I recently reread Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” and just like the first time I read it, I felt chilled to the bone from the thought of people actually being committed to these tactics and using them against their political opponents. Unlike the first time I read it, however, I recognized that Alinsky’s playbook is currently being used against political enemies of the United States’ Democratic Socialist party and others on the left, including those in the Democrat party itself. This truth is disturbing, to say the least.
First, if you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it as it is important to know the opponent’s playbook. By the way, Alinsky wouldn’t call you the opponent but rather the enemy. There are, interestingly, thirteen said rules. Maybe that means bad luck for whoever might implement them, but unfortunately we cannot hope for that and instead must understand what those rules are and how to fight against them successfully.
The entire book to me is basically how to use people’s kindness and morals against them, to sum it neatly up. It’s all about power and how to play dirty to get that power. Alinsky says, “power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood.” This cynical statement doesn’t have an appreciation for this country’s Constitution and the many people who, through hard work and perseverance, managed to succeed in their lives by their own definitions of what success is. It assumes people with money have it to the detriment of the poor. It manages to, in one sentence, declare that poor people must form mobs in order to gain power.
First, the agitator must create disorder. Alinsky says,”“In the beginning the organizer’s first job is to create the issues or problems.” Alinsky’s tactics were to pick a target, isolate that target, “increase [the target’s] insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty,” ridicule them and keep them off balance, and “keep the pressure on. Never let up.“ No tactic was off limits because in his world the ends justify the means. Even using tragedy and human suffering for political gain saying, “Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.”
Democrat presidential candidates as well as members of Congress collectively known as the “squad” and others on the left have used recent mass shootings to demonize President Trump. They have pitted him against American Latinos because of his anti-illegal immigration stance. Though coming into the country illegally is the definition of an invasion, they tell the public that this perfectly accurate term is somehow racist tripe when President Trump says it. They pit him against black Americans by incessantly calling him a racist with zero evidence of said racism. They use half-truths and misinformation to sow discourse in the electorate. They ridicule and bait him; try to isolate him from others in the Republican party, and they never let up on the pressure, no matter how outrageous and unbelievable their claims against him may be.
There is an exceptional podcast by John Loeffler (https://www.steelonsteel.com/saul-alinsky-rules-for-radicals/) that talks in depth about the Alinsky rules and how the left uses them against their political enemies. He talks about how, as a conservative everyday person, after reading Saul Alinsky and understanding the opposition’s tactics, we can combat them one conversation or debate at a time. John’s tips for counteracting the bad actors are to (paraphrased):
- Always anticipate they will use things in your past against you
- Don’t let them goad you into losing your cool
- Use ridicule back at them, smiling as you do so
- Make them look silly by holding them up to their own set of rules
- Define yourself before they define you
- Relish the battle
- Point out how they have contradicted themselves
- Refuse to be targeted
- Do not be smeared with the deeds of others
- Do not let the fool set the parameters of the debate
- Loeffler quotes the Bible, Matthew 10:16, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
The language and attacks from the left are more outrageous and ugly than I’ve seen them in decades. They have turned the temperature to high, and they don’t seem to be cooling it down any time soon. They cite our President’s Twitter feed as reason to relentlessly attack him. They report nothing good in his person or his family; they don’t recognize any positive outcomes of his presidency, and they constantly reinforce the fears of their followers by twisted takes on negative news stories. They take his words out of context, and they villainize every one of his followers. They have learned the Alinsky tactics well.