`The New Cultural Renaissance in the Coming Age of Reason'
Here is Helga Zepp-LaRouche's keynote opening the second day of the Schiller Institute conference, "The Eurasian Land-Bridge Is Becoming a Reality!" held on Sept. 15-16, 2007 in Kiedrich, Germany. She titled her remarks "The New Cultural Renaissance in the Coming Age of Reason. [This is an unedited, unproofed transcript]
HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: So, dear guests of the Schiller Institute. I just want to make a couple of introductory remarks to a very serious panel we are going to have this morning. Because you all know that a danger of a new war is looming over our heads, and the effects of a collapse of a financial system would be probably equally devastating if no remedy is found.
Now, everybody knows that the 20th century was a century of great tragedies of the world, and even if for 62 years in Europe, we did not have war, but peace, one can say absolutely with clarity, if there is not a dramatic change in policy today, there will be another tragedy. The idea which was pronounced by the head of the German credit authority, BaFin, Jochen Sanio, that we are right now in the worst financial crisis since 1931, which is a total understatement of the problem, but it is useful, because it does remind people that after 1931, we had 1933, we had Hjalmar Schacht in Germany, and we fortunately had FDR in the United States. But, out of great economic and financial crises, there is the danger of fascism and war.
And we should all remember, that in 1971, Lyndon LaRouche had a very famous debate with an economist with the name of Abba Lerner, in which Lyn got this Abba Lerner to say, "Well, if people would have accepted Hjalmar Schacht, we would not have needed Hitler." And that is exactly the problem: That we don't have a new Hitler, at least not in Europe anywhere visible. But there are people who have the absolute determination that the outcome of this global financial crisis should be a Schachtian solution. In other words, that you go for a dramatic reduction of the living standard of the population: Certain oligarchs are talking about 30%, 40% reduction of the living standard, which is very easy, if you take the food price inflation, the cut in the health sector, and similar things, it is quite easy to see how this would function.
Now, the problem is, the financial system is disintegrating. And let me only speak for the German government, but I think everybody can fill in their own government as they see it fitting, the German government at this point, has no plan for survival. Our Chancellor Merkel, in January of this year, at a meeting of the Bundesbank, said, there will be no orgy of state intervention to regulate the hedge funds. Well, I am normally not for orgies, I think one would not be so bad! [laughter] In June, at the meeting of G8, the German government did something laudable, namely that they were the only government of the G8 countries to call for transparency. Well, this is at least something—it's an impotent approach, because even if you would have transparency and you would know how many trillions in unregulated monies are running around the world every day, you still would not have a mechanism to control it. And the German government completely failed in getting this transparency, because there was not even one European government which supported them, and the British and the American government violently opposed that this be put on the agenda.
Now, even in July, the German Finance Ministry, in public meetings—or representatives thereof—said that they want transparency, but the German Finance Ministry essentially sees the role of hedge funds as a positive thing.
So, this happened at a time when the German industry, Mittelstand industry, social housing—even villas, even castles—everything was violently taken over by the locusts. And the German government did not do anything to protect the German economy, the German common good, the German people, from these assaults. And that has to change. And if there is no other force in this country than this organization, we are going to make the biggest mobilization ever, to get a similar firewall protection for the German industry, for the German common good, like we are trying to do it in the United States, with Lyn's Homeowners and Bank Protection Act. Instead of doing a firewall policy, you have an insane media campaign against so-called "Chinese" and "Russian" investments in Germany which are supposedly the big threat! No talk about the British-controlled hedge funds, where more than 80% are having their headquarters in the Cayman Islands.
So, what is the problem with German policy? Well, with the U.S. presidential candidates, it's very clear: They have made it public, they have taken millions of dollars from the hedge funds for their campaigns, and therefore, they're very unlikely to make legislation and campaigns against the hedge funds. But what is the problem in Europe? Are the hedge funds also buy German, French, Italian, Scandinavian politicians? I don't know! It's not clear. Maybe they do. But I think what one can say for sure, that one can only understand why our society is in such a big danger, is because people do not yet understand what Lyndon LaRouche has been emphasizing, also yesterday: That you can not understand the strategic situation if you do not see that the key conflict in the world today, is between the British Empire and the sovereignty of the nation-states.
