This article appears in the November 20, 2020 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
September 28, 1987
The Deeper Grounds for Philosophical Doubts Respecting the Existence of ‘Joe Biden’
This is Part 1 of a paper by Lyndon H. LaRouche that analyzes the character of Joe Biden—written 33 years ago. It is even more crucial today than it was in 1987. It was originally published by the LaRouche Democratic Campaign (LDC), candidate Lyndon LaRouche’s campaign committee for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President.
This month, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) declassified some aspects of my technical assistance and relationships to our government during the 1976-1984 period. This permits me, now, to expose the falseness of rumors and wild speculations spread by many journalists and publications; I am able to make clearer my exact role in connection with what became known as the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative or “SDI”: nothing I did confidentially as a patriotic citizen’s aid to his government, differed from what I was advocating publicly during the same period of time.
So, on the CNN “Larry King Show” of Friday, September 18, and at a Boston press conference of Tuesday, September 22, 1987, I disclosed the bare facts of my back-channel discussions with Moscow, at the request of our government, over the period January 1982 through mid-April 1983, a discussion featuring what was later named the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). I have also disclosed the fact that my refusal to assist the Contra operation is key to understanding fully the 1983 rupture in my earlier, closer relations with the Reagan Administration.
This disclosure, of one of the biggest such stories leaked by anyone during the recent period, had a double purpose.
It was a test, of how far the major news-media coverage would go in limiting its coverage of me to concocted fantasies distributed by the Department of Justice. Some news media did violate the prosecutor’s guidelines for coverage of me.
More important, my campaign for the U.S. Democratic presidential nomination was not helped by the news media’s false rumors about my confidential activities. Now, I was free to discuss openly matters bearing upon the nature of the present strategic crisis, and to make clearer why experience has caused me to adopt the various policies which I have put forward variously in support or opposition to the policies of the Carter and Reagan administrations.
The subject I treat in this report, is currently at the center of my differences with the U.S. intelligence community, the issue of method which has separated my own strategic thinking from that of the majority of “think tanks” and related institutions. To make the issue more accessible to the intelligent layman, I start with the most important lesson to be learned from Senator Biden’s ouster from the 1988 presidential campaign.
Left, Right & Center
Near the close of this year’s major-league baseball season, plagiarist “Joe Biden,” stepped up to score two fouls followed by a wildly swinging third strike, and was then thrown out of the 1988 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. So much of Senator Biden is now attributed to be a carbon copy of other persons, that a humorist might be forced to speculate whether or not “Joe Biden” were merely a computer-synthesized laser-hologram, pieced together out of entries taken from Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.
Wit begs thus philosophical doubts that “Senator Joe Biden” actually exists; his birth certificate is probably genuine, but his public personality is an empty shell of borrowed rhetoric. Biden tried to rally the Democratic Party’s “McGovernite left” around his candidacy. His qualification for appealing to so diverse an aggregation of “new agers,” was his effort to say nothing which might offend any faction within that collection; this he accomplished by saying nothing which was not plagiarized bits of tested rhetoric, thus gaining adherents’ applause for saying really nothing at all.
However, Biden merely made most painfully obvious what is equally true of all my recent and present competitors for the Democratic nomination. They are all “four-flushers.” This is true not only of those who attempt to capture the support of the “McGovernite left”; the same is true of those who propose to establish themselves as symbolic leaders of the Philosophical “right” or “liberal center.” Not all politicians are “four-flushers,” but all who adopt the posture of attempting to symbolize the “left,” “right,” or “center” tend to be as devoid of personality as former candidate Biden.
This flaw common to the three varieties of ideologues has its origin in the fact, that the “left,” “right,” and “center” themselves do not exist except as ideological phantasms. To become merely a symbol of an ideology, is to become emptier than the ideology one purports to espouse. Hence, the “Peter Schlimihl”-like quality of a Biden and of the other candidates who walk an analogous pathway.
