Great Comment: "if the ends you’re pursuing can only be achieved by actions which violate your integrity, then you’re by definition pursuing the wrong ends."
Josh left this very smart comment on my newest reading list updates.
It's exactly how I feel, very smart stuff:
I had a similar reaction to Rules for Radicals when I started reading it a couple months ago. I got about a quarter of the way in and had to put it down because I found it so infuriating and distasteful. (I don’t normally have such a visceral reaction to reading things I disagree with, which is why I’ll be sure to pick it up again and finish it at some point.)
I think the reaction I had was because the way Alinsky works is the way the “bad guys” work (ruthlessly ends focussed), and what differentiates the “good guys” is that they refuse to act in ways that would violate their integrity, even when that means that they’ll fail to achieve their ends. I don’t think that means acting with integrity is always ineffective, but I suspect it might mean that the ends they have chosen are wrong in some fundamental way. That is, if the ends you’re pursuing can only be achieved by actions which violate your integrity, then you’re by definition pursuing the wrong ends.
I’d definitely be interested to hear more of your thoughts on it in a future post.
Thanks for the smart comment, Josh, I agree. I'll revisit this topic too, and maybe writeup a review of the book when I finish it. I'm reading Mao's "On Guerrilla Warfare" which is much less reaction generating because at least he doesn't contradict his own principles and values frequently. (I mean, I disagree with a lot of it, but it's consistent at least)
Very good comment, Josh. Cheers.