Sunday, August 23, 2009
A couple of weeks ago I speculated that the right was, finally, adopting the disruptive tactics of the left, perhaps because the nomination of Barack Obama taught those of us with full-time jobs and families to take care of what a "community organizer" was. Obama's rise introduced the rest of America to Saul Alinsky's manual for "social change," Rules for Radicals, which today ranks an astonishing #64 on Amazon (for those of you keeping track of the Amazon zeitgeist from home, Atlas Shrugged has slipped to #118 after a surge to #18 in the early weeks of the Obama administration). I'm going to climb out on a limb and speculate that most of the recent sales of Alinsky's book have gone to righties who want to understand what has been done to them and to do it back in spades. What righties lack in free time, after all, they make up for in money and managerial skill.
Anyway, all of that sets up this link to a piece in the New York Times, "Know Thine Enemy," which sets forth some of Alinsky's rules of the road in a short memo that can be easily absorbed by the hurried corporate executive. Among them, "any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical." True, that.
Does the sun still shine bright on Loch Lommond? Comments from Scotland's leader defending the indefensible . . .
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Scottish leader defends Lockerbie bomber release
LONDON (AP) - The head of Scotland's government said Sunday that FBI director Robert Mueller was wrong to criticize the decision to free the Pan Am Flight 103 bomber - insisting there was public support for the release on compassionate grounds.
Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, a Libyan convicted of killing 270 people in the 1988 airline bombing, was released Thursday because he is terminally ill with prostate cancer. He has returned to his native Libya to die.
The release was met with outrage by families of the U.S. victims of the bombing and criticized by U.S. President Barack Obama as "highly objectionable."
In a letter to Scotland's government, Mueller said that al-Megrahi's release would give comfort to terrorists all over the world.
"Your action," he wrote, "makes a mockery of the grief of the families who lost their own on December 21, 1988."
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond told BBC Radio that Mueller was wrong in assuming that all those affected by the bombing were opposed to al-Megrahi's release.
"I understand the huge and strongly held views of the American families, but that's not all the families who were affected by Lockerbie," Salmond said. "As you're well aware, a number of the families, particularly in the U.K., take a different view and think that we made the right decision."
The explosion of a bomb hidden in the cargo hold of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, killed all 259 people on the plane and 11 on the ground in Britain's worst terrorist attack.
Both Britain and the U.S. have criticized the lavish reception al-Megrahi received Thursday, when a flag-waving crowd of hundreds greeted him at Tripoli's airport. Britain is reconsidering a planned visit to Libya by Prince Andrew, a British trade envoy, in response.
Some bereaved relatives in Britain dispute al-Megrahi's 2001 conviction, and a 2007 Scottish judicial review of his case found grounds for an appeal. He was convicted largely on the evidence of a Maltese shopkeeper, who identified al-Megrahi as having bought a shirt - scraps of which were later found wrapped around the bomb.
Al-Megrahi has maintained his innocence, but last week dropped his appeal so that he could be released on compassionate grounds.
Both the British and Scottish governments have denied that they struck a deal with Libya to free the Lockerbie bomber in return for greater access to the country's oil and gas.
Libyan officials have claimed al-Megrahi's fate had formed part of trade talks in recent years, while the country's leader Moammar Gadhafi on Friday thanked British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Queen Elizabeth II for "encouraging the Scottish government" to take their decision - a claim denied by both Downing Street and Buckingham Palace.
Brown's office insists that the government in London does not meddle in the work of Scotland's administration - which has wide powers over domestic issues, but has no say in areas such as defense or foreign affairs.
"No one I think seriously believes we made any other decision except for the right reasons," Salmond said. "I think it was the right decision. I also absolutely know it was for the right reasons."
He said al-Megrahi's release was consistent with Scotland's legal system, which allows for the release of prison inmates who are terminally ill.
Alinsky's quote "any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical" is certainly true, but look where it has led. Any effective tactic, even if unethical is now insulated from attack on moral grounds. This is exactly what we have seen, particularly in the areas of voting and rhetoric. The left disregards any suggestion that its tactics may be unethical, shrugging that we would say so anyway.
Thus the end justifies the means in classic fashion.
"The job of the organizer is to maneuver and bait the establishment so that it will publicly attack him as a “dangerous enemy.” ... Here again we find that it is power and fear that are essential to the development of faith. This need is met by the establishment’s use of the brand “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."
