Cultic Studies Journal
Manipulation and Society
Cultic Studies Journal
Psychological Manipulation and
Vol. 10, No. 1, 1993
LaRouche and the New American Fascism
- Dennis King. Doubleday, New York, 1990, 415 pages.
Reviewer: Andrea Bloomgarden, Ph.D.
See other reviews
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 personality character.
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
Andrea Bloomgarden, Ph.D.
West Chester University Counseling Center