A friend sent the the first quote following the other day as a post topic, and I’ve added another from the same source:
“Undermine the enemy first, then his army will fall to you. Subvert him, attack his morale, strike at his economy, corrupt his leaders, sow internal discord. Destroy him.”
“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”
― Sun Tzu
For the Chinese, The Art of War remains current doctrine. But it is more than an ancient (~5th century BC) Chinese military treatise on strategy and tactics.
Consider it as Rules for Radicals v1.0. Saul Alinsky wasn’t such an original thinker. His major contribution (maybe V1.05?) was no more than an amoral gloss: Glorifying personal mendacity, celebrating corrupt nihilism, and justifying individual persecution by the mob.
“War” does make for a much punchier title than “Business, Sports, Politics, Strategy, Tactics, and Life in General.” But, Sun Tzu’s advice is often general. With Alinsky’s help it applies to American Leftist academicians and authoritarian politicians as much as to the present day Chinese People’s Liberation Army; and to our SJW Community Organizers as much as to the Russian CyberKommand. Even though they all are enemies.
If you’ve been paying even slight attention, you easily can supply many recent examples of the Chinese Communist Party’s deceitful undermining of the United States. The list includes attempts at subversion, demoralization, economic disruption, corruption of high officials, and sowing of internal discord. That would be in line with Sun Tzu’s advice. I hope we’re doing it to them. But their Fifth Column is much better than ours.
That is, the Chinese have had a lot of help with their efforts. While we can draw parallels to Art of War, more damage results from domestic application of Rules for Radicals. As a few of Alinsky’s aphorisms will illustrate:
“The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.”
“The organizer’s first job is to create the issues or problems… The organizer must first rub raw the resentments of the people of the community; fan the latent hostilities of many of the people to the point of overt expression.”
“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.”
“Human beings do not like to look squarely into the face of tragedy. Gloom is unpopular.”
“A Marxist begins with his prime truth that all evils are caused by the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. From this he logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism…”
“To say that corrupt means corrupt the ends is to believe in the immaculate conception of ends and principles.”
“Accuse the other side of that of which you are guilty.”
“They have the guns and therefore we are for peace and for reformation through the ballot. When we have the guns then it will be through the bullet.”
“Always remember the first rule of power tactics; power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.”
And my favorite – which you never hear – in these days of BLAMTIFA and ‘gender’ chaos:
“The fact that people are poor or discriminated against doesn’t necessarily endow them with any special qualities of justice, nobility, charity or compassion.”
Anything strike you about Alinsky’s advice and current events?
Mask mandates? Lockdowns? Riots, looting and arson unopposed by civic leaders? Pronoun wars? Cancel culture? Election fraud? Destruction of small business? Dollar gutting multi-trillion dollar pipe dreams? Self-debasement of our media? Objections to “Wuhan Virus” as racist?
“In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is…in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”
– Theodore Dalrymple
“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were- cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?”
-George Orwell, 1984
We’ll let Sun Tzu have the final word:
“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”