How To Reconstruct
A Bankrupt World
Lyndon LaRouche delivered the following address to a public event sponsored by Schiller Institute on Dec. 12, 2002 in Budapest, Hungary. Subheads have been added. The audience of 120 people remained for three hours of discussion.
My dear friends: I am so glad to be here again, and to see you.
The subject on which I shall speak tonight, is an extremely important one, for you, and for the world. It would be more customary, in these matters, for public spokesmen to describe the situation to you; and I shall not do that. I explain my procedure, before giving my presentation.
The British actor Sir Lawrence Olivier was, in my opinion, one of the worst professional actors in modern history. At some time near the end of his miserable life, he was asked by a British reporter, what caused people to wish to become actors. And he said to the reporter, "Look at me! Look at me!" He, like many politicians, wishes to be admired in his body and person, like some object on stage.
Now, whereas in contrast, if some of you have studied ancient Greek drama of the Classical method, and seen some of the great Classical drama in good performances in your lifetime, the great Greek tragedy was performed in an amphitheater by actors wearing masks—very large masks. You could not see the face of the actor; the actor came on stage, and he would play different parts at different times—behind the same mask! And the audience followed the drama very clearly, and often with great passion. Because they did not see the actor on stage; they saw the drama on the stage of their imagination.
When people communicate Classical poetry, Classical drama, to you, you don't see them until after they've finished. Your only image of what they've done, inside yourself, you know the image. A bad actor, a bad politician, like Sir Lawrence Olivier, gives you an opinion; he does not give you the experience of generating knowledge in your own mind. It's like the poor musician, who is well-trained, but he can only perform the notes; he can not perform the music.
Now, in politics, it's the same—real, serious politics. You are the subject of the drama. The suffering of the world, is your suffering. The tragedy of the world is your tragedy. It is not a fantasy painted on a wall; it is your experience. Now, if it is a good piece of knowledge, your experience of knowledge isn't merely what you are experiencing at this moment; you're experiencing the future as well.
For example: If you're a grandparent, or a parent, how would you judge the interest of your country? You say, "What will the future bring to our children and grandchildren?" If you're wise, you know we all die. If you die, what is the meaning of your life? Are you a dog, a cat, a fish? Or, are you something else? Are you the outcome of your life—what you make happen in the future? The future of your nation, the future of civilization: That is you.
Now, the problem in politics, is, very few politicians have a sense of that kind of personal immortality.
Let me be very frank with you about this business. Let me speak of a predecessor of mine, a former President, Bill Clinton, of the United States. Bill Clinton was one of the most intelligent Presidents we've had in the 20th Century. But he was also a failure—not merely because of that girl; that was minor. He was a failure, because often, when he came to a point of a decision, and he knew that this decision was important for humanity, he sacrificed humanity for the sake of either his vanity, or his short-term personal advantage.
Most leading politicians in the world are as bad, or far worse, than Bill Clinton. They have no sense of immortality. For example, like a resistance fighter, or a leader in war: What is his or her interest?
Jeanne d'Arc: the Quality of Real Leadership
Let's take a case, the famous case of Jeanne d'Arc of France. Jeanne d'Arc was well-educated, actually, morally, and she had an inspiration. With great determination, she went to the stupid King of France. What she said, in effect, to this King, is: "Stupid, foolish King: God sent me to tell you to be a real King, not a fool." Her conviction was so strong, that the King consented to give her authority to lead his troops. He thought that would get rid of her. (This is the actual record of the case; this is not a story, this is the truth.)
But she won the war! It was hard to get rid of her. All of the other commanders had failed; she won the war. Then the King betrayed her, and let her be captured by the evil British, the Normans. They sought to destroy her. She could either cringe and discredit herself, or be killed. She refused. After vacillating once, she refused. She was burned alive. She was burned twice: They put her inside the fire, they set the fire, and then opened the flames to see if she was cooked yet. And when they saw that she was already dead, they put the wood back, and completed the burning.
Her courage, and the injustice she suffered, roused not only France to throw the British out, but also aroused the councils of the Vatican to restore a Papacy which had been destroyed. For which she is revered today by all who know, as immortal.
Did she waste her life? She died young. Or, did she spend her life wisely?
Now, this is a message to all of us, as to how to order our life. Our mortal life has a beginning, and an inevitable end. What, then, is our immortal interest in being a person? All of the leaders of society, especially in times of crisis, are leaders because they measure up to some approximation of that standard. And in good education, especially good moral education, we educate our children, and others, to understand that principle of immortality. And as in the case of the New Testament Parable of the Talents, one says to the children, "Do not waste your talent. Do not waste your life. Spend it wisely for an immortal purpose."
In our civilization, all persons who radiate that sense of immortality to others, have a touch of immortality. However, that quality, by itself, is not sufficient in a leader of a nation in a time of crisis. A leader for a time of crisis must not only have a sense of personal immortality, they must have appropriate knowledge. And the first level of knowledge they must express, is the knowledge to communicate to people generally, what leadership means. That is, to show people how they can judge who is, or is not, qualified as a leader for a time of great crisis.
