book reviews

Miscellaneous political books
Reviewed by: T.J. Nelson

Rules for Radicals
A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals
by Saul D. Alinsky

S ometimes, even a fool says something important. Such is the case with Rules for Radicals, a 1971 drivel-fest by the late 60s radical Saul Alinsky. There's one basic idea here: to effect radical social change, you cannot go around blowing things up, calling the police dirty names, and generally acting like a drug-crazed hippie--you have to lie about your intentions, work within the system, run for office, talk about democracy, and wear a suit and tie--in other words, conceal your true intentions until it is too late.

For Alinsky, a Marxist, the goal is the familiar idea of wealth redistribution, from the “Haves” to the “Have-Nots.” Rule 2: "Never go outside the experience of your people."
Rule 3: "When possible, go outside of the experience of the enemy."
Rule 6: "A good tactic is one that your people enjoy." (p 127)
Alinsky demonstrates some rudimentary understanding of how to gain power and how to rabble-rouse. Occasionally, he even says something sensible, especially in his thirteen rules of power tactics (see box). These tactics, which include unsavory practices such as making personal attacks on private figures and disrupting classical music concerts by making unpleasant bodily noises, have been widely adopted by the left, by race-baiters, and by the more un-likeable members of the Democratic party. The best that can be said for such tactics is that they're an improvement over the bombs and Molotov cocktails used by their predecessors.

On reading the book, it becomes clear that this is not just a tactful way of telling his bomb-throwing comrades to “cool it”, but rather that he recognizes that the less violent but equally obnoxious tactics are more effective in overthrowing a democracy than violent revolution. Not having all your fellow radicals shot by the police is also better for morale. But his goal is the same: to do away with the capitalistic system and install a socialist paradise.

Like most other committed leftists, Alinsky never questions his basic assumptions about the world which motivate his desire to overthrow the system. The childish idea that gaining power and overthrowing the system will automatically lead to improvement is never challenged. Alinsky believes that any tactic is acceptable as long as it promotes the goal of “reform.” He also believes that your values are determined by whatever benefits you politically. But if that is so, then once in power your values would automatically change to those of the “Haves.” So why bother? His roadmap, like that of his more violent comrades, only leads to corruption and tyranny.

There are few things as dangerous as a “community organizer” or revolutionary who does not understand the real world. If you want to change the world, first learn how the world works and why things are the way they are. Otherwise, once in power you will spew forth a barrage of random changes. Since you don't understand the world, you won't understand how your changes will affect it. Without the ability to question your own goals, you will automatically become a tyrant. Should ignorant fools like Alinsky's followers gain political power, they would make radical changes to a system they do not understand, and plunge the world into chaos, poverty, and war. But at least, following Alinsky's advice, they will do so resolutely, without self-doubt.

How Obama, Congress, and the Special Interests are Transforming a Slump into a Crash, Freedom into Socialism, and a Disaster into a Catastrophe and How to Fight Back
by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

D ick Morris is a commentator who appears frequently on Fox News. He accurately predicted the 2008 financial crisis six months in advance. In this book, he and Eileen McGann describe how Obama and the Democrats plan to nationalize the banks, destroy our health care system, and undermine our economy.

Of course, predicting the 2008 financial crisis doesn't make Dick Morris a genius. Half the planet (and even one or two people in the news media) saw this coming. But his criticisms of the Democrats are well-deserved. The Democrats have already destroyed most of our automobile industry. The energy industry is next. Unless they can be stopped, they could turn the United States into a third-world country. Our pork-based economy is already primed for hyperinflation and governmental intervention so severe that it could create civil unrest. The damage to our country done by these politicians, whose only expertise is in blame-shifting, might be impossible to reverse.

That the mainstream news media ignore the corruption, deny that Obama's policies are wrecking the economy, and ridicule the notion of him being a socialist, is not surprising. Yet even mainstream economists, including Greg Mankiw and Gary Becker, almost universally condemn the Government's economic ideas.

The facts that Morris and McGann present are well-known to anyone who follows the political news on the Internet. And they're just a fraction of the "Changes" the Government is hoping for. Morris barely mentions the planned massive tax increases, the plans to surrender our sovereignty to international organizations, and the rumored plans to nationalize our 401k's.

Unfortunately, halfway through the book, the authors lose their focus on the economy and turn to random reporting on various corrupt Democrats and bank executives. Morris is not an economist, and his economic reasoning doesn't go deep enough to help readers understand why their choice is between economic death by taxation or economic death by inflation.

Obama has until the elections of 2010 to push his changes through. He must pass immigration "reform" before then to ensure a sufficient number of Democrats at the polls. If he succeeds, my advice is to start saving cardboard boxes--you may need them to live in.

Rules for Radical Conservatives
Beating the left at its own game to take back America
by David Kahane

I n this book, the pseudonymous David Kahane, who writes like Mark Steyn and calls himself the son of radical "Che" Kahane, gives us a hilarious send-up of Alinsky's Rules for Radicals (reviewed at left), written from the point of view of a Hollywood leftie. Conservatives need to stop being so genteel and polite, says Kahane, or "we" will bury you. Or as R. Lee Ermey would say, "Get that sandwich outa your pie-hole and listen up, maggots! You pansies make me want to vomit!" There are few things that bring out the inner Ermey in conservatives as much as the supine cowardliness of their designated pseudo-representatives, the RINOs in D.C.

Of course, conservatives have a few weapons of their own: history, for one, and Dick Cheney, for another. The very thought of Dick Cheney with a loaded firearm makes the tree-huggers' sap freeze in their phloem. The Left is petrified of being recognized for what they are: a bunch of closet totalitarians. "We" know socialism can't work, says Kahane, but we're going to give it to you anyway, complete with gulags, toilet paper lines, and (probably) firing squads, because you refuse to understand that our ultimate goal is your annihilation. Kahane, in this brilliantly witty manual, shows you why the stakes in the "Cold Civil War" couldn't be higher, and tells you how to fight back.