From David Horowitz’s Alinsky, Beck, Satan and Me, part I:
Alinsky begins by telling readers what a radical is. He is not a reformer of the system but its would-be destroyer. This is something that in my experience conservatives have a very hard time understanding. Conservatives are altogether too decent, too civilized to match up adequately, at least in the initial stages of the battle, with their adversaries. They are too prone to give them the benefit of the doubt. They assume that radicals can’t really want to destroy a society that is democratic and liberal and has brought wealth and prosperity to so many. Oh yes they can. That is in fact the essence of what it means to be a radical — to be willing to destroy the values, structures and institutions that sustain the society we live in. Marx himself famously cited Alinsky’s first rebel (using another of his names — Mephistopheles): “Everything that exists deserves to perish.”
This is why ACORN activists, for example, have such contempt for the election process, why they are so willing to commit election fraud. Because just as Lucifer didn’t believe in God’s kingdom, so the radicals who run ACORN don’t believe in the democratic system. To them it is itself a fraud — an instrument of the ruling class, or as Alinsky prefers to call it, of the Haves. If the electoral system doesn’t serve all of us, but is only an instrument of the Haves, then election fraud is justified because it is a means of creating a system that serves the Have-Nots — social justice. Until conservatives begin to understand exactly what drives radicals and how dishonest they are — dishonest in their core — it is going to be very hard to defend the system that is under attack. For radicals the noble end — creating a new heaven on earth — justifies any means. And if one actually believed it was possible to create heaven on earth, would he not willingly destroy any system hitherto created by human beings?
From Part II
Obama/ACORN strategy guru Saul Alinsky began his manual for leftists by dedicating it to Satan, “the first radical known to man” who “rebelled against the establishment, and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom.” We noted that the kingdom Alinsky thought was some kind of achievement to inspire other radicals was in fact hell. Here, in a nutshell, is why conservatives are conservative and why radicals are dangerous. Because conservatives pay attention to the consequences of actions, including their own, and radicals don’t.
And there’s a reason for that. What they are trying to do is not to improve the lot of all of us or even some of us, but to fill up a cosmic emptiness, an emptiness they feel in their core. As Alinsky himself puts it, they are seeking to answer the question “Why am I here?” — a question which traditional religions attempt to answer but whose answers radicals scorn. Modern radicalism is a secular religion, and its hunger for meaning and hope and change cannot be satisfied by anything less than grandiose, totalizing schemes to transform the world. To bring up their failures, the enormities they are guilty of, the crimes committed in the name of their religion, is to strike a blow at hope itself, which is why they cannot and will not hear it.
From Part III:
Conservatives think of war as a metaphor when applied to politics. For radicals the war is real. That is why partisans of the left set out to destroy their opponents, not just refute their arguments. It is also why they never speak the truth. Deception for them is a military tactic in a war that is designed to eliminate their opponents.Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals is first of all a broadside against the New Left. What Alinsky attacks about the New Left is its honesty — something I’ve always regarded as its only redeeming feature. While American Communists — the Old Left — pretended to be Jeffersonian Democrats and “progressives” and formed “popular fronts” with liberals to “defend democracy,” we in the New Left disdained their deception and regarded it as weakness. To distinguish ourselves from these Old Leftists, we said we were revolutionaries and proud of it.“Up against the wall motherfucker” was a typical New Left slogan, telegraphing exactly how we felt about people who opposed us. The most basic principle of Alinsky’s advice to radicals is, lie to your opponents and potential opponents and disarm them by pretending to be moderates, liberals. This has been the most potent weapon of the left since the end of the Sixties. Racists like Al Sharpton and Jeremiah Wright posing as civil rights activists, radicals like Henry Waxman and Barney Frank posing as liberals. The mark of their success is how conservatives collude in the deception.
—Alinsky’s manual is designed to teach radicals how to manipulate the public into thinking they’re harmless, in order to accumulate enough power to achieve the radical agenda — to burn the system down and replace it with a socialist gulag.
From part IV:
For Alinsky and his Machiavellian radicals, politics is war. No matter what they say publicly or pretend to be, they are at war. They are at war even though no other factions in the political arena are at war, because everyone else embraces the System which commits all parties to compromise and peaceful resolutions of conflicts. For tactical reasons, the radicals will also make compromises, but their entire mentality and approach to politics is based on their dedication to conducting a war against the System itself. Don’t forget it (although if history is any indication, Republicans almost invariably will).
