A right-wing writer -- I forget which one -- mentioned that his last conversation with Andrew Breitbart concerned the menace posed by Saul Alinksy. That name mystified me for a few moments. Then I recalled that, back in 1970s, this Alinsky personage had written something called Rules For Radicals
, a book which I cannot fairly recommend as I have not read it.
At least not all of it. Or even most of it. Today, however, I've glanced at few excerpts.
Why? Well, it turns out that modern conservatives are fixated
on this Alinsky fellow, and I just had to see what all the fuss was about.
What a bizarre situation! I've been chatting with lefties since the Carter administration, yet I've never run across anyone who said: "You've gotta read Rules For Radicals
! Saul Alinksy is a friggin' genius!" The guy simply hasn't been on my radar, and my radar takes in a rather large amount of territory.
Moreover, it seems that by the standards of the early 1970s, Alinski wasn't considered particularly radical -- in fact, I get the impression that the actual hard-core revolutionaries of that time considered the guy a squishy softie. George Romney, father to Mitt, seemed to admire Alinsky
Yet if you wander into RightWingerLand, you'll soon see that the folks there believe that guys like me have spent the past forty years eating, drinking and breathing Alinksy. The right thinks that Alinkyism controls our every action and every utterance.Cue blast of off-key brass:
"Nobody expects Saul Alinsky! His chief weapon is surprise! Surprise and fear! His two
chief weapons are surprise and fear and a fanatical devotion to Karl Marx! Three. His three
chief weapons are..."
Oddly enough, if you type the name "Saul Alinsky" into Google, you'll see that only right-wing
political sites make the front page. Very few people on the left care about Alinsky -- even though the reactionaries love to hallucinate otherwise.Here's what Right Wing News
has to say about the Alinsky threat:
Ironically, one of the hottest new books for conservatives is far left-winger Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, which was written way back in 1971.
After reading the book, my personal opinion is that Alinsky was a brilliant yet cynical, habitually dishonest, utterly amoral human being with a deep understanding of large swathes of human nature. Was he a good guy? No, not at all. But, is there a lot conservatives can learn from his tactics? Absolutely. Some of it we can apply and some of it we can see how the Left has applied it against us.
Is there any evidence that the guy was habitually dishonest and utterly amoral? Maybe -- but if there is, our Right Wing News author neglects to humor us with examples. It seems that by "habitually dishonest," our Right Winger simply means "He held views contrary to mine."
The Right Winger does offer plenty of allegedly "damning" quotes from Sneaky Saul. Here's an example of the kind of Alinskyism which the right finds horrifying:
But the answer I gave the young radicals seemed to me the only realistic one: “Do one of three things. One, go find a wailing wall and feel sorry for yourselves. Two, go psycho and start bombing — but this only swings people to the right. Three, learn a lesson. Go home, organize, build power and at the next convention, you be the delegates.”
Seems sensible enough. In essence, Alinsky is counseling young people to work within the system. Is there a problem
here? Hell, when I
advocate working within the Democratic party, many of my readers accuse me of being a conservative sellout.
Nothing in any of this Alinsky material strikes me as being one one-millionth as devious as the tactics advocated by Karl Rove or Lee Atwater or Newt Gingrich or Jack Abramoff. Nevertheless, the rightists now consider Alinsky the secret malefic force behind an almost-all-powerful socialist international. "Come comrades, come rally...around Saul Alinsky!"
More than that. Conservative writers routinely use Alinsky as their all-purpose excuse for engaging in filthy strategems. Gotta fight fire with fire, right?
The right even has an entire blog
devoted to "defeating" the Alinsky menace. Sample headlines:
Main Stream Media Tries to Cover up Obama’s Ties to Radical Saul Alinsky
White House Spokesman Asked About Obama’s Ties to Saul AlinskyHere's the Free Republic page on Alinsky.
I've skimmed the beginning but could proceed no further. One can take only so much of the Free Republic.
Apparently, the "Alinksy as bogeyman" meme may have started with Newt Gingrich
.Here's a video
which claims that Saul Alinky's book is Obama's "Bible":
If you have been telling the truth and sharing information regarding Obama's plan to turn America over to globalists/communists you have very likely been assailed by people using SAUL ALINSKY's techniques as outlined in RULES FOR RADICALS
Ah, yes -- such a communist, that Obama is. The president who bailed out Wall Street but refused to help evicted homeowners restructure their loans. The president who handed our economic future over the Summers and Geithner. He's
a "communist."Here's Glenn Beck
on the Obama/Alinsky conspiracy.Here's Beck and David Horowitz
discussing how the right should adopt Alinskyite tactics. Alinsky has become their all-purpose excuse.Beck again:
Beck...Saul Alinsky play book - Ridicule your opponents
See how it works? If you laugh at Beck (who may be the most laugh-worthy human being in existence today), you're simply proving that a Great Alinsky Conspiracy really does exist and you're part of it. The result is a perfect paranoia loop.
I could go on -- and on and on and on
-- but the point is made. Saul Alinsky is the latest incarnation of Emmanuel Goldstein. "Alinsky" is the brand name of a fashionable new vibrator which conservatives use to stroke themselves to rage-gasm.
Maybe one of my readers will be kind enough to tell me more about this book. Rules for Radicals
. Any good?