The Alinsky Tactics – Rule by Rule Part 5 – Rule 5
“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”
“…you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral arguments.”
– Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals
It almost seemed unnecessary to write about the fifth rule because this President and his Administration have used it ad nauseum to the point where a discussion of this tactic almost seemed superfluous, but I will at least hit a few high points, and then move on to the rest of the tactics.
If you want to understand the role that ridicule plays in the Alinsky method, and particularly in the way in which the Obama Administration uses Alinsky, you need look no further than Sarah Palin. From the moment that she was introduced as John McCain’s running mate the Alinsky machine within Obama’s campaign flew into action at full speed to find ways to mock, denigrate, and ridicule her. Obama’s campaign dispatched a slew of vultures to descend on Alaska in an effort to dig dirt, stir trouble, and uncover any malcontent who might have the tiniest bit of salacious information on the Governor.
How Obama used, or rather allowed his campaign personnel to use, rule 5 on Palin is worthy of an entire book so I’ll just hit a few high spots. Perhaps nothing so typified the mockery of Palin as Saturday Night Lives’ treatment of the Alaska Governor. The following clip gives a flavor of how widespread the Palinization was leading up to the 2008 election.
Of course, they were not alone. The mainstream media, joined at the hip with the “historic” Obama campaign, went to great lengths in their complicity to mock and discredit Sarah Palin. The Palinization continues to this day. After her appearance at the Tea Party convention her “poor man’s teleprompter” i.e. the notes scribbled on her hand were mocked incessantly by everyone up to and including White House spokesman Robert Gibbs (see the videos below).
Obama himself continues to use this tactic. In fact, he and his advisers are particularly enamored with tactics 5 and 13 to the point where it frequently causes them trouble, but that is the subject of a future article. Until then, consider how Obama has mocked the Tea Party…
Ridicule and mockery has become such a staple of the Obama Administration that a book could be written on just what he has done since 2008, and so I will stop here with the examples and proceed to some cautions for conservatives.
Since it is very clear that Alinsky rule 5 is being used against conservatives, two questions come to mind. First, how should we respond to the use of this tactic? Second, should we ever employ this tactic ourselves?
How do we respond to the use of ridicule? The answer to this question depends upon how, when, and where it is used, but I will attempt to address this question by giving you some advice on how to handle such attacks on twitter. If you’re not on twitter don’t stop reading, because the lesson applies in a much broader way.
If you are on twitter you know that ridicule is a favorite weapon of the Left. They use it without even thinking about it. If you attempt to talk to someone on the Left, often the first response you will get is that you are stupid, ill-informed, racist, and in favor of all manner of ill will towards your fellow man.
How do you respond to such attacks? There are several effective ways depending upon your intent and your level of skill in certain areas. The first and most effective way is to ignore anyone who ridicules you. You need not respond, and on twitter it has the added advantage that the person attacking you will almost always just go away if they are ignored long enough.
If you wish to engage someone who mocks you the first approach you should try is to ignore the personal attacks and refute their arguments with documented sources. Google the subject you are discussing and just answer with links that prove your point.
Another way to address uncivil individuals in order to refute them is to simply start tweeting about the subject you were originally discussing without mentioning that person. You don’t give them the benefit of @’ing them and you still manage to put the information out to refute their point.
Should we ever employ ridicule? On rare occasion you may wish to get down in the mud with them. I would discourage this, but if you must, just make sure you’re good at it and you don’t do anything that would be considered racist, homophobic, or violent.
There are much subtler ways to use ridicule that are frequently much more effective, and have the added benefit of not forcing you to compromise your ethics (at least not too much). For example the LOL avatar that I use as AlinskyDefeater is an effective way to subtly mock the message of the Left without directly attacking a person one on one.
The single most important thing to remember when reacting to ridicule or attempting to use it yourself is to NEVER use it in anger. If you’re angry find another way to deal with the issue such as just tweeting facts and links about the subject. For ridicule to be effective it has to be done calmly and usually with a sense of humor, and to respond to ridicule it is an absolute imperative that you be calm, cool, and collected. Watch how Obama reacts to what he perceived as ridicule by Sarah Palin in her RNC speech…
This is a classically effective way to respond to ridicule. He is calm, he pretends to defend Palin to the audience, and then calmly ridicules her with his version of the facts interspersed. He paints himself as the victim and claims to be taking the higher ground. Just like the quotation at the beginning of this post he clothes himself in a moral argument while doing what he felt he had to do.
Let me be clear (oops where have I heard that before?) I am against the use of Alinsky tactics whenever possible. I would love it if we could completely eliminate them, but until such a day arrives we need to know when they’re being used, how to defend ourselves and how to use them ourselves until we are in power and can curtail them.
This particular tactic is just too broad for a thorough discussion here, but I will be bringing it up in smaller posts, and we will move on to the rest of the tactics before discussing Alinsky’s “means to an end” philosophy. Stay tuned.