Because radicals see politics as a war, they perceive opponents of their causes as enemies on a battlefield and set out to destroy them by demonizing and discrediting them. Personally. Particularly dangerous in their eyes are opponents who are wise to their deceptions and realize what their agendas are; who understand that they are not the innocents they pretend to be but are actors whose reality is masked. (It is no coincidence that the pod people in the Invasion of the Body Snatchers were inspired by radicals in the Communist era). Thus it is precisely because Glenn Beck is on a mission to ferret them out, that they are determined to silence him and have organized a boycott to drive him off the air. Sarah Palin is another conservative they consider extremely dangerous and therefore have set out to destroy, personally. The list is as long as there are conservative leaders. This is because when you are in a war — when you think of yourself as being in a war — there is no middle ground.
A war by definition is a fight to the finish. It is waged against enemies who can’t be negotiated with but must be eliminated — either totally defeated or effectively destroyed. Conservatives don’t really have such an enemy and therefore are not mentally in the war at all, which is why they often seem so defenseless or willing to throw their fellow conservatives over the side when they are attacked.
There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus — and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it — that unless you’re free the machine will be prevented from working at all!
From my own 2005 post True Believers (and other people’s words even then):
Glenn Wishard, in a post at Canis Iratus last year entitled A Thumbnail History of the Twentieth Century wrote:
The rise and fall of the Marxist ideal is rather neatly contained in the Twentieth Century, and comprises its central political phenomenon. Fascism and democratic defeatism are its sun-dogs. The common theme is politics as a theology of salvation, with a heroic transformation of the human condition (nothing less) promised to those who will agitate for it. Political activity becomes the highest human vocation. The various socialisms are only the most prominent manifestation of this delusion, which our future historian calls “politicism”. In all its forms, it defines human beings as exclusively political animals, based on characteristics which are largely or entirely beyond human control: ethnicity, nationality, gender, and social class. It claims universal relevance, and so divides the entire human race into heroes and enemies. To be on the correct side of this equation is considered full moral justification in and of itself, while no courtesy or concession can be afforded to those on the other. Therefore, politicism has no conscience whatsoever, no charity, and no mercy.
I think Glenn’s declaration that the 20th Century “neatly contains” the rise and fall of “the Marxist ideal” is a bit premature, but I fully concur with his conclusion that “politicism” has neatly divided societies in the manner described….
And also, from my essay March of the Lemmings, quoting The Geek with a .45:
We, who studied the shape and form of the machines of freedom and oppression, have looked around us, and are utterly dumbfounded by what we see.We see first that the machinery of freedom and Liberty is badly broken. Parts that are supposed to govern and limit each other no longer do so with any reliability.We examine the creaking and groaning structure, and note that critical timbers have been moved from one place to another, that some parts are entirely missing, and others are no longer recognizable under the wadded layers of spit and duct tape. Other, entirely new subsystems, foreign to the original design, have been added on, bolted at awkward angles.
—We know the tools and mechanisms of oppression when we see them. We’ve studied them in depth, and their existence on our shores, in our times, offends us deeply. We can see the stirrings of malevolence, and we take stock of the damage they’ve caused over so much time.Others pass by without a second look, with no alarm or hue and cry, as if they are blind, as if they don’t understand what they see before their very eyes. We want to shake them, to grasp their heads and turn their faces, shouting, “LOOK! Do you see what this thing is? Do you see how it might be put to use? Do you know what can happen if this thing becomes fully assembled and activated?”Some, to be certain, see these things, and perceive the danger. Many of these, their minds and judgments clouded, act as if they had appeared new and pristine, and proceed to lay all of the blame, 100% of it, at the feet of the current administration, judges and legislators, not stopping to think that such malignity does not appear de-novo, and all at once.It is human, after all, to assign blame for such things as the evidence of ill intention and malign design, and sometimes it is just to do so. We remind ourselves though, that it isn’t always the case, and that evil can also emerge unbidden from the sum of vectors, rather than the charting of a course.Such sickness as this grows over time, years and decades. It accretes in lightless corners and in broad daylight in places where self-deception, man’s oldest enemy carries the day.Alone, and in small groups, we sit in the shade and think, to find clarity. Some of the forms we see are plain as day, and others are ambiguous. We know that it is human nature to see patterns in the stars, to connect the dots. Often, the patterns we see are real, and sometimes, they are just constellations. We pause and check each bit of history, one at a time. We know that we cannot afford to be wrong.The original machine designers warned us of this. They knew that the temptation would always be there, and they sternly warned us that assembling such machines, even with the best of intention was to court a cascading disaster.
