SAUL ALINSKY’S RULES 5
I continue this look at Saul Alinsky’s 1972 book “Rules for Radicals”* that – I believe – has exerted and continues to exert a substantial and deforming influence on national politics.
His fourth chapter is entitled ‘The Education of an Organizer’.
He starts off by ticking off the assorted types of students he’s taught. The breadth of it gives you an indication of just how many aspects of American society, culture, and politics were directly influenced by his vision and his approach: “… middle-class women activists to Catholic priests to Protestant ministers of all denominations, from militant Indians to Chicanos to Puerto Ricans to blacks from all parts of the black power spectrum, from Panthers to radical philosophers, from a variety of campus activists, S.D.S and others, to a priest who was joining a revolutionary party in South America. Geographically they have come from campuses and Jesuit seminaries in Boston to Chicanos from tiny Texas towns, middle-class people from Chicago and Hartford and Seattle, and almost every place in between”. (p.63)
Take a moment to imagine the priests and seminarians and assorted Protestant ministry types: how do you see Alinsky’s vision and approach working in a church or religious setting? In this country, as opposed to, say, some Third World autocracy or kleptocracy** or chaotic Hobbesian tribal pandemonium?
In that regard, Chris Hedges has a recent article
on the Truthout site in which he quotes Aristophanes to the effect that “Normal men don’t know that everything is possible, refuse to believe their eyes and ears in the face of the monstrous. ... The reason why the totalitarian regimes can get so far toward realizing a fictitious, topsy-turvy world is that the outside non-totalitarian world, which always comprises a great part of the population of the totalitarian country itself, indulges in wishful thinking and shirks reality in the face of real insanity. ...”
I’d say that ‘totalitarian’ is true as far as it goes, but doesn’t quite go far enough to cover the current American situation: Our politics has been attacked in a deliberate and deliberately permanent civic-war, by classic revolutionary tactics, techniques, and stratagems that have been ‘baptized’ merely by their ‘good intentions’ and the restrictions on physical and armed violence still operative here.
Most Americans had no idea that their politics would be so treacherously attacked. But then, most Americans didn’t consider themselves as illicit Haves and didn’t realize that they had already been declared as such (and targeted as such) by the Alinskyite vision.
And can you imagine what effect Alinsky would have on a church or religious group?
How did the reverend whatevers cover the huge gap between letting the tares grow with the wheat and the call for immediate and radical civic-war-as-God’s-war? And, for that matter, how did the Alinsky-trained divines maintain a serious commitment to – not to put too fine a point on it – the divine, when they had been schooled to the point of gaga in a vision that was Flattened into a this-dimensional force, said Flattening serving to intensify the pressure for ‘change’ and not allow any of that precious hydraulic energy to be siphoned off and dissipated by such opiate illusions as God’s Providence, God’s Grace, and that tares-and-wheat patience and prudence?
The education of an organizer requiring long hours of conferences (on such topics as ‘conflict tactics’ – see below), their “marriage record” is “with rare exception disastrous”. (p.65) You might think that at least the Catholic seminarians would have weathered that storm but then they would have run onto the rocks of Godlessness, since Alinsky wouldn’t have been in business had he acknowledged a God Whose Providence somehow worked to support at least a modest prudence in the conduct of civic affairs.
And, Alinsky being a man of the Old Left, and in light of “the tensions, the hours, the home situation and [marvelously] the opportunities”, then “with rare exception, I have not known really competent organizers who were concerned about celibacy”. (p.65) Being an economic Have-Not didn’t mean, apparently, that you had to be a total Have-Not. But that was before the Alinskyite vision was taken over by assorted other ‘non-economic’ oppressees, of course.
“As I look back on the results of those years, they seem to be a potpourri with, I would judge, more failures than successes”. (p.65) I would like to think that he wasn’t simply deploying false modesty here. But yet, being honest about this, he did not for a moment hesitate or doubt and kept pressing his plan.
Looking back from the vantage point of almost 40 Biblical years later, you are welcome to consider whether Alinsky’s legacy has had more success than failure, or the other way around.