Now, until 1989, there was a so-called idiom, or proverb, which said, that the best-kept open secret of NATO was that Germany was an occupied country. Well, that was clear to everybody. You had politicians who had the voraus eilig der Gehorsam [ph] of an occupied country, the self-control imposed even without orders. But one would have thought, that with the German unification, Germany had earned the right to be a sovereign nation.
With the peaceful revolution of 1989, Germany had gained sovereignty. It was a peaceful revolution, it was not a wende as it was sophistically called afterwards, by trying to stamp out the revolutionary peaceful impulse which this revolution had meant. It was a peaceful revolution.
But then, you look at it, and you can see that a lot of things went wrong. The German government had no contingency plan for the situation of the unification, and that despite the fact that there was an entire ministry, the Ministry for Unification, which had no other task than to think about this case in the entire post-war period. But when the Wall came down, they did not know what to do. And the German government, when they finally published the documents around the German unification in 1997, they admitted, they had no contingency plan.
Well, we did—I mentioned it yesterday—we had the program of the Productive Triangle, and we had later the Eurasian Land-Bridge. And the only reason why I'm mentioning it, is because we have to rub it in, because we have the same problem, today, again! We have a collapse of a system, and there is no contingency plan. So in 1990, when the Wall came down, and we campaigned for the Productive Triangle, I personally made dozens, if not more, speeches, where I said, that if you impose on the bankrupt communist system the equally bankrupt free-market economy system, that maybe you could postpone the big collapse for a couple of years, but then, eventually it would come, and it would come with a much bigger vengeance, and it would cause a much bigger crisis than even the collapse of the Soviet Union. And that's exactly where we are now: If this free-market economic system is blowing up, it will be much, much more devastating than even the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Now, a couple of other things which happened, we should consider. One is, that on Nov. 30, 1989, Alfred Herrhausen, the head of Deutsche Bank was assassinated by the non-existing RAF, the third generation of the Baader-Meinhof. Which, you know, is a totally virtual existence. It has never been found, there have never been people arrested in the context with it. And it did not exist. And the man on whom "Mr. X" of the movie "JFK" was based, correctly mentioned that the assassination of Herrhausen was indeed, for the German nation as strategically important as was the assassination of John F. Kennedy for the United States.
Now, if you take the book by John Perkins, a man of the Establishment, The Economic Hit Men, where he describes how this oligarchical system has been functioning, by eliminating systematically those people who stood up for the common good, who took the courage to stand for the development of sovereignty and the national interest, how they were almost every time gotten rid of, then you understand why this happened. This happened all over the world: It happened with African leaders, it happened in Latin America, and many other places.
Now, immediately after the assassination of Herrhausen, at the European Union summit in December of '89, [then Chancellor Helmut] Kohl described what happened at the summit as the "darkest hours" of his life. Because the entire European Union leaders turned on him, pounced on him, and basically forced him to accept the early currency union, without the political union of Europe, where it was clear to Kohl—who said it at that time—and to many others, including us, who violently emphasized that, that it could not function! That you could not have a currency union in Europe, when you didn't have a political union.
Now, Kohl at one point made a very ominous remark, namely, that he said that he had to accept this, because, to accept the euro and give up the d-mark, would have been a question of war and peace. Now, that is very ominous: 1989, 1990, an issue of war and peace? Well, this same point was made by Jacques Attali, the key advisor and éminence grise of Mitterrand, in the biography about Mitterrand, where he also said, that the issue at that time, was that Mitterrand would have communicated to Kohl, that if he would not give up the d-mark for unification, that basically, he would organize another Triple Entente against Germany and that war would be the result.
