July 12, 2007
One of my fondest memories is of the expression of gape-mouthed astonishment on my editor’s face after she ended a brief, intense telephone conversation with a member of Lyndon LaRouche’s loopy political cult. It was my first newspaper job (a small Middlesex County weekly) and we had just run a story on the two LaRouche-connected candidates running for seats on the Board of Education. (If memory serves, there were two vacant seats that year and three candidates, so at least one LaRouchie seemed certain to get a post.)
Said story, which included copious quotes from LaRouche literature, was alarming enough to bring a past school board member out of retirement to offer himself as a write-in candidate, and the ensuing defeat so rankled one of the LaRouchies that she called my editor to hector her about the true nature of the cult leader’s beliefs. After a few minutes, my editor hung up the phone, picked her jaw up off the floor and said she had just taken a trip through the Twilight Zone.
Looking back, I’m actually a little sorry that Piscataway didn’t get to enjoy the spectacle of a board member inveighing against the Queen of England’s conspiracy with Henry Kissinger to run the international drug trade. It certainly would have livened up those budget hearings. But in the 1980s, LaRouche’s people were actually getting heard in the upper reaches of the Reagan administration and seemed on the way to gaining some influence, a prospect that was more than a little scary.
Nowadays, of course, the halls of government are swarming with Republican looters, Jesus whoopers, ideological grifters and career criminals, while the LaRouchies have been reduced to pestering people in front of post offices. So in the spirit of nostalgia for those long-ago days when the cult actually seemed weird and scary instead of just weird, I offer this post from Crooked Timber about LaRouche’s literary antecedents (the writer thinks LaRouche could have stepped from the pages of a Thomas Pynchon novel — personally, I’d go with Robert Anton Wilson) and the grimy psychosexual undertone to so much of the man’s political theorizing.
Psychosexual political theorizing! Maybe Bill O’Reilly — who was last heard from warning that gangs of lesbian rapists were roaming the streets with pink pistols — is a closet LaRouchie. It would explain a lot of things. And boy do we need an explanation for how the country got into this situation.