“If one thinks of an organizer as a highly imaginative and creative architect and engineer, then the best we have been able to train on the job were skilled plumbers, electricians, and carpenters, all essential” but incapable, really, of taking the Grand Design to new levels. (pp.65-6)
He recounts the tribulations: college-activists who could whip up a bunch of students but couldn’t communicate with middle-class grown-ups; labor organizers who were used to set-piece, fixed-point campaigns but couldn’t handle the fluid and fast-moving operational milieu of “mass organizing” which “is a different animal … not housebroken … no fixed chronological points or definite issues”. (p.66)
No definite issues? Again, Alinsky is more than just ‘fluid’ and ‘adaptable’: he is given to civic-war whenever, however, on whatever basis will get people worked up. Because, after all, the world for Alinsky is a version of Camus’s Plague City: the Haves are reliably trying to extort the Have-Nots everywhere, all the time, every old which-way. The pervasiveness and semi-permanence of this Evil, come to think of it, offers a passable simulacrum of religious commitment, if you don’t look too close or actually try to take the thing for a spin up into the wild blue Beyond.
Nor was he impressed with ‘social worker’ types. Direct descendants of the Progressive Era’s ‘settlement house’ workers, they “organize to get rid of four-legged rats and stop there; we organize to get rid of four-legged rats so we can get on to removing two-legged rats”. (p.68)
I appreciate and respect his sense that some humans will behave like rats toward other humans. I appreciate – find it refreshing – that he will use such vivid terminology (and I’m sure he meant it; it wasn’t just a public pose) as ‘rats’. Alas, though, I think 40 years of his legacy has actually created more such ‘rats’ than at any time since the Gilded Age … or perhaps more and larger ones than in the Gilded Age.
But you can’t impose a ‘rat’-hunting mentality – let alone an entire Approach with techniques and assumptions and rules for the cadres – on a democratic politics. If there are so many Haves that you are going to be in a state of permanent civic-war (and this was BEFORE the Revolutions of the Identities created gender-Haves and Have-Nots, race-Haves and Have-Nots, sexual orientation-Haves and Have-Nots, and on and on and on) then you are bringing on a Permanent War or Permanent Emergency politics FROM THE LEFT. (Which, ironically, handed to the jingoist, hyper-nationalist and corporatist Right the very bridge their kind always needed but couldn’t openly create without making themselves look like fascists effecting a take-over.)
It goes to show, I think, that the opposite of ‘liberal’ is not ‘conservative’ but ‘illiberal’ – precisely what Political Correctness and the Alinsky-soused cadres of the Advocacies were and precisely the types of realities they have foisted on the country, the polity, and the politics.
An organizer needs ‘curiosity’; the organizer “becomes a carrier of the contagion of curiosity” because he will support Have-Nots who begin to ask Why when they consider their situation. This is the “reformation” stage that must precede the actual revolutionary stage. (p.72)
All perfectly orthodox revolutionary doctrine – but what business did it have in a democratic republic? Especially since it was embraced not only by the fabled ‘limousine liberals’ of the East Coast, but by the Beltway (the Dems first, the Republicans following after a while). This was not ‘fresh thinking’ – this was the old revolutionary stuff that had led Russia down the dark path, and so many reformers in so many countries after that.
It had been unable to gain traction in the United States. Until, desperate in the later Sixties, the Dems were willing to sign hall-passes for anybody who promised to burnish their creds as a party of the people (though it turned out, it would actually be a Party of the Identities and their cadres, and The People would be assigned the role of ‘the masses’ – not really a respected job-description in the classic revolutionary schema).
Typically eager to demonstrate the creds of his own Approach, Alinsky quickly asserts that “Actually, Socrates was an organizer … the function of an organizer is to raise questions that agitate, that break through the accepted pattern”. (p.72) And so far so good – it’s precisely this type of awareness that fuels a democratic politics.
But Alinsky then reduces the famous Socratic injunction to ‘know thyself’ to the Flattened sense of ‘knowing’ that you are a Have-Not and thus being extorted and oppressed by the Haves. Socrates, therefore, was not “carrying out the first stage of making revolutionaries”. (p.73) Socrates worked in a Larger world, whose planes of existence included an Interiority and perhaps even a Verticality; the human self was a cosmos and constituted a ‘new world’ and a genuine ‘frontier’ the hidden reaches of which every human being had to enter, explore, and master.
To Alinsky, as to all materialistic revolutionaries, energies directed toward the mastery of Interiority constituted nothing less than a dangerous distraction, a siphoning off of human energies that should – must – be better spent changing the material, external world. Interiority is the enemy of every revolution.
(Hence, again, you can only wonder what effect Alinsky’s approach had on the seminarians and divines who immersed themselves in his teaching.)
