Talk:Lyndon LaRouche

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Former featured article candidateLyndon LaRouche is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
December 22, 2005Featured article candidateNot promoted


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Policies and sources[edit]

Content policies[edit]

See WP:BLPSPS and WP:SPS:

"Never use self-published sources—including but not limited to books, zines, websites, blogs, and tweets—as sources of material about a living person, unless written or published by the subject ...

"Living persons may publish material about themselves, such as through press releases or personal websites. Such material may be used as a source only if—

  1. it is not unduly self-serving;
  2. it does not involve claims about third parties;
  3. it does not involve claims about events not directly related to the subject;
  4. there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity;
  5. the article is not based primarily on such sources."

Sources[edit]

LaRouche lived all his adult life in New York (1953–1983) or Virginia (1983–present), which means the two major newspapers of record are The New York Times and The Washington Post. Both have written extensively about him, including several extended investigative and analysis pieces from the 1970s to the 2000s. These articles provide the structure of much of this article—in that we highlight what they highlight. For their archives on LaRouche see below. For the books we use see here.

Designation as Conspiracy Theorist[edit]

I have added a section under Controversy Designation as Conspiracy theorist which contains five credible references to him as a conspiracy theorist. When all of your MSM obituaries (including by Fox News) and academics etc state this as the key attribute, it is not acceptable that the Wikipedia page makes no reference to this. I am sure that this will not please devotees and followers of Mr LaRouche, however please note that I have put this in the controversies section, to emphasize that the fact being reported is that he was (nearly universally) regarded as a conspiracy theorist, not that the article is asserting that he was. That being said, I think the main article sanitizes the views of his opponents, and is in danger of not having a NPOV by cherrypicking and avoiding the more lurid claims about him and the more outrageous quotes from him that would tend to cast him in a more dubious light. Rick Jelliffe (talk) 01:52, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

Convicted Fraudster[edit]

I have added "convicted fraudster" to the first paragraph with a link to the relevant wikipedia page. That someone was sentenced to 15 years for fraud is a critical and interesting part of their biography. And it is vital information in assessing their activities and approach and their treatment. That this event is important enough to have its own Wikipedia page shows its importance and relevance. That he actually served, as did numerous others, is not in dispute. That he failed on numerous appeals and attempts at exoneration including three appeals to the Supreme Court indicates the soundness of the legal basis of the conviction under the American legal system. The article in general seeks to portray Mr LaRouche as a respectable, respected citizen (whats with that birthday party claim?) with ideosyncratic views; however this portrait is misleadingly incomplete without stating upfront that he was a convicted criminal (whether you believe this fair or not) whatever else he was. Rick Jelliffe (talk) 01:52, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

Movement: Characterized as Cult[edit]

The term "cult" or "cult-like" frequently appears in material and articles about the LaRouche Movement, not only in mainstream media but also professional media such as Foreign Policy journal. I have split out material relevant to this and added numerous references in a subsection Characterized as cult. I have put in the weaker "or cult-like" to reflect the references, and I have put in the phrase "at certain times" to reflect that at various times the movement may have exhibited more or less cult-like attributes. In the references, I have put in a reference to give visibility that some material speaks of a "political cult" rather than just "cult" or "cult-like".

The attributes of a cult that seem to justify this view as one in the range of reasonable views (without endorsing it) include: mercurial charismatic leader who puts themselves in the centre of thought ("worlds greatest economist") or history ("world's most accurate forcaster") and encourages a cult of personality; accusations of abuse of member's time, finance and deviant thought; us-versus-them separation; doomsday prophecies; a succession of failed predictions of disaster which do not occur but which are promptly swept under the carpet by the next round of predictions; etc

In this regard I note (from the Fox News obituary) that movement members have been taken by cult 'de-programming' teams: "One high-profile case involved a supposed conspiracy to kidnap DuPont heir Lewis duPont Smith and his wife to deprogram them. In 1992, a federal jury in Alexandria, Virginia, acquitted Smith's father, E. Newbold Smith, and three other men." These family members certainly viewed the movement as a cult. Rick Jelliffe (talk) 06:36, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

Disputed record as economist and forecaster[edit]

This is, I think, the most problematic one, and I would be happy if someone found some better way to phrase it, in case the tone is snarky or there is not a NPOV.

The general problem with the article as it stands is that it is primarily a timeline presenting LaRouche's life story in sequence of events or phases (commie, democrat, rightwing, criminal,etc) with no attempt to discuss his significance, self-claimed or otherwise. I have no problem with the timeline, but without the things that remain constant throughout, they don't reveal much.

Many of his followers sincerely believe him to be the world's greatest economist, it seems; not (m)any professional economists, but certainly politicians keen to find an anti-Western or anti-establishment angle and rhetoric would give him credence and a platform. (Here in Australia, I can see many in regional areas expressing views that are second-hand LaRouche ideas.)

However, others point out that he so consistently and often made wrong predictions, that sooner or later some would be right, just as a spin of the roulette wheel (which is a trick used by fake spiritists too): the trick is to only remind people of the hits and ignore the misses. I have tried to be fair, and put in some of the self-claimed successful predictions: however, I think a dispassionate analysis would show that many others were calling for the same things at the same time, so the claims to be an instigator and forecaster may not find them good evidence. (For example, the LaRouche's Eurasian Landbridge was originally Germany, Austria and Italy IIRC, then expanded into Russia. Then it evolved as China resurged into the New Silk Road, which was a term the Clinton's also used for their initiative: so I don't see that LaRouche can really claim to be behind it all, rather than just one voice in the crowd.)

However I tried not to interpose editorial material about what seems to be this self-aggrandizing tendency, I hope. Rick Jelliffe (talk) 06:36, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

"Undo undone" - a talk page entry in the article?[edit]

Hi, the "Undo undone" section reads like a talk page argument - shouldn't it be moved from the article? T 85.166.162.64 (talk) 21:35, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

 Done. El_C 21:37, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

Yes indeed, this was my mistake, apologies. Rick Jelliffe (talk) 03:37, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

Here was the text intended for this Talk page:

An editor undid this section on Record as Economist and Forecaster, because it contained self-published material that is regarded by Wikipedia rules as not reliable. However, the references were made as evidence that LaRouche et al do claim the things that section mentions and to provide primary evidence, not to assert the contents of the LaRouche claims. Note that the section contains "claims". In other words, the only reliability issue is whether the words say what they say, not whether they are true or not. You would not refuse to link to Mein Kampf or the Bible or a speech of President Trump or a Mickey Mouse comic because they were considered unreliable. The unreliability constraint can only apply when it is the contents being referenced as authoritative, not when it is their existence that is being attested. So I have undone the undo, but is there some better way to mark something as not contentious but as a potentially self-serving primary source, reliable as an object or assertion but not referenced as endorsed facts or anything deemed reliable?