Miscellanea… wrapping up with Saul Alinsky

Have you ever wondered what all those plug-ins on your sound card are for?

It is a good thing a standard color is used for most normal external speakers.

I got my bluetooth working on my laptop again with the help of a little chip about the size of your thumbnail.

For about the tenth time Netflix sent a disk with a crack in it.  Did they think my DVD player was that good?

I am reading, inter alia, the primer for the left in the USA, Saul Alinky’s Rules for Radicals.

Did you know that Alinsky dedicated his book to Satan?

Nice, huh?

Know anyone who uses Alinsky-ite methods?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Bryan says:

    1st Photo: Microphone in, Line Level In, Speaker Out, digital feed.

    Bluetooth good.

    You can eliminate about 75% of the Netflix shipments by finding a streaming Blu-ray player (LG has a couple) that is compatible with netflix, or by the Roku player which does the same thing. Put things in your instant queue…no DVD, stays there for a month or two depending on the rotation…play on demand. I’ve got about 51 or 52 things queued up right now, including a few seasons worth of the Avengers…hokey, I know…

    Don’t doubt that Alinsky dedicated his book to Lucifer. The first rule for radicals is that they themselves and their ideas are the bright center of the universe. Non Serviam.

    And no comment about who else uses his methods. They’re probably tracking net traffic to pull out derogatory comments about The Wun for the FEMA camp lists…;)

  2. Gabriella says:

    Fr. Z., that gave me the shivers! A book dedicated to Satan!!
    I found some interesting in-depth articles on Alinsky on Churchmouse Campanologist’s blog: e.g.:
    Before Churchmouse, I’d never heard of this guy :)

  3. MargaretMN says:

    There was something of a debate in the blogosphere and on talk radio about how Conservatives should use Alinsky methods against the left. I responded whenever possible that this was NOT a good idea, that you could not divorce the morality and ideology embedded in the tactics from the tactics themselves. I did not know about the dedication and it certainly fits.

  4. david andrew says:

    . . . and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom

    Apparently Saul doesn’t know the rest of the story!

  5. Dave N. says:

    Apparently, the so-called “Tea Party” organizers use this text:


  6. JoeGarcia says:

    Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ had an interesting column on “the Alinsky method” a couple of weeks ago. I’ll see if I can dredge it up. (Maybe someone will beat me to the punch.)


  7. gloriainexcelsis says:

    The scariest connection is in our executive branch.

  8. bruno says:

    “Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ had an interesting column on “the Alinsky method” a couple of weeks ago. I’ll see if I can dredge it up. (Maybe someone will beat me to the punch.)”

    I remember reading it too. I think this is it:



  9. Sedgwick says:

    “Know anyone who uses Alinsky-ite methods?”

    Now there’s a leading question if ever I heard one. How about this article:


  10. Prudentius says:

    “. . . and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom.” If we agree that the Modern secular/libertarian world is effectively Satanic then surely the Radical who comes in the name of Christian Love, Justice and Peace is a revolutionary?

    Is Jesus message not radical? To seek rule by man is to reject the rule of God (1 Samuel 8).

    And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are supposed to rule (Gr. archo) over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you….” (Mark 10:42-43a)

    Unless I’ve misunderstood, I think to seek out some crackpot and then try to link all forms of leftism/radicalism to Santanism is a bit of leap?

  11. Warren says:

    Well, I can’t say I know the President personally, but it is known that while working for Gerald Kellman’s Developing Communities Project in Chicago, and off-shoot of the Alinksy network, Obama learned and taught Alinsky’s methods for community organizing.

    Quotes from an article by Peter Slevin from the Washington Post, March 27, 2007:

    – (Alinksy’s) approach to social justice relied on generating conflict to mobilize the dispossessed.
    – An organizer must “fan the latent hostilities,” (Alinksy) wrote in his 1946 handbook “Reveille for Radicals,” and “he must search out controversy and issues, rather than avoid them.”
    – The organizer’s task is to draw out people’s stories, listening for their goals and ambitions — “the stuff that makes them tick,” one of (Obama’s) teachers told him. There he would find the self-interest that would spark activism.

    In other words: listen to people’s stories, hook people by giving them the impression you care, play on their hopes and fears and manipulate them into mobilizing for a cause that is really about consolidating one’s own personal political power, etc.

    As is said among fisherman discussing politicians, he (Obama) is so slick he could talk the fish into jumping in the boat.

  12. Supertradmom says:

    The trouble is that there are at least two generations of college grads who got Alinksy type approaches, which are Marxist and aetheistic, through the social science and literature classes in higher ed during the past thirty years. A professor does not have to mention a name in order to push the agenda. Without any nod to conspiracy theorists, one can safely say that the story-telling aspect of all of this appears even in high school history texts since the late 1970s, when the thread of the story of the nation was broken into little stories about various people, including “minorities” such as Margaret Sanger. To destroy a nation, one only needs to emphasize diversity instead of the common goals and the common good. To pander to false empathy with the activist agenda has become the educational mode of high schools and colleges. Alinksy has won the day.

