'We Have To Change Ourselves Back
To Becoming a True Republic'
by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
Here is Lyndon LaRouche's keynote. via video teleconference, to a LaRouche PAC town meeting in Cleveland, Ohio on Oct. 27, 2004. The event was also broadcast over the Internet, and linked to a satellite event in Washington, D.C. Audio/video archives of the event, and a transcript of the question-and-answer period, are available on the LaRouche PAC website.
Just to set the stage, I am asking our people to put on a short video, which I think you will find stimulating, and enlightening.
The subject tonight is to deal with something that most people don't understand, and to begin to let the American population and politicians understand this thing, they must understand now: We are in the worst financial collapse in world history, that is, in modern, known history. Very soon, a matter of weeks or, at most, a couple of months, this entire system will collapse. For example, the U.S. dollar will probably fall to about $1.50 cost per euro.
We're going to the bottom. We're facing a general collapse of the housing market, which means that the so-called nominal value of housing will drop to a fraction of what it is presently. The tendency is to lose jobs more rapidly than ever before. This is happening.
Now, how do we deal with this? In general, the rule is, as Kerry said in a Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania address some time ago, we have to go back to Franklin Roosevelt's approach to deal with a depression. That means that the U.S. government will have to step in, as Franklin Roosevelt did, and put the banking system—which now the U.S. banking system, and most of the rest of the world, is hopelessly bankrupt. Don't kid yourself. But the President of the United States, implicitly, following the principle of the Constitution, which Roosevelt used—the President of the United States, with the support of Congress, can put through emergency provisions to take the Federal Reserve system into receivership, under control, and organize it to make sure that bank doors don't close; to make sure that things that have to be funded, with credit, are still funded; to keep the economy going.
But that's only for the immediate term. Of course, the first question is, as we see in Europe today, as the European economies are collapsing, we're seeing in Germany, and France, and elsewhere, the spread of what are actually the measures used first by the predecessors of the fascists, and the fascists. The same kinds of methods which were used by Herbert Hoover. You know, Roosevelt was not elected because of Herbert Hoover's 1929 crash. Roosevelt was elected because of popular reaction to the disastrous effects of Hoover's austerity policies, which sank the U.S. economy and the incomes of people in the United States by about one-half.
So, the problem is, how do we reorganize, having taken those measures? First, the United States government takes responsibility, for putting a sick, bankrupt, international financial-monetary system into bankruptcy. And believe me, if the U.S. government does it, if the President of the United States does it, the rest of the world will just have to go along. Some willingly; some not willingly. But they will go along. We are not going to kill people in order to pay usurious debts.
Now, beyond that, how do we recover? Roosevelt had a program which worked. The basic program was basic economic infrastructure: Things that are within the public domain, the public responsibility, as opposed to private responsibility. This includes schools, of course, which is usually a municipal responsibility. This includes hospitals, and related health-care institutions, which is partly private, but is regulated by city, state, and Federal law. It involves large-scale transportation systems, including mass transportation for cities. It includes water systems, which are breaking down. It includes power generation and distribution. These kinds of things.
It includes, say, from here in the city of Cleveland, you go down to the Ohio River, and you take all that coal that is moved down the Ohio River, on which much of the nation's energy depends; and this coal delivery depends upon a system of locks and dams, which was set up last, about 40 years ago. If those locks and dams start to collapse, or go out of maintenance, then the coal barges on the Ohio River, stop flowing. And then, we have a crisis. So, we have to fix those kinds of water systems.
We have to take care of municipal water systems, and county water systems, for drinking water and so forth, for people. Public sanitation. These measures.
What Roosevelt did, is, he took the obvious needs of the nation, and put people to work doing things that were obviously needed, within the government purview; that is, Federal, state, and local purview. He also did big projects, like completing the Hoover dam, which is a great power project and water project for a whole region of the United States. He built the TVA. The TVA transformed an area of dead life, Tennessee, the Tennessee Valley, transformed it into a wealthy area, a productive area, through power and water management. Things like that. We couldn't have developed the nuclear weapons for World War II, without the TVA: It was the power of the TVA that made that possible at Oak Ridge. If you go down to Tennessee today, or go down into northern Alabama, for example, you see the large works that were done, essentially then, and improved, on which the well-being of what was once a good industrial area of the nation, industrial and agriculture, until we began to shut it down about 40 years ago. This was a rich area of prosperity, and Roosevelt created it.
