April 24, 2009
Obama, Alinsky, and Scapegoats
By James Lewis
'Pick the Target, Freeze It, Personalize It and Polarize It.'
- Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals.
That's what Barack Obama taught his ACORN followers in all his Community Agitator classes in Chicago. That slogan defines mob scapegoating, of course. It is an exact prescription for whipping up mobs -- by race, by gender, by ethnicity, by religion. If you want to know how to whip a mob of Pakistani Taliban fascisti to whip a young girl for flirting with a young man in public, this is exactly what you do: Pick the Target, Freeze It, Personality It, and Polarize It.
And notice that "the target" is no longer a human being. It's an "It." Try substituting the word "victim" for "target," and you see how it works.
This is exactly what the Dixiecrats did to blacks in the Jim Crow South, and what President Obama does today with capitalists who run General Motors and Wall Street.
So the purported comedienne Janeane Garofolo interprets the anti-tax tea parties as obviously racist. You see, Ms. Garofolo can read minds, in spite of all the obvious decency of the tea party protesters. And Obama's Department of Homeland Security has now pinpointed our chief terrorist danger: It's "right-wing extremists," including Iraq War vets coming back home.
In psychiatry, scapegoating is called "displacement of rage," and it is often said to be a low-level defense, one that comes easily to people who are already emotionally troubled or impaired. With mature adults scapegoating doesn't work very well -- not unless you can make them into insecure wrecks by destroying their incomes, for example. That's what happened to the German middle class in the Weimar Republic. It's what will happen in this country if the economy fails to recover. That is why it is so vital to keep the administration from its most extreme spending plans, which could harm the economy if the Democrats in Congress are foolish enough.
Scapegoating is very simple, and very malevolent. It is the defining feature of human destructiveness. All the truly irrational actions in human history involve displaced rage. Pathological societies in the world are always torn by a search for new scapegoats.
Scapegoating is a really effective manipulation for mobs that have long ago decided that their real enemy is... anybody. Because that overwhelming feeling of rising rage matters much more than whoever is the victim of the moment. That overwhelming tension is intolerable and seeks an outlet.
For instance, the target could be the kulaks.
"Comrades! ... You need to hang (hang without fail, so that the public sees) at least 100 notorious kulaks, the rich, and the bloodsuckers. ... This needs to be accomplished in such a way, that people for hundreds of miles around will see, tremble, know and scream out: let's choke and strangle those blood-sucking kulaks. ...
Yours, Lenin." (italics added)
That's Lenin the mob leader after the Bolshevik revolution. 'Pick the Target, Freeze It, Personalize It and Polarize It.' The kulaks were Russian peasants who owned a couple of cows instead of just a scrawny goat like most others, and therefore provided juicy hate objects for the mob. Lenin knew how to whip up those mobs because that's how it was done during the four centuries of Romanov rule before the Revolution. It is deeply ingrained in Russian folklore -- you can see it in the opera Boris Godunov, where a pair of Orthodox priests whip up a mob to kill two Catholic priests, foreigners from Poland. That was just before 1500 AD.
Scapegoating is emotional high explosive that you can direct at will, like those fire-spewing proton packs in the movie Ghostbusters. You just 'Pick the Target, Freeze It, Personalize It and Polarize It.' It's like pulling a trigger on human emotions and watching the human target get blown away. We've seen it ever since the Boomer Left took over the media, most recently with the abuse heaped upon George W. Bush.
Saul Alinsky was born in 1909 of Russian Jewish parents in New York City. Why was the Alinsky family living in America in 1909 rather than Minsk or Pinsk or Omsk or Chomsk? Because they fled the Russian pogroms of 1890-1910, like thousands of other Jews.
I don't know if Alinsky's parents were direct victims of the peasant mobs, but chances are that his aunts or uncles or grandparents must have been. I have a friend whose grandmother was knouted to death by Cossacks in Poland in the 1920's. I don't think her grandchildren and great-children have ever come to terms with that horror, even though they are living in the next century in America. It is a multigenerational trauma. Horrific traumas can have that effect. In the Jim Crow South blacks were scapegoated by the very same kinds of mobs, led by the very same kinds of agitators -- virtually all of them white Democrats. It seems that some blacks are still experiencing the emotional ripple-effects, decades later.
Now follow this closely: The Alinsky family fled to the United States because life was intolerable in the old country. They found safety in America. Emma Lazarus was another Jewish immigrant, who understood the difference between the Old and New World well enough. She wrote about the Statue of Liberty,
"A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame."
Emma Lazarus must have been an extraordinary woman, because her poem brims with gratitude for the New World: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...".
That is a very different feeling than the young Saul Alinsky harbored. Little Saul must have seen the Statue of Liberty often enough on the skyline of his childhood. But he never understood it the way Emma Lazarus did. We can only wonder why, because thousands upon thousands of persecuted refugees kept flowing into New York City when he was growing up.
And then little Saul grew up and wrote Rules for Radicals, and dedicated his life to ... the very same art of whipping up mobs that his parents fled from. Rules for Radicals might have been written by a medieval mob agitator; only a few words need to be changed. 'Pick the Target, Freeze It, Personalize It and Polarize It.' Substitute "heretic" or "witch" for "target" and you have all the religious persecutions in human history. Substitute "blacks," and you have a Dixiecrat lynch mob. Substitute "whites," and you have all of J-Wright's sermons at Trinity United, Chicago. It's all the same thing. Human nature doesn't change. Alinsky:
"Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution."
Funny thing is, Emma Lazarus thought that America was the revolution those huddled masses were looking for.
