Many people today believe Saul Alinsky wrote The Textbook on political activism. Not so, actually, although as a “How-to” it’s very good. As many on the Right already know, most of Alinsky’s Rules for Radical are apolitical. Anyone can use them for almost any purpose. They are tools, with no politics, no soul, no belief system. I use them all the time. But there’s a limit, for…
… embedded in Alinsky’s Rules is the notion that his rules are intended for the use of bad people, to be used against good people he wants to make appear to be bad. There is a revealing hypocrisy and dishonesty here which our side doesn’t have. It’s a kind of psychological projection, for in Alinsky’s rules is a self-admission of guilt (Obama, and others, do this all time, only no one notices), that he and his kind are indeed bad, and that they want to accuse innocent others of their own conspiracy, so that the innocent will be tried and branded for the same crime in which they are now engaged. Underlying this is a deeply psychological (not philosophical, mind you) desire to change the order of things in the world for their own purposes. It is Evil acknowledging itself to be Evil and not some mere alternative, self-delusional notion of Good. Alinsky’s writings are a tacit admission that he stands outside the ordinary and accepted order of civilized society and the moral universe that guides it. He is an admitted outlaw who wants to accuse innocents of outlawry, so that he can replace them…and the universe they live in.
Well, obviously, then, while we can adopt or adapt Alinsky’s tools to our own purposes, we cannot adopt the ethos. There are natural laws for outlaws, not just about what they are willing to do, but the sort of judgment they must eventually confront, which do not apply to the morally lawful. So a book about the rules for “radical good guys” would of necessity read a little differently.
Only this is not a limitation, but rather an advantage to the true of heart. As I have often said, in various contexts, “When Good stands up to Evil, Evil blinks.” I don’t say this as wishful thinking, or only with moral certitude, but also with a degree of scientific certitude...which means. here on earth. in this life, Our lives, not just in the next, the Good can peevail, and we can make it so. If I were to write a “Radical Good Man’s Guide for Building Fires”, one of its principal canons would be in defining this “scientific” difference between Good and Evil, so we can see the natural and lawful justification for what we do, and how it is different from what they do. In the end, that difference is outcome determinative.
Compare: Civil servants acting Lawfully and Unlawfully.
Lawfully: Only recently a mob (or is it a gaggle?) of homosexuals descended on a county clerk’s office in Los Angeles demanding they be given marriage licenses, which a couple of days before a federal judge said they couldn’t issue. Now, a good stand-up comic could do ten minutes on just the “what were they thinking?” aspects of this demonstration in silliness.
This kind of demonstration is not apt to intimidate even the first-day-on-the-job window clerk. Bureaucrats become wedded to their turf their first thirty minutes on the job, so from there on out, they cling to it like a new baby at their first feeding. Even in infancy they won’t back down when their turf is challenged…and when they know they are in the lawful right.
So, understand , this demonstration wasn’t designed to actually get marriage licenses issued anyway…although, I admit, the truly self-indulgent participants sometimes miss this obvious state of affairs. In Alinsky fashion, it was designed to draw in the media, to get public attention to the plight of the betrothless, to make a statement, and with any luck, entrap some first-day-on-the-job security cop into a little brutality, just for the merit badge, or as John Kerry called it, a Purple Heart. It was also intended, in this case at least, to give vent to the pent-up teat fits that have been a’building since the people of California said, No, Marriage is between and a man and women only. You know, catharsis, and yes, even gays need catharsis.
What is to be studied here is the behavior of the intended targets in the clerks’ office…namely, disrupting the order…but they were orderly, no mayhem, a quick call to the supervisor(s), who boldly strides forward, and answers the questions of the mob, if one is actually asked, “No, we cannot issue you marriage certificates because…blah, blah”…then stands solid jawed and firm, sort of like those redcoats at Rorke’s Drift, as the next blast of screeches and profanities are hurled. A quick glance to the left, a nod, and the police are quickly summoned, where, all according to script, the gaggle is removed from the room amidst “Ouch!”, “Pig!” “He groped me!”, or “Wheee, wheee, wheee” all the way home. Not a single bureaucrat’s hair is tossled. Not a bead of perspiration forms. Five minutes later, back to work and business as usual.
Forget the rightness or wrongness of the California law here, this is how public servants naturally behave when they know they are standing on solid ground, in accordance with law and accepted practices.
When public servants misbehave, on the other hand, they become furtive in their comings and goings, depending on how many people around them know about their misconduct…almost the same way they’d behave if they were bedding down that cute little new-hire in Property Taxes. A guilty state of mind generally has a way of exposing itself. I’ve seen this in small town court houses for some of the most trivial of reasons. It’s not hard to figure out when a local clerk or deputy has something to hide, and almost every small town news editor recognizes these tips. As do everyone else in the courthouse, through loose lips, called gossip, over coffee in cafes up and down the street. (Twitter still can’t match this level of connectivity, sorry, oh Ye believers in such things.)