So: That is what these people said. We can only take note of it. And well, history went the way it did: So, Germany, instead of gaining sovereignty, lost control over its own currency, and therefore, in a certain sense has less sovereignty than before! Because, with the Maastricht Agreement, it does not really matter if you vote this government or that party coalition, or this, because the economic policy is not made by the German government. It is made, essentially, in Brussels by the ECB and by the Maastricht process. And with Maastricht, Germany and all the other European governments, who are basically agreeing to that, really colonies of the new Roman Empire, which is the British Empire, and its U.S. lackeys, the neo-cons.
Now, one has to say to his credit, that with Chancellor Schröder, Germany did gain certain maneuvering room, mainly because Schröder did oppose the Iraq War, and I take the pride that it was our BueSo campaign in Germany which we did from February to August, warning of the impending Iraq War, which, then, four months before the election, caused Schröder to make a 180 degree shift and oppose the war, and he did win the election, and that, in turn, had a very important impact on President Chirac in France to also oppose this war.
Schröder also did something positive in his relation to Russia, which also meant a certain amount of maneuvering room, not only for Germany, but for Europe as a whole.
But unfortunately, most of that has gone with the Grand Coalition and Chancellor Merkel. Because Mrs. Merkel had nothing better to do than at the summit with Putin in Samara, earlier in the year, than to give Putin a lecture about human rights and similar things. Then she went to China, recently, and she had nothing better to do than to talk to the Chinese leadership about global warming. Then the next thing, she had nothing better to do than to invite the Dalai Lama, which angered the Chinese government a lot. And I have nothing against the Dalai Lama—he can do whatever he wants; Merkel can meet him in whatever function privately, there's nothing to be said against it. But she can not be so naïve not to understand that even a mild invitation of the Dalai Lama in this context, has to be seen as part of the encirclement policy which is conducted by NATO against Russia, and by against the whole neo-con British Empire against China, as well.
So therefore, even if Schröder did make many mistakes with the Agenda 2010, Hartz IV, and all of this, I must give him credit for his recent statements where he blasted the European Union for unnecessarily causing frictions with Russia and pursuing an imperial policy.
So, having stated these facts, I want to make it very clear here, that the only chance Germany has to survive as a country in these coming storms, is to ally, not with the European Union in this policy, but to ally with a changed United States, with this strategic partnership with Russia, China, and India. And I don't mean the United States as an adjunct to the British Empire, where the United States' role is essentially with the British having the brain and the United States representing the muscle—a policy which has been the subversion of America as a republic going back to the evil policies of H.G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, and Samuel Huntington, and similar evil spirits. But I mean in the tradition of the American System versus the British system, in the way how Friedrich List has defined that, when he spent several years in the United States: That the American System of Political Economy which was represented by Alexander Hamilton, the idea that the state has to be in favor of the common good, and that all the economic laws have to be made in this tradition, as totally in opposition to the British system of free market, and uncontrolled free-market economy policies.
So that is where we stand. And it will be the question, can we organize ourselves, our countries, to act in the self-interest of the 21st century? Can we give ourselves an order for the next 50 years, which makes it possible for us, as a civilization to survive? Now, I'm of the absolute opinion, that Europe can only do that, if we are a Europe of the Fatherlands in the way de Gaulle was talking about it, and that, in that sense, we have to have Fatherlands of Europe playing a role in Eurasia.
Now, we want to have development of Eurasia, and not like the European Union as the largest imperial power, like Mr. Cooper, the former assistant of Javier Solana was describing it, that the European Union would be the largest imperial power in history. But, as a sovereign nation-state alliance, for Eurasian development.
We have to go back to the ideas of Leibniz, who, at that time, said that Europe has to have a mission of developing the world. France, he said, has the mission to develop Africa. Germany should help to develop the East. Now, obviously, this is not limited, and I only want to use it as a metaphor: Meaning that Europe has to use its very rich tradition of the last 3,000 years, which has produced more scientific discoveries, and more knowledge, and more great discoveries in art and science, than many other places of the world; that we have to use this heritage to make it a good for the common development of mankind.