The other thing that he did, of course, was to stimulate the private sector, by credit for loans through banks, under government sponsorship and supervision, to ensure that worthy investors had the credit available to employ people and do things. The employment of a lot of people in infrastructure, created the market in which these private firms could prosper. And we have to do the same thing today. But it's not quite enough. And that comes to this.
Now, let's take a picture, briefly, from a few of these animations, as to what our problem is. Let's take first, this industrial job collapse in the so-called Rust Belt today. You know all about it. You're living in it.
That is what you're experiencing in the Cleveland area, and adjoining parts of the United States right now. That's the immediate source of suffering. That's what happened to Cleveland.
Now, take another case; look at the industrial job collapse in the state of Ohio, alone.
Do you see Cleveland on that map? Do you remember what happened to Cleveland, in terms of places of employment and opportunities, as a result of this? Hmm? That's part of the job.
Just to get a more general thing, let's go out of the industrial area, and look at the other area in hotel and restaurant jobs in the state of Ohio.
So, therefore, cheap-labor jobs have tended to increase, and people have been absorbed in cheap-labor jobs, while they've lost the more productive, higher-paying jobs.
And this has been called "progress" by Alan Greenspan and by the Bush Administration.
Now, what's the problem? About 40 years ago, the United States began the process of going to hell. We had been up until the middle of the 1960s, we had been the world's leading producer society. But then, we underwent a change; a change coinciding with the launching of the Indo-China War. It also coincided with the launching of people who would come from fairly well-to-do families, went to leading universities, were trained to become the leaders of future society. And, what did they do, at the universities? They took off their clothes, had sex with trees, and so forth, and took LSD—and many of them succeeded to rising to high positions in our government, and you see the result of that operation. But, more and more, we became a post-industrial society.
Now, what we actually did, is, we relied upon looting poorer countries: for example, Mexico. We looted Mexico: In 1982, the United States government ran an operation to virtually break the back of the Mexican economy. And the Mexican economy has been broken, step by step, ever since then. But what did we do? What we did, is, we said to Mexico, sooner, as we had a lot of poor down there, we said, "You come to work for the United States—cheap."
Now, look at the conditions of life. The conditions of life in Mexico, today, are far worse, than they were then. Mexican industries, which existed then, are gone! We have ruined Mexico.
All right, now we have the largest so-called minority in the United States, are people of Hispanic-language origin, a lot of them Mexicans. A lot of them from other parts of Central America and South America and so forth. But, what's happened? We've brought these people in; we've brought them in as cheap labor. We've encouraged them to come in as illegal immigrant labor, because employers wanted cheap labor, and people who are running around as immigrants, without legal status in the United States, work much cheaper than people who have legal status.
You find recently, that the increase in employment, in the largest minority group in the United States, people of Hispanic-language origin—they're getting poorer all the time! The increase in employment, is only among those who come into the country in the past four years, which means they're the cheapest labor. Look then, at Mexico: We are destroying Mexico economically, with these policies!
People say we have a border problem. We have a borderline mentality in terms of our present President. That's what our problem is.
So, obviously, our interest is to increase the productive powers of labor, not only in our own country, but in neighboring countries, such as Mexico. That if Mexico develops, that's good for us. And we should have programs of our government, which cooperate with Mexico to that effect: We help them; they help us.
Now, the secret of all this, is what? How did we become this great nation? How did European civilization arise to such power, after the Middle Ages? Because a principle was understood and adopted, with a lot of resistance. The principle was appreciated most greatly in the United States. The development of science, technology, and Classical culture, in European civilization, over the period of the 15th Century on—despite religious wars and all the other things that happened—produced an individual who is more capable of sustaining himself on this planet, than ever before. For example: Before that time, the total population of the planet was about 700 million people. Now, we have over 6 billion. How did we get 6 billion people? In all the times that mankind lived before then, life-expectancy was low, on the average. Conditions of life were poor. How did we improve? We improved by understanding a principle: In ancient times, before our time, most people lived as human cattle; they were subjected to the conditions of either herded cattle, like cows, or hunted cattle, like wild beasts. They had no rights. They were not expected to do much thinking. They were not allowed to do much thinking—they were not educated. They were exploited.
The emergence of modern European civilization, introduced for the first time a principle—it was not a new principle to humanity; the principle had existed before, but it had not had official status. And the principle was, that the function of government is to ensure the promotion of the general welfare of all of the people in the country, and of their posterity. And therefore, the obligation of government is to serve all of the people. How do we do that? Well, we did it partly by education. We did it partly by promoting new industries, new technologies.
