Just a brief note to respond to kairosfocus, who claims regarding Saul Alinsky:
For those who came in late, Alinsky was a neo-marxist radical who saw cultural and community subversion as the means of communist revolution.
I cut my critical thinking eye-teeth on Communists, messianistic charismatic pols and cultists, and have wariness about all three.
(All quotes in bold are emphasis added.) Truth be told, kairosfocus couldn't tell a Communist from a hole in the ground. He links to a passage in his bloviating web page on "selective hyperskepticism" as follows:
His premise for resorting to ruthless radicalism -- as stated in his key work, the 1971 Rules for Radicals [RFR] was that:There's a lot to discuss here, but the main thing I want to note is that Alinsky was not a Marxist, and that kairosfocus is profoundly distorting his words here. This becomes clear when the first passage is put into context:
"A Marxist begins with his prime truth that all evils are caused by the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. From this he logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism, then into the third stage of reorganization into a new social order of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage -- the political paradise of communism." p.10
"The end is what you want, the means is how you get it. Whenever we think about social change, the question of means and ends arises. The man of action views the issue of means and ends in pragmatic and strategic terms. He has no other problem; he thinks only of his actual resources and the possibilities of various choices of action. He asks of ends only whether they are achievable and worth the cost; of means, only whether they will work. ... The real arena is corrupt and bloody." p.24
"The means-and-ends moralists, constantly obsessed with the ethics of the means used by the Have-Nots against the Haves, should search themselves as to their real political position. In fact, they are passive — but real — allies of the Haves…. The most unethical of all means is the non-use of any means... The standards of judgment must be rooted in the whys and wherefores of life as it is lived, the world as it is, not our wished-for fantasy of the world as it should be." pp.25-26
"The first step in community organization is community disorganization. The disruption of the present organization is the first step toward community organization. Present arrangements must be disorganized if they are to be displace by new patterns.... All change means disorganization of the old and organization of the new." p.116In short we see here a radically relativist ("his prime truth"), utterly amoral Machiavellian (might makes right and ends justify means) ruthlessness that rejects moral constraints on means, in pursuit of ideological and revolutionary agendas that start by working to destroy the current order. But, such habitual ruthless amoral destructiveness soon become an all consuming pattern of behaviour and -- on the long, sad and oft- repeated history of "successful" radical revolutions -- normally ends in chaos and tyranny.
This raises the question: what, if any, is my ideology? What kind of ideology, if any, can an organizer have who is working in and for a free society? The prerequisite for an ideology is possession of a basic truth. For example, a Marxist begins with his prime truth that all evils are caused by the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. From this he logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism, then into the third stage of reorganization into a new social order or the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage -- the political paradise of communism. The Christians also begin with their prime truth: the divinity of Christ and the tripartite nature of God. Out of these "prime truths" flow a step-by-step ideology.I've put the quoted passage in bold so readers can see what is going on. In brief, Alinsky refers to Marxism as he refers to Christianity: they examples of what he is not. He does not have either of those ideologies, but he is "an organizer working in and for an open society."
An organizer working in and for an open society is in an ideological dilemma. To begin with, he does not have a fixed truth--truth to him is relative and changing;everything to him is relative and changing. He is a political relativist. He accepts the late Justice Learned Hand's statement that "the mark of a free man is that ever-gnawing inner uncertainty as to whether or not heis right." The consequence is that he is ever on the hunt for the causes of man's plight and the general propositions that help to make some sense out of man's irrational world. He must constantly examine life, including his own, to get some idea of what it is all about, and he must challenge and test his own findings. Irreverence, essential to questioning, is a requisite. Curiosity becomes compulsive. His most frequent word is "why?"
Nobody who has read Alinsky would distort that passage in a way that is so easily corrected, unless they are (a) lying, or (b) stupid. kairosfocus is not stupid, and I do not believe he is lying. Rather, I believe, kairosfocus has not read Alinsky but has read only selectively distorted passages.
Now, I also believe he is too arrogant to admit his error. Will he ignore this or try to dance around it?