San Francisco Review of Books Publishes Excellent Interview
with Lyndon LaRouche, a ‘Living Historical Monument’
Feb. 15, 2017 (EIRNS)—The recently-relaunched San Francisco Review of Books has published a five-part interview (first, second, third, fourth, fifth) with statesman Lyndon LaRouche, conducted in January by Joseph Ford Cotto. Each part is intoduced by Cotto as follows:
"People have said a great many things about Lyndon LaRouche over the years.
"To be fair, he has shared more than a bit about his own views—and why not? At 94, he has a lifetime of experience in traversing the maze of politics, economics, science, and cultural pursuits that makes our world go ’round.
"While LaRouche’s claim to fame is principally of a fiscal nature—his LaRouche-Reimann Method is perhaps the most accurate economic forecasting model yet devised—the man has delved into so many different facets of the human experience that one can legitimately elevate him to polymath status.
"Whether one should read his views on classical music or space technology, it is a wonder that a single fellow is capable of holding so much knowledge about such a diverse array of topics. Even in the case that his views are found to be disagreeable, it must be admitted that he knows his stuff.
"The child of an independent-minded New England Quaker family who served in World War II, LaRouche was imbued with a deep sense of purpose from a young age. Having interviewed the man on several occasions and reviewed his biography, it seems clear to me that, for the immense complexity of his life’s work, the overarching goal is raising the bar of civilization so as many people as possible enjoy a more-than-decent standard of living.
"Of course, certain voices will point out that he ran into a financial snafu with the federal government, for which he did some jail time, or that the LaRouche organization is run with military-like efficiency—something starkly unusual for civilian politics.
"I say that nobody is perfect. I also say that, given his age and multitude of life lessons, he should be deemed a living historical monument. Special emphasis is due the word ’living’ as LaRouche’s movement is arguably stronger than ever, thanks to the Internet, and the finely-tuned publishing empire he built ensures that his views will remain in circulation for quite awhile.
"LaRouche spoke with me about several timely issues. Some of our conversation is included below."
Part I : Lyndon LaRouche says Donald Trump has created "the possibility of a revival of the U.S. economy"
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Joseph Ford Cotto: A few years ago, certain political forecasters claimed that the future of America’s center-right belongs to libertarians. Since the 2012 presidential election, protectionism has surged in both major parties. Now, in the age of Trump, libertarianism’s once-ascendant nature seems a distant memory. Would you say that right-libertarian politics have any serious potential under Trump?
Lyndon LaRouche: The point is the support for Trump’s .... presidency, that is the key. Right wing libertarian politics per se are not important. It is Trump and his role which is important. It is a new, improved practice. Trump has promised to invest $1 trillion in urgently needed infrastructure and promised the implementation of a 21st century Glass Steagall Act. If he implements his infrastructure promise he will need that reform to finance it.
Cotto: More than anything else, why are protectionist economics transforming the American conservative movement?‘
LaRouche: Trump!! Trump’s method. Trump’s way of dealing with the people. Protection, the issue is to make the economy work with real measures as I just mentioned. It is a buoying up on Trump’s efforts. It is not that the Alt Right are no longer important, but is the question of bringing together a more novel way, not doing the same old thing.
Ronald Reagan conservatives would surely find something interesting in Donald Trump. Absolutely! We had a president who was taken out of action [the attempt on Reagan’s life] but he came back in. It was not a simple thing because I was one of the victims of that thing. What was done to him was that. Reagan survived the attack on him. He had a long period, extended period, an inability to function but he got back into that function and he tried to build up more and more what he had as his intent, and I had been one of the key figures of his administration.
But we’re talking about Trump. Really we’re talking about Trump on the basis that he is now the new leader for the United States. He has promised to build up the American economy again, and there are great precedents of American presidents using the American System of Economy as it was developed by Alexander Hamilton, explicitly in contrast to the British System of Free Trade. That is the system that worked in the past, and it will work again. Now, what Trump has done by his success, here, is to build up the possibility of a revival of the U.S. economy.