Especially since the next characteristic Alinsky requires in an organizer is “irreverence”. Because “nothing is sacred”. (p.73) Now I am all in favor of the assertion that nothing purely earthly is – or should be – considered ‘sacred’. But there are things not of this world, not originating in this plane of existence humans rather too-easily call ‘life’ and ‘history’, that must indeed by considered ‘sacred’ because humans have a need for ‘sacred’. And not just for any ‘sacred’ but for THE Sacred.
And if you try to decouple humans from THAT Sacred, if you claim that there is no Sacred (and Alinsky was soon put into synergy with the French Deconstructionists and Postmodernists who arrived at that same frakkulent place because they too drank from the poisoned well of materialistic reductionism) then you unbalance humans, pull the Ground out from under them, squash their Meaning and Purpose into the Flatness of a mono-planar and mono-dimensional existence.
What the Greeks imagined Hades to be for the dead, 20th century revolutionaries asserted was the only life for living humans.
Directed at the genuinely Sacred, the human capacity for reverence is not only healthy but indispensable to a balanced and Grounded individual and a balanced and Grounded society.
Simply devising an insufficiently comprehensive and a Flat vision of human existence, and then urging humans to immerse themselves fully in it, does not substitute for a genuine reverence or provide a Meaning and Purpose sufficient to the complex and multi-dimensioned needs of the human being.
And “imagination” is necessary to an organizer. (p.73) The organizer must be able to visualize the objective in bright, sharp clarity no matter how dark or dim the situation may seem. And the organizer must be able to sharply and clearly picture their situation to the particular Have-Nots who are being organized at the moment.
The organizer must use that imagination to suffer with mankind “and becomes angry at the injustice and begins to organize the rebellion”. (p.74) This is a dynamic that begins well – and I would say indispensably – for a decent society: you extend yourself to embrace the suffering that you perceive in others around you.
But then you “organize rebellion”.
Nor can I accept that this is just Alinsky’s perfervid turn of phrase. This entire book works on a dynamic that reproduces the attitudes and dynamics of rebellion.
Alinsky moves quickly to quote Clarence Darrow to the effect that Darrow’s “sympathies always went out to the weak, the suffering and the poor … realizing their sorrows I tried to relieve them … “ (p. 74) But Darrow moved to “relieve” those sorrows through the democratic politics and in the attempt to extend the ideals of democracy where they had been obstructed.
Alinsky, equally moved by sorrows, equally angered, chooses not a robust democratic organizing but a darkly-tinged organizing for civic-war based on the assumption that Haves and Greed will outweigh any possibility of common-weal. Like Machiavelli, his surrender to the dark potentials as not only ‘real’ but as the constitutive ‘reality’ of American – or any – politics, has led him to assume (eerily, so much like Bush-Cheney would claim 30 years after his death) that Evil must be warred upon.
And a ‘sense of humor’ is necessary – to relieve the tension because “essentially life is a tragedy, and the converse of tragedy is comedy”. (p.75) True enough, although if you are up against something that is of the ‘essence’, then the ‘converse’ becomes kind of theoretical and abstract: an ‘essence’ is by definition something that isn’t going to get changed.
But he then pushes on into deeper but murkier water: “One can change a few lines in any Greek tragedy and it becomes a comedy”. (p.75) I’m not sufficiently familiar with the corpus of Greek tragedy to know if he’s correct, but changing lines in a book text or a script is one thing and shifting or igniting or otherwise manipulating the force of human lives is another thing altogether. But revolutionaries do indeed have and have always had – and by definition always have to have – a ‘script’: they are never dealing with ‘reality’ in its stubborn incompleteness; they are dealing with their vision of what they are going to make because what there is isn’t worth a hoot.
And you can’t run a democratic politics if you’ve got a bunch of organizers who are convinced that what there is isn’t worth a hoot.
“Contradictions are the signposts of progress.” But they are not the fundamental ‘stuff’ of a democratic politics.
Nor does he make things better by claiming that “With very rare exceptions, the right things are done for the wrong reasons. It is futile do demand that men do the right thing for the right reason – this is a fight with a windmill. The organizer should know and accept that the right reason is only introduced as a moral rationalization after the right end has been achieved, although it may have been achieved for the wrong reason – therefore he should search for and use the wrong reasons to achieve the right goals. He should be able, with skill and calculation, to use irrationality in his attempts to progress toward a rational world”. (p.76)
Again, eerily, this advice seems to have been tailored to justify precisely the gambit deployed by Bush-Cheney in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. What was sauce for the Leftish organizer became sauce for the Rightist government. And as always with the Alinsky-ite approach, ‘war’ came out of it.