If history were still taught in our schools, it would be remembered that the political classifications of “right,” “left,” and “center” are fictions mystically attributed to the seating arrangements in France’s National Assembly of the 1789-1793 interval. If we judge political currents by the effects of their mind-sets upon the life of nations, the attempt to explain the main features of European (and American) history in those terms, is often almost as much an absurdity as it would be to classify politicians as being either hobgoblins (“right”), fairies (“left”), or gnomes (“centrists”).
Children at play might pretend that they are either hobgoblins, fairies, or gnomes. As many people pretend childishly that they are political adherents of the “left,” “right,” or “center,” that mere pretense is the reality of these popularized catch-words.
If I meet a man who declares with impassioned sincerity that he is a three-legged stool, the fact that he asserts himself to be a three-legged stool obliges me to reach certain conclusions about his mental state. If that man were to say, “If you do not agree that I am a three-legged stool, I will kill you,” we would take his assertion seriously. “Left,” “right,” and “center” are mythological concoctions, like elves and fairies; but, the popular belief in them exists efficiently as political behaviorisms, sometimes very dangerous ones.
Real-World Consequences of Fantasy
Biden brought this broader problem to our television screens in the hearings on the subject of Robert H. Bork’s nomination to be confirmed as a Justice of the Supreme Court. In that congressional soap-opera, the synthetic “Biden,” and some others, professed themselves so to be “leftish” opponents of the putative “right-winger” Bork. In the midst of this, the putative liberal, Mr. Lloyd Cutler, advanced himself to defend putative right-winger Bork. There were some dark looks in Mr. Cutler’s direction; the American left imagined that it had found in Mr. Cutler its ideological “Benedict Arnold.”
Mr. Cutler was betraying nothing but the same U.S. Constitution he has continued, over years, to demand be ripped up by a new constitutional convention. In defending Judge Bork, Mr. Cutler showed that he understands, as most of the putative left and news media do not, that there was never any deep difference between his own brand of liberalism and the putatively rightist views of nominee Bork.
Political differences between Cutler and Bork exist, but they are very shallow ones. On the surface, Mr. Cutler often espouses one arbitrary choice of ideological values, while Mr. Bork wears a different ideological veneer. Mr. Cutler, unlike the naive “leftists,” is astute enough to recognize that he and Bork have common ground in the fact that their choices of ideological values, while differing in patina, have a more profound, underlying likeness, that of being equally arbitrary, irrational.
Both reject the constitutional principle of natural law, that values must be the fruit of some intelligible act of reasoning. To the student of the history of philosophy of law, both gentlemen are consistent and faithful followers of such British empiricists and German Romantics as John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, Immanuel Kant, and Karl Marx’s Berlin professor of law, Karl Friedrich Savigny.
It is relevant that Savigny was the author of both Karl Marx’s dogma of “historical materialism” and of the populist (Volksgeist) law of Hitler’s Nazi Reich. Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Hume, Smith, Bentham, the “materialist Enlightenment” followers of René Descartes, James Mill, John Stuart Mill, and Karl Savigny are widely accepted by, and equally consistent with views of most ideologues variously self-esteemed as “left,” “center,” and “right.”
What all share in common is hostility to those principles of western European Judeo-Christian natural law upon which the U.S. Declaration of Independence and 1787-1789 Constitution were directly premised. “Left,” “right,” and “center” philosophies of law allow no room for the principles of law upon which the United States was founded. If a “left- winger,” “right-winger,” or pragmatic liberal of the “center” were to be rigorously consistent, he must imply that the United States had never existed: all three dogmas insist that no modern policy has ever existed which is not to be classified as either “left,” “right,” or “center.”
In the Senate proceedings, Robert H. Bork is considered for confirmation as Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, in a circumstance in which neither the nominee nor his ideological opponents accept the intent of the U.S. Constitution. Only a Boccaccio, a Rabelais, or a Johnathan Swift could capture for the popular imagination the essence of such a frivolous debate in the Senate and the major news-media.
