Monday, March 8, 2010

"Dick Armey, one of the spokesmen for the Tea Party movement, recently praised the methods of Saul Alinsky, the leading tactician of the New Left...These days the same people who are buying Alinsky's book 'Rules for Radicals' on Amazon.com are...also buying books like 'Liberal Facism..."

David Brooks, "The Wal-Mart Hippies," The New York Times, March 5, 2010.

Alinsky wasn't very tolerant of the New Left -- and certainly wasn't its leading tactician. No matter his attraction to jujitsu tactics, Alinsky promoted 'peoples organizations,' local leadership, and concete victories. Community organizing for him wasn't about ideology or the primal screams of 'mass innocence.' Brooks should get his history right.

How about the comparison of the New Left and the Tea Party right? Brooks leaves out any mention of the Vietnam War -- a big generator of the New Left and a specific, policy target for change of huge significance -- a war expanded by Democrats. I've detected no such serious policy issue among the Tea Party -- just anti-government. Now why didn't they start protesting under Bush?

The New Left and Hippies were not the same, David, but it's fair to say that the New Left descended into terrorism and re-enacting silly versions of Marxist Lenininism --both which curiously held a rather dim view of the human condition.

I think more apt comparisons for the Tea Party crowd derive from the Depression-era 1930s--Huey Long and Father Coughlin?

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