Part II: Lyndon LaRouche says America's "education system has moved away from real scientific discovery"
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Joseph Ford Cotto: The social justice warrior left and the alt-right have found success in spreading their ideas via Internet memes. Memes, by their very definition, are simplistic and emotional in nature. Untold millions of Americans, presumably Millennials in large part, appear more influenced by memes than longer, more reasonable arguments. Has the Internet dumbed down the political acumen of our country's young adults?
Lyndon LaRouche: Yes, but there is of course still the potential of reversing that trend. Human beings are human beings, and once they have hope for their future, they get inspired to improve. On the Internet making people more stupid, it doesn't work that way. It is not the Internet per se. The education system has moved away from real scientific discovery. Young people think that because they got something from the Internet they know something. The question is, we have now this new government. Is the new one going to be better than the old? Everything follows from that.
Cotto: In America, entertainment is no longer clearly separated from news. Talk radio hosts, bloggers, and even television personalities devote time to amusing their audiences and vilifying the 'other side' -- delivering a cartoonish version of reality which leaves untold millions misinformed. Is the average American adult now less cognizant of the issues than he or she might have been, say, 40 years ago?
LaRouche: Not quite. It comes from a different way. They are reduced in their functioning to an inferior level, compared to the former, better operation. What has happened is you have the degeneration of the effectiveness of the whole system. The citizens become citizens as such in a real sense, which Trump can do obviously, that's the change, that's the point. Given the economic data of the state of the U.S. labor force, shorter life expectancies, drug addiction, suicide rates, unemployment, a real effort to increase the real productivity of labor will be required. And Trump will have trouble with this thing as he doesn't know how to explain the argument. Trump himself will understand the argument but many of the people who are involved with him as on his economic team will have to face up to and understand this.
Those last few sentences remind me of a conversation I had with LaRouche going on four years ago. We were discussing the downfall of Detroit, a happening which bore many a cautionary tale for the entire United States.
August 5, 2013 — On Friday, Detroit’s fledgling municipal government informed a federal bankruptcy judge that it wishes to file a restructuring plan by the close of 2013.
Last month, Detroit made history as the largest American city to ever go bankrupt. A local judge initially ruled the bankruptcy unconstitutional under state law, though the federal judiciary later allowed it to move forward.
While Detroit’s present is easy enough to understand, what about its past? What led the city which was once dubbed the 'Arsenal of Democracy' to become a glaring example of dysfunction and malaise?
Veteran economist and politician Lyndon LaRouche says that the historic financial vitality of Detroit “created the great industrial power of the United States. Even during recent decades, the locations for multiply-capable auto floor-space localities....existed until the actual decision to shut down the essential elements of the U.S. machine-tool design and manufacturing capabilities”.
According to LaRouche, after this happened, “the great power built upon the auto-manufacturing base which had kept the United States economy alive” was sent overseas.
Generally speaking, it remains there. Will Trump be able to change this? For the sake of our nation's livelihood, let us hope so.
Part III: Lyndon LaRouche says Hillary Clinton was "dumped. She is not anything, she is a dump."
Friday, February 17, 2017
Lyndon LaRouche: It will be the revival of the traditional U.S. American System of Economics, which will now have a better chance of succeeding given that other nations are moving in the direction of those principles, like with win-win cooperation with China and the Belt and Road Initiative, where over 70 nations are using American System principles.
Cotto: For the sake of our national interest, was Trump's victory preferable to a Hillary Clinton win?
LaRouche: Ha! There is no comparison. She is dumped. She is not anything, she is a dump.
****Yesterday, I included some of a conversation I had with LaRouche going on four years ago. We were discussing the downfall of Detroit, a happening which bore many a cautionary tale for the entire United States. The rest of his words from that exchange describe what might have become of our country should the 2016 election have gone differently.
In America, few industries drove twentieth century prosperity more than automobile manufacturing. Over the last few decades, however, free trade agreements and incentives from other countries allowed what were once solidly domestic jobs to become globalized.
