Thursday, February 17, 2011

Neocons, Teabaggers and Chickenhawks - The Methods of Saul Alinsky and the Demonization of Political Opponents

Saul Alinsky’s book “Rules For Radicals” was published in 1971. Its methods have become synonymous with leftist political strategy. Even people who never read the book have been so ingrained by the techniques outlined within its pages that they use its methods without realizing it. Both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are admirers of Saul Alinsky.

A 21 year old Hillary Rodham was offered a job with the Alinsky Community Organizing group and later wrote her thesis on Alinsky. Obama’s early community organizing started when he was 24 years old in the Alinsky groups “Developing Communities Project (DCP)” and the “Calumet Community Religious Conference (CCRC)”.

In the first chapter of “Rules For Radicals” called “The Purpose”, Alinsky writes:
What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. ‘The Prince’ was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. ‘Rules for Radicals’ is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.”

Who is supposed to have power in the United States? According to the Constitution, the people hold power and are governed by their consent. The government must answer to the people, not the people to the government. So who, exactly, does Alinsky want to take power from and who is supposed to get this power? This idea of “holding power” is always couched in terms such as the “Have-Nots” or the “Poor” but in reality it seeks to fundamentally change the government of the United States.

In speaking about the Constitution, Barack Obama said “It says what the federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.” It would be easy to say that Obama lacks an understanding of the constitution but he probably understands it all too well. Trained in Alinsky tactics, Obama wants to change the power structure and will use the structure (the constitution and free markets) only insofar as it can be used to achieve his ends.

Alinsky said “All change means disorganization of the old and organization of the new.” So it is not just about creating new ideas, it is about discrediting the ones already in place, as Obama does when he criticizes the constitution. When people refer to the constitution as a “Living Document” they make the constitution “pliable”. A “pliable” constitution is easier to bend to the desires of those who wish to remodel it in such a way that the original intent is unrecognizable.

Ironically, according to Alinsky, it is the very idea of being a “radical” or a dangerous “enemy” to the status quo that gives the community organizer his credibility. Alinsky said that the “establishment” must fear the organizer and label him as “DANGEROUS”:
“for in that one word the establishment reveals its fear of the organizer, its fear that he represents a threat to its omnipotence. Now the organizer has his ‘birth certificate’ and can begin.”
And you silly people thought Obama didn’t have a birth certificate!

Alinsky understood that in order to gather a following, the organizer needed to inspire confidence to a core group. While Obama fights charges that he is not a radical and tries to minimize his associations with people such as Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright, he revels in it at the same time, giving a nod and a wink to those who openly or secretly adhere to the same agenda. He also has the added benefit of ridiculing those who point out these things as being out of touch or conspiracy mongers.

In the chapter “Of Means and Ends”, Alinsky utters his “Rules of Ethics”. In the eleventh rule of ethics he states “goals must be phrased in general terms like “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”, “Of the Common Welfare”. It’s easy to see his influence in current mindless clich├ęs such as ‘the rich get richer while the poor get poorer’. Mostly in this chapter, Alinsky justifies any means if it leads to the desired end. He points out that morality is flexible, depending upon the time of occurrence, who commits a particular act, and how the act is sold or marketed. It is a war mentality, as he states in his third rule of ethics, “in war the end justifies any means”. If you listen carefully, you can almost hear Rahm Emanuel’s voice saying “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”

Alinsky’s “power tactics” can be seen in almost everything the left does. For example, the fourth tactic is “Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules”. Conservatives always moan about double standards. The reason that there are double standards is because conservatives have standards. It is impossible to always live up to high standards but the admirable part about having high standards is to try. Failing is not a crime but in the view of the left and of Alinsky, it is an opportunity. Therefore, if Bill Clinton has affairs or is accused of sexual harassment, it is a personal matter since he never had any standards to begin with, but a conservative such as Clarence Thomas is expected to walk on water or be viewed as a hypocrite.

The fifth rule states “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” Alinsky goes on to say “It is almost impossible to counter attack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition who then react to your advantage.” When the Tea Party rose to prominence in response to Obama’s radical agenda, the left came up with terms such as “tea bagger”. They thought themselves very clever in their use of that vulgar term. They have also shown fondness for the term “Neo-con”, giggling like 10 year old children when using that witty phrase. They use terms such as “Chicken Hawks” if a person who never served in the military should dare say that maybe military use is needed in a certain situation.

The thirteenth rule is “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” The left constantly looks for the latest “boogeyman/boogeywoman”. The viciousness of the attacks on Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, George Bush, Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and many others all fall into this category. In this tactic, the left doesn’t seek to find truth -- They seek to create a living caricature of evil, incompetence and cruelty and they don’t care how cruel they are in slandering people who have families and loved ones as long as it serves the purpose of mitigating an effective voice of the right.

The dirty little secret about Alinsky and his approach to “change” is that he has contempt for the average person. In the thirteenth rule above, for example, Alinsky explains that a person or “target” is needed because it is difficult to get people organized and excited about a concept or policy. It’s almost as if he views people as children, who need a cartoon character to understand his point.

In fact, Alinsky says about average people:
“Their lives have been 90 per cent unfulfilled dreams. To escape their frustration they grasp at a last hope that their children will get that college education and realize those unfulfilled dreams. They are a fearful people who feel threatened from all sides.”
Alinsky shows his contempt for his own followers. When reading his book, you get a sense that he is out to manipulate people, not to inspire them.

Yet Alinsky does understand the need to inspire. His form of inspiration, however, does not appeal to the best in people, it appeals to their worst – their fears, their envy and their jealousies. It is inspiration by trickery. In order to inspire by trickery, a good salesperson is needed. Along comes Barack Obama and he is perfect for the job. In the chapter titled “Communication”, Alinsky states:
“the organizer will have a pretty good idea about what the community should be doing, and he will want to suggest, maneuver, and persuade the community toward that action. He will never seem to tell the community what to do. Instead he will use loaded questions. If possible, he will get someone in the audience to faint in order to accentuate his point.”
OK, I made the last one up but certainly Obama is Alinsky’s ideal communicator.

The founders of the United States didn’t base the constitution on trickery or manipulation. They created an idea that has survived and prospered based on the concept that people do not owe their existence to others and that they are responsible for their own happiness and well being. Rules For Radicals by Saul Alinsky is a recipe for agitation, not for prosperity and certainly not for morality. Anyone in a position of power who follows the teaching of Alinsky is someone who should not be in a position of power.