Last week, I was walking down Farm Lane, as tends to happen when you have a painful walk to far South Campus for a class. I was minding my own business, blasting my tunes, and generally feeling okay about the state of humanity.
And then I saw it.
A white, gleaming table with a large sign in front, containing some of the purest examples of Farm Lane Guys I’ve ever seen.
What is a Farm Lane Guy? A Farm Lane Guy is a guy who sets up a table, usually on Farm Lane, to push munted gifts or causes on unsuspecting, impressionable college students. Last year’s Farm Lane Guys included a church that handed out motel-quality coffee to people heading to their 8:30s and a guy who passed out copies of his erotic novel on the bridge by the library. As a new school year begins, so too do new Farm Lane Guys crowd campus’ busiest areas.
This year’s first Farm Lane Guys were maybe the strangest of all. They were from the LaRouche PAC, an offshoot of a bizarre political cult that has been around since the 1960s, founded by perennial presidential candidate and convicted fraudster Lyndon LaRouche.
I decided to go up and chat to their leader, an old guy wearing a big NASA hat who was the one holding their stack of fliers. Behind him was even more fliers, a sheet to get on their contact list, and larger booklets that said you needed to give a donation of $20 to access. In front was a sign containing many munted diagrams and beliefs. One thanked China and India for “going green” and putting more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. I wish I was making that up.
“What’s going on here?” I said, trying to act like I believed any of the weird shit written on the sign.
“Did you know we’re going to have a moon base by 2024?”, he said, in a tone that said he thought everyone knew it. “And that President Trump has authorized it already?”
I had apparently missed out on this valuable information. “No, but go on,” I said.
He handed me a flier and went into his spiel about going to the Moon. I quickly stopped paying attention as the jargon raced through my ears, though I caught something about plasma energy being important and something else about the international banking elite. My brain was threatening to explode as it absorbed this information. I looked down at my hand to realize I’d accepted two more fliers.
Finally, I had to cut him off. Gazing at the big books, I asked, “I know you just gave me these fliers, but I want the better stuff. Can I have one of those?”
He said, “Well, we’d like you to sign your name over there and donate twenty bucks,” pointing to the signup sheet. Though I protested, he wasn’t giving them up. I was forced to leave with less than I wanted.
The fliers detail the LaRouche ideology, which stems from a simple premise: Humans are running out of resources and will soon overpopulate the planet. That’s not a strange idea. But their solution to the glut of people is to head to the stars to find resources on other planets suitable for humans, colonizing the Solar System on the way. This leads to some…unique beliefs. Rarely does it feel that the term “galaxy brain” can be used literally, but here I think it is appropriate. These people like Trump because they think he’s going to help them colonize Mars and then exchange with aliens for magic plants or something similar. By this point, I was starting to lose my faith in humanity.
This leads to their most obviously strange belief: that climate change is good, actually. We’ve covered this munted belief before, but seeing it come from people who also want to break up the big banks is odd. Even odder is for them to say that climate change will actually make the Earth greener. The main flyer, “INTERNATIONAL CALL TO YOUTH – The Age of Reason Is in the Stars!”, is filled with invective against Greta Thunberg, Prince Charles, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and anyone who they notice caring about the state of the planet. Indeed, fighting climate change is actively colonialist, apparently, because it denies Africans and South Americans the right to be as proudly wasteful as us First Worlders: “…if Barack Obama is outraged that many young people in Africa want a car, air conditioning, and a big house, then behind that lurks the inhuman arrogance of members of the totally privileged upper class.”
There’s not much else to say. The idea that we might find space resources is a very shaky prospect for us to put everything we have into space travel and colonization. Climate change will definitely not make the earth better, though it might not hurt the LaRouches too much. And Greta Thunberg is probably not a puppet of the global elite being used to line the pockets of hedge fund managers.
The end goal of these fliers, besides stealing $20 from you, was to promote two “International Days of Action” the LaRouche acolytes held on September 10th and 12th. These were days when thousands of their Farm Lane Guy followers descended upon the spiritual Farm Lanes of other universities worldwide to do exactly what they did here – clog up people’s lives with their muntedness.
If there’s a lesson to learn from this, it’s that you don’t need to be sane to set up a booth on Farm Lane and talk to people. In other words: we hope to see you there whenever we can get a banner and a tent. If you’re nice, we might not even ask for $20.