“In the midst of the destruction of the automobile and related manufacturing, for a shift to production in Asia (most notably), there appears to have been no regard for the effects of the catastrophic impacts of the consequent collapses of both the incomes and per-capita productivity of the people [in] states such as Michigan,” LaRouche elaborates. “As a consequence of shifts away from actual production of substantial wealth, to mere services - - increasingly only nominally 'productive services' -- a massively deadly condition has struck down many of the communities and their populations, with more pouring in on the hapless.
“It is not possible, even as a matter of simply physical reality, to separate an increase of poverty in one sector from the consequent loss of productivity in other sectors of the same economy. The increase of the impoverished becomes ultimately the poverty of the once-rich.
“The result, is the collapse of the actually net margin of production of wealth of large regions of the United States.”
There is more to this situation than meets the eye. LaRouche notes “that the physical-economic, as distinct from merely nominal productivity of the U.S. population, per capita, has been plummeting” and “the per-capita net income (accounting for net inflation) continues to plummet, such that entire states are now faced with a combination of accelerating fatality rates, and so on.”
That scenario is all too true in much of Michigan. The state itself is losing population, and not for the better. As many of its manufacturing centers close, Michiganders are left with decreasing, if not scarce, means of support. Detroit is simply the most radical example of this.
Nonetheless, LaRouche does believe that things can get better.
“The obvious remedy,” he claims, “is a rapid return to increased per-capita productivity: much less Wall Street, and much more serious production, and also the educational standards to match the required increase in rates of the productivity and the education which such productivity demands.
“Otherwise there is very, very little for the collected assembly of human beings known as the citizens of Michigan.”
Part IV: Lyndon LaRouche says "Trump will have to lead a successful renewal of the economy of the United States"
Monday, February 20, 2017
Lyndon LaRouche: That is sort of an amusing question. The answer is that Trump is actually supporting a refreshed status for the economy. The Trump vote in the U.S. is one of many expressions of populations being fed up with being victims of the system of globalization, which made the poor poorer and destroyed the Middle Class. Trump gave expression to that sentiment.
Cotto: How large a role do you believe that Barack Obama's presidency played in driving late-deciding voters into Trump's column?
\LaRouche: No. There was no connection in that sense. The point was, we dumped that. Obama was dumped and just keep it that way. Trump was the good guy as opposed to the bad guy. It is not a mystery for me, something that I have to explain away. Trump moved in and he changed the course of history. He got the job that Obama lost. Trump will have to lead a successful renewal of the economy of the United States.
There can be little doubt that revitalizing the U.S. economy is a powerful theme, and one which served Trump very well. While the issues facing American economic policy are in constant flux, there are some fundamentals which could best be described as sticks in mud. To show precisely what I mean, consider the following exchange between LaRouche and myself. Despite being half a decade old this year, its message resonates louder than ever.
Cotto: Prominent economists and politicians say that free trade will only benefit America in the long run. What are your opinions about this idea?
LaRouche: They are repeating the same arguments which have failed our nation's economy at an accelerating rate, since the "68er" rampages, especially since 2007. All successful economies depend upon superseding the depletion of what existed in the past, by progress into the urgently needed future replacements, with better methods, and with superior technologies: otherwise, we would plunge into the attrition and related decay which has plagued us since the fag-end of the Indo-China war of the mid-1960s.
Cotto: One of the reasons that the American economy consistently fails to emerge from the Great Recession is that it produces a decreasing number of material goods. What would you say can be done to reinvigorate our manufacturing sector? Honestly, is this even possible now?
LaRouche: As I am certain that your circles are adequately aware, our chief economic problem has been the reversal of the principle of economic progress - - actually at the accelerating rates prevailing since the aftermath of the assassination of President Kennedy.
