Saturday, April 24, 2004

Cracked wise.

Lyndon LaRouche is nuttier than a jar of Skippys. You know that; I know that. And yet he has fascinated me since my college days, way back in the 1970s. His publications wafted around campus, begging for attention. I gobbled them up like Christmas candy, asking everyone I knew: "Who the hell is this guy?" Nobody knew.

I've followed his antics ever since, buying second-hand copies of such LaRouche "classics" as The Hitler Book and Dope, Inc. (My edition of the latter volume includes the infamous bit about Teddy Kennedy being involved in the death of JFK; I've heard that this particular passage went missing in later rewrites.) I caught a glimpse of rare old broadsides from LaRouche's radical "Lyn Marcus" days. I corresponded briefly with Dennis King, author of Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism. Later, I corresponded at greater length with one of King's sources, repentant former LaRouche follower Kevin Coogan.

King's thesis holds that LaRouche only feigns madness; that beneath the wild-n-wacky political posturing, he is a straightforward fascist marshalling forces with one eye on Der Tag. With all due respect to King, I must disagree. LaRouche ain't faking: He seems wacky because he is wacky. Neither do I think him a fascist. Yes, I'm quite familiar with his previous associations with right-wing conspiracy theories and theorists. But many of his writings carry such a persuasive aura of pathology that they belong in the category "Neither right nor left, but off the map."

I'm thinking of such statements as "The Beatles had no genuine musical talent, but were a product shaped according to British Psychological Warfare Division specifications." I'm thinking here of such deathless works as Kissinger: The Politics of Faggotry. (Kissinger? Didn't he once bang Jill St. John?) And I'm thinking of LaRouche's late-1980s expose of Satanism, in which he describes, en passant, Wagner's Tristan and Isolde as a "satanic" opera.

Adolf would never have approved of such a declaration. But it sure made me smile. Of course, I'm the sort of connoisseur who used to collect the productions of Cosmic Awareness, Dr. Peter Better and Jack Chick.

The odd thing about LaRouche is that he can seem sane for, gosh, minutes on end -- until he just can't repress himself any longer and starts prattling about the Queen's drug ring or Walter Mondale's secret life as a KGB agent. LaRouche, for example, was one of the first to underline the ties between neoconservative thinking and the theories of Leo Strauss, a motif explored by more respected writers.

If you want to catch the former Lyn Marcus is one of his better moments, this piece captures the LaRouche spin on Iraq.

His advice is simple: Out now.

Many people lose their marbles as they enter their 80s. Is it possible that "Lyn" is regaining his?

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