The same issue, of “left,” “right,” and “center,” arises usually in news-media libels against me. Although I have been called ritually a “political extremist” only since August 1986, and that because of my hostility to the AIDS virus, over a dozen years it has become the habit of news media to argue that I am either or both “left” and “right,” and therefore a man of allegedly mysterious philosophical convictions.
I have often been challenged, as many citizens have observed this in radio and television interviews with me over the recent years, “Is Lyndon LaRouche really ‘left’ or ‘right’?” I reject both appellations, explaining that my views are traditionally American Whig. The interviewer then usually expresses anger, insisting that in politics everyone is either “left,” “right,” or “center.” “Who is Lyndon LaRouche,” he insists, “to say differently?” In the political lexicon of my interviewer, the Federalists and the Whig Party of Clay, Carey, and Lincoln never existed.
It is the ancient custom of the degenerated families of Venice, to go forth at night, masked, in the company of armed bands of homicidal delinquents, and either to murder or to play pranks of kindred colors. In truth, “left,” “right,” and “center” are of the same nature as such maskings. Instead of attending to real issues in real-life circumstances, the nightly marauder, the Venetian bravo, acts out a fantasy life. So do all who sally into politics as “leftist,” “right-wing,” or “center” political figures; those citizens who vote for candidates on the basis of perceiving them to be “left,” “right,” or “center,” are also acting out a fantasy.
A homicidal psychopath has murdered some members of a family, and holds the remainder terrified hostages in some room. That psychopath is acting out a fantasy born of some unhappy childhood relationship. His victims, as they are in real life, are not real for him; they are symbolic figures, part of some obscene fantasy-world within his deranged mind. Yet, his killing of them is real enough.
Such is the analogy for all who govern their real-world actions by the fantasy of “right,” “left,” and “center.” Such is the nature of the combined non-existence and reality of shaping political behavior by the mythological belief in the existence of “right,” “left,” and “center.”
Linear & Non-Linear Analysis
The set of the person’s mind guides his practice. So, if his mind is steeped in fantasy, his actions taken under the influence of that fantasy are actions with effects upon the real world. The credulous citizen, who believes stubbornly in the existence of “left,” “right,” and “center,” is, in that degree, analogous to a paranoid with a bloody axe; although his belief may be absurd, his acts under the influence of that delusion affect the real world.
In real life, it is not sufficient to know that your next-door neighbor, or a neighboring government might be seized occasionally by insane fits. Your life might depend upon being able to foresee the circumstances under which those fits occur, and to foresee the kinds of behavior which that neighbor is likely to manifest in that unfortunate condition. A fantasy, just because it is a denial of the real world, never explains why or how it changes the real world in a real way.
To understand the real-world mechanisms which ideology clothes in delusion, we must go behind the mask of fantasy. So, we can forecast the way the fantasy-life and real world interact. As a political strategic analyst, I must not only forecast the behavior of Soviet and other agencies, under various, alternative sets of circumstances. I must also recommend courses of actions for influencing Soviet behavior. To accomplish this, I must emphasize attention to features of the Soviet mind-set which the fantasy-ridden Soviet mind itself refuses to acknowledge as existing.
It was on this basis, for example, that I proposed a new strategic doctrine, of which the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) is an essential feature.
The role of ideology is analogous to the relationship between the puppet and the puppet-master, or between the beliefs known to some fictional character in a classical tragedy and the higher level of knowledge in the mind of the author composing that drama. The character in the tragedy acts as his partially deluded convictions compel him to act, just as the puppet-strings control the actions of the puppet. It is because the tragic figure clings to some delusion, when that delusion is guiding him to real-world disaster, that the tragic figure is destroyed.
To understand my professional work in political analysis, one must discard as nonsense the explanations of classical tragedy offered over recent decades by most academic authorities on Shakespeare’s plays. One must examine the classic dramas of ancient Aeschylus, Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Shakespeare, Lessing, and Schiller, from the vantage-point of Friedrich Schiller’s writings on the principles of composition of classical tragedy.
