Ending the Culture of Death: Restoring the Soul of America
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A scene from “Just Another Day: How to Survive an Active Shooter Event on Campus” by Towson University.
June 15—Two key turning points of bad policy following the untimely death of President Franklin Roosevelt—the murder of both President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King leading up to the 1971 destruction of the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate system, and the near collapse of the system in 1998 leading up to the 9/11 attacks and the treasonous presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama—were a process of willfully destroying the generation then coming of age, by subjecting it to the kinds of horrors that cause people to abandon hope in the future, and escape into pleasure and death. We are now living in the aftermath of these utterly disastrous turns away from the productive vision and leadership of Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy, and a modest attempt to revive aspects of their outlook by Presidents Reagan and Clinton. Today, with the coup against President Trump crumbling, and the ability to enact LaRouche’s Four Laws during Trump’s administration growing, we have an opportunity to pick up the broken pieces of our society and reform it anew. But first we must acknowledge where we truly are, and how we got here.
Several key social indicators are examined here in detail: the shocking rise of suicides (including public mass murder suicides, often called active shooter events), the rise in overdoses by drugs (especially opioids), and the increasing escape into video games (including highly realistic murder simulators). Consider these factors against the backdrop of a collapsing economic system that has turned from physical economy to monetarism, developed in more detail elsewhere in the report.
Consider, for example, a Towson University video that seeks to train students on how to survive an active shooter situation on their campus. The video should be alarming for many reasons, as it is titled, “Just Another Day: How to Survive an Active Shooter Event on Campus.”
A Culture of Violence and Death
What we must understand is that the culture that we are living in—a culture that promotes a culture of death and violence in our society—should be far from normal and is absolutely anything other than “just another day.” One particular point in the video makes us question how such a culture of violence and disregard for human life has become so commonplace in our society. The video has a classroom scene, in which a professor is teaching his students a “concept of Keynesian economics.” He explains: “So, let’s break it down. As to do with anything in monetary policy, it’s all about winners and losers.” The video then cuts to a gunman wearing all black, carrying a duffle bag and armed with a long rifle, stepping onto the campus. The gunman starts to fire into the campus and the video describes scenarios of how the shooting might play out and what actions should be taken. The three actions to be taken in an active shooter situation are described as follows: 1. Avoid 2. Deny 3. Defend. It recommends that students and staff run and avoid the gunman, to get to safety as quickly as possible. Secondly, if you are unable to get out, then deny the gunman access by locking and barricading the door and being as quiet as possible so as not to draw attention to your presence. Finally, if the gunman makes his way in, then everyone should prepare to defend themselves, grabbing whatever they can find to take down the shooter.
A Study of 160 Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000-2013: Incidents AnnuallyView full size
Now, I want you to go back to the professor’s lesson in economics: “There are winners and losers.” This is the line that is ingrained into our children’s heads as they go through life. This is what has defined our society. This is what is at the core of the violent video games that your children play for hours on end. Millions of children play popular games like Fortnite and Counter Strike, where their goal is to kill everyone so that they (or their team) are the last one standing.
It is a tragedy in our culture that has made people desensitized to violence and death. We must replace a culture of mass death that encourages mass shootings, drug overdoses, and the horrific scenes of violent video games that are in played in real life, with a culture that embraces the dignity and value of human life. The solution to ending a dark age culture of death is to replace it with a renaissance and a culture that embraces creativity, and where economics is not based on monetary value, which declares that there are winners and losers. We must replace this tragic culture with one that embraces economics as advancing the creative powers of the human mind.
When You Refused to Heed the
Warnings of Columbine
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic shootings that took place at Columbine High School, when two young men wearing trench coats began shooting fellow students outside the high school, located in the Littleton, a suburb south of Denver, Colorado. The pair moved inside the school, where they gunned down many of their victims in the library. The shooters killed 13 people and wounded 21 others before turning the guns on themselves.
In the aftermath of that horrific event, Lyndon LaRouche released a report on June 11, 1999, titled “Star Wars and Littleton,” which included the following statements: “Unless the U.S. government, and many relevant other influentials, change their view of this problem, abandoning the useless approach they have publicized thus far, the horror will continue, gun laws or no gun laws. Unless relevant institutions get down to the serious business of addressing the actual causes for this pattern of incidents, this murderous rampage will persist…
“My function, in this report, is to define the methods which must be brought to bear, if the danger posed by this new form of terrorism is to be brought under control… If you are willing to be serious, at long last, you will now turn your attention to the scientific roots of the problem.
