A Policy for Universal Military Training

Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.

August 15, 1979

The following proposal for universal military training (UMT) comes from a Presidential Campaign Paper, entitled “Military Policy of the LaRouche Administration,” which was issued by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. on Aug. 15, 1979.

Constructing the Pyramid

The following tentative proposals serve to illustrate the framework for debating details of a UMT policy.

Every person not disqualified by physical or mental disabilities, should enter universal military training at the age of eighteen, following some significant degree of pre-training as part of secondary-school programs. Universal military training should be based on a combination of university UMT programs plus two-year engineering-academy training, including a twenty-five percent or greater military-training component.

The initial training period is conducted within the organized militia unit attached to the training institution. Graduates receive a diploma qualifying them in both military science and some branch of engineering as a junior engineer.

At the age of twenty, a proportion of diplomats should be recruited to a regular military organization or assigned to a militia-reserve unit. In the latter they undergo continued training as part of the organized, ready national militia reserves.

The national militia reserve is interchangeable with the reserve forces of a national Corps of Engineers. This reserve status service continues to the age of twenty-eight, during which time militia units are maintained in twenty-four to forty-eight hour mobilization readiness for regular military service. This readiness is defined as a certain percentile of total personnel mobilized on such short notice, with the full spectrum of skills and assignments covered.

The regular forces of the military services are recruited from the militia. Personnel ending a term of service with regular military organizations are encouraged to take full- time or part-time training and cadre assignments with militia units. Persons not in regular service at the age of twenty- eight enter the general, semi-active reserve, passing into the category of inactive reserves at thirty-eight.

Basis for the Program

The historical precedent for the internal design of this universal military training program is the French E ́ cole Poly-technique under Lazare Carnot and Gaspar Monge during the period of 1793-1804. This approach was emphasized at West Point during 1818-1828, where it was associated with the work of Commandant Thayer.

The principles employed were developed from the basis of the military theses of Niccolo' Machiavelli, and were advanced to a higher degree under Richelieu, Mazarin, Cromwell, and by Colbert and Leibniz during the last half of the seventeenth century. The work was continued by Benjamin Franklin and his key French collaborator Vergennes. It was the anti-Jacobins Monge and Carnot who carried the work to the highest general level to date. The development of the scientific training institution, the E ́cole Poly-technique, is rightly viewed as complementary to Carnot’s creation of the French army, a new-style army which continued to be unbeatable until the follies consequent upon Napoleon’s Austrian marriage alliance.

In the United States, Franklin’s work provided the basis for the 1783 establishment of an international conspiratorial association known as the Society of Cincinnatus. This was originally headed by George Washington (U.S.A.), the Marquis de Lafayette (France), and the Baron von Steuben (Germany). This was the force which created the Federalist Party, which defeated Shaftesbury’s and Bentham’s 1780s and 1790s Jacobin conspiracy against the United States, which created the U.S. Constitution, which launched the American System of political economy, and which created West Point over the strong objections of Thomas Jefferson’s friends.

The Society of Cincinnatus was also the core of the intelligence service of the United States, coordinated for a time on the U.S. side by Chief Justice John Marshall. When the War of 1812 against Britain awoke many Americans from their anglophile follies, Presidents Monroe and John Quincy Adams, both close collaborators of Lafayette, restored Hamiltonian policies, rejecting Adam Smith’s poisonous follies, and reactivated West Point, incorporating valuable lessons from the work of Monge, Carnot et al. This continued until the treasonous Andrew Jackson subverted our national credit, our national economy, and West Point.

The United States’ military tradition was re-established to a degree in the course of the Civil War. The replacement of a treasonous McClellan’s “cabinet warfare” policies by the Machiavellian strategic policies of Lincoln, Grant and Sherman taught the U.S. officer-corps a valuable lesson, a lesson passed down into modern times as the so-called “traditionalist” military doctrine and outlook. This “traditionalism” lacked the overview, sense of history and intellectual vigor of Thayer’s West Point, it was a diluted, pragmatic approximation of the higher level of military-science thinking of the earlier period. To be exact, the “traditionalists” erred in overemphasizing Napoleon’s battles and Clausewitz, over Carnot and Scharnhorst.

The error infecting even many of the best among modern West Point graduates is a loss of connection to the notion of a republican military policy, the substitution of the notion of efficient service of a poorly-defined sense of United States’ “state interest”-thus tolerating the crucial flaw of both Napoleon and Clausewitz.

What has been forgotten to that extent is the principle of Machiavelli: a modern republic committed to principles of scientific and technological progress has a potentially decisive strategic advantage. If the beneficial influence on citizens caused by an environment of technological progress is employed as the basis for developing the whole of that citizenry as a well-equipped, well-trained military force in depth, dimensions of warfare are opened up which give such a state a decisive, qualitative, advantage over the forces of any well-matched adversary.

The problem on which Machiavelli focused attention was the reasons the republican forces of Italy had been defeated by the mercenary Spanish and other armies of the Italian black nobility and Hapsburgs. Machiavelli used the case of the military policy of the Roman republic to illustrate the relatively timeless quality of the principles involved.
More than a century later, the New Model Army of Cromwell, based on Machiavellian military principles, be- came the unbeatable force, allied to Mazarin, which crushed the power of the Hapsburgs in 1653.

The point on which Napoleon failed, where Carnot succeeded, is Napoleon’s excessive emphasis on the military side of service to mere state interest. In the longer sweep of warfare, in the developments which bring developed in-depth capabilities into play, the military potentials of forces are developed on the foundation of the cultivated republican potentials of those persons.

1. The individual soldier-citizen must have a developed advantage in cognitive powers.

2. The individual soldier-citizen must have a developed sense of the sensuous reality of “theoretical” knowledge— he should be an acting physicist, not a “pure ivory tower mathematician.”