Linearity in Literature—And in War
Now decades ago, I attended a house party given by my playwright neighbor, with a number of his famous and less famous fellow-professionals. My host was then preparing a CBS-TV special on the subject of computers, and he wished my special expertise in this area. So, the relevant discussion went as a party chit-chat does.
I replied to my host’s query, that a large computer system could be programmed to write soap-operas or similar sorts of low-grade fiction, for example. Since MIT’s RLE [Research Laboratory of Electronics] was assisting CBS-TV in this project, I suggested that Professor Marvin Minsky’s task-force, working on so-called “artificial intelligence,” could carry out the kind of demonstration needed to illustrate my point.
A heated discussion of several hours’ duration erupted, with Paddy Chayefsky leading the criticism of my theses. It was a good discussion, I thought, almost a Socratic dialogue. At the end, most seemed convinced that my point was sound, although nearly all disliked it the more for that reason. To them, my argument seemed, like the famous line in O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh: “Hickey, you took the life out of the booze.” I seemed to debunk the modern writers’ profession.
Months later, my host told me that the demonstration I had suggested would be a featured part of the CBS-TV special, done in collaboration with MIT’s RLE center. I was amused to see that two of my philosophical adversaries, Marvin Minsky and Professor Noam Chomsky, had followed my outline.
My point to those at the party had been, that all popular fiction, including most of what passed as serious television, motion-picture, and stage drama, involved nothing which could not be accomplished, in principle, by a sufficiently powerful digital-computer system. I explained that all digital-computer systems were capable of nothing but linear systems of representation for the sufficient reason that they were digital computers.
Yet, popular fictional entertainments never reach above a fairly banal level of linearity; hence, it is implicitly possible to expand the idea of a “Plotto” mechanical device as a sophisticated computer package, and to perfect that package up to the point of generating something of as good a quality as most fictional TV entertainments.
I defined a three-level set of programming specifications needed to accomplish this. The Minsky-Chomsky demonstration by CBS-TV carried this through, more or less adequately, I thought, up through the first level of such specifications.
I added an additional point at the party. Classical drama could not be simulated in that same way. Fine art’s drama is based on what we know as Socratic method, the same method demonstrated by all of Plato’s dialogues. The “plot” of any Socratic dialogue is intrinsically “non-linear,” and therefore could not be simulated by any digital-computer system, no matter how powerful. My consoling proposition to the professionals was that the truly human creative element could be introduced to drama only through emphasis upon the non-linear features central to classical tragedy.
From my side, this discussion was the reflection of what had been, then, a dozen years of my work on the possibility of an intelligible representation of the higher functions of the human mind, those functions most easily illustrated by the cases of genuine scientific and technological discovery. My original discoveries in this field had been centered originally in economic science, on the cause-effect relationship between scientific-technological progress and rates of increase of the physical productivity of labor. As I have summarized this in my book The Power of Reason: 1988, my work in economic science overlapped and paralleled my investigations into the same, non-linear principles of classical aesthetics.
The discussion at that party was one among a number of related discussions held on related matters during the 1958-1960 interval, varied discussions which, in aggregate, led into my later, frequent disputes on methods of strategic analysis during the past ten years.
The Classical Military Tradition
Among the most serious strata of professionals within our intelligence community at large, there is a marked difference in approach separating most civilian professionals from the best military professionals. Typically, my approach tends to coincide with that of military professionals in the classical military tradition, and to conflict with the typically linear “scenarios” of the civilian professionals. The issue is the same as that which I reviewed with Paddy Chayefsky et al. during the party.
The linear scenario-writer begins with what he or she assumes to be the stereotyped “belief-structure” of key players in a situation. “Left,” “right,” and “center” are exemplary of such stereotypes. Then, following a procedure much like that which California think-tank computer-specialist Kenneth Colby derived from the work of Minsky and Chomsky, the scenario writer attempts to predict strategic behavior by RAND Corporation computer runs modelled upon methods for solutions to simultaneous linear inequalities.