“Merely ending the sale of satanic video games, such as Doom… will not put this horror back in the box from whence it came. This new problem of terrorism must be attacked, by focusing on the conditions which many readers have been complicitly condoning. Face the fact, that it might be your negligent tolerance which has contributed to the popularizing of such video games and cult films, especially the spread of these among suggestible children and adolescents.
“What are the methods which have, similarly, turned so many among our children and adolescents into such ‘zombies’ as those killers? …
“To grasp the horror posed by such cases, restate the same problem as a national security topic.”
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YouTube user: Jester814
Compare first person shooter games from 1999 (Doom, top) and 2019 (Arma 3, above). How much more realistic are the killings carried out by the children and adults playing these games today?
Compare how much more realistic and popular first-person shooter video games have become since 1999 (Figure 1).
Columbine killers Klebold and Harris were skilled Doom players, and Harris had devoted significant time to creating his own levels, which he shared. According to a student who played Doom with both of the killers, Harris claimed he had created a Doom level modeled on their high school. While in Doom the player takes on the role of a “space marine” to fight against hordes of demons from Hell, in today’s murder simulators—which are much more realistic—the player can be on the side of the military, or of terrorists, or just in a free-for-all. First-person shooter video games lead U.S. video game sales, and combined with action games like Grand Theft Auto and Assassin’s Creed, missions of adventure, robbery, plunder, and war make up about half of the video games played by children and adults in the United States. Unlike real war, which is traumatic and deadly, the fantasy war of video games lets players feel the adrenaline and excitement of crime without the consequences. Your friend dies in a shootout with a rival gang? No problem, he will respawn later. Death is made a casual experience, just like in movies, music, and the news.
Teens and adults up through their upper 30s, who think school or work is a dead-end job, who think they have no real future because they have no savings or can’t get a job paying what they think they are worth, what do they do? They play video games to de-stress from the frustrations of life, and they smoke, drink, or take other drugs to numb the pain and decompress from their day to day. Can’t win at life? Well at least you can win in this video game.
Playing video games has even become a source of income, where advertisers will pay, and viewers will donate to watch leading players win on game-streaming services like Nintendo’s Switch. This has become so popular that video sports leagues are popping up with big cash prizes, even among farming. The Verge reports: “Competitive Farming Simulator events have quietly existed for several years, relegated primarily to agriculture-focused events, but they drew big crowds of players who wanted to watch the best hay bale stackers in the world, prompting Giants [the firm that produces Farming Simulator] CEO Christian Ammann to start looking at farming e-sports a bit more seriously.” Giants Software PR and marketing manager Martin Rabl reflected: “That’s when we realized that that’s something that we could potentially do on a bit more professional level.” People are more interested in playing a game about farming, than actually farming.
Dehumanizing the Image of Man
As LaRouche wrote in 1999, “For that purpose, the leading subject for discussion, as posed by the Littleton and kindred cases, is terrorism by children. Stating the problem in that way, brings the sheer, satanic horror of the matter into focus.…
“How does one corrupt innocent children into becoming psychotic-like killers? The quick answer to that question, is: dehumanize the image of man.”
This is exactly what has been done to our children and to the culture. It did not just start twenty years ago with the killing spree that unfolded in Littleton, Colorado. This dehumanization of humans and desensitization to death and violence has been the intentional aim of a geo-political, oligarchical system. This is a system that views the human species as nothing more than another animal and believes that there is no intrinsic value to human life. The British Empire and oligarchy has subjugated societies, keeping them impoverished and backwards, destroying many generations of people by inducing them to destroy themselves, through the use of illicit drugs, mass suicide, and promoting a culture of killing and death.
The culture that we find ourselves in gets right at the heart of the problem we find with the subject in the video we discussed at the beginning of the article, on the subject of winners and losers in a monetary economy. This is what many people have been conditioned to believe, that they are nothing more than a statistic, that they are only a loser, that they have no reason to live because there is no real value in their life, or that if they want to get ahead they have to quickly eliminate the next person. Then in their next class, they may be told that they are a plague on the planet and destroying the earth because they are using up too many of the precious resources, that they are a useless eater.