And from a link in Gerard’s piece to Daniel Greenfield’s post Winning the System:
Choosing between the tyranny of a tyrant and the tyranny of a system is not a very pleasant choice and it should be an alien one. Unfortunately as the tyranny of a system has grown, so has the search for the perfect tyrant. But no matter whom we elect, the tyranny of the system will keep growing. Hoping that a one man wrecking ball will collide with the system is not an impossible dream, but neither is it all that promising. It doesn’t mean that we should stop trying, but it does mean that we need to think bigger.Our struggle is not with Obama or Reid or Pelosi, it is with the system that they advance. A system of unrestricted power that mandates absolute dominance over all human affairs backed by an ideology that treats all human activity as political and in need of control in the name of the greater good. Getting them all out is a plus, but it’s a battle, not the war.
—Things aren’t the way they are because one wrong man got in, but because a million wrong men and women got in. And that number is a modest understatement. An election may slow them down, it may reverse them a little, but it will not stop them. We are fighting and losing a war for control of the system that runs our lives. Our choices are to take control of the machine, live outside the machine or stop the machine.The left faced those same choices in the early 20th century. It chose a slow conquest from within. To repeat their achievement, we would have to do what they did. Train generations to take control of entire sectors and then institutions. Take control of the educational system and then the political system. Transform the entire discourse, turn their conventional morality inside out and tie them down. Is it doable? Yes. Are we likely to embark on such a project? Probably not. It would take too long, require a level of ideological coordination that does not currently exist on the right and by then the country will not be salvageable.Living outside the machine is not an option either. ObamaCare is a reminder that the goal of the machine is absolute control of every aspect of human life. There is no off the grid when the grid is everywhere. There is no off the grid when every geographical area has its administrative bureaucracy charged with monitoring and bringing into compliance all persons living within that area. There is no off the grid when the use of off the grid technologies without a special permit is outlawed. Living like a rat within the walls of the state, or the forests, isn’t completely impossible, but in the long run it’s futile. It’s survival, not much else.All that’s left is stopping the machine. That doesn’t mean violent revolution, it means determined political change. The Tea Party was the first step of that change. It was extraordinary because for the first time in a long time, outrage at the operation of the machine brought massive numbers of people together around the country. Their principled stand was doomed to be muffled because the system has no interest in shifting power away from its institutions and toward the people. But it’s only the beginning.The system grinds on because it maintains the illusion of consensus. The Tea Party rallies badly shook that consensus. Long before there were crowds in Cairo, there were crowds in cities all across the country. Their message was that the machine has to stop.In the face of the protests, the media turned into desperate pro-government outlets, and when the polls were done, the government took one of the worst political blows in history. Elections come and go, but this was more than that. A giant was slowly waking.The task of the left is to complete its machine before the giant wakes. Our task is to wake the giant and point him at the machine. In that way the last three years have helped us more than they have helped the left, which could have made the same gains if it had waited and taken it more slowly. They put a face on the machine and that was their mistake. Now they’re trying to take it back by putting Wall Street’s face on the machine.
We will fight the good fight this election, and with the help of G-d may we win it, but it’s the machine that is the real war.
First, I find it interesting that the metaphors remain so consistent over time. The quote from the Geek and the one from Glenn Wishard both date back to 2004, David Horowitz’s essay to 2009, Mario Savio’s speech to 1964.
Second, we’re in a war. We’re just beginning to wake up to it. There is a machine out there, and it’s been under reconstruction for over a century to convert it from a machine of liberty to one of oppression. Some of us understand that the machine must be stopped while others understand that their only hope is to finish it before it can be stopped.
Maybe the Mayans were on to something with that “calendar ends in 2012” thing after all.