The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


April 9, 2014

Geoff Caldwell, columnist: Some rules are better left not followed

— The book of Exodus tells of a man named Moses and his delivery unto the Jewish people two stone tablets containing the literal word of God.

Centuries later, a German blacksmith named Gutenberg invented movable type and, along with his Bible, gave the world its first form of mass communication.

Five centuries after Gutenberg, 20th-century community organizer Saul Alinsky, the modern political left’s version of Moses, delivered unto his disciples a book of commandments titled “Rules for Radicals.”

Proudly dedicating his book to “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 clearly laid out what was required of his flock: “The organizer must first rub raw the resentments of the people and fan the latent hostilities. He must search out controversy and issues. ... An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent.”

Now consider some of Alinsky’s most damaging rules as deployed by those who occupy the farthest left side of the political aisle today.

• “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Remember President Barack Obama’s “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone. And I can use that pen and take executive actions”? Selective immigration law enforcement, new mandates for federal contractors and a river of regulations from his Environmental Protection Agency slamming against the floodgates of common sense are just a few examples of how apt an Alinsky pupil our president is.

• “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” Professor Richard Tol was the target of a smear campaign for nothing more than requesting his name be removed from the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report because he feels it exaggerates the economic impact of climate change, and Brendan Eich was forced out as chief executive officer of Mozilla for donating $1,000 in 2008 to support the same view of traditional marriage that both Obama and Hillary Clinton publicly held at that time. Those are just two recent examples of this rule running at full throttle.

Some are so in love with it that on Howard Kurtz’s “MediaBuzz” program, blogger and gay rights activist John Aravosis actually equated Eich’s donation with that of Holocaust denial. Yes, THAT Holocaust. (But to be fair to Aravosis, the “settled science” crowd has been throwing the denier label at skeptics for years now.)

• “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” If Harry Reid’s fanatical obsession with Charles and David Koch continues to ooze from the Senate floor, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit to wake up one day and read that Koch Industries is moving to Belize.

• “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Remember George Stephanopoulos throwing out the contraception debate question that launched the “war on women” meme? Remember Reid claiming Mitt Romney hadn’t paid his taxes? Remember when Priorities USA Action, an Obama-supporting PAC, ran an ad that implied Romney was responsible for a woman’s death?

The Obama campaign got its desired re-election positive, but at what cost in societal negatives that are accumulating daily with no end in sight?

Keith Koffler, publisher of wrote at the time: “What’s spooky is the depths to which these people will go to maintain power. It suggests a lust for power and a willingness to do anything to preserve it that should frighten Americans.”

Unless, of course, you like Alinsky. Then it’s just another day in the classroom.

Geoff Caldwell writes on national and international affairs. He lives in Joplin. Contact him at

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