Now, that has to become our sense of identity. And I'm absolutely convinced, that the great thinker of the 15th century, Nicolaus of Cusa, the founder of the modern nation-state and the founder of modern natural science, was absolutely right, when he said that concordantia in the macrocosm can only happen if you have the maximum development of the microcosms, and that each microcosm takes as its self-interest, that the other microcosms develop in the best way. Now, if you apply that to nations, it is the absolutely self-interest of every nation to further the maximum development of all other nations, and vice versa, and take that as their self-interest. As you probably have recognized already, that is what was the principle of the Peace of Westphalia. And I'm totally convinced that it was the ideas of Nicolaus of Cusa which laid the foundation for this monumental work of the Peace of Westphalia, which was the beginning of international law! The beginning of people's law—that which is trampled upon presently by the Washington administration, but which we have to uphold, because it was a big civilizational breakthrough to have international law ruling over the affairs of nations.
And I also believe that Nicolaus of Cusa was right in another thing, namely, that he said that you can not fix the problem with side-orders, but you have to bring cohesion into affairs, and you have to have cohesion between cosmic order, the laws of the macrocosm and the political order and the economic order.
Now, that, for example, applied to modern-day politics, means to take the interest of the other into account, we will hear shortly, the question of the danger of a new war against Iran. Well, if you want to have a solution to this problem, we have to take into the interest, the security and the economic interest of Iran, like every other country! You can not have different standards in policy.
Now, the Eurasian Land-Bridge is really a beautiful thing: Because if you think it through, we want to have an economic order which allows the economic development not only of Eurasia, but through the extension into Latin America and into Africa, we want to have something on the table, which you can only call "the common aims of mankind." Now, this is a question which I think we should discuss about a lot, not only in this conference, but among public forums. It is the old issue, which was raised in the Federalist Papers of the young American Republic, namely, the question: Can society govern itself? Can we give ourselves, as mankind, an order, which allows ourselves to live peacefully and for the progress of all? It is the same question which was raised by Friedrich Schiller in his beautiful treatise about the "Laws of Solon and Lycurgus," where he attributes to the wise lawgiver Solon, when he was asked, "What is the purpose of society?" And Solon answered: It is Fortschreitung [ph], it is improvement, it is the moral perfection of man.
Now, this is one of the reasons why we are pushing infrastructure. The young boy, the son of [Lydia?], was asking yesterday, who had the first idea to build the Bering Strait, and why? Why should you build such a thing? And I thought this was a beautiful question, because—yeah! It is exactly because infrastructure projects have a civilizing effect! The Danes fortunately have now recognized this old principle, that in the moment you start building bridges, highway, railroads, maglev, it has an impact on the people: It changes people. It makes people more rational.
So, this is exactly what we need to do. Because the world, right now, is in a terrible condition. Not only the financial system is in terrible shape, but morally, we are bankrupt as a civilization. And I want to recall what the great German scientist Krafft Ehricke, who was the one who developed the Apollo rocket for the Moon-landing program: What he said in the final months of his life before he died—unfortunately of cancer —he said that we have to have space travel, not only because we have to explore the universe, and find out how the laws function, which we can do better when we are out there, but because of the "extraterrestrial imperative." And what he meant by that, is that, the moment mankind undertakes a serious effort to have space travel, then you have to become more rational. Because you can not just leave a space ship, and have a fit! It's not good for your health if you do that. [laughter] So, there is a certain mandate to be rational. And Krafft Ehricke also said, that it is not technology which is the problem. Because technology can be used for good or for bad purposes, always. But it is the question of the man, and the moral condition of man which is relevant. And therefore, he, at the end of his life, fully endorsed the Schiller Institute idea that you have to have the aesthetical education of man to go along with technological, because otherwise man is not capable.
Now, that is why I'm so absolutely agreeing with Lessing, with Schiller, and the question of the aesthetical education, which has to be part of our endeavors. Because, when Schiller, after the collapse of the French Revolution, said, that "A great moment had found a little people," and that therefore the development of the Empfindungsvermoegen, the education of the subjective and intellectual-emotional apparatus of man, was the most important task of his world. He absolutely was right, and today, this is even more the case.