My contrary approach emphasizes built-in non-linearities of all interactions occurring in the vicinity of critical shifts in the “geometry” of a strategic or analogous situation. In classical military thinking, this attention to non-linearities is analogous to the principle of the strategic “flank.”
Whether the military professional recognizes this fact or not, the principle of the flank, as treated in von Schlieffen’s famous study of Hannibal’s victory at Cannae, as seen in the victories of Alexander the Great and Frederick the Great, are applications of the same method of thinking employed as “Socratic dialogue” by Plato. General MacArthur’s brilliant strategy in the Pacific, in contrast to the relative linearity of the Anglo-American operations in Africa and Europe, illustrates the point.
Brute Force Conceals Errors in Method
A leading German veteran of World War II joked about his gratitude to Field Marshal Montgomery, on account of the latter’s inability to grasp the principle of flanking. While U.S. commanders were vastly better than bloody set-piece warriors such as Montgomery or Haig, the U.S. military’s lack of manifest capacity for tactical and strategic improvisation he had found astonishing.
Patton improvised, of course, but did so on the verge of insubordination. Only MacArthur’s Pacific campaign belongs in the history of the world’s great commanders, and MacArthur was ousted early during the Korean War as a man whose ideas of victory did not fit into the linear landscape of post-war “crisis management.”
Fortunately, despite the exemplary abuse of Patton and MacArthur, we have still senior military figures in the classical tradition, who, given their heads, would not repeat the disastrous decisions made under the direction of the past forty years’ diplomats and scenario-writers.
I am an economist and statesman, not a military figure; but successful strategy is at least eighty percent culture, economics, and politics, leaving no more than twenty percent of the total exertion to lethal action. What I have learned from the study of 2,500 years of history, shows me that the correct form of classical military thinking converges upon results which reflect and are essentially identical with the strategic thinking of the greatest statesmen.
The problem has been, that on the surface of events, it might appear that linear-scenario methods have succeeded on most occasions.
During most of the post-war period, the shaping of U.S. strategic policy has been spoiled by what appeared to be repeated successes achieved by a defective method. As long as our post-war Anglo-American establishment seemed to represent overwhelming economic and other power on this planet, it was possible to force events to conform to the prescription of think-tank sorts of scenarios. The Anglo-Americans could designate the players, orchestrate coups bringing the chosen players to power, while the other players were each forced to play their part to the effect which the scenario-writers had prescribed.
When Apparent Success Means Self-Destruction
The ruling decision-makers, for example, could say to our institutions: “Overthrow that government, and replace it with the following list of players, according to the following scenario.” That became policy. The institutions carried out the policy pretty much according to the planned scenario. Despite the unsettling experience of the long war in Indo-China, it seemed to be the general rule that this sort of implementing policy-decisions by scenario worked. The scenario, so situated, became the accepted method.
The analogy is the case of the end-game “brilliancy” in chess. In all such chess cases, one player has established a mastery of the middle-game position of which the opponent and many onlookers are not adequately aware. The end-game then becomes a devastating victory, such that the winning player “slaughters” the hapless opponent’s forces in a stunningly “brilliant” way. In much of post-war Anglo-American practice, the preponderance of brute force in the hands of the Anglo-Americans represented an advantage analogous to such a powerful middle-game position. Under those conditions, scenarios often succeeded, with what seemed to be stunning “end-game brilliancies.”
I have long recognized the intrinsic fallacies in these apparent series of brilliancies, and have insisted that our policy-shapers pay attention to the existence of circumstances under which such scenario-plays must lead to crushing defeats.
Since I have been committed all of my adult life, especially the recent twenty years, to a strategic policy of economic development of developing sectors of the planet, a key to the strengthening of western civilization, I have been pitted against the prevailing policy of the Anglo-American establishment on this point, especially since the introduction of the “post-industrialization” policy, under President Johnson, now twenty years ago. Thus, I have been in the position of acting from a standpoint of enormous inferiority of means relative to the opposing forces at the disposal of our establishment. Sometimes, the very survival of my friends and allies has depended upon my understanding the crucial weaknesses in the method of thinking of that establishment.