But also, note how this approach by its very nature undermines any Ground for attempting to take the political ‘high road’, to conduct an honest and open and up-front and reasonable and deliberative and democratic politics.
I am NOT here trying to create an impossible Good Position from which ANY less-perfect efforts can be simply dismissed as Bad. This dimension of existence, this Plane of existence, is by its nature incomplete and imperfect. (Alinsky reduces the cause of that to Greed, which, nicely, in the Christian and the comprehensive Catholic worldview, is a sin – and Sin is the factor that continually derails human efforts at achieving a lesser-incompleteness through efforts at improvement.)
I say ‘lesser incompleteness’ rather than using the term ‘fulfillment’ because I think We’ve had enough hyper-agitated excitements based on this or that group’s assurance that if only this or that Agenda is established, then Fulfillment will be reached. Politics is the effort of a human group to determine a course, necessarily imperfect and incomplete, by which the polity might move a bit more forward. But it is not in the Catholic (although it is in the Fundamentalistic Christian) view possible to ‘fulfill’ anything in this dimension or on this Plane of existence.
But as I have said previously, Alinsky – following the Flat materialist and reductionist worldview of Marxism and Leninism – must force all possibility of fulfillment into this dimension and squeeze it onto this Plane alone, and consequently must invest any efforts he makes with the Aura of Fulfillment in order to motivate and justify his followers.
That works out to a bad plan chasing a phantasmagoric goal that can never be achieved; it is a campaign based on a hugely mistaken ‘map’ and on a hugely mistaken assessment of the real (or Real) situation. And THAT, of course and not by coincidence, resembles the track of so many of the domestic policy gambits (from the Left) and the military misadventures (from the Right) – to the extent that Left and Right are distinguishable in the current merged mutation I call ‘the Beltway’.
He then goes on to observe that “the organizer must develop multiple issues”. (p.76) He gives as reasons: that if you want to build a widely-based membership you have to agitate along a number of issues; he uses the example of his own organizing days when rival or disparate unions joined him for their own ulterior motives but “We didn’t, of course, care why they’d joined us – we just knew we’d be better off if they did”. (p.76)
Now this is a completely understandable and on some actual level commendable bit of tactical thinking.
But I can’t help but notice what happens when the Alinsky Approach was adopted by numerous follow-on Advocacies, agitating for agendas based not on clear and palpable economic matters but rather on all sorts of assertions that demanded the most wide and deep and profound changes – and immediately – to the structure and fabric of American society***: you wind up with all sorts of ‘war-minded’ politics claiming justification on far less demonstrable grounds than the age-old economic struggle between Haves and Have-Nots that is the gravamen of Alinsky’s own use of his techniques.
And of course, add to this equation the tremendous impetus endowed by a government – originally the Dems – that not only embraced but indulged (‘empowered’, if you must) the entire pastiche of demands, erecting them with little deliberation and less public discussion into national policy and law.
It also means that not only do you try to become a ‘multiple-issue’ agitation, but you also have to keep coming up with ‘issues’ as time goes on or else your agitation will lose steam. So any society and any polity thus bethumpt by Alinsky-ite agitation is guaranteed an unending series of (possibly ‘manufactured’) alarums, outrages, and emergencies. Without them the Alinsky-ite technique cannot ‘keep the pressure on’.
And, Alinsky intones, “It is axiomatic that a single-issue organization won’t last”. (p.77) So ‘organizing’ isn’t an ad-hoc thing put together for a specific purpose and objective, but rather it’s a way of life and a way of permanently conducting ‘politics’. And this, I will say, is why American politics has been so corroded and degraded in the past decades; why Citizens have lost a great deal of political competence as well as political influence over their elected legislators and representatives and officials; and why at this point Obama and the Dems are desperately trying to figure out how to cobble together an electoral majority out of the frakkulently fragmented ‘base’ groups and the thoroughly disillusioned ‘undecided’ among the Citizenry (who may even have an inkling as to how this mess came about).
An organizer must also “become schizoid, politically, in order not to slip into becoming a true believer”. (p.78). This is a decent thought – Alinsky wants to prevent a certain ‘fundamentalism’ among his organizers. But if the organizer then doesn’t really believe in anything s/he is doing, then what sort of quality of political maturity is going to result? Or will it all, rather, decline into merely an exercise in ‘technique’?
