Robert Knight

In his 1972 book Rules for Radicals, Mr. Alinsky preached moral relativism, writing that: “Ethical standards must be stretched with the times.”


He was talking about the Marxist concept of the ends justifying the means. To illustrate his point, he cited Abraham Lincoln’s “suspension of habeas corpus, his defiance of a directive of the Chief Justice of the United States, and the illegal use of military commissions to try civilians.”


If the cause is noble – in Lincoln’s case, ending slavery – it’s the duty of the commander in chief to break the law and even override the Constitution. Among other things, Lincoln jailed Southern-sympathizing Maryland legislators and shut down newspapers.


No wonder Obama backer Steven Spielberg came out with his 2012 epic movie Lincoln.  As I watched this well-made film about the first Republican president, I couldn’t help think that it was a clever way to justify the ruthlessly partisan enactment of Obamacare.  It’s not as if Spielberg wanted to make Republicans look good.

A middle class can only prosper under a predictable legal system that guarantees property rights and due process. Right now, official lawlessness abounds at the highest levels.


The U.S. Supreme Court created a constitutional pretext out of thin air to uphold Obamacare.  Then Obama unilaterally suspended the employer mandate.

On an extralegal roll, the Court also ruled that Congress can’t define marriage, even for federal purposes. Then they effectively destroyed the right of Californians to use the proposition process to amend their state constitution.  Even when the Court got it right, such as when the justices struck down outdated portions of the Voting Rights Act, the administration sued Texas as if nothing had happened.


Last week, a county clerk in New Mexico decided that he didn’t like the state’s marriage law and began illegally issuing licenses to same-sex couples. Well, why not? Laws are made to be broken. We have it from the highest earthly authorities. The same week, the New Mexico Supreme Court ordered a Christian couple to photograph a lesbian ceremony or face fines in clear violation of their First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom.


As the rule of law slips away, Americans are increasingly wondering how long we can remain a free people.


“The despair is there,” Alinsky said. “Now it's up to us to go in and rub raw the sores of discontent, galvanize them for radical social change.”

With left-wing radicals now ensconced as the Establishment, Alinsky’s words could well apply instead to today’s middle-class revolutionaries – the Tea Parties.


Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.