What does this mean? How is mankind, a creature which, if man were an animal, like a monkey or a baboon, the total population of human beings on this planet could never be more than several million individuals at any one time, under the conditions of the past 2 million years. How do we have 6 billion people today, when, if man were an animal, we'd only have a few million, miserable creatures? It's because the human being is not an animal.
The human being has a mind, which no animal has. The human being is capable of discovering principles, including universal physical principles. The human being is capable of cooperating, in developing and using these principles. The human being, by applying these principles, increases man's power over nature. We're able to transform nature, from a brutal form, into an organized form—like our irrigation systems in agriculture; the development of agriculture; the improvement of forestation; the improvement of the conditions of life; the development of cities, which are decent places in which people can live. These are all essential parts of this process of encouraging people to develop, to be educated, to increase their powers of labor, and to go on to create a better society.
For many of us, this is the side of immortality: That we inherit ideas, ideas of principle, which are given to us by previous generations, by great discoverers of the past. We learn these principles. They become part of us. We pass these principles on to others, and hopefully we increase the discovery of such principles, and make the world better for us.
Now, let me just take you into an excursion through a subject of what you might call "ecology," but higher than ecology. In the universe, in science, we know three kinds of phenomena: One, are phenomena which we call "abiotic." That is, they are non-living processes. Why do we call them non-living? Because we can explain and master these processes without assuming there's such a thing as a principle of life involved.
Secondly, you have processes, which are called "living processes," which can do things that non-living processes can not do. For example, take the planet Earth. The oceans of the planet, are creations of living processes. The atmosphere of the Earth, was created by living processes. The Earth is more and more affected, by a growing percentile of the total weight of the Earth, is a product of fossils, of living processes—more and more. Water is such a fossil; air is such a fossil.
But there is a third category, beyond mere life: the category of human beings. And human beings, through discoveries of principle which no animal can make, now transform the planet, at a higher level than simply living processes. We create a new dimension of environment, which a great Russian scientist called "the Noosphere," the effects of the creative mind of man, producing things that nature by itself can not produce.
And that's what we are. How are we able to have a higher standard of living, physically? Is by making discoveries; learning discoveries that others have made; applying those discoveries in cooperation, to our environment, to our circumstances; increasing our productive powers, and creating conditions under which people can live longer, live healthier, live better, in the future. That should be the purpose of society.
That was the intention of the founding of this republic, the United States. And we, obviously, are far away from that, right now.
Now, there's another aspect to this, when it comes to economy, which is the thing we're talking about today. We're now losing our basic economic infrastructure. For example, I mentioned already the locks and dams along the Ohio River, which are now about running out of steam. They're about to collapse. Why? Because they were designed to last about 40 years, and they were built about 40 years ago. We're losing power systems all over the country. Most of them were developed about 60 years ago, 50 to 60 years ago, and intended to last about 50 or 60 years. In the past 40 years, we have decreased our replacement of these essential sources of economy, just as we've destroyed industry. And you saw this in the result: We have lost industry.
Ohio, for example, was a very productive area for a long time. It was one of the first great states, which emerged once we crossed the Alleghenies, and began to develop a continental nation. The farms of Ohio, which became the breeding places of the small industries and the larger industries, produced a population of a high standard of culture, very productive. We are now destroying that! What you see in the city of Cleveland, which was once a wealthy city, is being destroyed. What you see throughout Ohio, is the destruction of a section of this country. You see the misery, to which we are subjecting people. It's like we're going back to the Stone Age! The rights of people are being taken away: There's no right to health care, any more—less and less. There's no right to education any more. Why should we educate you? There's no jobs for you; why educate you? Health care? You're not going to live that long, anyway! You're not that useful.
So, this attitude creeps in as a matter of policy.
So therefore, the issue here is, we have to realize that a society must invest over 50% of its total product, in creating and maintaining basic economic infrastructure: such as power generation and distribution; such as water systems; such as ecological systems, such as forests and things of that sort which are necessary to maintain our environment; to maintain health systems, educational systems, without which our economy doesn't function.
These are investments that would take time. For example: Today, if we're going to do what we must do, that is, what role the United States is going to play, in a world in which China and India and other countries are coming up: What do they need from us? What are we going to produce for them, that they need from us? Well, they have technology. China has a high-technology industry; India does. But they have a lot of poor people. They don't have enough technology. Therefore, our job should be, to take our population, which has a base in high technology—as Western Europe does—we should educate our people, up to the limit, our young people. We should provide high-technology jobs, not low-technology jobs. We should supply the education and the health care that goes with that.