American deliberative politics was envisioned as a method for resolving substantive issues relating to the common-weal that had been maturely considered and widely discussed. If Alinsky’s ‘controlled burn’ fire of technique gets loose from such personal boundaries as Alinsky has set for it, then the entire forest is at risk of a wildfire (or a whole lot of them burning toward each other from different parts of the forest).
Which is precisely what has happened in the ensuing 40 years. Genuinely forward (genuinely progress-making) movement is going to be dissipated in the constant need to expend energy on all the sideways (and regressive, perhaps) movement that is being demanded. And in the past 40 years that is, I will say, exactly what has happened: massive and vital and profound questions as to how to maintain the quality of life for Americans by keeping the country’s productive economy competitive in the evolving world situation were sidelined, and the consequent failure to keep-up masked by borrowing (Reagan), selling-off (Clinton) and Bubbles (Bush) – and now all of those illusory balloons are drained, deflated, and flat.
‘Progressive’ in a genuine sense has been undermined by ‘progressive’ in some sort of secondary, spin-meister sense. It reminds me of the Japanese government in 1944: it kept telling itself (and its people) that it was winning right up until the B-29s appeared over Tokyo, and even THEN …
An organizer must also have “Ego”, which Alinsky defines as “unreserved confidence in one’s ability to do what he believes must be done”. (p.79) And if this isn’t a description of the Bushist-era’s ‘real men’ then I don’t know what is. You don’t need to ask questions, you don’t ‘think’, you ‘just do it’ – because you are the ones that really ‘get it’ and you are the ones who are on the cutting-edge of History and indeed are making History while the rest of the chumps – those who ‘just don’t get it’ – are passively sitting around trying to ‘think’ and ‘deliberate’ and see if there actually any justifiable and coherent grounds for what you are Just Going To Go Ahead and DO!
And, I note, this is a pretty good description of most of the organized Advocacies as well, for the 30 years before Bush-Cheney got control of things; by their time, the whole Standard Operating Procedure had been in place inside the Beltway for decades.
The organizer thus “becomes a flexible personality, not a rigid structure that breaks when something unexpected happens”. (p.79) Once again, there is Alinsky’s Boomerish (although he is much older than the Boomers) and revolutionary delusion that humans and their history are mostly fluid or plastic, like play-dough or putty, to be changed into some new form without much trouble.
I say again – repeating what used to be ‘wisdom’ in the West – that you need Shape, you need a Trellis (a culture and civilization) in order to give the human self something to grow up on and in. Otherwise the human ‘vine’ grows wild like kudzu, aimlessly spreading along the ground. Worse, the human self becomes functionally invertebrate, unable to develop motivation or unable to sustain the action to achieve it because there is no Shape to the human structure. Or both.
And folks become sheep and slackers, mindless fat globules merely skittering about on the hard surface of this Plane’s iron surfaces like fat globules in a hot frying pan.
Such ‘activity’ is merely ‘motion’ and not activity at all; it leads neither to achievement or accomplishment because it has no Goal and no Shape to platform its energies toward the achievement or accomplishment of the Goal. Or both.
Alinsky concludes the chapter saying “Finally, the organizer is constantly creating the new out of the old. He knows that all new ideas arise from conflict; that every time man has had a new idea it has been a challenge to the sacred ideas of the past and the present and inevitably a conflict has raged”. (p.79)
Again with tossing around ‘sacred’.
But he also presumes a) that anything new is by definition ‘better’ (and ‘workable’) and that b) that everything ‘new’ must come from conflict.
Yes and no but mostly no.
Humans are always going to Kick Tire when something ‘new’ comes along, especially if they sense that the novelty has to do with profound and vital matters such that screwing around with them might yield baaad and dangerous and expensive consequences indeed.
But THAT’S WHAT a democratic politics is for: to work through all that and achieve some workable outcome that everybody can live with (and that the structure of the polity and the culture can handle without buckling or caving in).
Alinsky’s Approach – so much the revolutionary approach of Lenin – is for those who have decided that they ‘get it’ and that everybody else ‘just doesn’t get it’ to organize to attack and undermine and ‘take the low road’ in order to do whatever it takes to get what they demand. All the while deceptively spinning their activity as just a little ‘change’ and ‘reform’ and ‘tweaking’ – until they can be in a position, as Lenin famously observed and Alinsky proudly recalls, ‘ballots can be exchanged for bullets’.
