All farmers, from the first to today, know that you need to sow the seed if you expect to get something. Even today’s mavens of the new, mostly urban, woke culture, subscribers to Black Lives Matters, and true believers of the 1619 Project know this simple truth. To reap, you have to sow.
And, of course, for those reading these lines, you have a few items to take care of, like fertilizers, weeds, rain, drought, critters and a host of other claims on your crops and harvests.
With this principle in mind, I have occasionally returned to the 1950s and 1960s to examine the roots of today’s politics buried in that very fertile soil. So, this is lesson No. 2 in our history course this fall: YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW.
Who were the principal influences on the formation of the political, social, and economic manners, thoughts, and ideology of today’s faculty in colleges and universities across the Americas? If education is one of the three formidable influences on today’s youth (the other two are the home and the church), who taught them and what did they teach them?
The name Saul Alinsky popped up on my radar a few weeks ago. I remembered his name vaguely as a political activist, someone who many of my more politically engaged tribe of faculty occasionally mentioned.
He was born in Chicago to Russian Jewish immigrants. He became a community organizer in Chicago and a controversial political theorist. His 1971 book, “Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer,” was a kind of guide for the struggle for social justice, especially in blighted urban communities.
And a month or two ago, I received a note from an old childhood friend in Lima, Peru, a close watcher of politics in both Europe and the U. S. Sometimes a voice and view from abroad is good to hear, since it is usually less passionate, more objective than subjective. The Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville who traveled the U. S. in the early 19th century and left his immensely astute observations of life in the new democracy is a good example of the type.
Alinsky’s observations about the coming to power of socialists is now available all over the Web in dozens of online pages. That it is now being reproduced widely says something about how deeply Alinsky’s teachings have influenced modern radical progressives. It is entitled, generally, “8 Levels of Control – Useful Idiots” by Saul Alinsky
Alinsky died almost 50 years ago, but his writings influenced those in political control of our nation today. Barack Obama writes about him in his books. The ex-president was a community organizer and Alinsky one of his intellectual inspirations.
Here is a summary of Alinsky’s arguments.
How to create a social state by Saul Alinsky:
There are eight levels of control that must be obtained before you are able to create a social state. The first is the most important.
1) Healthcare: Control healthcare and you control the people.
2) Poverty: Increase the poverty level as high as possible. Poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.
3) Debt: Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty.
4) Gun control: Remove the ability of the people to defend themselves from their government. Thus less (or no) resistance to a police state.
5) Welfare: Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, housing and income).
6) Education: Take control of what people read and listen to – take control of what children learn in school.
7) Religion: Remove the belief in God from the government and schools.
8) Class warfare: Divide the people into “wealthy” and “poor,” causing discontent: It will be easier to take (tax) the wealthy with the support of the poor.
Does any of this sound like what is being promoted by the radical left and woke culture in the United States today? I might add two new categories: 9) History; manipulate history to advantage your case, like the 1619 Project and critical race theory.
10) Race: Promote racial divisions to further encourage government control to “make things right.”
Alinsky merely simplified Vladimir Lenin’s original scheme for world conquest by communism, under Russian rule.
Stalin described his converts as “useful idiots.” As one commentator on the Web phrased it: “Useful Idiots have destroyed every nation in which they have seized power and control. It is presently happening at an alarming rate in the U.S.”
Since today’s woke intellectuals are lacking any real imagination or creativity in their thinking, let’s help them a bit.
Earl Tilford, an alumnus and respected historian, and others, mostly alumni who include legislators, journalists, lawyers, educators, business people and private citizens of many stripes with a deep love and respect for the university and public education in Alabama, are working to restore values attendant to the classical pursuit of academic excellence … more on this to follow.
Larry Clayton is a retired University of Alabama history professor. Readers can email him at email@example.com.