Rates for Drug-Poisoning Deaths Involving Heroin, by Selected Age Groups: U.S. 2000-2013View full size
As was stated in the opening of this article, the most devastating effects of the last 50 years of cultural degeneracy have been revealed through the destructive policies of the Bush–Cheney and Obama presidencies, especially under the fast and furious drug legalizing President Obama. Look at the statistics of the increase in suicides and drug overdoses during the period from 2000 to 2013 (Figure 2). Look at the result of those hideous policies on our nation, with the Opioid crisis running rampant, and drug legalization in states across the U.S. growing at rapid rates.
Big Pharma’s Dreamland
The release of the book Dreamland in 2015 by author Sam Quinones, weaves together the previous 45 year history of working class white Americans overdosing on black tar heroin and other opiates, the rise of what became known as “Big Pharma,” i.e. pill mills backed by authoritative-sounding, lavish marketing campaigns and university professors who said opioids weren’t addictive, and impoverished Mexican rancheros who realized running heroin as a delivery service was their ticket out of cutthroat poverty. While his book presents a useful picture of a portion of the story about why so many Americans are now dying of opioid overdose, it leaves out a crucial piece of the puzzle, namely, what the LaRouche organization has correctly identified as Dope, Inc.: the critical role that “too big to fail” Wall Street banks like HSBC, Goldman Sachs, and others, have played in laundering this drug money through their coffers to keep the international derivatives bubbles afloat.
Suicide Rates for Males, by Age: United States, 1999 and 2014
Deaths per 100,000 in specified groupView full size
Amidst the rise of opioid deaths, suicides, mass shootings, and dropping out of reality to play video games, among the formerly productive, predominantly white middle class Americans, the theme echoes in the Towson University video: in this world, there are winners and there are losers. But the so-called “winners” exist because the rest of us are pitted, each against all, as losers. This is the destruction of our humanity that Lyndon LaRouche warned about in 1999.
So, how did such a vile outlook on human life and economy arise in our society? What happened to a society that cherished its youth and the future of our nation? Let’s look at the culture that has been intentionally promoted to destroy our youth and our society.
Think about the fact that 50 years ago, the first American astronauts landed on the surface of the moon, on July 20, 1969, a little less than a decade after President Kennedy declared that our nation would commit itself to landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth before the end of the decade. Think of the optimism and excitement that spread throughout the nation and the world, as those astronauts carried the plaque to the moon declaring, “we came in peace for all mankind.” Look at the fact that the space program was an inspiration for broad masses of people, something that transformed the lives of so many, via the massive scientific and technological improvements during the years of Apollo.
But what has become the state of our society in those intervening years since the Apollo program was intentionally sabotaged by the anti-science environmentalist and budget cutters, from the very onset of Kennedy’s announcement of his moon mission up to the abrupt ending of that era of the program in 1972? We have seen rapid declines in the conditions of life and the standard of living over the last 50 years, as a result of the degeneracy and destruction of optimism, as a result of the targeting against real scientific and technological advancements.
Creative Commons/Russ Allison Loar
The Drug-Rock-Sex Counterculture
Look at the devastating effects of the “68er” generation on today’s society. How did the counterculture of drugs, sex, and rock-n-roll, a culture that promoted a no-growth society and environmentalism, become so dominant in our society? In his article entitled “The Science and Technology Needed to Colonize Mars,” LaRouche declares:
“Our postwar State Department turned our foreign policy away from the nation-building perspective we developed during the war years under President Franklin Roosevelt. We allowed the subversion of the morals of the nuclear-family household, the rock on which the development of the child’s character depends. We allowed the immoral subversion of our educational systems. We tolerated the spread of the rock-drug-sex counterculture during the past quarter century.”
When the world entered the space age, we discovered that we had always been a space-based civilization. Everyday life on Earth is permanently and incessantly connected with the activities of our solar and cosmic environment. From cosmic rays that interact with molecules in our atmosphere to produce clouds, to the Sun that warms our planet enough to support life, and the scientific reach of mankind to understand and replicate the physical laws of nature to solve problems and access to a better world, mankind has always been connected to the greater universe.