There is a violence (even if in America it hasn’t come to actual physical bullets) to Alinsky’s Vision and his Approach and his Technique. Nor is it sufficient to assert that since ‘oppression’ is violent then you have to take the low road and be as violent as you need to be yourself.
And in the course of human events, Bush-Cheney came along and asserted that since they were dealing with violent and dark and irrational and truly evil folks, then the US government and its troops also had to ‘take the low road’ and “walk on the dark side” and be just as violent and dark and irrational and – alas – evil. But of course, America being God’s Deputy, then – in the accents of Nixon – When America Does It, It’s Not An Evil.
*My copy is the paperback Vintage Books/Random House edition that reprints the original 1971 edition. The ISBN is 0-679-72113-4. All my quotations and page references will be taken from this edition.
**You can certainly make the case for America today being a kleptocracy, but that’s happened only after decades of skewed and distracted politics that were influenced by Alinsky in the first place.
***Feminism – as it morphed under the hot and sustained influence of radical feminism and the assorted ‘theories’ and ‘scientific studies’ and everybody-knows type of knowledge – requires the radical dissolution of the Family as it has existed in Western society and culture – and arguably in most world cultures beyond the tribal level – since their inception.
To assert that such a fundamental building-block is ‘merely a religious belief’ is grossly inaccurate as well as inadequate as a ‘response’ to objections, doubts, and questions.
In her 1980 book “The Sceptical Feminist”, in which the philosophically-minded feminist thinker Janet Radcliffe-Richards tried to bring some coherence to the feminist vision as it existed then, she admitted that in addition to many of feminism’s core justificational claims being “controversial”, the matter of the Family as it was structured posed an insurmountable obstruction to ‘women’. Feminists “want some new arrangement”, she said, although as philosophically and intellectually competent as she is, she seems not to be fazed (‘stunned’ might not be too strong a word) by the breadth and depth of that comment or of any agenda or policy that might flow from it.
At best, as she tries gamely and honestly to admit the complexity of the problem, she admits that “It not in the least obvious how this should be done” and yet – in the spirit of the age – said immediately “but that is a reason for dedicating the full energy and imagination of everyone” into this task of “the reorganization of life and work”. (See pp. 165-170)
This is so quintessentially ‘American’ (not in the best sense) and Boomer-ish (ditto) that it has to be rolled around in the mind to grasp just how massively boggling the entire project is. If you are going to fundamentally alter a major structural component of a civilization – perhaps of a species – and you want it done right away, then deploying Alinsky-ite tactics and technique before you’ve even tried to get a coherent grasp of what is involved has to be the epitome of hyper-excited and hubristic fatuity. (And the Beltway backed it, of course.)
‘Optimism’ and ‘everybody-has-to-get-involved’ are grossly insufficient; they do not constitute a serious and sober Plan, but rather just a bunch of flowery nostrums (and can you say ‘Iraq War Strategy’?). To change the fuselage structure of an airliner in flight is not a project that should be considered ‘cutting edge’ and marvelously ‘creative’ or ‘transgressive’ and therefore a great plan to get involved in. It is, rather, very very very ill-advised and – may I propose? – impossible. And surely dangerous in the ultimate extreme.
As if she half-recognizes that fact, she opines in conclusion: if ‘women’ had actually been asked to participate in the formation of civilization instead of being excluded by the patriarchy back in the misty beginnings of the species, she’s sure that SOMEHOW they would have come up with a better way.
I can recall, in regard to that assertion, an early-1990s article in the ‘Navy Times’ newspaper: females were being allowed onto warships as crew. The paper – not owned by the Defense Department but dependent upon it for circulation and ‘access’ – decided to take the bull by the horns, but only in the service of the Correct line. The article posed to the pert young female interviewee the following (and genuinely serious and real) scenario: you are in a rapidly-filling compartment, there is an unconscious male sailor alone in there with you, and his inert body has to be quickly lifted up a ladderway to avoid drowning – how will you as a female manage to achieve that, since your muscle-mass and upper-body strength are limited? Instantly – in the text of the piece – she smiled brightly and said “I don’t know – but I just know I’d figure out a way if it ever happened!”. End of article.
It was not until I read very recently Radcliffe-Richards’s book that I realized that her game but lame gambit – ‘we would have figured out SOMEthing’ – had become a standard (and cute and shrewd) response to blow off questions about the most serious weaknesses in the feminist agenda.
Thirty years later and it is all ‘national policy’. And is THAT working for Us?
Labels: Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky