This was all so obviously inevitable, the predictable result of divisive identity politics perpetrated on the American people — the exact opposite of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Unfortunately, it won’t end in Charlottesville. The alt right and white supremacists, the Antifa and BLM groups — none of whom represent the best or even the good in America — will arm up, plan and ramp up the hatred and divisiveness. Because that is what comes from slicing up Americans by every conceivable grievance.
And instead of calling us higher, to the vision of America as a shining city on a hill, too many Washington politicians will do their best to take personal advantage of the situation. And already have. Democrats have been doing that for years by carving Americans along race, ethnicity, gender and income and pitting them against each other to get the votes of the aggrieved. It’s a directly dis-unifying strategy. Trump appealed to the backlash from that and while he is not a white supremacist, there’s no doubt he attracted their support.
Let’s get a couple of points clear. The alt right is not principled conservatism, or at least the racist elements are not. White supremacists are definitely not conservative. The rally in Charlottesville was ugly and unAmerican in its very origins, long before the violence broke out Saturday. Racists’ actions are hateful and should be called out — whether by whites or blacks or browns or whomever.
But there’s the problem, the step back to see a broader context for Saturday. According to many Americans on the left, particularly in academia, blacks actually cannot be racist because they are a minority and were oppressed by whites in the South 50 years ago. It’s true that they were, but the idea that racism can only come from the majority is nonsensical. Are only blacks racist in South Africa where they are the huge majority? Of course not. Hispanics, the left claims, cannot be racist because they’ve been oppressed by whites all the way back to the initial European settlers — which is not really historically accurate, but it still works to divide. Only whites can be racist by this theory. Yes, that is precisely what the thought-leaders on the left preach and teach, and it works to be wonderfully divisive.
So this did not happen in a vacuum on Saturday. Let’s also be clear on plain human nature. A nation cannot tell an entire class of its people — in this iteration, white males — that they are the source of the country’s evils and have no legitimate opinion on entire swaths of issues. From college campuses to social media, white males are told to check their privilege, sit down and shut up. Literally. That is as unAmerican as the Charlottesville marchers.
If blacks are not supposed to listen to whites because they are white, and Hispanics are not supposed to listen to whites because they are whites, and women aren’t supposed to listen to white men because they are men (I know, it’s not consistent but it is part of intersectional politics, see below) then how does this possibly end well?
To put a fine point on the obvious, it doesn’t.
To think there would not be a backlash by some in the target group was naive at best. Purposeful at worst. To think that when violence was being perpetrated by Black Lives Matter and Antifa, that violence would not be perpetrated by white supremacists, was naive at best. Purposeful at worst.
Why purposeful at worst? Because there is a long line of philosophy on the far left that in order to overthrow the strong national order in the United States, American society must be foundationally destabilized.
Saul Alinsky’s real life radicals
Saul Alinsky was a fairly vile, anti-American radical leftist revolutionary who was deeply influential on the lives of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. This is really important.
In 1971, Alinsky wrote the seminal work for bringing down a stable, democratic America in “Rules for Radicals.” That Alinsky dedicated the book to Satan tells you a lot:
“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.”
Alinsky wrote that ethics, integrity and morals should be shunted aside for the purpose of the revolution. He believed that the long-term strategy of pitting segments of society against each other would undermine the nation and lead to the opportunity for, shall we say, “fundamentally changing” the country — in President Obama’s words.
In an interview with Playboy magazine in 1972, Alinsky said: “All life is warfare, and it’s the continuing fight against the status quo that revitalizes society, stimulates new values and gives man renewed hope of eventual progress. The struggle itself is the victory.”
Continuing fight. The struggle itself is victory.
Why is Alinsky so important? For one, he is still a favorite on college campuses. But more importantly, he is a favorite among leading Democrats today. Barack Obama worked directly with Alinsky organizations and taught seminars on his tactics as a community organizer — one of the methods Alinsky promoted in his book. Organize various groups to fight those in authority.
Hillary Clinton wrote her senior thesis at Wellesley College on Alinsky, personally interviewing him for her paper. Alinsky was so impressed by her that he offered her a job, but she chose a different opportunity.
Alinsky specifically urged the division of society into many parts so one part takes from the other part to create “change” — and remember, change is both the method and the goal. That’s precisely what Obama did as President and the general platform of not just Hillary Clinton, but the Democratic Party. I know this sounds partisan, but it is a principled part of today’s progressives and their party. Fundamental change by pitting segments of Americans against other segments of Americans — not principles of liberty or rights, just division and strife.
Obama and Black Lives Matter
Moe reality is that American blacks had a rough go of it for the first three-quarters of America’s history. From slavery to Jim Crow, American blacks have had extra hurdles in pursuit of the American dream, and it is a stain on the country that it was so. That they also suffered under a level of police brutality, primarily in Southern states, is also a fact of history. That there could be lingering resentment over this is understandable, if not laudable.
And racism remains…among all people groups because the reality is that it is a dark element in human nature. It is immune to skin color.
