- - Sunday, August 11, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The late Saul Alinsky, the legendary left-wing community organizer, must be looking up from wherever he is and smiling. The direction lately taken by the Democratic Party shows they’ve bought into his tactics, hook, line and sinker.

In his most famous book, “Rules for Radicals,” he opens with the following observation: “What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. ‘The Prince’ was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. ‘Rules for Radicals’ is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.”

Sounds pretty much like the economic plank for the Democrats’ platform as enunciated by the leading contenders for the 2020 presidential nomination. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, recently said he wouldn’t stop until “the poor got richer and the rich got poorer.” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has proposed a wealth tax. And just about everyone in the field, from former Vice President Joe Biden on down have promised to repeal the Trump tax cuts as part of a class-based appeal to envy.

That’s straight out of Alinsky’s handbook. If it were just an idea, it wouldn’t be so bothersome. There’s almost nothing so dangerous it can’t ever be talked about. But the Democrats these days are more about talking — they’re about translating their ideas into action in ways that can be intimidating.

Joaquin Castro, brother of Obama-era Housing Secretary and 2020 presidential candidate Julian Castro, decided just the other day it wasn’t enough to rail against Donald Trump and his policies since — based on the latest polls anyway — taking Mr. Trump on hasn’t been enough to push his brother anywhere near the front of the pack of people who want to be president in his place.



Just the other day Rep. Castro chose to post online the names and occupations of 44 of his constituents who, exercising their right to be politically active as guaranteed by the First Amendment, this year donated the maximum amount allowed by law to the Trump re-election committee. Rep. Castro also tweeted them out to more than 27,000 followers of his congressional campaign account.

The information is publicly available, by law, and is considered a good government measure that’s supposed to keep politicians honest by letting the voters know from where their campaign contributions come. But even good government reforms can be abused. In this case, Rep. Castro’s protestations to the contrary, it seems obvious the end goal is intimidation.

If you need further proof, look at what’s happening to Equinox and Soul Cycle, the two luxury fitness brands owned by The Related Cos, a privately held firm chaired by billionaire Stephen Ross. As soon as news brook that Mr. Ross, who’s been a generous giver to Republican candidates and causes in the past, would be hosting a luncheon fundraiser Friday at his Long Island home for Mr. Trump, the calls for boycotts on social media began in earnest.

Mr. Ross, both exercise firms say, is merely a passive investor. They’re distancing themselves from the event because they don’t want to lose clients and customers. That’s sensible but, like the Trump donors in Rep. Castro’s congressional district, they’ve been singled out for abuse because the folks who don’t like Mr. Trump need to cast the net as far and wide as possible.

As Alinsky said, “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” Using the tactics of intimidation and boycotts the Democrats are trying to force people into the resistance by threatening their economic security. Most Americans are made of sterner stuff and won’t be easily bullied. The Democrats are right that when it comes to down to it, corporate America has as much backbone on political matters as a tower of Jell-O.

Tactics like these, which are gaining in popularity and will probably explode if the H.R. 1 free speech suppression bill ever makes it through Congress and is signed into law by some future Democratic occupant of the Oval office, are dangerous. Americans need more speech, not less. The country was founded on the idea that robust social and political discourse is a noble thing, guaranteed by inalienable rights coming to us from our common Creator. No individual or group has the right to try and muzzle that — or to force people to defend their own views if they would prefer not to.

We can hope the residents of the San Antonio-area singled out by Rep. Castro are not subjected to harassment, vandalism and violence. Considering the way things are in America today, there’s no guarantee of that. Antifa is looking for targets wherever they can be found. No one should be beaten or have their business wrecked because they made a campaign contribution.

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