Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, Updated

As the little girl in the movie “Poltergeist” declared, “They’re baaaack.”  This time, however, it is not evil ghosts reappearing to make us shiver, but real-life leftists transforming their mid-20th century social movement centered on college campuses and anti-war rhetoric, to one far more subtle and multi-pronged.

Hillary Clinton’s college mentor, socialist Saul Alinsky, the Rasputin behind that 1960’s movement, drafted the roadmap for the radical Left to achieve its transformational goal of socializing America.  They fell short of their goal, but only with regard to the timeline.  Now, in this early 21st century, Alinsky’s manifesto is being updated and expanded; and one of its prime implementers may surprise you.

The non-profit community, long a meeting place for far-left sympathizers and Democrat do-gooders, now is in the vanguard of defining and implementing what Alinsky defined more than four decades ago as “Rules for Radicals.”

Alinsky’s 13 rules, combining psychology with political activism and brutal single-mindedness, is an undeniable masterpiece when it comes to neutralizing one’s opponents. Yet, as timeless as Alinsky’s rules may appear, they are not indelible.

Today’s liberals have, with some exception, evolved passed the raw violence of predecessors like the Weathermen, a late-60s urban terrorist group. Instead, the new weapon of choice is more cleverly camouflaged and dangerous. Riding on the coattails of post-modernism forced on us by university professors and pandering politicians, is the notion that objective “truth” is fiction, and that facts are simply a matter of shaping perspective.

It seems fitting then that a 14thRule should be added to Alinsky’s original 13: “Truth is what you make it to be.”  Facts no longer are the “stubborn things” of an earlier age, but simply concepts to be defined by their presenter.

The act of lying with the intent to deceive is as old as the story of man. What makes today’s deception so different is the intentional manipulation of truth as a strategy for political gain; a process so convincing,apparently, that even those who spin the falsehoods come to believe their new “reality.” After all, the goal is not to create a believable fiction, but to so tweak and distort the underlying facts that the fiction becomes the new truth. And, while it may seem only the most sociopathic could handle the mental and moral burdens of pursuing this tact in furthering a political cause, the Rule is more mainstream among the Left than we should hope.  And here is where the non-profit community comes into play.

In last month’s edition of Nonprofit Quarterly, a publication well-regarded and widely-read in the non-profit sector, contributor Susan Nall Bales details a new roadmap for “revolution” based upon the successes of the Parkland High School students who made headlines advocating for gun control. In it, Bales calls for reframing the debate about guns to focus less on facts, and more on “crafting of explanatory stories,” which “connect the dots for people and give them a complete story about how the world works that they can share with their social circles.” In other words, treat “facts” are secondary to the overall narrative you wish to create, as long as it is compelling and persuasive.

Bales would likely only fault them for failing to stick to the original script.

And, while we might remain optimistic that society as a whole would be able to recognize and reject this truth-bending, consider how easy Michael Bloomberg’s non-profit, anti-gun organization, Everytown for Gun Safety, has been able to drive the national debate about mass shootings by propagating demonstrably false information about school shootings, which is then soaked-up and reproduced by the Mainstream Media. Despite the reality that people are objectively far safer from gun violence than in the 1990s, the public has been intentionally lead to believe another far-scarier reality as a direct result of Everytown’s alternative truth-telling, because that is more supportive of its agenda.

Bob Barr
Bob Barr is a former Congressman who represented the citizens of Georgia’s 7th Congressional District in the US House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. Bob heads Liberty Guard, a non-profit and non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting individual liberty.