PURELY POLITICAL RULES, by James Buckley
Author/left-wing activist Saul D. Alinsky’s “Rules For Radicals” was published in 1971 and quickly became the equivalent of Mao Zedong’s “Little Red Book,” which millions of young Chinese “revolutionaries” clutched in their hands as they attacked, berated, humiliated and ultimately discarded teachers, professors, doctors, bureaucrats, managers, and others whose revolutionary credentials were found wanting during China’s “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” of the late 1960s and early 1970s (1966 to 1976, up to the death of Mao).
During that turbulent time, hospitals, schools and other institutions were staffed by students who took over positions as doctors, teachers and managers. Important government agencies were headed up by people with little or no experience in the field or activity they were overseeing (can you say “Pete Buttigieg”?), but who were judged revolutionarily pure.
Chicago-based Mr. Alinsky (who was born in 1909 and died in 1972) subtitled his slight tome (195 pages in my soft-cover edition) “A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals,” and some of his most successful acolytes include former president Barack Obama and former first lady and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Ms. Clinton was so enamored of Mr. Alinsky and his book that she dedicated her college thesis at Wellesley to him.
Mr. Alinsky, America’s first “community organizer,” dedicated his book to the devil.
“Lest we forget,” he wrote, “at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer.”
Mr. Alinsky was smart enough to sense that would-be revolutionaries in the U.S. screaming “Off The Pig,” “Down with America” and other slogans would turn working-class Americans off and lead them to turn to the right. The two elections of Richard Nixon in 1968 and 1972 proved his contention.
Mr. Alinsky advised that they work within the system instead. Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton followed his advice, as have so many who now wield power in the Biden administration.
Mr. Alinsky’s goal is outlined thusly: “(The mass of our people) must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future …”
Over the years, I’ve spoken to a number of people who ask why Republicans and Democrats can’t get along, why they can’t simply compromise and move ahead.
“To the organizer,” Mr. Alinsky writes, “compromise is a key and beautiful word … It is making the deal, getting that vital breather, usually the victory. If you start with nothing, demand 100 percent, then compromise for 30 percent, you’re 30 percent ahead.”
That’s why the word “compromise” is a dirty word to so many. By “compromising” with the left, the left wins. Compromise has brought us to a $30 trillion-dollar national debt, among a plethora of other unfavorable outcomes.
Compromise is what has torn this country apart. By standing on solid principles, conservatives can begin to put it back together.
The crazy things U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says; the insane blatherings of a Maxine Waters, Sen. Elizabeth (“I’m gonna get me a beer”) Warren; the insincere “sincerity” of Sen. Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Vice President Kamala Harris,and President Joe Biden, et al, are part and parcel of the recommended tactics proffered by Mr. Alinsky.
Here are his Rules for Radicals:
- Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
- Never go outside the experience of your people.
- Wherever possible, go outside the experience of the enemy.
- Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
- Ridicule is Man’s most potent weapon. (It infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.)
- A good tactic is one that your people enjoy (burning courthouses, chapels, police stations, cars).
- A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drug.
- Keep the pressure on (utilize all events of the period [pandemic, voter fraud, etc.] for your purposes).
- The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
10) Develop operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
11) If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counter side.
12) The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
13) Pick the target. Freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.
This last rule encapsulates the entire Alinsky agenda. Picking the target means choosing a person — not a building, institution, or inanimate object — to heap scorn onto.
With the help of a negative barrage of stories from social media, the mainstream press and the Democratic Party, they froze, personalized and polarized opinion toward President Donald Trump, and by judiciously jiggering the voting process in their favor, Democrats — Alinskyites all — succeeded in putting their candidate into office.
We can win by remembering that Mr. Alinsky and his acolytes at every level of government understand that by us compromising — especially on principles — they win. That means no compromising, no giving in, no “reaching across the aisle” unless absolutely necessary to ensure national survival.
The opposition knows that, and we need to know that too.
James Buckley is a longtime Montecito resident. He welcomes questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.