3. The individual soldier-citizen must define his or her life as the meaningful mediation of the continuing development of society toward higher levels of knowledge and practice.
For these reasons, the best military training is that which is based on the training of young engineers of a nation which is itself an ongoing experience of technological progress.

The Costs of UMT

Except for the purely military aspects of the program, universal military training should cost the nation nothing in net. The establishment of the qualifications of a junior engineer in some field of applications as a standard requirement for citizenship means a qualitative upgrading of the nation’s labor force. Provided these improved talents are employed in high-technology, capital-intensive productive occupations, the gains in productivity will be very large relative to the costs of the engineering training.

Those are the only kinds of jobs our nation will be able to offer over a significant period ahead. The establishment of a new, gold-based monetary system, to replace the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, means an explosion in high technology capital-goods exports from the United States. It is that export activity which will attract lower- borrowing-cost credit, and should receive favored tax-treatment. That is where the jobs of the future will be. It is that economic growth which will define the qualifications required of the labor force.

It ought to be clear that this program requires immediate improvements in the policies and practices of our primary and secondary schools. Again, these should not be seen as caused only by requirements of universal military training. These are corrections which we must make in any case.

Most of the present “liberal arts” programs should be eliminated or replaced by competent substitutes. The history being taught in our public schools and universities is chiefly modeled on the precedents of such fakers as Turner and the treasonous Beard. Should tax-payers pay to have their children filled up with lies concerning the history of their own nation? Anthropology, sociology, psychology as currently taught are treasonous disasters, chiefly frauds, Should we pay to have our children brainwashed by such rubbish? The introduction of the “new math” during the 1960s has crippled the mind of many a student. On this point I make some extended comment here.

In my informed estimation, the basic approach to the public educational curriculum should be as follows:
At about five or six, if not earlier, a child should be introduced to the well-tempered system of canonical, contrapuntal polyphony. Knowledge of this fact is as old, at least, as Plato’s Athens, has been stressed by the great al-Farrabi, and was the guiding approach of such creators of modern European music as John Bull, Sweelinck, Buxtehude, Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. It is rigorously demonstrated that so-called music not based on those principles is not music in any meaningful sense. It is also demonstrated that a child can learn to compose well-tempered canonical polyphony at an early age, and that this shared accomplishment in learning music provides one of the most universal kinds of stimulus to fostering the creative- mental potentialities of the child.

The teaching of science should be grounded in the early primary grades, laying the emphasis on geometric, rather than arithmetic-algebraic thinking about physical processes. The primary-school child should not be subjected to Quod Erat Demonstrandum; the child should be introduced to geometry from the standpoint of locus and construction. A geometric existence is defined by the way in which it is generated, not by an algebraic determination of its logical “properties.” Do not confuse the child’s mind; help the child to master the principles of locus of generation in a manner analogous to the mastery of canonical well-tempered polyphony. 

The child’s introduction to physics should be based on that sort of teaching of geometry. The child should discover the equivalence of “locus of action” to locus of generation of geometric entities. The child can then comprehend solutions of algebraic descriptions of physical actions as a problem in locus of generation. Once the child has mastered the geometric notions underlying the calculus through the equivalents of basic conics and their derivatives, the child is ready to be confronted with combined paths of actions which are incommensurable with a single-ply “manifold.” Without encountering the obfuscation which usually surrounds the teaching of the calculus and physics, the child masters the notion of in- variance as a geometric principle of interconnected spaces of physical action.

Proceeding in this way, there is no doubt that sixteen-year old children could achieve a comprehension of the theory of functions of a multiply-connected manifold superior to that now found among science PhDs generally.

The related problem is this. Algebra, as presently taught, has embedded axiomatic assumptions which are in direct violation of the characteristic principles of physical action in the universe. It happens that the algebraic formulations developed to describe physical processes are pragmatically sound within limits of application. The problem to be avoided arises whenever the child is implored to explain physics from the standpoint of the axiomatics of such algebras. There are correct explanations of the apparent coherence among groups of physical-algebraic expressions, but the connection is not determined by algebraical logical-axiomatic considerations. By exaggerating the case for algebras, the teacher and text- book mystify the subject, reducing crucial features of physics to arbitrariness and superstition. As Monge and Riemann have rightly shown, when the proper geometric approach to physics is employed, such arbitrariness, confusion and mystification vanish.

A similar problem arises in misguided instruction in geometry. The axioms and postulates should be de-emphasized, and presented as of only descriptive authority, not as ontological principles. They are conveniences, nothing more. The child learns geometry from the standpoint of generating constructions according to the notion of locus. The notion of equivalence of the generating aspect of locus to the characteristic principle of physical action is the point of comprehension at which the child begins to master an overview of physical geometry.

Not so incidentally, this approach to pedagogy is consistent with the emergence of Riemannian physics as the only fruitful guide to contemporary advanced scientific work. We ought to be preparing students for the kinds of scientific methodology the society will be using, not the Maxwellian physics now overdue to be discarded. Once a child understands the import of Bernhard Riemann’ s 1854 paper On the Hypotheses Which Underlie Geometry, and not before, that child is prepared to enter the process of becoming a modern working physicist.

It comes full circle. The kinds of new weapons systems needed to neutralize an incoming ICBM in the stratosphere are available for development only through the methodological view of physical geometries we have favored here.

The citizen builds the nuclear energy plant. Whenever some crazed anti-technology madman from the Dark Ages attempts to besiege the plant, the citizen becomes what he or she is also trained to be, the citizen-soldier who picks up weapons, and deploys as an organized force to eliminate the “environmentalist” menace to civilization.