Now we are in a time of great crisis of all humanity. This is, in fact, a period of a great Classical tragedy—a tragedy in the sense of Classical Greek tragedy, or of Shakespeare's tragedy of Hamlet, or the great tragedies of Friedrich Schiller. And that's what I shall deal with here tonight.
A Systemic Crisis
What we face is not merely a financial crisis. This is not a cyclical crisis; it is a systemic crisis, which will decide whether or not European civilization plunges into a prolonged dark age, or survives. Beginning approximately 1964, in particular, and thereafter, European civilization, radiating from Britain and the United States, turned rotten. I see by your ages, that many of you here can remember the relevant facts. Prior to 1964-71, the standard of civilization was production—the production of the means and conditions for the perpetuation and improvement of human life. We prided ourselves on the idea that the individual should be respected for the useful contribution they made to the needs of humanity—each in their own way. The individual, so seeing himself or herself, had self-respect.
Then, about that time, the United States and Britain led in a process of moral degeneration of all European and world civilization. It occurred in the context of the U.S. launching an Indo-China war, from which the soul of the United States never returned. It was expressed by the Wilson Administration in the United Kingdom, which engaged in an orgy of destruction of the physical production of industry and agriculture in that country. On both sides of the Atlantic, there was spread the so-called "rock-drug-sex youth counterculture," which engaged in the direct moral destruction of, especially, university-age students of that period. Evil people like Zbigniew Brzezinski preached "post-industrial society," "end of agricultural-industrial society." They preached the pagan kind of nature-worship called "ecology."
A worthless Soviet system destroying itself is a part of this. You had a gentleman whose name is known to you, Lord Kaldor (who's part of that collection of the Martians, from here, who come from the tradition of the Bela Kun dictatorship). He became a British Lord, and his daughter became a witch! And they spread this doctrine, by way of Laxenberg, Austria, into the Soviet system. And among circles of a person known to you, but now deceased—Andropov, Yuri Andropov—the Soviet Union led in destroying itself inside. And he was a creature of the Comintern faction, of, also, some Hungarians! John von Neumann was a product of this; his systems analysis, otherwise the system of destruction. Leo Szilard was one of the most evil fanatics for nuclear war that ever slithered across the planet.
In the 1970s, Kissinger and others proposed genocide against Africa, on the assumption that there were too many Africans, and they would use up the African natural resources which the United States and Britain might need in the future.
Now, that should refresh your memory, as to what we're dealing with. So, systematically, we have destroyed the civilization based on production, as it had been built up prior to 1974. The United States destroyed itself from inside, intentionally. We destroyed ourselves with free trade. We destroyed ourselves with deregulation of essential infrastructure. We created windmills to replace nuclear plants—and we wonder where Don Quixote is today! We systematically destroyed people in our own nations, by economic and related means.
The Principle of Classical Tragedy
There are many examples of this kind of problem in the history of tragedy—of real tragedy. Real tragedy always occurs, when a people consents, by consensus, in destroying themselves. It is not leaders who cause tragedies; it is the people themselves which cause the tragedy.
Look back for just a moment to the Classical tragedy, as a matter of principle. Look at the case of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Now, think of the connection between two soliloquys from that play: one, Hamlet's Second Act soliloquy, or what appears as "What a peasant rogue am I"; and the second of those soliloquys, the famous Third Act "To be, or not to be." In short, what does Hamlet say in that Third Act soliloquy, "To be, or not to be"?.... What is he really saying? He says, "Well, I can fight"—he is a killer. He kills on the whim! He is not the effete person that Sir Lawrence Olivier tried to portray him to be. He's a killer!
But then, he trembles. What did he tremble in front of? The fear of death? No: the fear of immortality. And what does he do? He said, "I have no choice but to follow the road of folly, driven to folly by my fear of immortality."
And then we come to the last scene of the play. The corpse of Hamlet is being carried offstage, with the other corpses. Hamlet's successor says, "Get on with the war!" And Hamlet's friend, to one side, says, sadly, "Let us pause, while this experience is fresh in our mind, that we don't repeat this folly."
Then contrast this figure of Hamlet with that of Jeanne d'Arc: What's the difference? In Hamlet, you had a person, who's put into a position of leadership, who out of fear of the idea of immortality, allows the corruption of his society to proceed unhindered. Jeanne d'Arc intervenes in history, amid a tragic unfolding of slaughter, between France and England, and elsewhere, to inspire France, and also to assist in inspiring the Papacy, to solve this problem of civilization.
