Community organizer Saul D. Alinsky, author of the 1971 book “Rules for Radicals,” was notorious in the Chicago area for his successful tactics in spurring government to provide all types of support to the disenfranchised.
The book offers tips on how to organize for social change by using all types of tactics. In Alinsky’s view, the ends justify the means. Does that sound familiar? Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are proponents of the Alinsky approach to organizing.
I read “Rules for Radicals” years ago and added countless notes on the pages, mostly disagreeing with what was written. There are, however, some good points about presenting your position.
Our government has taken unbelievable actions during the most recent shutdown and that caused me to look at Alinsky’s book again. Have you noticed that the left, especially President Obama and other key Democratic Party leaders usually go after individuals, not ideas?
That is a key element in Alinsky’s proposal — identify a target and go after it.
Another tactic is language. Notice how spending has become “investment,” taxes are “contributions” and abortion is “choice.” Alinsky states: “An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent; provide a channel into which the people can angrily pour their frustrations.”
The administration has gone to great extremes to make the current shutdown as painful as possible. Barriers have been erected to prevent access to various monuments in the Washington area such as the Marine Iwo Jima Monument.
There is no requirement for any government personnel to be present at these locations. While stationed twice at the Marine barracks in Washington, D.C., I went to the Iwo Jima Memorial every Tuesday during the summers to conduct parades that were viewed by thousands of American tourists.
National parks have been closed and individuals in private homes on federal land have been told to leave. On some bases where Catholic priests perform Mass for the military, they have been told to stop. I suspect Alinsky would be cheering.
At one of his recent news conferences, President Obama used scare tactics concerning the debt limit that will be reached some time around mid-October. According to the president, we will default on our debt interest if the ceiling is not raised. That is not true!
The monthly payment on the debt is about $20 billion, and the tax revenues coming in to the federal government are about $200 billion. There is no way that we can not pay that monthly cost. The scare tactics are working; the stock market fell almost 200 points because of what the president said.
Positive leaders look at challenges and uplift their people with their words and actions. Look at what Winston Churchill did during the bombing of London. He challenged the British people and told them that they would never surrender.
When France fell and England was next on Hitler’s list, Churchill said, “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will say, ‘This was their finest hour.’” Compare that to what our current leadership is saying, as it faces a crisis not nearly as dire.
In the dedication to “Rules for Radicals,” Alinsky wrote, “... 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.”
Donald Myers, a retired Marine colonel, lives in Spring Hill and can be emailed at email@example.com.