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Rules To Counter Radicals

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Rules for Retrogrades: Forty Tactics to Defeat the Radical Left ...By DEACON MIKE MANNO, JD

I’ve mentioned Saul Alinsky before as well as his 1971 book, Rules for Radicals. Alinsky, as you may recall, was a socialist who, after brief stints working for the state of Illinois, went on to become a community organizer, writer, and political activist
The book was designed as a guide for organizers of low-income communities, the “have-nots,” as Alinsky called them, to gain political, economic, and legal power, and was based on his thirty-some years of experience as a community organizer.
Alinsky himself was the subject of a well-researched documentary a few years ago for EWTN by Arcadia Films, A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, which outlined Alinsky’s career of bringing cultural Marxism into the Church and America. For those interested, it is still available at the EWTN bookstore and other outlets. Also, EWTN sometimes broadcasts the film.
Alinsky’s book, by the way, was dedicated to Lucifer.
Wasn’t that nice?
If you can get a copy of the book, or look it up on the Internet, you can read the rules yourself. And as you examine them, you’ll be able to make the connection to how the Radical Left is using them today against both Church and state through such issues as healthcare (control it and you control people), poverty (keep people poor, they are easier to control), education (control what people know), religion (make generic, all good comes from the state), and class warfare (divide and conquer).
As you read you’ll quickly see what is being done to us, and our children, to turn the Church and America into a bastion of the cultural Marxism Alinsky favored, and you’ll be able to spot the politicians and prelates who are working that side of the road.
So where’s our book? Hasn’t anyone given us a guideline on how to fight back? We are, after all, charged with defending our faith, our culture, and our way of life.
Well, there is one, Rules for Retrogrades, by the brothers Timothy and David Gordon. Tim teaches, holds degrees in philosophy and law, and was a frequent guest on Dr. Taylor Marshall’s podcasts. He’s also the author of Catholic Republic. His brother David is a lawyer (not a bad thing to be) and holds an MA in theology from Franciscan University.
The book is rough stuff, not meant for the faint of heart. If you enter this fight, don’t expect Marquess of Queensberry rules, this is an alley fight, and if you’re up to it — even in part — this book is for you. There is, perhaps, no better description of it than given by Patrick Coffin on the back jacket:
“If you take your prose pugnacious, your meat red, and your politics incorrect, then you might be ready for Rules for Retrogrades. This is not a book so much as a crowbar. The Brothers Gordon have marshaled 40 tactics that are guaranteed to provoke not only pony-tailed boomers but also cautious mod-cons, dour trads, and unsuspecting zoomers.”
A couple of definitions might be in order:
A Retrograde is the “dark knight of post-Christian Western civilization, frequently and unjustly blamed for his honorable repudiation of the New World Order…[he is] like Braveheart, an educated savage who never lies [and] works tirelessly to restore the Old World Order [imbued] with morality, decency, and most importantly, Christianity.” This is us.
A Radical is “a progressive, Luciferian proponent of the anti-Christian New World Order who follows Lucifer [and] opposes everything true, good, and beautiful in this world, seeking to pervert, invert, and subvert it to achieve his darkling political agenda.” This is them.
And the Political-Cultural War is “the ideological battle between radicals and retrogrades for the soul of the West.” This is our war.
Other definitions are provided, but this will suffice for now.
The brothers list forty rules; the first two set the stage for the entire book. Rule 1 is “Always be on offense.” In the game of life, the offense scores points by moving in increments, like a football team moving across the gridiron; offense sets the pace, the brothers write. While a boxer might want to step back and cover up in reaction to a flurry of punches, the boxer on the offense will counter-punch.
Liberals, they write, weaponized current events to seize the initiative by force. “So we retrogrades need to take back the initiative; we need to make a concerted effort to go on the offense.” In short, don’t cower, counter-punch.
Rule 2, “Conservatism is inherently Christian; intellectual conservatism is inherently Roman Catholic.” Here the authors trace the philosophical development of political thought from Aristotle to Thomas Aquinas and others, which led to the recognition by our founders that “natural rights in republics were best secured by localism [we call federalism], a principle derived from the Catholic concept of subsidiarity.”
Other rules the brothers lay out:
Rule 3, “No truth is ‘off-limits’: We must never be ashamed to be candid. We must not fall for the idea that some truths are too offensive to be spoken. In order to win the culture, we must boldly and loudly speak truth so our fellowman can first recognize what is verily good and, subsequently, firmly set their will on achieving it.”
Rule 8, “It is a damnable lie that humility disallows Christians from standing up (for what they believe) in the cultural and political forum!” The authors suggest that through a “cleverly perverted sense of Christian humility” some have habitually submitted to virtue shaming radicals. This attitude is cowardice dressed up as humility.
Rule 9, “Control of language is control of thought; don’t let radicals control the language.” Language is the calling card of tyrannical regimes, the authors write, and has been used throughout history to cloak the despotic natures of dystopian regimes. “Lexical trickery is not limited to tin-pot dictatorships…it is a tactic employed by radicals of all stripes.”
Rule 22, “Do not ingest the poison pill of conventional wisdom.” The authors note that from the 1960s to the 1970s, our culture was, in effect, hijacked by the boomer generation, which ultimately gave us no-fault divorce, abortion on demand, religious indifferentism and the welfare state, among other evils. They were successful in large measure because those opposing them were silent, afraid to upset the Boomer’s eleventh commandment, “Thou shall be nice.”
Rule 29, “Never let your judgment be rushed or altered because of an alleged ‘emergency’; all serious policy initiative deserves thorough vetting.” According to the authors, “The principled man cannot allow himself to be held captive by his swirling, mercurial passions.”
Of course there is more here than just rules. The brothers have some not so kind words for those they refer to as the “Mod-Cons,” moderate conservatives who lack the “courage, care, or charisma” to confront the radicals, preferring to live in coexistence and compromise. Psychologically they lean toward and have sympathy for retrogrades, but need a boost to develop what I would refer to as the “retrograde spine.”
Obviously there is much more that can be said for the book. Whether you are in the ring fighting, or a simple observer of the cultural conflicts of today’s Church and society, the book is an easy read and well worth its price. It is published by TAN Books. Visit
(Mike can be reached at:, and can be heard every Thursday at 10 a.m. on

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