"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi
Conservative Rules for Radicals Prologue | Missouri Political News Service

Conservative Rules for Radicals Prologue

May 20th, 2009 by mopns · No Comments

By Lisa Krempasky

As one who wants to change my culture and my nation I thought I would look at a classic manual on how to do just that. In the 70s Saul Alinsky wrote Rules for Radicals to teach a generation of liberals how to effectively change their culture. Though I don’t agree with the change they sought, the message of how to change a culture is as valid today as it was then. This is part 1 in a series reviewing Alinsky’s Rules and applying them to conservative principles for today.


Conservatives are angry these days. We feel powerless and exploited. Honestly we feel we are being led by the blind. That is how liberals felt in the 1960s. The striking similarity is amazing. They felt powerless. We feel powerless. They felt they needed change now. We feel we need change now. Radical elements run a risk of turning off the masses of people that are needed for any movement to affect change. So what are the overarching principles to permanent change?

1. You’ve got to understand people. People act in their own self interest. To be effective you must show them how your message benefits them. It is irrelevant how the message benefits you or anyone else. People must have their own skin in the game and must understand that failure to act has a specific and direct unintended consequence to them personally.

2. Don’t do stupid stuff. In the 1960s it was flag burning. To the radical flag burning represented a no compromise stance. To the everyday person flag burning represented anger, intimidation and disrespect. Instead of listening to the message behind the flag burning the everyday person could not see past the act itself. People who might have otherwise been persuaded by valid points shut down and did not even listen to the argument because of their dislike for the act of flag burning.

3. Get an ideal people will organize around. It’s not enough to just understand people. You’ve got to motivate them. The message has to be simple and clear. The action you ask of people must be easy to incorporate into their lives. It takes a lot to get people to commit to do something. Make your message as easy as possible. Activate people by making it simple for the masses to participate. Write a sample email so they don’t have to think of wording themselves. Provide a link and the email addresses in easy format. Show them how they can take the action you request while they are doing something else they are already doing. Read more…


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