The book Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky rose to prominence as some looked into the past and strategies of community organizer and presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama. It outlined the tactics and strategies he used and even taught in efforts to enforce his version of social justice on the American people.
It would do us well to have a look at these rules, since they have been used effectively against our society. Learning about his approach, and the methods used by the radicals surrounding the President can prepare us for dealing with them. We can even pick up a few pointers and turn some of them around on the current political establishment.
Rule 1: Power is not only what you have, but what an opponent thinks you have. This means they community organizers become masters of illusion… deceit even. It comes down to attempts at intimidating the other side into concessions they would not make if they understood the reality.
Rule 2: Never go outside the experience of your people. This means that you speak the language and values of your allies. This has become so ingrained in the President that his off the cuff remarks about Professor Gates rolled off his tongue from years of practice in stoking the fires of racism and victimization.
Rule 3: Whenever possible, go outside the experience of an opponent. Setting the terms of an argument gives you tremendous advantage. By making the opponent use your terms, you go a long way toward making it appear your premises are correct and they are just out of step. Beyond this, you are making them think in ways foreign to their normal thought processes.
Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. This works particularly well for the community organizing crowd when working with those of us with traditional values. As imperfect people, we rarely live up to our own standards perfectly. Then they play a game of gotcha. Even regular Democrats are masters of this ploy and why John Ensign got in trouble for an affair while Barney Frank suffered no consequences for having had gay prostitutes operating out of his apartment. The antidote is to accept our imperfections and not allow them to shame us into silence.
Rule 5: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is such an effective weapon because it deflects the attention from the question no one wants to answer and angers the opponent which often leads them to appear irrational. This is often used with the birth certificate question… no answers are given, and attempts are made to destroy the credibility of the accuser.
Rule 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy. Dedication to a cause will keep people going only so long. There has to be something inherent in the activity that people enjoy. It can be as simple causing discomfort to a real or imagined foe.
Rule 7: A tactic that drags on for too long becomes a drag. Activities need to be changed frequently so they don’t become routine and people become bored. Even adults have limited attention spans.
Rule 8: Keep the pressure on. This is a psychological game to push the opponent into actions detrimental to their cause. Everywhere they turn they need to see something that keeps them from relaxing and planning. If they are constantly responding to your attacks, they have a difficult time attacking themselves.
Rule 9: The threat is more terrifying than the thing itself. People’s imaginations can often carry them far beyond the reality of many situations. Years ago Alinsky just threatened to tie up all the washrooms at O’Hare Airport. City authorities quickly caved at the thought of bus loads of homeless people tying up washrooms as passengers filed off planes looking for relief. Nothing was done, but provide a threat of embarrassment to the City of Chicago.
Rule 10: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. It’s not good enough just to be against something. When you shoot down someone’s proposal, you need to have another idea ready to go.
Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. It’s easier for your followers to have a recognizable villain to focus their hostility on. Find an identifiable individual or group of individuals, like insurance executives to blame problems on. Then… ignore any attempts to inject logic into the argument that will distract from the goal. Years ago Jews served this purpose… who will be next?
That was a brief overview of rules generated by Saul Alinsky. It may give you an idea of why values like honesty and logic don’t work in dealing with these radicals. Their minds don’t work the way ours do, and we share little in the way of values. We need to keep this in mind as we deal with them. Being forewarned is forearmed.