Going to and from the demonstration in Washington DC on the 24th, our van (Seven people) traveled with a LaRouchite, a follower of Lyndon LaRouche. He claimed that he was once a leftist, but found LaRouche to provide better explanations. He also complained that he tried to get a ride with an ANSWER bus [See "Correction" at bottom], but that the person in charge of the bus wouldn't let him on, claiming that he would be disruptive. Sure enough, he was quite disruptive and I recommend that all other groups follow their lead. During the four hours down and four hours back, we had a detailed serious discussion covering a whole range of subjects with this person.
One of his claims was that the British profited greatly from slavery and were bitterly disappointed when the Americans abolished it in 1865. This was in conflict with my memory of my English history course back in college, where my English history professor delighted in telling us terribly cynical tales of how people n general deceived and betrayed one another for all sorts of dishonorable (Mostly economic) reasons. The exception, he said, were the British anti-slavery actions taken from the late 1780s and which gained momentum during the early 1800s. My professor described these actions by the British as being highly unusual, because they were motivated not by money, but simply by morality.
Our LaRouchite dismissed my observation with the airy explanation that the British decided to pretend to be against slavery, but they really weren't. He cited no evidence for his view.
Another conclusion he told us of was that Vice-President and later Presidential candidate Al Gore was a "marijuana addict" and various other terrible things along the same lines. Now, Gore did indeed admit to smoking marijuana back during his youth, but it's medically impossible to be a pot addict. Cigarettes and alcohol, yes, but there is no program for giving up pot-smoking, multi-step or otherwise. Many tens of millions of Gore's peers used and still use pot, a great many of them stopped using it entirely and many more use it on an infrequent basis, kind of like a weekend martini or a get-together party stimulant.
Our LaRouchite also claimed that George W. Bush was stupid. As evidence, he merely cited some of Bush's policies. As much as I dislike Bush and especially his policies, I disagree that he does what he does out of stupidity. Approve of his policies or not, Bush represents many millions of our fellow Americans and they see nothing wrong with his policies.
LaRouchites are simply not members of the Reality-Based Coalition. Well-documented facts mean nothing to them (And I'm not basing that statement on just our one encounter, I've been familiar with these folks for years.) They reach conclusions regardless of the actual facts. The celebrated writer I.F. Stone wrote a book on Socrates and his disciple Plato. Plato was not a member of the Reality-Based Coalition either. He posited that society had to be run by the elites as commoners were simply not competent to do so themselves. Aristotle was more Stone's type of philosopher, someone who believed in documentable facts and discovery by examination, exploration, reason and the ability of common folks to use these tools. When I expressed my low opinion of Plato and high opinion or Aristotle, our LaRouchite stated the exact opposite, that Plato was a fine and noble person and Aristotle was terrible.
With that, I concluded that the bus captain from ANSWER was entirely correct to refuse the LaRouchite permission to travel on her bus.
Correction: The LaRouchite's name is Bob Fow and the "ANSWER" bus captain says: "Just one major correction -- Our buses were not organized by ANSWER. They were organized by the Philadelphia International Action Center and WILPF, neither of which are ANSWER affiliates at this time."