A Refresher Course: Rules for Radicals

Rules for Radicals

A visit to http://www.realclearpolitics.com led to this interesting article, “Who is Saul Alinsky, and why does the right hate him so much?” An interesting read from the left… and then, naturally, I looked up Gary North’s “Saul Alinsky: The Radical Model.

First, let’s go over the thirteen tactical rules, that every Christian should know – and use:

  1. Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
  2. Never go outside the experience of your people.
  3. Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy.
  4. Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
  5. Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
  6. A good tactic is one your people enjoy.
  7. A tactic that drags on too long is a drag.
  8. Keep the pressure on.
  9. The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
  10. The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
  11. If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counter side.
  12. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
  13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize and polarize it.

As North notes,

That [Christian] college administration was weak. Its leaders really did not believe in their own standards. They could have immediately banned gum from the campus the second day, with immediate expulsion as the penalty for anyone caught chew-ing it. But this would have made them look ridiculous to people on the outside. Expelling kids for chewing gum, when other campuses are being bombed by student radicals? The outsiders would never have seen the hundreds of wads of dried gum on the walkways every morning. Bureaucrats never ever want to look ridiculous. They capitulated. They were, in short, fearful bureaucrats. So are most of the people who will give Christians trouble over the next two decades.

We can learn from Alinsky. We must learn how to gum up the works. We must create a new, hypothetical society, “Gummit,” which sounds a lot like “Guvmint.”

This is the way to victory.

Now, Alinsky also has a set of rules for means and ends:

Alinsky additionally lists 11 rules of “means and ends”:

  1. One’s concern with the ethics of means and ends varies inversely with one’s personal interest in the issue.
  2. The judgment of the ethics of means is dependent upon the political position of those sitting in judgment.
  3. In war, the end justifies almost any means.
  4. Judgment must be made in the context of the times in which the action occurred and not from any other chronological vantage point.
  5. Concern with ethics increases with the number of means available and vice versa.
  6. The less important the end to be desired, the more one can afford to engage in ethical evaluations of means.
  7. The ethics of means and ends is that generally success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics.
  8. The morality of a means depends upon whether the means is being employed at a time of imminent defeat or imminent victory.
  9. Any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical.
  10. You do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments.
  11. Goals must be phrased in general terms like “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” “Of the Common Welfare,” “Pursuit of Happiness” or “Bread and Peace.”

This is not as useful to Christians as the tactical teaching, as we have an actual goal in mind – a goal that does not include the ever-expanding authority of the ever-expanding state. Also, as the Christian goal is to be measured by the Divine Standard of Justice – and not simply “whatever gets me what I want” – we are unable to use the end justified the means tool that Our Tolerant Friends can play with.


  • no vague blather (Rule 11) to permit goals to be whatever is useful;
  • no moral prostitution (Rule 10);
  • no adoration of victory & power, in the name of victory and power (Rule 7);
  • no evasion of judgement (Rule 4);
  • and no might is right delusions (Rule 3).

But then again, we are to help build an enduring kingdom, not some fly-by-night power-structure to satisfy the Anointed for a few decades, until the inevitable bankruptcy (moral, then financial) and collapse.

As far as God is concerned, the means ARE the ends.

Keep those thirteen tactics in mind, though: the tools are great, they just need to be used to build the Master’s House, not some disease-ridden shack!


In the Vox article, the writer – like most rationals – goes out of his way to attack the Christian faith, rolling his eyes about ‘Christian mythology’ and the book’s dedication to Lucifer.

And then, he quotes Saul Alinsky’s preference for hell rather than heaven, as “they are short of virtue”. Bad theology – we are saved by Christ, not by the amount of good works we did, or how virtuous we are – but never mind that. My point is that Christians really should see the man as he is: just another Power-adorer, using the poor as a proxy for his own goals, who (thankfully) had no interest in violence.

But we can’t leave it like that. What the Vox writer fails to mention – but North does – is Alinsky’s ties to numerous Christian churches. As North writes:

Saul Alinsky was a dedicated Left-wing radical. He operated from the 1930s through 1972, when he died of a heart attack. He was a Chicago organizer. He gained financial support of a Leftist cleric in the Catholic Church. His connection with the Church is widely known. (http://bit.ly/CatholicsAndAlinsky).

Hillary Clinton wrote her bachelor’s degree thesis on him. You can read it here: http://bit.ly/HillaryThesis. She was offered a job working for him, but she went to Yale Law School instead, where she met her husband.

Barack Obama was trained by Alinsky’s disciples when he was a community organizer in Chicago in the mid-to-late 1980s. He was supported by 20 Protestant churches in the area.

Why do Christian churches promote the Leftist economic programs of an atheist like Alinsky? The Leftist Social Gospel was not taught by Jesus.

Unlike many Christians, North actually does believe in uncovering the whole truth, not just the politically convenient parts of it.

It is not the atheists who are the greatest threat to Christians: it is Christians themselves. After, both Islam or Communism – even today’s Politically Correct ideology – are all Christian heresies.

God’s people need to get serious about getting right with God – seriously. We are the ones who speak for God: when we speak wrongly, innocent people die, viscous thugs gain power, theft – justified by “moral garments” – becomes widespread, and the laws are twisted and corrupted.

God hears our voice – it is important that we speak wisely, and well.

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. – Matthew 12:36

No Caring Man of Vision cares one whit about being held to account for every word they say – “More Power, Right Now, is the only goal that matters! In the Holy Name of the Poor, of course….”

Christians know better, and had better do better.


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