Saturday morning I read Mike Masterson’s column in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette when he wrote of the National Rifle Association:
“ . . . being classically demonized a la the late Chicago agitator Saul Alinsky (and roundly criticized by a naive mainstream press) for daring to advocate placing armed guards in schools to protect innocent students.”
Ah, Saul Alinsky.
Already our blood chills at the mere mention of the name of this . . . this . . . Chicago community community organizer!
Yes. Community . . . organizer.
Alinsky once wrote a book, Rules for Radicals, which has been the political bible for almost every political group across the planet, including the modern-day Tea Party. Sadly, most Tea Party members only know of Alinsky’s work through the sneering references they come across in newspapers, radio programs and on television.
Most people - Left, Right or Rosicrucian - aren’t really aware of the “rules” set down by this man so long ago. So, just for fun, here they are:
RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources — money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood.
RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.
RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.
RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.
RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.
RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.
RULE 7: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news.
RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.
RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist.
RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.
RULE 11: “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem.
RULE 12: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.
Wait a minute, one might ask oneself. A lot of these “rules” sound awfully familiar. Aren’t most political groups - including (and especially our friends in the Tea Party) using these same methods today?
Of course, they would call them by different names. In fact, Reality Show Governor Sarah Palin mastered several of these techniques in her rise to . . . well, wherever she is, these days.
They are tried and true methods, and I have seen variations of some of them used - by both liberals and conservatives - on local issues over the years. I read a site where one writer proclaimed “12 Ways To Use Saul Alinsky's Rules For Radicals Against Liberals,” as if he had discovered something new and wonderful in the world.
I’ll bet used car salesmen love this guy.
Indeed, some of them were practiced in American politics long before Alinsky codified them, and we even read them in our history books as small tykes.
I always get a kick out of those lost souls who decry the work of Saul Alinsky, and then at some point as me if I have ever read the works of Ayn Rand, or The Prince, by Machiavelli.
But on to our drinking game . . .
I’m Diabetic, so I’ll just stick to Coke Zero, or coffee, but the idea is the same.
Every time you see Alinsky’s name mentioned in print, or hear his name brought up - especially as someone who might be the “patron saint” of the Obama administration - reward yourself with a big old swig of whatever you are having. If they don’t mention any of the exact rules, take two.
And if they don’t mention the fact that folks other than “radicals” - for all their protestations, more on the Right use them these days than folks on the Left, sad to say - have adopted the rules, have a third drink.
Honestly, do you you really take it will take longer than a week to finish the bottle?
Quote of the Day
Your body is the baggage you must carry through life. The more excess baggage, the shorter the trip. - Arnold H. Glasow
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