It seems like an odd coincidence that legendary American political cult figure Lyndon LaRouche would pass away the same week that the Green New Deal resolution from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was attracting so much national attention. Yet, on at least this issue, LaRouche and Ocasio-Cortez have more in common than most people realize.
- The Green New Deal includes sweeping plans for massive government spending and planning on large-scale physical infrastructure projects, in part to stimulate the economy and bolster employment. LaRouche’s platform, over several runs for president, included “[a]n emphasis on large-scale basic economic infrastructure.” The Green New Deal suggests ending airline travel, possibly requiring an underwater rail link to Hawaii. LaRouche memorably proposed building a tunnel under the Bering Strait between North America and Asia. Puzzle pieces.
- LaRouche was, and Ocasio-Cortez is, a Democrat. LaRouche ran for the Democratic nomination for president seven times, while the notorious AOC is probably the most high-profile Democratic lawmaker in the United States today. But neither were establishment Democrats—LaRouche was, shall we say, an outsider to the national Democratic party leadership. He famously claimed, in 1984, that, while he believed that Walter Mondale was definitely a Soviet spy, he was “not simply a KGB agent in the ordinary sense.” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has also caused friction with her fellow Democrats. According to Scott Wong, writing recently in The Hill, “[a]t least one House Democrat has been privately urging members of the New York delegation to recruit a local politician from the Bronx or Queens to challenge Ocasio-Cortez [in the 2020 Democratic primary].”
- Ideology-wise, we also see intriguing connections. Ocasio-Cortez is a democratic socialist from New York, while LaRouche first became involved in politics while teaching Marxist political thought in New York City. According to Carl Campanile in the New York Post, since AOC’s win “the Democratic Socialists of America has become a potent political force to be reckoned with in New York City politics.” LaRouche founded the U.S. Labor Party in 1973, a political organization then devoted to “preaching Marxist revolution.” It was also widely known that while LaRouche was once a Marxist, he later came to support capitalism. Ocasio-Cortez told Chuck Todd of NBC News last week that she thinks “it’s possible” to be both a democratic socialist and a capitalist. Connections.
- Finally, in an interview last year with Democracy Now, legendary actress and controversial political activist Jane Fonda credited LaRouche with inspiring her, indirectly, to start making workout videos. That doesn’t really have anything to do with Ocasio-Cortez, but it’s weird, isn’t it?
So, is there a secret, hidden connection between the two that reveals deep, shattering truths about the American political system? You be the judge (I’m just asking questions here).
Seriously, though, it should be clear by now how easy it is to draw seemingly alarming conclusions based on entirely innocuous information, and how we should be more circumspect about guilt-by-association and arguments from authority in political discourse. The late Lyndon LaRouche, an irascible crank, was legendary for generating conspiracy theories and fostering a paranoid mindset about public policy. His style of analysis, unfortunately, left his followers worse off and less well informed.
As it turns out, the Rothschilds, the Rockefellers, Henry Kissinger, and the Council on Foreign Relations were not conspiring to subject the planet to a one-world government. Also, Queen Elizabeth II did not control the international drug trade. Apart for probably inspiring a hilarious Mike Myers scene in “So I Married an Axe Murderer,” those ideas did only harm to the people who were exposed to them.
Few of us will succumb to full-fledged LaRouchism—tagged by The New York Times as early as the 1970s as “a cult worth watching closely”—but all of us at times feel the temptation to cast our political opponents in the worst possible light or suggest that they are secretly motivated by dark impulses not entirely in evidence. We can all do better by using the late Mr. LaRouche as a negative example and sticking to the facts.
LaRouche vs. AOC cheat sheet