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The next generations will succeed NASA’s “Project Artemis,” to return people to the Moon by 2024, with missions to colonize Mars, the outer planets, and eventually other planetary systems.
A Return to Space Is a Return to Sanity
For this reason, the fastest way to make the biggest improvements in the condition of mankind is through human space exploration, because this generates the spin-off technologies that touch every corner of human existence. That is why the Apollo Program not only generated a financial return of $10 for every $1 invested but also permanently uplifted the potential living standards for all successive generations, by applying discoveries and inventions made during the missions to technologies and processes more broadly. Space inspires us with its enormity and beauty, and the thrill of achieving great new discoveries despite incredible adversity. That is why thousands crowded the street in New York’s Times Square to watch the landing of the Mars Curiosity Rover in 2014, and why the entire world watched as Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the moon in 1969. Space exploration inspires our humanity, because it is something that is uniquely human. Wolves may howl at the moon, but only human beings can land on it.
We now have the opportunity and responsibility before us to reverse the destructive policies of the last several decades, driven by war and economic ruin. We must act now to save the soul of America. What is required for such a change toward progress and growth in our society and culture? Leadership. The Apollo program would never have been made possible without the visionary leadership of President Kennedy and the great space pioneers who shared his vision, and worked tirelessly to realize it. Today we have a President, Donald Trump, who has stated his commitment to ending the ruinous policies of our nation, as established through his commitment to ending the decades of endless wars, and building peaceful relations among nations, especially recognizing the importance of cooperation with other leading nations around the world, emphatically Russia and China. We must end the economic model of geopolitics, based on winners and losers. We must adopt the win-win approach, which is at the foundation of our American system, and which China has successfully implemented, sweeping away poverty and increasing the standard of living for hundreds of millions. The commitment must be to the future.
We Are Going to the Moon and Mars!
After signing his space policy directive back in December 2017 to return American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, Trump has escalated that initiative and called for an accelerated plan, to get Americans back on the Moon, with our next man and first woman, by 2024. This mission has been named project Artemis. In Greek mythology, Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo, and the goddess of the Moon. The current NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine, the first administrator not to have lived during the Apollo missions, has stressed the importance of ushering in a new generation of scientists and discoverers and of making breakthroughs as a new generation of explorers. He identifies this new generation as the “Artemis generation.” The Artemis generation is in complete contrast with what has been defined as the Age of Aquarius, the idea of humans seeking only to live out their sensual pleasures, in a society that seek to destroy its youth and turn them into mass killers. It is important to make emphatically clear that we will not have the optimism of the Artemis generation, making bold breakthroughs and discoveries in the exploration of space, under the stranglehold of a monetarist, anti-human, anti-science, zero-growth system.
Putting an end to the ruinous policies of the last fifty years and achieving the goal of returning Americans to the Moon for the first time since 1972, requires an outlook and dedication to space exploration not merely for the next 5 years, but for the next 50–100 years. This will only be achieved through adopting the policies and the forward-looking solutions of Lyndon LaRouche.
LaRouche’s outlook of “The Spiritual Imperative for Conquest of Space” is crucial for the understanding of the truly creative nature of mankind as distinguished from the beast, required for restoring the soul of America advancing the progress of all humanity.
“Human beings are absolutely distinguished from beasts by virtue of the fact, that every normal newborn infant has what is sometimes called “the divine spark of reason.” This spark, if developed, enables each of us to develop the power of creative reasoning, the quality of reasoning typified by the work of the best scientific discoverers. . . . One new, useful idea, discovered by such an individual mind, is of benefit to all mankind.”
When mankind goes out into space, when an astronaut goes out and orbits the Earth, when we go to the Moon, this isn’t just something that the astronaut is doing to go on a joy ride. He is actually doing this because the entire nation is going with him to participate in this. The entire world is benefitting from this discovery, as all of the world benefits from a great scientific discovery, such as a discovery of Einstein, or a musical discovery of a great Classical composer.
It’s time to end the culture of mass death, and bring about the age of reason. We can truly save the soul of America, with LaRouche’s “Artemis generation.”