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Editor's Note: This is the first of a three-part series:
Saul Alinsky or Alexander Solzhenitsyn? Whose path will America follow?
Dr. Ben Carson, a noted author, brain surgeon and possible Republican candidate for president, says the country has already gone far down the path of Alinsky, but it's not too late to pull back from the brink of authoritarian socialism.
As Americans prepared to celebrate their freedom this Independence Day, Carson sat down with WND founder and CEO Joseph Farah and offered a sobering view of the current state of the country.
In the light of NSA spying, government taking over health care and the IRS intimidating tea-party activists, Farah asked if there were any lessons that could be drawn from Solzhenitsyn’s experience living under Soviet communism during the Cold War.
"I remember back in the day, Solzhenitsyn was asked 'what went wrong in the Soviet Union' and what made it the nightmare police state that it was?" Farah said. "And he said, 'We forgot about God.'"
Carson agreed with that assessment. He said he encourages people to read the works of not just Solzhenitsyn, but those of his historic adversaries – Vladimir Lenin, Karl Marx and Alinsky.
"They asked themselves what it would take to bring America into alignment, to achieve their one-world vision and their utopian society," Carson said.
The answer became obvious. Attack, attack, attack, at the nation's soul, and stir up divisions at every level of American society – women against men, old against young, race against race, rich against poor.
"They said, you know, the problem with America is that they're too strong. They have a couple of very strong pillars. The family, the traditional family, and their Judeo-Christian values," Carson said. "You need to attack those things constantly, bring them down, and you will level the United States. You see the constant attacks in our country now."
A pre-fascist or pre-revolutionary society typically breaks down into warring factions that stop talking to each other. That seems to be the place America has fallen into, and Carson addresses those divisions in his new book "One Nation: What We Need to Do to Save America's Future."
Carson seemed most impassioned when he was talking about how conservatives can stay engaged, stay informed and win back the country from those who would seek to "fundamentally change" its system of representative democracy under limited government.
"I emphasize in that book the importance of people using their sphere of influence. That's how you get around the liberal media. You need to talk to your uncle, who hasn't voted in 20 years, about what's going on. …You need to start talking to your neighbors, even if they're liberals, talk to them," Carson said. "Because, what happens is, a lot of people who are liberals really haven't thought their positions through. And they listen to their leaders who try to demonize people. They listen to those people who believe in the Saul Alinsky philosophy. One of his rules: Never have a conversation with your adversary, because that humanizes them. And your job is to demonize them. They don't want you to talk."
Carson said that philosophy is on full display in the halls of American universities, which were once bastions of open dialogue and free thought. Now, they're more like intellectual prisons ruled by thought police.
"That's why, at your universities now, they say, 'we don’t want to hear this person, we don't want anybody to hear them,'" Carson said. "If they have a business we want to tear it down, if they have a reputation we want to get rid of it.
"This is pre-fascist thinking. A lot of the liberals don't realize that. They don't know that they're being used. As Lenin said, you know, useful idiots. We can use these people to actually change America and they won't even know that they are our puppets and we are using them."
Carson likened the pre-fascist state to a married couple heading toward divorce. First they stop talking to each other, "then the next thing you know their partner is the devil incarnate."
Separation and divorce follows. When it's a nation involved, this pre-fascist condition can lead to chaos and lawlessness.
But when people begin to have conversations, and actually talk about the kind of America they would like to pass on to their children, walls break down.
"And a lot of people will begin to realize, hey, you know, you are not my enemy. My enemy is this person, who is trying to fundamentally change America and change it for my children and my grandchildren," Carson said.
He cited "The Naked Communist," a book written in 1958 by Cleon Skousen, as laying out the strategy of those who want to usher in this new America.
"It lays out the whole agenda including getting people in important positions in the mainstream media so they could drive the agenda and that's what's happening now," Carson said. "The media does not have the answers. We need to just move around them."
Carson said most people who hold fast to traditional Judeo-Christian values tend to fold their tents too quickly and bow to the forces of political correctness.
