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Epiphany

I've had an epiphany.

Doing media work today, I came across this Powerline post on cap-and-trade and the continuing demonization of the Koch brothers. The best part comes right at the end:

Instead of debating the merits of this or any other issue, liberals follow Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. The current assault on Koch Industries, bizarre as it may seem--how can it possibly be Koch's doing that a Democratic Senate run by Harry Reid couldn't even bring cap and trade up for a vote?--is part of a long-running script. Here is Alinsky's Rule Number 12 for radicals. (By "radicals," by the way, Alinsky meant Communists.):

RULE 12: "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

That might be the most cynical thing I have ever read. It certainly is cruel; but then again, viciousness is what contemporary liberalism is all about. Demonizing people--in this case the Koch brothers, two of the world's most effective businessmen and most generous philanthropists--is the Left's pitiful substitute for actually being able to cite data and make arguments.

All of a sudden, everything that I've experienced from the left--the shouting down, the interruptions, the emotional pleas, the red herrings, the ad hominems, the caricatures that one wants all big corporations to eat babies with tabasco sauce--all of it clicks into place. It all stems from Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals."

I wish I had actually taken the time to figure out who Saul Alinsky was when I first heard his name. During the 2008 campaign, I didn't really pay any attention to the allegations of association with this man; I figured it was another irrelevant sound bite dredged up by the right. (Both sides engage in this stupidity on a regular basis.)

But reading the above rule, plus the link to the other rules, really opened up my eyes. For a long time I thought my liberal friends and the liberal commentators and protesters were just stupid, but no--this is their training! This is what they're supposed to do! Now I don't think that my friends have personally read Alinsky's tract, nor do I think the majority of left-wing activists have, but the thinking that is behind Alinsky's strategies has certainly permeated the "movement"--or whatever--and is being utilized today.

Honestly, looking at this stuff, the people who use these tactics should be ashamed. To discard rational discourse, to shirk from making an argument, in favor of abuse and just plain bullying, is to go against basic human decency and to turn into animals. People who promote this form of "argumentation" are promoting the idea that we should act like unprincipled, loinclothes wearing barbarians!

Looking at what's going on now in Wisconsin, which is a textbook case--see all those signs comparing Gov. Walker to Hitler and Hosni Mubarak?--I think we just all need to take Walker's stance: stand firm, and shun those who refuse to come to grips with both reality and decency. Only by forcing these people out of the debate itself, and ostracizing them from the discussion at the center of our democracy, can we actually reclaim our democracy and our society.