Alinsky did not write his little book of Rules against the Tsar of Russia, nor against mob demagogues in general; rather, he wrote it in a rage against free market wealth, against capitalist individualism, against the prosperous middle class and its most successful home, the United States of America. Alinsky became the hero for other agitators -- people who used to call themselves "communist agitators." Those were not shameful words when little Saul was growing up, they were proud words.
Agitare comes from the Latin word for "stirring up," the same root as the word "activist." A "community activist" is just a slightly different name for the old phrase "communist agitator" -- one who stirs up a group, just like those old hairy demagogues in Tsarist Russia and Poland, and then in Soviet Russia, Germany, China and Cambodia, in Rwanda and Kosovo, the Punjab and Indonesia ....
Question: How is it that little Saul Alinsky, child and grandchild of victims, became the new persecutor?
Here is a strange twist of fate. Starting with the huge expansion of the US college campuses in the Sixties, Saul Alinsky's little book went viral. Alienated middle-class kids with no personal experience of poverty or suffering -- in the sense that blacks knew it in the South and the Jews and many others in Europe and Asia -- they all went around with Alinsky's Rules for Radicals in their backpacks. Radicalism became romantic. Alienated and ignorant kids yearned to become Che Guevara and kill the capitalists. That's how rich kids like Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn learned their theology. It's how they became heroes in their own eyes. Such saintly people, giving their all for the poor and helpless.
Hillary Rodham complained about her authoritarian father when she was a child, and instantly on getting to Wellesley she fell for Saul Alinsky and his Rules, and became an admiring disciple of the Master of Scapegoating. Hillary's first major political act was to join the staff of the Senate Watergate Committee, where she wrote a legal brief for the Committee on why President Richard Nixon should not, repeat not, be allowed legal counsel in his impending impeachment and trial.
'Pick the Target, Freeze It, Personalize It and Polarize It.'
See how it works?
So the persecuted become the persecutors. Hillary the victimized child -- at least in her own mind -- became the really visceral hater of the Clinton White House. The black victims of mobs in the South had children and grand-children, some of whom -- by no means all -- became the Reverend J-Wright, or Louis Farrakhan. The children of victims of Russian persecution, some of them -- by no means all -- became romantic Alinsky radicals. Those children of wealth worshipped men of violence, and sanitized them -- Che, Mao, Fidel, Carlos the Jackal, Ayers, Mumiah, the list goes on.
The Reverend J-Wright preaches mob incitement. It's all over his sermons. His younger successor in the same church, Rev. James Moss III, has his own style of incitement. He tells his congregation that black people will never be accepted by whites; they are lepers, with an ugly skin condition that makes them diseased outcasts forever. Sweet, ain't it? The worst Dixiecrat agitator during Jim Crow couldn't have put it worse than that.
Take the rage that people feel and direct it to the most convenient human victim. 'Pick the Target, Freeze It, Personalize It and Polarize It.' J-Wright started life as a Black Muslim, as he tells it, and then studied Black Liberation Theology. What's BLT? Well, Pope Benedict says it's a cover name for Marxism. In this case, racial Marxism. Which brings us right back to Lenin whipping up the Bolshevik mobs to kill the kulaks.
It doesn't matter where you direct the rage. Brazil's Marxist president Lula blames "white people with blue eyes." We are living in a time of reverse racism, having flipped Dixiecrat racism to the other side. The tragedy is that we have not transcended race, not and as long as racial demagogues can squeeze this new hatred for money and power. The Obamas are the very incarnation of reverse racism. That is why they felt the need to show contempt to the Queen of England, and to bow down to the pre-medieval King of Saudi Arabia. In the next four years, or eight, or longer, you will see them do that over and over and over again, because that is their lifelong obsession.
Barack Obama and Michelle attended J-Wright's church for twenty years, and had their little girls baptized and raised at Trinity United. Our President was brought up by a mother who was a young college radical from Mercer Island, WA, and Kansas. His absentee father in Kenya was a proud post-colonial socialist -- until, it seems, he ran into trouble with Jomo Kenyatta and had two car accidents in a row; the second one of which killed him. But Barack Obama didn't draw the rather obvious lesson that his father may have been assassinated by a typical post-colonial tyrant. Instead, he adopted the side of the persecutor in the same way the young Saul Alinsky did. Obama grew up in his early years in Indonesia, where hundreds of thousands of ethnic Chinese had recently been massacred by -- you guessed it -- raging ethnic mobs looking for scapegoats. Oddly enough those Indonesian massacres are not mentioned in Obama's two autobiographies.
Obama's first boyhood mentor was the CPUSA's guy in Hawaii, a black man filled with racial rage and resentment, and little Barry was handed on from one radical friend to the next, in a long chain by way of Harvard Law to the Chicago Democrat Machine. The one big gap in his autobiography is his college years at Columbia, but knowing what we know we can fill that in pretty well. He married Michelle, herself a daughter of an African-American ward boss and friend of Jesse Jackson, who made a brilliant career out of scapegoating corporations for money, power and personal fame. Then Barack was taught politics by Emile Jones, the political godfather of Southside.
There's only one useful rule for predicting human beings:
People tend to do in the future what they did in the past.
So Barack Obama is now President of the United States.
What will he do?
How about 'Pick the Target, Freeze It, Personalize It and Polarize It?'
There go those AIG bonus guys. Let's tax ninety percent of their bonuses and smear them in the media. Done.
There goes Rick Wagoner. Let's kill his career at GM. Done.
Let's try to rouse up the mob against Rush Limbaugh. Oops! Forget it --- he's got his own megaphone. Next time just go for the ones who can't protest.
Now he darkly threatens trying officials responsible for making policy in the Bush administration.
Life will be so much better then, won't it?
Or will it?