Ridicule Is Man’s Most Potent Weapon

By Mark Krikorian on September 21, 2022

National Review, September 20, 2022

I haven’t seen a convincing explanation of why the Left went so bat-guano crazy over the recent delivery of a handful of illegal aliens to Martha’s Vineyard. Yes, they don’t want people talking about the border in the run-up to the election, since they’re behind the eight ball on the issue. But that’s not it.

And, yes, the hypocrisy of sanctuary cities and “In This House We Believe” posturing has been exposed. That’s getting closer, but the buses to New York, Washington, and Chicago were doing that already; the Left was complaining about it, for sure, they didn’t go all Godwin’s Law until Martha’s Vineyard happened.

I think the reason for the freak-out was explained by Saul Alinsky half a century ago. The fifth of his “rules for radicals” is:

Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. There is no defense. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.

It was ridiculous enough that New York mayor Eric Adams described experiencing a tiny part of Biden’s border crisis as “horrific” and D.C. mayor Bowser declared a state of emergency and called on the Pentagon for help. Even today, the total number of people sent to those cities is less than two days’ worth of what is happening at the border.

But Operation Martha’s Vineyard was the real comedy payoff. The situation was like something out of a farce by Tom Wolfe or Christopher Buckley: a few dozen border-jumpers arrive at the retreat of the lefty rich and famous, where “no human is illegal” and there are enough empty mansions to house them a thousand-fold, and after being given some cereal they’re whisked away by soldiers.

This is hypocrisy dialed up to 11, a target for mockery so irresistible that even non-political people can appreciate it. And it sure did “infuriate the opposition” and cause them to “react to your advantage” with laughable cries of kidnapping and human trafficking.

As Jack Woltz screamed to Tom Hagan, “a man in my position can’t afford to be made to look ridiculous!”

Alinsky’s Rule six is “a good tactic is one your people enjoy” and boy have people on the right enjoyed this. But it’s also important to heed Rule seven: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” There’s still mileage to be gotten from this tactic; apparently DeSantis is planning on flying some to Georgetown, Delaware, near President Biden’s beach mansion in Rehoboth. (I’d just send a couple busloads straight down Rehoboth Avenue to the boardwalk, and tell them president’s house is a ways off to the left.) But at some point the novelty – and ridicule value – will wear off. Before then, we’ll need to come up with some new guerrilla political theater to force a reluctant media to cover the border mess.