It was the late Saul Alinsky who developed the tactics the modern left so often uses when engaged in political conflicts. As he used to advise it was always important to “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.”
Alinskyism dictates that, by making devils out of angels--or of anyone not expressly on your side of the issue--you create a target against which your activists can rally, expressing the power of their political movement and persuading those who may be undecided that your stance on an issue is virtuous because it is directed against what you want them to believe is a common foe. [See who donates the most to your member of Congress.]
It is a lesson the left has learned well and is employing against its latest target, the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch of the family-owned Koch Industries. To them, the Kochs are the pocketbook funding the Tea Party movement and the resurgence of conservative activism that has blocked the Obama administration from achieving some of its most important objectives. As such, they must be--to put it ungently--destroyed. [See editorial cartoons on the Tea Party.]
The latest volley came this week in an attack from Greenpeace, the leftist environmental organization that is a thorn in the side of the free market movement all over the world.
In a recent E-mail to its supporters that is a perfect example of what Alinsky was talking about. Greenpeace alleged that the Kochs--along with “big oil” and “big coal”--were behind an effort to cut $3 billion from the budget of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency saying they “are filling our politician’s pockets with dirty campaign money that results in dirty energy policies.”
They want people to believe that the “black hats”--the so-called “big polluters”--are ganging up on the EPA which, in their equation, is “the white knight.” Unfortunately, the facts don’t fit the theory. Koch’s record on environmental issues is not what those who attack it would have people believe.
Since January 2009, for example, the company and its affiliates have “earned 185 local, state and national awards for safety and environmental excellence” as its efforts in this critically important arena have been praised by the EPA and other agencies. In 2000 then-EPA Administrator Carol Browner--more recently the White House “climate czar”--recognized Koch for a Clean Air Act agreement she praised as “innovative and comprehensive” while thanking the company for its “unprecedented cooperation.” [Read more stories about energy policy and climate change.]
To put it bluntly, Koch Industries and its affiliates create emissions because they are involved in productive economic activity that directly employs, by one recent count, 50,000 people all across the United States. In this they are in the same category as the partially-U.S. government owned General Motors, Sony, Honeywell, Berkshire Hathaway, Kimberly-Clark, and Anheuser Busch, all of whom are criticized in the abstract as “polluters” by certain left-liberal organizations--despite the fact that the “pollution” they produce is carefully regulated and permitted by the EPA and other agencies. Where they differ is in their political and ideological giving.
This particular attack on the Kochs is part of a larger scheme that will lead to the United States being stripped of its productive capacity in the name of “caring about the environment”--which requires that those opposed to it be discredited in the public eye and defeated at the ballot box, the facts be damned.