With Lyndon LaRouche’s passing last week, the world has lost a far-left, far-right, far-out conspiracy theorist whose enemies were an ever-changing gumbo. Over the years, he made eight spectacularly unsuccessful bids for the presidency. But while the results were the same, his message changed.
LaRouche initially embraced Marxism, to the point of launching Operation Mop Up, wherein his followers swung fists, bats, and chains at members of the Communist Party and others on the extreme left. His intent was to establish dominance over likeminded groups, similar to how Hitler considered organizations other than Nazis – even if they agreed with the National Socialists on every issue – to be his enemies.
Unlike Hitler, LaRouche failed in this hegemonic attempt and within a few years, he had swung 180 degrees and became politically aligned politically with the Ku Klux Klan and Liberty Lobby. But his paranoid conspiracy theorist mindset continued unabated, as he blamed environmentalists for the Iranian Revolution, leveled charges that Walter Mondale was a Soviet agent, and suggested AIDS patients be quarantined. This was accompanied by megalomaniacal claims, such as LaRouche alone being the one who could broker Arab-Israeli peace.
He considered Henry Kissinger, Queen Elizabeth, environmentalists, and Satanists to be the forces behind the drug trade and much more. While he loathed many persons and organization, he had a particular disdain for all things British, thinking that their Empire never actually withered and they still controlled the world. He considered The Beatles and Harry Potter to be part of the nefarious plot. What the bloody hell, bloke?
When not making paranoid pronouncements, LaRouche stated a goal of militarizing nearly every aspect of society. He also wanted to exorcise Brits and their culture and create new super-race. While his viewpoints changed, the common thread was a doomsday ending via a worldwide economic collapse that only his proposed financial strategies could prevent. Along the way, he served five years for mail fraud and tax evasion, temporarily sharing a cell with Jim Bakker. Hard to say which party got the worst end of that deal.
In the 1990s, LaRouche tried to cozy up to a wide variety of groups, including those in the timber, ranching, and mining disciplines. His overtures were rejected, causing him to copy from the conspiracy theorist textbook and consider the lumberjacks, et al, to be part of the plot, one controlled by British libertarians and Milton Friedman lackeys.
By the 1990s, he abandoned the far right for the mushy middle and offered support for President Clinton, labeling his impeachment a right-wing attack and suggesting Monica Lewinsky was a Likud agent who had infiltrated the administration.
Such ideas are no more, unless his death is just a British hoax.