    By the way, remember that Satan, as Lucifer, is almost a hero in Milton’s Paradise Lost, being presented as truly “free” in his rebellion against God. This misunderstanding of freedom, as the avoidance of all restraint and obedience of any kind, is associated with Nietzsche, the great hero of the liberals. I met all of this stuff, including Saul Alinsky, at Notre Dame thirty years ago. Is anyone surprised by this?

  13. Fr Martin Fox says:

    I used to work in politics before I entered the seminary. I worked in conservative politics. We read Alinsky’s book, and I’ve also read Lenin’s “What is to be done?”

    Why would I do such a thing?

    I consider Lenin to have been one of the most brilliant and insightful politicians ever. One can learn a lot from such people. That they were immoral people does not mean everything they figured out is without application. (Nor does the opposite hold–that every insight or tactic of theirs can be legitimately used.)

    That may seem shocking; however, I would refer to the perennial philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, having to do with the goodness of all things. Evil cannot create anything, it can only corrupt. A valid insight about human nature or behavior is still a valid insight, whoever comes up with it.

    Alinsky and others have come up with a lot of techniques used in politics for organizing and mobilizing and communicating that are not evil or immoral; they are useful tools, that can either be used for good or bad ends. I think those who may be shocked should read Alinsky’s book before deciding you can’t see my point. (That said, it’s been awhile since I read it, or worked actively in such organizing and communicating.)

  14. Patrick J. says:

    I believe the red black and green are all speaker outputs, Green = main L,R, Red= subwoofer, Black= rear L,R or black is subwoofer red is rear. The white is digital I/O which can connect to a Digital In/Out module which would in turn offer different flavors of digital connectability: optical I/O and coaxial, aka spdif, I/O. The white might, as well, double as a mic in.

  15. Prudentius says:

    I agree with the above comment, I am sure Martin Luther King was a good guy and he used mobilizing techniques like those described by Alinsky

    Look Moses, I know the Pharaoh is not very nice but unfortunatly he represents the existing social order and nobody likes a Radical. It’s Satanic don’t you now?

    Or better still…

    Render unto Cesear what is Cesear’s and render unto Cesear what is God’s too.

    No sometimes we must use direct action, protest, be radicals in the pursuit of truth

  16. Supertradmom says:

    I have a gremlin in my Internet connection.

    Respectfully, in answer to the comments of Father Fox, I would like to add, having also read Lenin and Alinsky, in order to know the enemy, that Marxist tactics belie Marxist ideology. The Catholic political activists I had to leave in the past were practical atheists, believing in the fallacies of class warfare, revolution, socialism, the ruination of the hierarchy of the Church, and materialism, as against the life of the spirit. These activists, unlike you, were not trained in Aquinas, were not true political philosophers, and not detail persons, instead painting with a wide brush. As practical atheists, these confreres who read Lenin and Alinsky despised the poor and unfortunates for whom they claimed they were working and instead were seeking power. This seeking for power is the connection with Lucifer. The manipulation of people for political ends is always immoral. Alinsky, like Lenin, encouraged manipulation.

    Know your enemies, but do not emulate them, or by practice you will fall into the same ideological traps.

  17. Supertradmom says:

    PS, the reference to “fanning the latent hostilities” is also a phrase known and used among some who follow liberation theology, again, showing a strong belief in the lie of class warfare.

  18. Sandy says:

    So glad you bring this up, Father. People need to be educated, although your wonderful readers usually are :) I first read about all this Alinsky evil in the Wanderer years ago. Yay for the Wanderer.

  19. MargaretMN says:

    I’m going to have to side with supertradmom and against Fr. Fox here. There are two basic problems with “using Alinsky” if you are a conservative. One is that “the ends justifies the means,” (older than Marx or Alinsky it’s from Machiavelli) is not morally justifiable. The second is that the ends are suspect in and of themselves. I am not talking about the particular ends, be they Marxist or Conservative, that could conceivably hitch themselves to Alinsky tactics. I am thinking about what kind of politics will result from relentless confrontation and the personalization of politics. If you want only a bunch of kneecappers out there making your arguments for you, good luck with that. It doesn’t lead to reason, it leads to polarization. It’s just another acid bath for democratic politics.

  20. Lurker 59 says:

    Father pardon me but, I assume that is your video card above the sound card.

    I know you have had problems with your video card and, if you feel like tinkering some more, it would improve the overall health of your system by moving the sound card down to the bottom expansion card slot. A video card with a built in external exhaust vent generates a lot of heat and it is not getting optimum air flow by being that close to the sound card.

    Patrick J is correct when it comes to the speaker plugs. Your sound card can output at least at 5.0 Surround Sound if hooked up correctly.

    God bless you.

  21. Steve K. says:

    Supertradmom – nice point. In fiction (but great fiction), it’s what led to the fall of Saruman – “he studied the arts of the Enemy too closely.”

