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Michael van der Galien

Reading Rules for Radicals

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Posted on May 4 2010 8:00 am
Michael van der Galien was born in the Dutch city of Leeuwarden in 1984. For as long as he can remember, he has been obsessed with the United States. When he was 17 years old, he started blogging - of course about America. His articles have been published at Big Hollywood, Pajamas Media, Hot Air (the GreenRoom) and Right Across The Atlantic. He's also an editor for the Dutch conservative blog, De Dagelijkse Standaard.
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It seems that I’m not the only conservative blogger who has decided to real Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. John Hawkins, who runs Right Wing News and who writes columns for Townhall, did the same and published a post yesterday with key quotes from this bible for (left-wing) community organizers.

Some examples (that also struck me when I read through the first couple of chapters):

“Power comes out of the barrel of a gun!” is an absurd ralling cry when the other side has all the guns. — xxi

A reformation means that masses of our people have reached the point of disillusionment with past ways and values. They don’t know what will work but they do know that the prevailing system is self-defeating, frustrating, and hopeless. They won’t act for change, but won’t strongly oppose those who do. The time is then ripe for revolution. — xxii

It is not a world of peace and beauty and dispassionate rationality, but as Henry James once wrote, “Life is, in fact, a battle. Evil is insolent and strong; beauty enchanting, but rare; goodness very apt to be weak; folly very apt to be defiant; wickedness to carry the day; imbeciles to be in great places, people of sense in small, and mankind generally unhappy. But the world as it stands is no narrow illusion, no phantasm, no evil dream of the night; we wake up to it again forever and ever; and we can neither forget it nor deny it nor dispence with it.” Henry James’ statement is an affirmation of that of Job: “The life of man upon earth is a warfare…” — P.14

The most unethical of all means is the non-use of any means. It is this species of man who so vehemently and militantly participated in that clasically idealistic debate at the old League of Nations on the ethical differences between defensive and offensive weapons. Their fears of action drive them to refuge in an ethics so divorced for the politics of life that it can apply only to angels, not men. — P.26

The seventh rule of ethics and means and ends is that generally success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics. The judgment of history leans heavily on the outcome of success and failure; it spells the difference between the traitor and the patriotic hero. There can be no such thing as a successful traitor, for if one succeeds he becomes a founding father. P.34

The organizer becomes a carrier for the contagion of curiousity, for a people asking “why” are beginning to rebel. — P.72

If the organizer begins with an affirmation of love for people, he promptly turns everyone off. If, on the other hand, he begins with a denunciation of exploiting employers, slum landlords, police shakedowns, gouging merchants, he is inside their experience and they accept him. — P.98

I have on occasion remarked that I felt confident that I could persuade a millionaire on a Friday to subsidize a revolution for Saturday out of which he would make a huge profit on Sunday even though he was certain to be executed on Monday. — P.150

I will write some posts on this influential work later this week myself, but I advise you to read John’s post nonetheless; it’s a great to start to get acquainted with this man and his tactics the Left as a movement has been using against conservatives for decades by now.

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