call and instead started telling me "come to our meeting, there are more experts there, all will be explained to you at the meeting. We will drive to you right now, where do you live?"
As fun as that conversation was, and frankly it was quiet amusing, disproving the beliefs of 3 fanatics in 40 minutes, I didn't have time to waste on a meeting, nor did I want to be picked up by a van of what I had by then realized to be a cult. I politely refused, but they pressed on, trying to be as accomodating to my needs as possible. After 10 more minutes of arguing about why I was not going to come nor give them my address, I got fed up, so I told them not to call me again and hung up.

These people are quiet amusing, but definitely very dangerous. They are the type that are very polite, but very persistent. You feel guilty telling them to piss off, yet they ignore all implied rejections and politely pressure you to join/give money. Same goes for Scientology, another mainstream cult.
I mean, that arguement with them was the most fun thing I did that whole month, but unless you know EXACTLY what you're getting into, stay the hell away from them. They make you feel so guilty, it's almost impossible to get away from them. I know now that if I had agreed to go to that meeting, I would not have been able to stop there, especially since I would have gone alone.

Posted by: spike2v [TypeKey Profile Page] on November 15, 2004 06:41 AM

thanks for sharing. When trying to argue with these guys, they always make you feel alone, like you're the crazy one, and hearing other people speak up about the same thing is empowering, though I am rather saddened to know that they have a prescence in San Diego.

Posted by: trolanye [TypeKey Profile Page] on November 18, 2004 02:23 AM

yea its funny how peoples lives that are supposedly being ruined by a destructive cult are so "funny" to people.

oh yea, and why doesn't anybody talk shit about them from the standpoint of ideas? like a forum where they can respond? is dedication to ideas a bad thing? or only in a society fixated with its mediocrity?

sorry, it's just fuckin crazy how the people who "know" how dangerous larouche is are exactly the ones who spend the least amount of time showing me why I'm wrong to like the dood.

Posted by: ecRUDEpunk [TypeKey Profile Page] on January 9, 2005 02:54 PM

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