With the rise of Barrack Obama we have often heard the name of Saul Alinsky. Alinsky achieved fame as a “community organizer” and as the author of “Rules for Radicals.” He dedicates this “pragmatic primer for realistic radicals”, in an “over-the-shoulder” manner, to the first radical, Lucifer.

Today, Alinsky would be proud of his progeny. He would also be laughing. After all, look at where our politics are today: Barack Obama, one of his most devout disciples, is possibly only twenty-seven days from being elected president; ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is positioned to move from radical quasi-criminality into mainstream legitimacy; and, most importantly, because of the apparent breakdown of the world financial system, the United States may have now reached the point of “reformation”, which Alinsky wrote was a necessary precursor of revolution.

What is this “reformation” of which Alinsky writes? It is “a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people.” Basically, it is a time when people “feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future.” *

As you contemplate Alinsky’s definition of “reformation”, do such things as your shrinking pension account, your job stability, and your frustration with the ability of the government to effectively deal with our financial crisis, suddenly come to mind? Feeling a wee bit helpless trying to understand why massive interventions and interest rate cuts by central banks are failing to cure these problems? Wondering whether we have reached a point in time when, as Barack Obama is telling us, we need to apply a whole new philosophy to solving our economic problems?

Now take a moment and contemplate how this unfolding portfolio of financial calamity is about to victimize that significant portion of the population which gets its financial news from People Magazine. Many of these folks will be the first to lose their jobs as the credit markets collapse one market at a time. As they begin to see their financial livelihood as well as their sanity disintegrate, will they gradually become willing to “let go of the past and chance the future?” Might the current situation explain why a majority of Americans are ready to vote for a candidate whose first name has been confused with that of a terrorist, whose middle name is the same as that of a brutal dictator, and whose close associate is a domestic terrorist? And might it be possible that all of this chaos was orchestrated by ACORN as a part of some Alinsky inspired master plan?

Most sane people, of course, would scoff at this paranoia while pointing out that markets go up, markets go down and history marches on. They would also exclaim that imagining Saul Alinsky had any hand in creating or even inspiring our current financial chaos is nothing more than blatant conspiracy theorizing. Most likely, that is so. Nevertheless, there is something extraordinarily puzzling in how our current financial crisis evolved. How is it that the ultimate blame for this mess keeps leading back to ACORN inspired efforts to promote lending to unqualified borrowers? Why is it that some of the same Democrats who blocked regulating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2005 tried including money for ACORN in the first version of the bailout bill?

Let us take a moment and consider this: some of the most financially sophisticated people in this country count themselves as Democrats. Despite this, when Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, warned of the need to restrain Fannie and Freddie lending, the Democrats protested. In the years following Greenspan’s warning, Fannie and Freddie did not restrain their lending activities, but increased them. They did this with the continued inspiration of liberal Democrat leadership and ACORN. It will probably go down as a great wonder of history that no one among the Democrat power elite tried to restrain either of these GSEs from creating a gigantic financial bubble; that Democrats, rich with contributions from Fannie and Freddie and reluctant to offend their ACORN supporters, blocked efforts to prevent more of this toxic debt from poisoning the world financial system.

So here we all sit on the precipice of what more and more people are fearing will be the next Great Depression. What might that bring – unemployment – hunger – homelessness – spiritual collapse – chaos – martial law – the perfect opportunity for a “Great Leader” to bring a new philosophy, a new order to mankind?” Are we living through what Saul Alinsky would proudly call that reformation necessary for revolution, a revolution that might give his followers the final victory he once dreamed? Perhaps. One thing, however, is certain: Lucifer is laughing.

  • Rules for Radicals, Saul D. Alinsky, 1971. Vintage Books Edition, 1989, pages xix-xx