Because, both Lessing and Schiller knew and wrote about that the worst thing for the cultural development of the population, is everything which has a mass effect: everything which occurs in thousands and thousands of people. And if you look at the popular culture today, that's exactly what it is. Pop concerts, you have Dionysian masses in orgiastic movements; soccer games, the world championship of soccer last year in Germany, you had thousands and hundreds of thousands of people being in orgiastic motions; tourism. Soap operas—just think how many millions of people are watching soap operas every day! instead of using their intellect, they're living the life of somebody else! Think how many hundred millions of youth are watching videogames and playing videogames every day.
Now, that is why I'm saying that mass culture is the enemy, and I think it is very important that we contrast that with the work of the LaRouche Youth Movement, which is really the old idea of Wilhelm von Humboldt, namely that you have to have the development of the character, and the beauty of the soul, as the aim of education, and not these mass activities.
Now, why has Lyndon LaRouche emphasized the work of the chorus so much? You have seen now two examples, yesterday and today, how this functions. Now that is, in a certain sense the example of a Socratic dialogue. I contrast that to the talk shows: In a talk show, you have talking heads—somebody says, "the tree is green"; then the next person says, "yeah, the Green Party is doing a lot of global warming"; and then somebody says, "yeah, I'm warming my soup." So, you take from every sentence, one thing, and you take it to some other issue, and you have no coherence, and people are babbling away. As compared to the Classical method, which is: You have a poetical idea or a musical idea, and then you exhaust it through thorough-composition, and you develop that idea until it is completed. And obviously, in the chorus, when it functions well—and you know, the LaRouche Youth Movement chorus members are trying to work on this, to enact the principle of the Pythagorean comma, where you're not just singing your notes, but you're interacting with the other voices, and you find the best possible way of making the choral piece really sound as the composer has intended it. And that is a form of Socratic dialogue, because you have to take into account the other voices, you have to interact on the same musical idea. And that is Classical thinking as compared to this other stuff.
So, I think we are really in a very good situation, in one sense, because we actually have the potential to make a Renaissance: Because we have studied what causes cultures to collapse, we have studied the empires, the Roman Empire, we have studied the collapse of the Middle Ages in the 14th century; and we have studied how mankind can come out of these periods, by going back to the best traditions of civilization. Because the Italian Renaissance could only occur, because people went back to the Greek Classics; the German Classical period could only occur, because we took the ideas of the Italian Renaissance and the Greek Classics before.
So therefore, what we need to do, is we have to combine the Eurasian Land-Bridge, which is an alliance of sovereign nation-states for the common aims of mankind, with the idea of a cultural Renaissance. And by focussing on the best, highest traditions, highest cultures of all cultures, and form a dialogue among those.
Now, I'm an optimist—actually, I'm an incurable optimist—because I believe in the nature of man, that man is essentially good, and that Leibniz was correct, that a great evil brings forward an even greater good and force of good in man. And therefore, I believe if we keep doing what we are doing, that we will turn the Schiller Institute, beyond this conference, into a forum, where the question of a rational discussion, how should this world be organized and reconstructed, can occur. And I want to make the Schiller Institute website the forum of such papers, because we have gotten a lot more papers than we can present at this conference, and create a forum of discussion for the reconstruction of the world after the crash of the present system.
And I believe that the present state of affairs, where you have oligarchies, where you have greed, where you have billionaires, and I think even the first trillionaire is now around, that all of this will be looked at in a very short period, as the childhood diseases of mankind, and you will equate oligarchism with measles, chickenpox, mumps, and so forth, where basically, once you have them, you can build antibodies, and then your immune system eventually becomes strong enough, and when you reach adulthood, these things are a question of the past. And I think we have the tiger by the tail: Because we have the method of creating a Renaissance, the LaRouche Youth Movement is the best expression of that, and therefore, I just want to say, let's go with optimism in the next period: Put a rational question of a new world economic order on the table, and be an example of what governments should be doing, and let's force them to do it!