But as we scale the government ladder, from small town clerk to larger city, state and federal offices, the public servant has certain built-in institutional safeguards, designed specifically to keep an inquiring (read nosy) citizenry out:
First is through the media, and the public denial with a prepared statement.
(On this: Accusations of public wrongdoing are almost never made eyeball to eyeball, but rather through a news story. It has become axiomatic that this is the best route to air misconduct by public officials, and is often used as a threat,“I’ll go to the press!” But while this is probably true when genuine scandal is involved…titillating sex, etc , it can be a trap, and dead end, when misfeasance/malfeasance or crimes of a political nature are involved…for if it is political, there is less than a 25% chance the media will take the Good Guy’s side on the issue. It’s more apt to be buried or stonewalled. Just food for thought.)
Second is the law suit, where all allegations are handled through lawyers, again through the auspices of the media. Either way, there are no ugly confrontations, no awkward questions, no gotcha moments, hence little public antipathy. (And that is what the public servant wishes most to avoid…Author’s Message! Author’s Message!) So throughout all of these the glare of mock indignation attempts to paint the public official as a hard working servant unfairly accused.
And finally, if these barricades begin to crumble, there is, usually with the assistance of fellow conspirators/travelers outside the immediate office network, 1) the internal investigation or select committee appointed to look into it, which guarantees your newborn will be entering grade school before the final report is made, or 2) the public servant poops in his own hen house, and finds a fall guy in the office to take the blame for the misdeed, often in combination with 1)above.
In bureaucracies this tactic is usually easier than you can imagine, as they almost always involve paper trails which only a cryptographer could disassemble. It ain’t a true bureaucracy if it, or any individual in it, can be held accountable for anything it does. The culprit is almost always “process”, and the public burden of proof almost insurmountable to exonerate that poor sumbitch and indict a real person instead. Remember, it was “process” that killed all those people at Waco…according to Janet Reno….and “process” that paid the ultimate price for its crimes; i.e., it was fired and a new process installed.)
So then, with this in mind, referring back to the confrontation described above, consider this alternative the outing of a wrong-doing public official, where the usual barricades have been bypassed:
This is a hypothetical example where a county registrar (voting officer) gypped some votes which handed an election to a guy who had really lost, had the votes been counted properly. This actually happened quite a bit in ’08 and will likely happen (or at least be tried) this November. Ohio and Minnesota, each with Secretary of State Project alums at the helm, went in for this big time.
(It’s mere coincidence that this kind of official skullduggery should be on my mind right now. I’m using this example for instructional purposes only)
That said, let’s say, just for fun, (hypothetically) that after One-Term Tom Periello (from New York but mysteriously occupying the 5th congressional seat in Virginia) wins a second term in November, not one single citizen outside of Charlottesville could be found that would own up to having voted for him, i.e, curious citizens decided to do a canvas this second time around (which they should have done the first.). So how’d he win, inquiring minds asked? A closer inspection shows that a thousand newly registered students and professors at UVA had voted for Tom, only, they were also registered in their homes states as well, and these falsified registrations were allowed to slide by a single country registrar. (I don’t care about the reason…Democrat simpatico, money, stupidity…all are equally suspect in that district.) What matters is that here, once again, One Term Tom is now getting ready to be sworn in for a Second Term, beating all the oddsmakers in Las Vegas.
Replicating the events at the County Clerk’s Office in LA, let’s say a group of citizens in VA-05 learns this, and decide to confront the registrar with the evidence. Let’s say there are 10 of them, a delegation, in business suits, work clothes, all older, late 30s to mid-60s, men and women, they march up to the front office clerk, loaded down with documents and files, and ask to see the Registrar. Sensing from their grim countenances that this group is not there to give the boss a Certificate of Appreciation, she asks what it’s all about. “One thousand mysterious votes,” the leader replies, holding up a file. The secretary calls back to the chief’s office, “Uh, Sir, there’s a Mister Vincenzo and Mister Augustino, and some other people here to see you…about some mysterious votes in the last election?”
This sort of confrontation is outside the list of normal barricades I mentioned above. It is outside normal process, so there’s a less than 10% chance that el Jefe will march out into the ante room and greet them with a warm smile or an indignant, “What’s this all about? Get on out of here or I’ll call the police.” air of officialdom…in part because he doesn’t sound all that authoritative when his voice hits High C . Most likely he will have the girl say he’s in a meeting, “Ask them to get an appointment”, and then figuratively crawl under his desk, because he has just been publicly outed and there’s not one thing he can do about it. If he’s on the first floor, he may head out the window, or down the back stairs, panic-bound…where, he will find still another group of citizens standing by his car. Driving home, he will find yet another quiet, well-dressed group standing in his driveway. They don’t even have to carry placards. Their looks will say it all. He’s finished, and not just politically, but socially, as when the pew empties when he and wife sits down at church. Local politicians hate shunning. He’s finished.