Without a correction from that trend now, trans-Atlantic civilization, in particular, is doomed: we are at the fag-end of our recent decades of foolishness. The loss of much of the machine-tool design capabilities which had been represented by the legacy of the machine-tool design-driven U.S.-built automobile, aircraft, and space potentials, since the virtual collapse of "Detroit," must now be replaced by "machine- tool design" programs for reviving and improving the technological improvements, programs on which we depend, absolutely, if any recovery at all were to be made possible.
The entirety of the recent Obama presidency must be swept aside, or else there will be, simply and soon, no more United States, to be seen in the aftermath of that which we now see in the disintegration of the formerly sovereign nations of continental Europe, today.
Cotto: Libertarian economic theorists tend to believe that trade deficits are of minimal importance. Do these deficits have a great impact on America's economy?
LaRouche: What are sometimes mis-identified as being trade-deficits are actually the effect of collapse of technological progress. We need a "protectionist" policy of a certain, very specific type: scientific-technological progress, rather than the death of the former system of sovereign nations in western and central Europe. We must protect our economy's healthful scientific-technological progress. And, then we would have no continuing fear of "competition." Financial gambling will never be an actual substitute for science-driven economic progress.
Part V: Lyndon LaRouche explains how "the great industrial power of the United States" was lost
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Over the last sixty years, more or less, Detroit has experienced a remarkable decline in economic power. Once America's "arsenal of democracy," it has become a national blight so severe that international attention is raised. Formerly proud residential neighborhoods have been reduced to ghost towns -- if buildings are left to stand, that is. In certain locales, so many houses saw the wrecking ball that woodlands have reclaimed a once-bustling cityscape.
In Detroit's central business district, one can find forsaken structure after structure, whether these be office buildings, factories, or storefronts. While something of an urban renewal has blossomed, it pales in comparison to the sheer destruction which followed the last half-century-plus's flight of commerce. Splendorous towers designed before the Great Depression, once monuments to the American Dream, rot from the inside and convey the nightmare of living death.
Even in the most abstract of senses, pundits and politicians often spar over why Detroit circles the drain.
"The essential, inclusive fact respecting the presently plunging collapse of the State of Michigan generally lies in the George W. Bush, Jr. Administration's role in destroying the U.S. Michigan-pivoted national automobile manufacturing and related industry," LaRouche explains. "I was in a role of special influence in the effort to prevent the overwhelming aspect of the shut-down of that industry."
He tells me that "(t)he crucial role of the auto industry was established under the President Franklin Roosevelt's pre-World War II program for war-preparations (prior to the U.S. decision to actually go to war, even prior to the U.S. assistance to defense against Hitler's war). The mobilization on this account by the USA created the build-up of the vast machine of sheer power which the Roosevelt administration had built up, and continued to build for as long as FDR lived."
Detroit, however, prospered long after FDR's death in 1945.
"The factor of what was called 'Detroit' created the great industrial power of the United States," LaRouche says. "Even during recent decades, the locations for multiply-capable auto floor-space localities continued to have existed until the actual decision to shut down the essential elements of the U.S. machine-tool design and manufacturing capabilities and ship abroad the great power built upon the auto-manufacturing base which had kept the United States economy alive."
The sad fact, though, is that our nation's economy is dead as a doornail in too many places to mention here. Detroit is notable because it is the most visible of these. The Washington Consensus has come to take little -- if any -- issue with this, preferring to continue down the trail blazed by the Bush presidents, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and others.
"Now, unless [the present] policy of practice is reversed, the situation of the United States today would remain a hopeless one," LaRouche warns. "This recovery of that sector of our former industrial might need not be specifically auto production. For as long as our machine-tool-design industry has remained live and able machine-tool design abilities continue to exist, our United States could still be brought back to life. If we fail to respond to that challenge immediately at this time, the existence of the United States were virtually a thing of a soon-forgotten past."
LaRouche and I had the above conversation almost four years ago, though it was not published until this article was made public. I am glad that our chat finally has its day in the sun, specifically so others may take something away from it about how the American Way has truly lost its way. Untold commentators and so-called "public servants" are still shocked about how and why Donald Trump won.
Hopefully those of them who read this article have had at least a few of their questions answered.