So, I have understood the establishment’s follies of method better, by my playing so the part of its “black hat” opponent in the real-life global game.
In the real world, all processes which appear to be adequately explained in a linear way, under some conditions, must inevitably reach a kind of limit. At this limit, or “boundary condition,” the process is pushed into a region of qualitative change, a point at which previously successful linear tactics fail. The process then becomes clearly “non-linear.” It always was; but at such points this fact becomes predominant.
The essence of my strategy and tactics has been “nonlinear” in the same sense I described the flaws of linearity to Paddy Chayefsky et al. This was natural to me, in the sense that all of my intellectual and related development has been associated with mastery of non-linear problems, in economics, in culture, in politics, and, during more recent years, in grand strategy.
The tragic flaw inherent in the Anglo-American establishment, is that the material power at its disposal was created and maintained by those cultural processes we associate with capital-intensive investment in a continuing process of scientific and technological progress. Yet, both respecting the post-war developing sector, and, over twenty years, also inside the OECD nations, the policy toward which that establishment has directed the use of that appropriated power, has been the destruction of principled commitment of the West as a whole to the continuation of such capital-intensive investment in scientific and technological progress.
Sooner or later, the direct contradiction between the establishment’s source of power and the tendency of its policy toward destroying that source of power, must become evident. At such points, the linear methods which had once seemed so successful must break down. Then, only non-linear approaches succeed.
Thus, even the Bolshevik dynasty’s Russian empire, with all the cultural and other flaws tending to prevent its material and related progress, has been able to overtake the OECD nations in strategic potential, and is now threatening to surpass us, and move on toward world-wide imperial rule during the decade or so ahead.
When Familiar Methods No Longer Work
Take as example the case of former CIA Director William Casey’s role in directing the U.S. coup which brought Mrs. Corazon Aquino to the presidency in the Philippines. The intelligence establishment had the power over the news media and Congress to set this coup into motion, to cause most in the United States to believe things about the Philippines which were outright lies. Having sold this pack of lies to the Congress and others, the establishment had sufficient control over key players within the Philippine military to bring off the 1986 coup. Now, more and more recognize that that coup was a strategic disaster, which has placed control of a Philippines now threatened with dismemberment, into the hands of Moscow. Now, one hears in Washington, “Gee whiz, fellas, I guess we made a little mistake,” from many of the same crowd which played a leading part in the earlier coup.
Because of the opposition to that coup and to the Contra operation by me and my friends, Casey et al. acted to throw my friends and me to our enemies within the intelligence community, not to destroy us, but “to teach them a lesson.” It is now clear that my friends and I were the patriots, and Casey et al. was playing the strategic fool.
Casey turned against us, not because we criticized his folly-ridden Iran, Contra, and Philippines policy, but because our opposition threatened to become operationally effective. Had President Ferdinand Marcos heeded our advice, he would not have been overthrown, and the United States would not be threatened with a global strategic disaster in the Philippines today. Yet, although many in the U.S. intelligence community would admit those to be the facts now, they have not learned the most important lesson: that our method was the correct one, and their method was inherently a source of disasters.
Read the spy-novels produced by leading veterans of the British and U.S. intelligence establishments. Philosophically and historically, they are sensationalist, Hollywood-style trash. The world does not work that way, except as overwhelming brute force might create the appearance it does; no really sophisticated intelligence operations in history ever unfold in that way. Really important operations unfold over generations, and are mastered only by men and women who think on the scale of generations, who are able to foresee that in a time of crisis, continuing adherence to the “time-tested” lessons of experience is a road to assured disaster.
