“There will be a lot of pressure put on the next Republican president to employ Alinsky’s tactics on the opponents of conservatism. Let’s see how these leftist bullies like an aggressive IRS targeting and auditing them, denials of tax-exempt status, reputations destroyed by Justice Department investigations aplenty, bankrupting progressives with attorney fees and personal-property confiscations, plus threats and accusations made by the new leaders of the SEC, FCC and the rest of the executive branch alphabet soup.” Tom Budds, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Alinsky’s Tactics Are Effective but Do We Want Them?
As radicals pass the governing torch to a Republican president, they shouldn’t be surprised when the new leader turns the monster they created on them.
April 16, 2015
With regard to Pete Peterson’s “The Alinsky Way of Governing” (op-ed, April 10): The tactics espoused by Saul Alinsky and his disciples in academia, the press and government are perfectly rational when viewed in the context of the Soviet Union in the 1920s and ’30s when everything—art, literature, science, music, religion, philosophy, psychology—was viewed through the lens of Marxist class warfare. Thus, what was advertised as a glorious revolution to liberate humanity—free speech, justice, freedom of conscience, freedom of assembly—became a means of establishing the Soviet dictatorship. It’s clear that many on the American left have appropriated this class-warfare narrative and broadened it to encompass ethnicity, gender identity and dogmatic environmentalism. Initially these policies were pursued under the auspices of liberal principles but with increasing authoritarianism as the left’s power increased, not because it lost its way, but according to a master vision that’s been in place from the beginning. The intellectual violence produced by subjecting art, thought, behavior to this brutish ideology is incalculable. The Soviet Union may be gone, but its ideological progeny are alive and well on the American left.
Thomas M. Doran
Pete Peterson should be praised for shining light on the Alinsky “tactics” of Rep. Raul Grijalva for targeting an ideal example of academic excellence and integrity. Steven Hayward’s honest pursuit of the truth is attractive to promising students seeking understanding, who have not yet been corrupted by an inability to think for themselves.
Niccoló Machiavelli argued that a republic with good laws was preferable to maintain the favor of a free and independent people, even more than one ruled by a “good prince.” Unlike Machiavelli, who was no fan of “evil,” Saul Alinsky is notable for his “over-the-shoulder acknowledgement to the very first radical . . . Lucifer,” (“Rules for Radicals,” 1971). Machiavelli opined, “that men will willingly change their ruler in hope that they will fare better . . . But in this they are deceived, because, as they invariably discover, their lot under a new ruler is inevitably worse” (“The Prince”). The history of the 20th century is replete with horrific examples of the hubris of the mediocre and their unquenched thirst for power. If unchecked by either laws or courageous individuals, such power grabs never end well for anyone. By preserving brilliant academics like Steven Hayward, the 21st century might do better.
The tactics of President Obama may come from a book published in 1971, but the founders of the American experiment were well aware of the threat to liberty inherent in a democracy posed by ideologically driven factions. The most effective antidote the founders recognized against the tyranny of the masses was an electorate educated about the fragility of their condition yet enthralled with the extraordinary experience of a truly free society.
The welfare state has compromised the citizenry to the extent that the faction that uses government to distribute unearned wealth wins national elections. Even the most conservative candidates must never threaten the entitlement programs that have done so much to erode the national love of liberty so essential to preserving our constitutional republic. The specter of debt now threatens the felicity and prosperity of a generation that insists on squandering the greatest gift that civilization could ever bestow, liberty.
There is another book that President Obama, Valerie Jarrett and the rest of the administration’s radicals should read: Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” There will be a lot of pressure put on the next Republican president to employ Alinsky’s tactics on the opponents of conservatism. Let’s see how these leftist bullies like an aggressive IRS targeting and auditing them, denials of tax-exempt status, reputations destroyed by Justice Department investigations aplenty, bankrupting progressives with attorney fees and personal-property confiscations, plus threats and accusations made by the new leaders of the SEC, FCC and the rest of the executive branch alphabet soup.
As these radicals pass the governing torch to a Republican president on Jan. 20, 2017, they shouldn’t be surprised when the new leader of the free world turns the monster they created on them.
Huntington Beach, Calif.