Now, you’re thinking, if my scenario holds water, Periello and several other crooked Democrats around the country will still be in office, so what does it matters? Right? Where’s the benefit? Well, yes, we are late to the game. Alinsky knew that much about us, at least. But good old-fashioned revenge comes to mind. And so does deterrence, and I believe we’re lagging way behind in the Deterrence Race with the Commies, especially considering our hole card, which the Alinskyites can’t match (above). They’ve been way ahead by accusing us of crimes the,ve been daily committing for years. We have to narrow the gap. The reason they are doing it is to provide cover for that county registrar, or Secretary of State, or bank, or OSHA, or EPA inspector. Does it work? Well, it’s Norm Coleman’s choice that Al Franken still sits in the People’s seat in the Senate. Not mine.
Besides some tactical and strategic considerations about fighting back, the broader lesson here is this notion that the guilty Enemy will behave differently when caught in wrongdoing, versus merely accusing our side of it. They will always blink. They will always retreat, especially when confronted by an aroused citizenry, who works outside the box they have designed for us.
What we need to learn is that if you want to discomfit misbehaving public officials (I include certain media figures in this) all you have to do is circumvent the known barricades they will likely use (I favor law suits only when there is a high certainty of success, and it will pinch their purses personally) and catch them unawares…so that you can confront them…time and time again, on a ground of your choosing. This is legal terrorism. This is what Alinsky teaches, but instead of putting fear into the innocent and fear of the appearance of guilt, re-installing the “fear factor” among the guilty. When the two collide, Alinsky loses…every time. As the old saw goes, you can’t extort a man to stay within the law.
Up and down the government scale we routinely see misbehavior, some of it criminal, actionable at law, and others actionable administratively with firing and of other forms of public censure. But all of it is actionable by an aroused citizenry…when and if the recognized constabulary or authorities will do nothing. (In fact, drag them out too, and keep dragging until the buck stops with someone who will enforce the law).
It requires only a dedicated few to put a stop to this nonsense. On a couple of occasion we’ve had school teachers leading first-graders in “Praise Obama, Umm, umm, umm” songs, in contravention of state (and probably federal) law, not to mention good old fashioned propriety, and then be protected by administrators on up the school management line…all without consequence. On more than one occasion union officials have been caught red-handed on camera engaging in criminal conduct…usually assault and battery of one level or another, again without consequence. Recently, in St Louis (sorry you’ll have to Google this yourself, I don’t have internet right now) a two-man company was visited by OSHA for the first time in 35 years in the image of young girl, who chastised them for not renting a $750/day crane to do a $700 job, among a list of other silly infractions based on textbook stupidity, then writing them up for being argumentative (back sass). The owner was cited and fined in excess of his ability to stay in business. When asked why the inspector, who’s name had to be Buffy-Who-Never-Changed-the Oil-in-her-Car-Because-Daddy-Always-Did-It (I’m sure the Shoshones would have had a shorter name), was sent to this small company in the first place, her supervisor said it was a referral, refusing to say why she was sent or why her inspection was not corrected by adults, again, without consequence. The company appeal is pending.
Enough. I think we all agree the government’s growing disclaimer that the public no longer has a right to know the how’s or why’s of anything it does has to cease. If that’s a cloak they want to hide behind, I’m for ripping it down, with sharp fingernails, if need be. I’m for taking names, as the first rule of deterrence for poor public service, as the Alinskyites know and have proved time and again, is to know that your name is on a list.
Understand, the normal reaction you expect by law enforcement and officials up and down the line will never happen…teachers fired, supervisors reprimanded, union thugs hauled away in leg-irons…
…none of these things will happen… not now, not ever again, until an aroused citizenry reminds those officials this is what is expected of them. A few eggs may have to be broken, but I think they can be convinced to get with the original program pretty quickly, once we show we mean business.
Punishment of bad conduct often does deter future misconduct, but as we’ve argued for a long time now, we may be limited as to what our notion of the “long view” is. The long view may be 80 days, 160 days, or two years, no one can say yet. I don’t like the odds of rolling the dice, thinking that we’ll still be standing at the table with a stack of chips in 2-3 years. So, I’m in favor of prevention, or preemption, as well, and from some of the things I’ve written here, knowing this one law, (there are others) that gives the Good Guys, our side, the Edge, I think we should consider using them now. Even the simplest signal to a would-be vote-stealer about to cross over the line could might be a real deterrent. Among my favorites, an old political cartoon from the 1800s of a politician in tar and feathers, or another tied to a cow catcher on the evening local to Roanoke. And a photograph of Benito Mussolini on his last day has even been known to work.
Delivery, Delivery, Delivery. Everything is the delivery.