Conservatives really are a guileless lot. The tactics of the left have been in print for half a century, they are before our eyes at every turn and no one seems to take them as an exact representation of what the left does. There are a few memes on the left – equality, social justice etc – that are there to cover up its hatred of the market economy and in many ways for freedom in general. There is no actual program; most of what you find are slogans wrapped around an opportunistic agenda whose only genuine end in mind is political power. There is literally nothing in a left agenda that could be used to organise a self-sustaining economically-viable society. Socialism in the West presupposes the existence of a capitalist order. The left agenda without free institutions and a market economy leads only to the gulag, political oppression and mass poverty.
The rhetoric of the left is tactical at every stage. I am therefore astonished at this late stage that it still seems to escape the attention of all too many on the right that the attacks on Rupert Murdoch are merely part of the way the left goes about its business. Rupert Murdoch is simply a useful construct to build its coalition of the stupid (see Gruber). Here is the last of the rules but in many ways the most important:
RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.
So let us look at Rule 12 in light of the attacks on Murdoch and the Murdoch Press.
Target: Rupert Murdoch
Freeze it: Put the spotlight continuously on the evil genius and enemy of the people, a meme that is reinforced at every opportunity. Murdoch, Murdoch, Murdoch 666 with no let up. Never fear, the three-minute hate will be taken up by all on the left who, lacking any clear ability to think coherently for themselves, are grateful for a cause in which they can at least pretend to be knowledgable.
Personalise it: No abstractions. Just make the name “Murdoch” the metaphor for the capitalist press. You don’t need to explain anything to anyone. Once you have made the “Murdoch Press” the very definition of an anti-worker, anti-progressive media, there is no need to present a single argument. Remember, the left assumes its supporters are rusted on and generally stupid. Evidence matters not at all. All the counter arguments in the world will not avail you a thing.
Polarise it: Murdoch is made an issue on which everyone must take sides. You either agree that Murdoch manipulates governments to suit his own anti-progressive agenda or you don’t. It is then easy to identify the comrades and to heap disdain on those others who cannot see the truth. The Gnostic inner circle of insight and knowledge is bestowed on those who can see what is wrong with the Murdoch Press. The rest are just, in their eyes, fools and dupes, when it is precisely they who are manipulated and unable to think any serious thoughts for themselves.
Below are all of Alinsky’s rules for radicals. They really are the means by which the left projects its agenda. It is literally the case that every single strategist on the left consciously adopts these and are no doubt amazed how their enemies fall for it every time. And truth to tell, it is amazing that we never do seem to learn.
* RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood. (These are two things of which there is a plentiful supply. Government and corporations always have a difficult time appealing to people, and usually do so almost exclusively with economic arguments.)
* RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone. (Organizations under attack wonder why radicals don’t address the “real” issues. This is why. They avoid things with which they have no knowledge.)
* RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)
* RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity’s very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.)
* RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (Pretty crude, rude and mean, huh? They want to create anger and fear.)
* RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. (Radical activists, in this sense, are no different that any other human being. We all avoid “un-fun” activities, and but we revel at and enjoy the ones that work and bring results.)
* RULE 7: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news. (Even radical activists get bored. So to keep them excited and involved, organizers are constantly coming up with new tactics.)
* RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)
* RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Perception is reality. Large organizations always prepare a worst-case scenario, something that may be furthest from the activists’ minds. The upshot is that the organization will expend enormous time and energy, creating in its own collective mind the direst of conclusions. The possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.)
* RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog. (Unions used this tactic. Peaceful [albeit loud] demonstrations during the heyday of unions in the early to mid-20th Century incurred management’s wrath, often in the form of violence that eventually brought public sympathy to their side.)
* RULE 11: “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem. (Old saw: If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Activist organizations have an agenda, and their strategy is to hold a place at the table, to be given a forum to wield their power. So, they have to have a compromise solution.)
* RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)