However, we were moving in a positive direction in the 1950s and 1960s. Institutional and societal racism were declining in the United States and the Civil Rights successes in the 1960s were high points in leaping forward. Race continued to play a smaller role in the 1970s, but there was also a rising tide of race grievance where people who claimed to be civil rights leaders in the mold of Martin Luther King, were actually closer to race hucksters acting to greatly enriched themselves while pretending to be about civil rights.
By the 1980s, blacks had become a permanent, uniform voting bloc for Democrats — ironically, given that a larger percentage of Republicans supported the civil rights laws than did Democrats. And the Democratic Party was seeing the electoral benefits of dividing and pitting American against American, a la Alinsky.
Fast forward to 2008. As the first black president, Barack Obama had the unique opportunity to bring racial healing in another great leap forward, and many whites hoped he would do that. Many voted for him specifically in hopes of finally moving beyond race and truly embracing King’s dream.
But remember, Obama was an Alinsky-ite. That philosophy never called for healing, but for a continuing fight against authority — even though Obama was the nation’s ultimate authority as President.
A fair reading of President Obama’s eight years in office is that he made race relations much worse, typically by leaping to conclusions without the facts and actively alienating virtually all police and many white Americans — including some of those who voted for him.
From the Beer Summit to Trayvon Martin to Ferguson to Baltimore, in every instance of conflict between blacks and police or blacks and whites, Obama took the opportunity to deepen black resentment of whites, institutions and cops. Society was stacked against them. It was a poisonous response.
One result was the creation of Black Lives Matter, whose entire mission seems to be to create unrest and dissatisfaction through selective protests — but to do actually nothing in terms of saving black lives. BLM’s actions oppose the principles Martin Luther King espoused, but they are in lockstep with the ones Saul Alinsky espoused.
Of course, there have been bad shootings of blacks by police, and some cops have been arrested and convicted for them.
But Alinsky’s rules do not call for letting laws and the justice system work. They call for destabilization through division and violence to undermine the order of the nation, and BLM is a player in that.
College campus cults and intersectionality
American universities have become a hotbed for identity politics which are enforced through special treatment and speech codes — none of which seem in any way to be Constitutional.
College campuses have “safe spaces” that act as anti-free-speech zones. You cannot say anything that might offend another — and that depends on the other’s definition of what is offensive. Tricky. Other campuses have flipped it to free-speech zones, allowing the First Amendment only in a small, cordoned area that students can avoid. Echoing Orwell’s 1984, Speech codes are common.
And it is on college campuses where all of the Alinsky-ite divisions have been categorized and prioritized into a hierarchy of who bears the greatest grievance. It’s called “intersectionality.”
This is the study of intersections between groups representing different forms of oppression and discrimination. It is used to bind together various aggrieved groups into a political weapon. So feminists and gays and blacks may band together to protest an issue where say, transgenders were not getting fair treatment. This makes them more powerful and is precisely what Alinsky instructed in getting minority groups to create a majority influence and overturn the power structure.
But does a white feminist from the suburbs have the same aggrieved status as a poor black transgendered woman? No!
So intersectionality sets up a pyramid of the aggrieved with women, Hispanics, blacks, gays, transgendered, handicapped, fat, short and everything else. White males are not among those on the pyramid because someone has to be the oppressor. If a person is contained in two or more of these categories, their aggrieved status increases. White females are at the bottom, unless they are transgendered then they rise.
The queen of the pyramid might be a short black transgender female in a wheelchair. Unassailable, according to intersectionality.
It’s tribalism at its most pernicious. It serves to divide and weaken the nation’s foundations because none of it has anything to do with the U.S. Constitution or universal truths for all mankind.
For years I and others have been warning that this ugly divide-and-conquer identity politics was going to inevitably lead to some dark places in American culture. And so it did on Saturday, as it was building to from Ferguson.
By now most everyone has heard that a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va. turned violent and deadly on Saturday. It was spawned out of attempts by leaders in Charlottesville to take down a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
The demonstration of a weird amalgamation of alt-righters, Confederate sympathizers, white supremacists, KKK-ers and veterans seemed relatively peaceful, if distasteful. The white nationalist flags were ugly. But Black Lives Matters and Antifa showed up in force and both sides had helmets and primitive weapons. Eventually things got violent, which seems like was ultimately the point, perhaps for both sides.
(Ironically, the black-clad Antifa stands for anti-fascist while the group uses fascistic tactics across the country. They are a slice aligned with left, but not always owned by the left.)
Things got really ugly and tragic when a car was driven into the crowded street, apparently aimed at the Antifa and BLM group, with horrific results.
But forgive me if this entire picture does not look a bit like what Alinsky was teaching in Rules for Radicals, a handbook of the activist Left and leaders in the Democratic Party.
The only solution is Martin Luther King’s dream
Martin Luther King was truly one of the great men of his era and a prophet of what is needed to heal this country. His loss was incalculable and I fear we continue to reap the results of it.
In his famous and powerful “I have a dream” speech in 1963 in Washington, D.C., King said, in part:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
“And when this happens, and when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
“Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
That is the only American society that can endure. We must choose: The principles of Martin Luther King or the principles of Saul Alinsky.
Rod Thomson is a former journalist, author and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.