We've found the birth certificate!
Many orthodox religions accept far out ideas as gospel truth. For example, orthodox Catholic Mel Gibson has said that he believes that his ex-wife -- a living saint in his words -- is going to Hell because she's a Protestant ... but that Mel may not, so long as he does a really good deathbed confession.
Interestingly, the inner circle of the Church of Alinksy also accepts far out ideas as gospel truth. Their core tenet is that they believe that they know how things should be -- and that the rest of us don't. They're enlightened -- and we're not.
I make the comparison to orthodox religions because I suspect that the Church of Alinksy shares many similarities in the way it operates. But most religions require commitment to a moral code and often some degree of self-denial as the price of admission. The Church of Alinksy says that anything goes as long as it's in the name of the cause. All that's needed is shithead arrogance. Obama became a convert back in his Columbia days. Hillary wrote a paper on Alinsky and even met with the Great Man while he was alive, but although she bore animus to her Babbitt-like father she wasn't ready to burn down her family home. Obama had no home.
The comparison by The New York Times of happenings at town halls and the like to the Church of Alinsky is not fully on point. There may have been some organizing, but much of what's been going on is a reflection of genuine broad-based anger that didn't need Alinsky-ish consciousness building. As TH points out, many who are angry have full-time day jobs. What's going on is that many are figuring Obama & Co out now -- and largely on their own.
MSM disparaged the initial tea parties as being no more than the illegitimate spawn of FOX News. That dog won't hunt no more, so the current meme is that the tactics of the Right are unethical. They focus on some guy carrying a gun at a rally to draw attention away from why so many were at the rally in the first place.
There's a radical sect of the Church of Alinsky that believes that you need to purposefully make government go broke as a necessary step to the next stage of the revolution. This sect actually made this work in practice in New York City by leading a purposeful drive to double the number of people making welfare claims, which contributed to NYC's 1975 bankruptcy -- ultimately undone by Rudy. Rudy singled out Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven for personal blame -- they were Columbia professors and Alinsky acolytes who came up with this strategy.
I wonder if Obama took their courses. His wanting to bankrupt the US government is actually something I've feared since last summer.
You couldn't make this shit up -- but you could have reported it 18 months ago.
"and to do it back in spades."
Good Lord, Tige, didn't you read this??
I mean, it's been a coon's age since I've seen anyone be so niggardly with words, but I guess they're only calling a spade a spade!
(cue music as Western Civilization continues it's decent into the toilet)
Further on this theme is this article from the Minneapolis Star-Trib, reminding us that Obama the Organizer thinks politics is all about punching opponents in the face.
The president "guaranteed" passage of a bill just a couple of days ago. He's not done.
A useful analytical tool to better understand Alinsky is Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. Today is his last blog post at the LF blog and in the post he summarizes a number of the present day similarities he believes underlines the relationship between current Progressives and traditional fascists.
Of course, he says one difference is the absence of a eugenics program. He must have missed John Holdren's presence in the administration!
OOps! Here's the link to Goldberg's LF blog.
"Off the top of my head, in the first six months of Obama’s presidency we’ve seen corporatism and “state capitalism” run amok, in the government takeover of two car companies and numerous banks. Labor unions have become increasingly indistinguishable from the government and the party that controls it. Herbert Croly and the Progressives have once again been rehabilitated as founding fathers of the New Age. The entire liberal intellectual class is convinced that this the time for a new New Deal. Critics of statism are vilified by liberal elites as racists and fascists. (And those who refuse to get with the Gorian program are guilty of "treason against the planet"). When out of power, liberals lionized free speech and celebrated dissent as the highest form of patriotism. Now, they label dissent “un-American” and the president insists he doesn’t want to hear a lot of talking from anyone who disagrees with him. While the stench of eugenics and euthanasia do not quite sting the nostrils yet, the odor is detectable and the liberal impulse for controlling the lives of others has been re-exposed.
Indeed, our own messianic president, who insists that we can create a Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, also apparently believes that “we are God's partners in matters of life and death” and that religious organizations that are true to their calling should rally behind a united front to expand the scope and role of government. When the head of state says such things, it is hard not to be reminded of the Progressive concept of the God State, a major theme of Liberal Fascism. The “State is the actually existing, realized moral life ."