  22. NM of NC says:

    Of course I am familiar with the book by Sal Alinsky. Here’s how we have been introduced to it in our parish via the Industrial Areas Foundation:

    See Saul Alinsky’s book featured here:

    “The Gamaliel Foundation itself receives about four to five percent of all CCHD grants each year, Block’s Wanderer article says, while the Alinsky-founded Industrial Areas Foundation, a network of community organizations, itself receives about 16 percent of all annual CCHD grants”
    See the article with this quote in it here:

    In our parish in Durham NC the name was changed from IAF to “Durham CAN” (Congregations Associations and Neighborhoods) after our chapter was established. This local organization was introduced by the Order of Friars Minor priests from Holy Cross Providence in the late 90’s early 2000’s. They still serve there. You may remember us as the same parish, that brought you “the Ecological Stations of the Cross” during Lent of 2008. It’s impossible to prove but It can be argued that these things are not unrelated.
    I have therefore steered clear of personal involvement in this “Durham CAN”.

    Does anyone else host an Industrial Areas Foundation chapter at their parish?

  23. Prudentius —

    Alinsky didn’t dedicate his book to Robin Hood, Jesus, or anybody like that. He dedicated it to Satan.

    Now what’s the metaphor there? Not revolt against evil power, but against good. Not fighting for a more free community, but a kingdom one can control. And if the methods one uses destroy everything lovable and make life Hell — well, better to rule in Hell.

    Oh, it’s a very revealing dedication, all right. He’s saying, “I mean to teach you how to rule other people, not to help anyone.”

  24. MargaretMN says:

    At 2 of my previous parishes in Minneapolis and St. Paul we had ISAIAH which worked in partnership with the Gamaliel foundation. ISAIAH, I think was the local group. They did a lot of direct action, lobbying and protests on affordable housing, welfare and other issues. Definitely Alinsky territory. Although a lot of well intentioned people join these groups or volunteer for them, Alinsky makes no bones about using religion and churches as way to get volunteers on the cheap and motivate people for purely political ends. Even if I agreed with the agenda, I’d be insulted to be thought of as a useful idiot.

  25. But if what you mean is that there is a place for righteous rebellion in the cause of good, and that there is even Catholic moral theology about how to do it, then yes, I certainly agree with you. I just wouldn’t follow Alinsky as a means to that.

    OTOH, it is almost always possible to use an understanding of an enemy’s tactics and strategies, and perhaps even stealing and adapting them, to defeat said enemy. But the real trick is to make the enemy react to you, not the other way around.

  26. Alinsky didn’t know what a true radical is any more than Satan does. Well, Satan knows, but the Father of Lies lied to Alinsky, and Alinsky bought it.

    As Mark Shea says again and again, sin makes you stupid.

  27. Prudentius says:

    I resent the insinuation that the kind of evil radicalism we are talking about here is always PROACTIVE. I feel that the “Tyranny of Inaction” is far more dangerous. It’s what MLK describe when he stated that there is a time when to do nothing is treason. It is this kind of inaction that leads us down a road which leads to sinfulness like this where people are patriots first and Christians second. Surely if there is an example of Catholics being dupped by Alinskyism then this it is this one below, what I am basically saying is, it’s not always bottom up or leftist. The State can do this to…

    “To fail to speak to the utter moral corruption of the mass destruction of civilians was to fail as a Christian and as a priest. Hiroshima and Nagasaki happened in and to a world and a Christian Church that had asked for it – that had had prepared the moral consciousness of humanity to do and to justify the unthinkable… One would have thought that I, as a priest, would have spoken out against the atomic bombing of nuns. (Three orders of Catholic sisters were destroyed in Nagasaki that day.) One would have thought that I would have suggested that as a minimal standard of Catholic morality, Catholics shouldn’t bomb Catholic children. I didn’t speak out.”
    Father George Zabelka
    Catholic Chaplain for the 509th Composite Group, the Atomic Bomb Crew

  28. Virgil says:

    You may know that the recent Toen Hall Meeting fiascoes about healthcare were, literally, taken from Alinsky’s playbook.


    Now that the “Left” (whatever that is) is in “power” (whatever that means), it is the “Right” (whoever that might be) who need these “tactics” (which are obnoxious no matter who uses them).

    I particularly enjoy the bit about eating burritos and showing up at the opera for a “fart in.” I hope to God that the Pro-Life movement does not adopt this tactic.

  29. Melody says:

    I’m laughing now.

    As a child, I saw that quote. I thought it was meant to be ironic and is basically saying that being a radical and rebelling against authority is overrated.

    Of course, this is one of many instances where I conceived of an orthodox interpretation of something meant to brainwash me.

  30. Melody says:

    Prudentius- Most of the Christians in Japan lived in Nagasaki. The port city was the main headquarters of Jesuit missionary work. It was the first place a church was built after Christianity became legal again. The second most Christian city was Hiroshima.
    The reason Christians now compose such a tiny minority of Japanese is because of the atomic bombing.
    St. Paul Miki, pray for us.

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