Now, to do this, if we're going to produce a nation, which is qualified as a labor force, to produce what people need around the world, for all these parts of the world—if we're going to do this, we're going to have to spend 25 years, the first 25 years of the life of most of our newborn people, in developing in education. That is, in developing the skills that go with this kind of role in the United States, in the world at large.
Therefore, we have to invest, as you know, if you're parents: You have to invest, without much compensation (certainly not financial compensation), you have to invest in that child, that adolescent, that young adult, over a period of 25 years, between the time the child is born and the time he has become a qualified, professional person, emerging from an education program. That's a capital investment of 25 years, an investment in one generation. An investment, for example again, as compared to an investment in a power system, again, 50 years, 60 years; an investment in water systems, 40 years to 50 years; investment in mass-transportation systems, again, 50 to 60 years. These kinds of things.
So therefore, what we must do, is this: I must do what I do best, which is to undertake a program of educating the U.S. population, at large, in the ABCs of a science which I call "physical economy"; which is otherwise known as "physical economy." Physical economy was actually the concept on which the American Constitution was based, the so-called Hamiltonian system.
We have to realize that we must educate and develop the creative mental powers of the individual person, so they are a creative personality. The attitude today, is more and more, we don't want to educate people to make discoveries. We want to educate them to "repeat after me." What is called education today, is not education for people: It's education for animals. It's animal-training! That's George Bush's "No Animal Left Behind." Hmm?
What we need is a different emphasis on education. The emphasis has to be, the development of the child. That means, for example, a class size of not more than 25, and probably 15 to 25: Because, if you're going to educate people on ideas, you're going to educate on having the class engaged in a discussion of ideas. That means the students are not going to read something, hear something, and then pass an examination. They're going to go through the process of participating in making the discovery, which the teacher is leading at that time. That way, we're going to generate people who think in terms of ideas; who think in terms of generating ideas; who think in terms of making discoveries. These are the people who could be geniuses.
We've done this with the youth movement, for example. That's a whole story in itself, but I've demonstrated, to my satisfaction: You take a bunch of people off the streets, between 18 and 25, and you put them through that kind of an educational program—groups of 15 to 25 at a time; working together; taking assignments on discovery of original ideas, or rediscovery. Showing that they don't really know how to pass the examination: They know how to discover the principle which solves the question posed by the examination. I've found that these young people are way ahead of many people in universities, because instead of having to learn to "repeat after me," they have gone through the experience of making a discovery.
So therefore, my emphasis is on the mind of the human individual. We must provide the human individual, development of their mind. The creative powers of the mind; not the powers of imitation; not the powers of being foolish; but the powers of their mind. We have to give them the opportunity to live that kind of life, by making them productive, by providing them forms of work, which are basic economic infrastructure, forms of work which are productive work, particularly with more and more skills in it.
For example, what are we going to do with all the young kids in the United States, who really have no skills whatsoever? We've got a mass army of unemployed. What're we going to do with them? They have no jobs, they have no training for jobs, they have no culture for jobs. Are we going to let them rot on the beach? Or, are we going to do what Roosevelt did, with the CCCs, for example? Are you going to create programs, in which young people can get into a work-and-study program, where they can become qualified, and work their way up.
For example, take the state of Michigan, a nearby state. You had a famous division in World War II—the division came out of the CCCs. It's a famous division there. So, here were people who were dumped into the CCCs, for this kind of training, and they became upgraded, not merely as soldiers; but, when they came back from the war, they were part of the industrial development of this area, from that kind of training. That must be our objective at this time.
So, thus, before we get to this discussion as such, my basic program is this: We have to simply start by doing what Roosevelt did. We have to put a bankrupt financial-monetary system into receivership, for bankruptcy reorganization, to ensure the continuity of functioning of our economy. We have to expand the economy, to absorb the unemployed, to create more employment. We have to start with an emphasis on basic economic infrastructure, which includes education facilities, health care, mass transportation, urban renewal, power generation and distribution, water management, and those kinds of things.
We then, also, have to use that as a basis for stimulating small employers, who generally are high-skilled employers—you know what I mean: The guy who ran the machine-tool shop. And get more and more of those kinds of jobs working, using the public employment in infrastructure as a stimulant for the private contractors who work with these kinds of projects.