Over the post-war period to date, the successful looting of the developing sector, aggravated by the successful imposition of neo-Malthusian cultural and economic agendas, has not only destroyed the relatively overwhelming, earlier post-war superiority of the OECD nations’ civilization. It has fostered the emergence of mass-based forces of a “new dark age,” as typified by Khomeini’s regime in Iran, or the Sendero Luminoso narco-terrorist operations in Peru. That is the lesson of Sandinista-ruled Nicaragua. It is the cumulative effect of year-by-year policy-operations on the molding of economy and culture, which determines the way in which the forces of history are reshaped: Old forces, once predominant, wither, and new ones come to the fore. This occurs usually over the span of generations.
So, over extended periods, it may appear that one set of superior brute forces, acting by a certain method, was able to rule the world more or less successfully. Yet, by ruling so, they successfully destroyed the resources upon which their power to rule was premised, in fact. This brought about a qualitative change in the configuration of forces. So, the method which has seemed to work so well for so long, produced a pattern of disastrous defeats.
That cumulative pattern, culminating in a non-linear shift, so described, is typical of all great compositions in classical tragedy since Aeschylus.
In the period of crises so cumulatively brought into being, all of the familiar habits of statecraft show themselves to be not only misguided, but worse than futile. So, the United States has come to be situated during the course of the recent ten years of my persisting quarrel, over the issue of method, with the majority of the factions of the U.S. Intelligence community.
Non-Linear Analysis: Do It or Die
In a period of crisis so defined, all of the important factors to be considered are non-linear in the most immediate way. In history, such periods are the periods of wars and kindred crises. It is therefore to such periods that the classical military tradition was specifically attuned. All classical military science is attuned to those specific times of crisis in which all ordinary habits of statecraft break down, in which the fate of nations depends upon the combined cultural, economic, political, and lethal forces, interacting in a non-linear way.
In this latter circumstance, effective policy and leadership are those explicitly focused upon the non-linear considerations. Such is the situation today.
Socratic method, as exemplified by Plato’s dialogues, differs from the intrinsic linearity of logical formalism, in that its focus is upon the uncovering of and replacing of faulty assumptions underlying habituated ways of thinking. Using schoolbook Euclidean geometry as an example, what Socratic method accomplishes, is the elimination of hallowed but false axioms of policy-shaping, and replacing those axioms with correct choices of underlying assumptions. In modern mathematical physics, that is Riemannian physics of the non-linear domain. That is my method.
My increasingly important function, within the U.S. and among nations—our allies or other friends—has been to elaborate strategic analyses and options representing appropriate sorts of non-linear alternatives to the scenario-dominated policy-thinking of the think-tanks and kindred institutions. For excellent reasons, I shall not identify publicly some of those recommendations which have had a useful impact on aspects of our nation’s strategic policy-thinking, except to indicate that my 1982 design for what became known as the SDI is a key example of this.
This is the reason I have sought the presidency four times. In 1976, my objective was propagandistic, to bring the connection between global economic development and the strategic crises into a single focus, and to use the presidential campaign as a way of forcing this to the attention of policy-influencing circles as well as citizens. In 1980, 1984, and now, my candidacy for the Democratic nomination has been in dead seriousness, rather than the limited purpose of the 1976 campaign. No other leading figure in our public life so far is disposed to face both the reality of the worsening crises before us, or to attack these crises in the only way they can be mastered, non-linearly.
Now, this is a matter of do or die for the United States. The combination of the looming financial crisis, the worsening state of our economy, the worsening strategic crisis, and the AIDS pandemic, is a package of crises which must be mastered by my choice of method, or not mastered at all. Among other visible and possible candidates, of both parties, even those I like personally, none would ever be able “to cut the mustard.” They seem pathetic candidates not because some of them would not be passable candidates under different, relatively more linear circumstances, but because the reality of the situation is way beyond their grasp, emotionally and intellectually. They are all linear thinkers, hopeless mediocrities for the kinds of tasks now confronting us.
The matter of “left,” “right,” and “center” must be examined in these historical terms of reference.
The second half of this paper will appear in our next issue.