So, for this tragic situation, this immediately inevitable collapse of the system in its present form, I have to ask you, and others around the world, to start demanding leaders, who are not part of a tragedy, your tragedy. In this world situation, we have—like the Roman Empire, it's the American Empire, the Anglo-American Empire: That's the world today. People all over Europe tremble, "What did the American Embassy say?" "Should I divorce my wife? What does the American Embassy say?" What tyrants! But, you are subjects. You're in a Balkan state, amid a Europe, which is a Europe of cowardice! We have Americans who are cowards. We have a Britain, which is ruled by the husband of Cherie Blair.
The world is acting like a Ship of Fools, on the way to destruction, and some fools are telling other fools to accept the system. What is the system, from the standpoint of European history? Toward the end of Rome's Second Punic War, Rome's character shifted: It shifted from a nation of productive peasants, largely—farmers—to becoming, not a producer society, but a consumer society, without benefit of credit cards! Rome lived, by looting the world it subjugated: It murdered and looted most of the people of most of that Roman Empire world, into a state of destruction. And then, Rome itself was destroyed.
And then, we had another abomination, called the Byzantine Empire, until it destroyed itself, in a similar fashion. Then we had the Venetian Empire, which ran feudalism, which dominated Europe until past the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648.
And now, the world is dominated by a bastard child of Venice: Anglo-Dutch liberalism, a system, in which countries are controlled, not by their governments, but by central banking systems, which represent financier oligarchies of the Venetian tradition.
In Classical Greek and Christian civilization, the standard of morality in government, is the so-called "general welfare" or "common good," called in Greek agape. Therefore, as we'd established with the monarchy of Louis XI in France, of Henry VII in England, and in other cases, as in the U.S. Preamble of the Constitution, no government is legitimate, unless it is efficiently committed to promote the general welfare, of all of the people, living and their descendants.
The leading opposite tendency today, the anti-agape tendency, is the tendency of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. In John Locke, who is the leading exponent of the doctrine of Anglo-Dutch liberalism, the doctrine is property. The argument is, that the financier has the right to a certain yield on his capital, no matter how many people he has to kill, to get it.
What Is Wealth?
Now, to come to my crucial, concluding point, on this issue: How does man produce wealth? And, what is wealth? Without cheating, by looking into the Bible or something, what is human nature? Imagine you're a bunch of illiterate savages on some island someplace, with no knowledge of history: What is the difference between man and a beast? Beasts can learn, but, only a human being can discover, and transmit knowledge of, a universal physical principle of the universe. If man were a beast, man would be like a higher ape, like a Lord Bertrand Russell, or Henry Kissinger, or Zbigniew Brzezinski. Because, man, on this planet, were he a higher ape, would never have exceeded a population of several million people, under any known condition on this planet. Just to prove that Henry Kissinger, and all ecologists are liars: The fact is, the latest report is, there are on this planet, presently, 6.2 billion people!
How did it happen? Not by breeding. It took more. Man is capable of discovering, and mastering, universal physical principles, by which man increases his power in, and over the universe. By great art, and by great science, we imbue in children and students, an understanding of this ability to discover universal physical principles. People so educated, in Classical culture, in Classical science, look into the face of another person, and love that person, because they recognize in that person, this quality of creativity, which distinguishes man from the beast.
And there, we understand our immortality. When we generate, and transmit, discoveries of principle, to our children, to those who come later, we live forever in the history of mankind. Our mortal existence is no longer a matter of a beginning and an end: Our mortal existence is a place in eternity, from which we radiate the experience of generations before us, and radiate our existence into the future. We become the immortal children of the Creator of the universe.
Now, we have different languages, and different strains of cultural history. So, how shall we organize our affairs, among humanity? We should realize that we must communicate with one another, and our culture and our language are means by which we share ideas: by which we educate our children; by which we reach back in history, to love those creators of great art from the past. This is the quality, which Plato calls, in the mouth of Socrates, agape. This is the same concept of agape in I Corinthians 13.
So therefore, we should be a fraternity of nations, of sovereign nations—united by a common purpose for humanity. Nations are not intrinsically in conflict; war is not a natural condition of mankind. War is justified, only when it comes to defend the possibility of a community of principle, among mankind.
All right, so now, what does this add up to? We've come to a point, where the present international financial system is collapsing, the monetary system is collapsing. Nothing can save the financial and monetary system, in its present form. No power on this planet would be capable of saving this monetary and financial system—and, no power in the universe would wish to do so. The question is, we have to save the economy, as a physical economy, for the people and for the nations.
People today are infected with silly ideas—you know them. They say, "You can't change popular opinion"; that's what they said in Rome, before it died. We must change popular opinion. But, you don't do it just negatively: As the case of Schiller's portrayal of Jeanne d'Arc illustrates the point, you must inspire people with love, to desire to free themselves from the degradation of popular opinion, and to demand leaders, who are committed to the principle of immortality. A national leader, who's not committed to immortality, is not capable of morality, in response to the challenges of this time.
I ask you, to see these things on the stage of your own imagination—and now, I shall return to my seat.