CSJ Book Review: Lyndon LaRouche and the New American
Fascism -- Vol. 10, No. 1 1993
Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism
Dennis King. Doubleday, New York, 1990, 415 pages.
Reviewer: Andrea Bloomgarden, Ph.D.
Who is Lyndon LaRouche? If one is at
all interested in the cult scene, one might have heard
something about Mr. LaRouche. Perhaps one has heard that
he is a member of the far right and hates Jews, or that
he has been in prison for tax evasion. During this past
election, I spotted posters espousing his presidency in
the tourist areas of Seattle. In picking up Dennis King's
book, one would probably hope to end up understanding
something more about the motivations of Lyndon LaRouche.
In particular, a good biography of LaRouche would offer
an integration of what he has done with why he has done
it. Perhaps "New American Fascism" would refer
to a movement that he has created, and the book would
integrate the culture of the United States and its
ripeness for cultism with something about Mr. LaRouche's
In reading this book, I found that 99%
of the words pertained to what LaRouche had done, and the
remaining, if that, on the question of why. Moreover,
"New American Fascism" was not explained in any
cultural context; it was more of a description of
LaRouche's infiltration into mainstream politics without
an explanation why this might be happening at this time.
Not only was the lack of analysis frustrating, but
without an explanatory framework for why LaRouche did
what he did, it was difficult to integrate all of the
facts presented in the book. The book reads like a
dictionary. Each entry might be more or less
interestingfor example, LaRouche's contacts with
various American politicians had a pleasant
behind-the-scenes gossipy qualityyet, there was no
forest to be found for the trees.
A total of two and one half pages (pp.
46) were spent on LaRouche's family background,
which, if expanded, might have helped us to understand
how LaRouche came to be. There were suggestions that his
childhood was unhappy (not surprisingly). Since his
parents were Quaker, he was told that under no
circumstances could he fight with other children (even in
self-defense); thus, he experienced "years of
hell" from bullies at school (p. 4). It is
interesting, then, that LaRouche, apparently in the
opinion of many, turned into an international bully and a
cult leader who essentially bullied his own followers
into submission. Also, there seems to have been some
hypocrisy in this family's espoused Quaker values. King
describes LaRouche's parents as "ferocious
sectarians who accused their co-religionists of closet
Bolshevism and embezzlement of religious funds" (p.
4). However, King does not go further into this
background, nor does he propose any hypotheses about how
it might have affected LaRouche.
On the positive side, there are a lot
of interesting, if not shocking, descriptions of
LaRouche's (and his cult followers') activities and
beliefs. For example, LaRouche had a particular dislike
for Henry Kissinger and went all out to try to get him.
To name a few things he did to annoy Kissinger: LaRouche
circulated a leaflet entitled, "Kissinger: The
Politics of Faggotry" (p. 151), and had his
followers harass Kissinger in Europe with "schoolboy
pranks, crank calls," and so forth (p. 150). He also
disseminated an article called "How Henry Kissinger
Will Be Destroyed" to Kissinger's audience when he
spoke at Georgetown University (p. 151). Still, one is
left not really understanding where all the loathing for
Kissinger came from. Of course, it is alleged that
LaRouche hates Jewish people, but why did he single out
Kissinger and why did he insist that Kissinger is gay
when Kissinger is married and there is no reason to
believe that he is gay?
King's description of LaRouche's
beliefs and activities makes for enjoyable reading in the
way that a horror movie can make for good entertainment.
If King is accurate, then LaRouche (and his followers)
are about as cynical, sociopathic, and exploitative as
they come. For example, King writes, "the
LaRouchians had come to believe that really clever
conspirators never carry out an assassination themselves,
but simply spread hate propaganda about the targeted
person which might trigger an attack by some disturbed
personality or fanatic. That way they can never be held
legally responsible" (p. 153). This book is full of
endlessly disturbing descriptions of LaRouche's hunger
for and abuse of power.
Back to the problems with the book.
Essential in a biography is something about the
biographer's relation to the material. King does not say
a word about how he knows so much about LaRouche or why
he is interested in his subject. This would be helpful
information for the reader. If, for example, King were an
ex-follower, that would be interesting to know.
In sum, if one were to write a
dissertation on Lyndon LaRouche, this book might be
helpful in its comprehensiveness. It covers, with
completeness, LaRouche's activities from about age 19
onward. However, it will not be a satisfying read for one
who wants to understand what makes Lyndon LaRouche tick,
or for one who hopes to walk away from the book with a
greater understanding of the sociopathic mind.
Andrea Bloomgarden, Ph.D.
West Chester University Counseling Center
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