Friday, January 8, 2010

"I Wanted to Scream a Warning, But It Was Too Late..."

"Opening one interesting book, I almost leaped out of bed. I read some statements which shocked me much more profoundly than any of today's pronouncements in the news magazine or on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times. I had been reporting on some of those journalistic writings occasionally, as a warning against the kinds of intellectual dangers (and booby traps) they represented. But they looked like cheap little graffiti compared to the sweep of wholesale destruction presented in a few sentences of that book.

"Just as, at the end of Atlas Shrugged, Francisco saw a radiant future contained in a few words, so I saw the long, dismal, slithering disintegration of the twentieth century held implicitly in a few sentences. I wanted to scream a warning, but it was too late: that book bad been published in 1898. Written in Friedrich Paulsen, it is entitled Immanuel Kant: His Life and Doctrine."

-Ayn Rand, "From the Horse's Mouth"
Replace the year with 1971, the author with Saul Alinsky, and the title with Rules for Radicals, and you know how I felt yesterday when I read it. To riff on Rand again, "what I felt was a cold shudder." I, like Rand, already knew about these dangers, but to see it hidden in plain sight so brazenly, "from the horse's mouth," and yet, so ignored...There's so much I want to say (and I will), but for now, it's all too much. Fortunately, a picture's worth a thousand words:

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