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An Analysis of Alinsky and the Ethics of Means and Ends

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Published on: February 21, 2017

Forward: As a student in social work I was educated on how to disrupt political rallies; if you can believe they would even teach a thing like that at a higher learning institution. We were shown a video of a Scott Walker rally after he won the Governor’s race in Wisconsin. Left wing protestors, like the ones discussed in the article below, were shown jumping up and down on the tables while shouting disrespectful and derogatory epithets at the newly elected governor, and we were supposed to admire this. The funny thing is, I didn’t even know what they were protesting and neither did anyone else, because I asked several times what the point of the video was. This was during the section on community organizing in which Saul Alinsky was a big part of the curriculum. This was around the time Obama was elected for his first term and very few people knew who Alinsky was. He was presented as a hero even though it was never mentioned that he wrote a book called Rules for Radicals. One day I decided the students needed to know who Alinsky really was so when my left wing professor started discussing him I pulled out the book and started reading. If you can believe it, my professor, after class actually told me I wasn’t supposed to know about Saul Alinsky and Rules for Radicals.

The word is out. Barack Obama is working to undermine President Donald Trump at every turn by creating a thirty thousand strong army of community activists. The plan is to disrupt town hall meetings and give congressional Republicans the impression that Trump’s agenda is not popular. In fact, according to the New York Post’s Paul Sperry, they even have a script advising them to suggest  President Trump’s agenda equals the advancement of racism and authoritarianism. This is nothing new, the left screams racism every time someone disagrees with them. Throughout the Obama presidency, Republican lawmakers were shaking in their boots, afraid to stand against Obama’s agenda out of a fear of being labeled racist. The goal here is the same, create the illusion that the repealing of Obamacare for example, is not popular among the masses. In the past, they have accused Republicans of not caring about sick people in order to demonize them for not supporting Obamacare. The left is intent on getting their way and they have no intention of slowing down. If they are to be stopped then it must be understood that they are employing Alinsky-like tactics and are operating on an entirely different level of morality than most of us. They operate on an “ends justify the means” principle which means they are willing to do anything to advance their agenda.

How do you describe an “ends justify the means” mentality? In Rules For Radicals Alinsky discusses social change and the means in which activists can bring it about. The goal is to remake the world the way they think it should be. In other words, they are pursuing an Utopia. A man of action, according to Alinsky, is only concerned with achieving his end goal and the means in which he does is viewed only from the perspective of whether or not it is achievable, not moral. To Alinsky, the end goal is a better world and he, like his followers, believe that their vision for this better world is better for everyone; therefore, there is nothing immoral or unethical about the actions they take. The ends, a perfect world-justify the means, whatever they may be.

To say that corrupt means corrupt the ends is to believe in the immaculate conception of ends and principles. (Alinsky, Rules for Radicals. pp24)

A willingness to corrupt themselves is almost viewed as a higher level of morality because they are convinced that their vision is best for everyone, so they are corrupting themselves for a greater good. It is the same as Virtue Ethics and the idea of Modern Moral Philosophy. To the hard left, everything about America and capitalism represents oppression, racism, imperialism and poverty. They have a moral obligation to do what is right, according to their ideas of what is right, not what is considered moral or legal based on existing law or codes of morality. To further elaborate, they believe that the current moral code and social structure exists to protect the wealthy class and ensure that they retain their means to oppress the poor. However misguided this may be it reinforces their belief that they are right in taking social action in an attempt to bring the system down in pursuit of their Utopia.

In action, one does not always enjoy the luxury of a decision that is consistent both with one’s individual conscience and the good of mankind. The choice must always be for the latter. Action is for mass salvation and not for the individual’s personal salvation. He who sacrifices the mass good for his personal conscience has a peculiar conception of “personal salvation”; he doesn’t care enough for people to be “corrupted” for them. (Alinsky, Rules for Radicals. pp. 25)

Alinsky goes on to say that an unwillingness to pursue change in this manner makes an activist a passive ally of the so-called “haves” in the game of haves vs. have-nots. He is suggesting that anything short of applying an ends justify the means mentality will leave the activists with no means in which to pursue his end goal because he is clinging to the morality and ethics of the system he seeks to change. He compares those he called “means and end moralists” to the Jews who didn’t fight back against the Nazi’s. Indeed, he has a point that would be hard to argue, there was a moral obligation to fight back against such evil; however, Alinsky was a leftist and an admirer of Lenin who was also rounding up political dissidents. Today’s left, unbeknownst to them, are fighting for issues that Communists and Socialists would also advocate for. Universal health care, abortion, civilian disarmament and open borders. The reason Alinsky abhorred Hitler was because of his fierce nationalism, not because he rounded up those that disagreed with him. As mentioned above, Alinsky was an admirer of Lenin who deceptively advocated for peace until he obtained the means to wage war, then he became ruthless against his political enemies murdering millions.

In Rules for Radicals there are two rules discussed that explain the type of action being taken by Obama’s activists. One is a rule on the ethics of means and ends which states the following- You do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral arguments. The left, as it has long been known, operates on pure emotion and there is little in the way of fact in any of their arguments. Whether it is a push for gun control or universal health care they know their facts don’t paint a pretty picture for their cause so they mask them with moral arguments stating that “it’s just the right thing to do.” The issue of racism is also another big one, any time they are faced with facts they can’t dispute they resort to accusations of racism. This is a very effective tool that all too often silences people because they don’t know how to fight back. They are doing what they can with the tools they have and if silencing opposition is all they achieve then so be it, it’s a victory.

The second is a rule of tactics which states-Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purposes. We are being bombarded by different protests across the nation and they are using every issue they can think of to start a new social movement. The latest example is the no black targets movement. Researchers at the University of Illinois are actually claiming a study they conducted proves white people are more trigger happy on black silhouette targets. No matter how ridiculous this sounds, this reinforces not only the racism narrative but also that shooting and gun ownership itself is motivated by a fear of black people. They are using the tools at their disposal (racism accusations) and utilizing the events of our period (police shootings against blacks).

These activists are not going anywhere and in the event their planned town hall infiltrations are not successful you can bet they will be back with new tactics. They are determined to change America’s governing structure and as demonstrated in this article, are following a completely different set of moral standards than most of us. They will lie cheat and steal in an effort to undermine anything they view as being in the way of their agenda and they will not have any second thoughts on their actions because they are doing it for the greater good. They are corrupting themselves for the betterment of man.

Article posted with permission from In Defense of Our Nation.

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