"Part of the problem is we back down too easily," he said. "I remember some years ago the lawyers came to my wife and me and said 'you can't put your 'Think BIG' banners up in public school because each of the letters means something and the G stood for God and there can be no government support for religious expression.' I said 'the Constitution also says there can be no government suppression of religious expression.' So we had a vigorous discussion."
He was later allowed to put up his banner.
A lack of leadership
Carson also cited a vacuum of spiritual leadership in the land. He called out American clergy, many of whom he said tend to shrink from their duty to preach the word of God. He said it's easy to avoid the issue of decaying morals that are eating away at the American family.
"The clergy in our nation has largely adopted a go-along to get-along attitude," he said. "We don't want anyone to see us as bad guys, so you know, what the word of God says, eh, that's old stuff. We want to talk about the modern era, without really looking at the consequences."
People with Judeo-Christian values, "have to be willing to stand up for what they believe, because the secular progressives will keep pushing until they meet resistance," Carson said. "They will never stop. So, if you have adopted a go-along to get along attitude, then they win by default. You continue to lose ground, forever. That's what's happening to the values in our country right now."
He said many cultural conservatives feel beaten, but in his travels across the states he is seeing signs that people who had given up are starting to reawaken.
"Basically, if you look in our public schools and in our universities, they teach, well, there's not really any right, there's not any wrong. It's all relative. It's a matter of how you look at it. Those were the exact things that happened to the Roman Empire. They lost their identity, they lost their value system. They lost their vision. They lost their nation."
So while those with traditional values may still make up the silent majority, silence won't get the job done, he said.
Fear seems to be paralyzing a lot of hard-working Americans who know something's not right in the country.
"They've been beaten down. They've been beaten into submission, (wondering) am I going to lose my job? Am I going to get an IRS audit? This is not America when that's going on," Carson said. "I can't tell you how many people I run into from Eastern bloc countries who say, they're terrified. Because they came here to escape that. Now the same thing is happening here."
So the key is to defy the Alinsky divide-and-conquer strategy and resist the loud voices on the mainstream media.
"There are elements that don't like our system. They want to change us into the, quote, utopian society, and in order to do that they have to make what we're doing now seem as though it doesn’t work. So, they drive wedges into every little crack to create a war," Carson said.
"There's a war on women, race wars, age wars, income wars, religion wars. You name it, there is a war on it. All of which is straight out of the pages of 'Rules for Radicals' by Saul Alinsky.
"What we have to do is rise above it. Stop allowing ourselves to be so easily manipulated.
"And one of the best ways not to be easily manipulated is to be educated. You have to actually know stuff."
Speaking from a position of knowledge is always more effective, and that takes time and effort.
"The founders of our nation said our system of government and our freedom is dependent on a well-informed and educated populace," Carson said. "They knew if we weren't like that the nature of the country would drastically change quite quickly. Along would come slick politicians, dishonest media and people who don't have a good base of knowledge could be easily manipulated."
What's lacking is the desire to inform one's self, he said.
"Go on the street and ask who sings the appy song, and most of them will know," Carson said. "But you ask about Benghazi and they won't know about that. Is that a singer? It sounds like it could be a singer."
Most people go into the voting booth looking for a "D" or an "R" or a recognizable name, he said. "So a country that doesn't have a vision, that is kind of forgetting who it is, will naturally kind of deteriorate into a bunch of factions. When we throw away those values that made our country great, you're going to see a concomitant deterioration."
Yet, the media focuses on the distractions of the day.
Instead of Benghazi, Americans are subjected to chatter about the merits of the Washington "Redskins" and whether the team's name might "offend" someone.
Marijuana is now considered good, but sugar is taboo.
"Why are they talking about how much sugar is in the beverage that you are drinking? Not that that's not important but we need to look at the things that are truly having a deleterious effect on our country," Carson said. "And stop this subterfuge. Why so much distraction.
"Why are we more concerned about the trademark issue with the Redskins? Give me a break. When we've got Benghazi going on, and Fast and Furious going on, and the IRS going on. And we're talking about a trademark for the Redskins?
"It's the whole idea of political correctness. I talk a lot about it in the book, because I think it's destructive."