We have to have a target of upgrading our youth in schools. We have to massively upgrade the educational program. We have to aim at a target for secondary schools and higher, of not more than 25 in a class, and generally 15 to 25 as an optimal group for a real learning process in school. We have to restore a scientific education, and a Classical education, in the school system, so we qualify people not only to improve themselves, and to develop, and enjoy that experience, but to go on to professional careers of various kinds in life.
We have to spend about 25 years, from now on, in rebuilding the United States. But, we have to do one thing above all: We have to eliminate the idea that some of you are the bright guys, who are going to run the country, and the others are dummies, who do as they're told. That's pretty much what you have now. You're going to have to have a sense, that we are trying to get the maximum creativity out of every person. We don't want stagnation. We want scientific and technological progress. Not merely because it has benefits for us in society, but because you want the individual person, to have the opportunity to participate in scientific and technological progress, as a part of their working life. As a part of their experience. As a part of their identity. We must eliminate the idea, that some people in this society are condemned to be on the lower level, are condemned to be ignorant, are condemned to be uneducated, are condemned to do as they're told. We've got to get the idea of taking a child, who may come from the poorest circumstances, who can rise to being a great leader of a nation. You want that objective. You look at every child, and you say, "What can that child become? Well, let's see what that child can do. Let's give that child the stimulus and opportunity to do so."
Let's do the same thing with people at work: Give them jobs at which they have a chance to progress. And do that with the aid of technological and scientific progress. Give them a sense of being meaningful in their community. Give them a sense of participating, not as people who learn how to "get along" with the society, but people who are citizens of a society, who actually, collectively make the decisions, are part of the deliberation process, which settles the policy of the nation.
You know, in the past period, over 40 years, especially since 1977, we've had a degeneration in the United States, where the income levels of the lower 80% of family-income groups, has been dropping, progressively, more and more. You see it! You know it! This was a deliberate policy! A post-industrial utopia!
What we've done, is, these people who are in the lower 80%, more and more flee from reality, because they don't think they really have any power. When they vote, they don't think they have any power. They think they have the power to beg; the power to beg and threaten: "I'll give you my vote; you give me something." So, they're not thinking about their taking responsibility for saying how the country should be run, how their city should be run. They're thinking about how they can get by, by intimidating or begging from authority.
And you have a society in which the upper 20% thinks they run the society; they think the lower 80% are just conveniences. They don't understand what a human being is. And therefore, we've had a problem which has led to this crazy election situation, with Bush.
If we'd been a sane society, Bush could never have been elected, or even appointed. The man is mentality ill, and stupid. How could any—how could honest citizens think of voting for such an idiot? But, you find, in the lower 80% of family-income brackets, among people who are not in the worst income brackets, who are between the ages of 30 and 50—and you find among these, religious fanatics, who admire Bush, because he doesn't ask them to look at reality. He gives them fantasy. He says, "I don't have to have a brain. I got my orders from God." And you have people who believe that!
What we have done, is, not only have we oppressed people in the lower 80%, physically and otherwise: What we have done is destroyed their minds, and souls, by taking away from them the sense of a rational responsibility, as citizens, for what happens to our society. We've put them outside society. And if they behave like crazy people, let's not be surprised: We asked them to behave that way! We took away meaningful employment; we shut down the farms, the private farms; we shut down the industries; we ruined the communities. And they're sitting out there, in churches and so forth, and they're going crazy! They're outside the real world, living in a fantasy-life, hoping the Battle of Armageddon will come so they won't have to pay their rent next month. That kind of thing. We did that to our people!
And, we have to ensure, if we want to maintain a republic, that we have citizens—where every citizen, including all of the lower 80%, see themselves as citizens! As someone who is actively involved in deciding, what the nation will do. They don't have to decide exactly what the nation will do, but they have to have a voice in the process of debate, which determines what the decision will be.
We have to change ourselves back to becoming a true republic. And therefore, we have to put the emphasis, on the notion that man is not an animal. He's not a doggie; he's not a cat; he's not a monkey. Man is a thinking creature, the only thinking creature apart from God, in the universe. Every individual contains that divine quality, of the power of creativity, which no animal has. Every person is sacred.
And our job in life, and our job in politics, is to provide for every individual, the opportunity to express that divine quality in themselves, in some manner of their choice, to give them the access to the education, to the opportunity, to do that. To be a society of ideas, not a society of blind passions.