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.