From page 31 of Generating Social Capital, a scholarly look at civil society and institutions:
Repressive governments disturb civic development in two major ways; First, they discourage spontaneous group activity, and second, they discourage trust. Even though totalitarian governments, such as communist regimes, mobilize civil society through party, and other governmental organizations, association is always state controlled, and not always voluntary. Generally, authoritarian, and totalitarian governments seem partially to build on their strength on the foundation of distrust among their citizens. A good example of this can be found in the activities of the German Democratic Republic’s state-secret police which pitted citizens against each other, and provoked tight social control of friends, neighbors, and colleagues, and even within families.
I found that by googling, “pitting citizens against each other”, not sure of what I’d find, but having a hunch, because for the first time in my life, and perhaps in our nation’s history, we have a President who is actively mobilizing certain groups of citizens (SEIU, ACORN, OFA) against certain other groups, and it’s absolutely staggering. He commanded his minions during the campaign to “get in their faces”, and now, even as President, he is still in campaign mode.
Obama sans teleprompter, obviously speaking off the cuff, because what speechwriter would write such words for a President to say?:
Here, the President of the United States is fomenting distrust amongst the citizenry. Some of us, he argues, are not worthy of being listened to. Some of us should just get out the way.
ObamaCare is opposed by a majority of Americans, now, because we know it’s not financially sustainable, it can’t be without draconian cuts in service. We know that Obama means for his plan to lead to a single payer, universal plan, which the vast majority of Americans oppose. So the Obama administration and the Dems fight the opposition deploying classic Alinsky tactics:
RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (Call your enemies “tea baggers”, rednecks, for instance).
RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. (Union thugs love intimidating and busting heads…)
RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Urge fellow citizens to report “fishy” emails and websites to WH ).
RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (What might they do with those email and IP addresses? What will the union thugs do at the next town hall?)
RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. ( Rush Limbaugh, “astroturfing teabaggers”).
And the unwritten rule that all good leftists follow: Accuse the enemy of what you yourself do.
Liberal Dems are accusing the rag tag, genuinely grassroots, and passionate conservative dissenters, the vast majority of whom have never protested anything in their lives, people who would much rather be at home with their families, of “astroturfing”. These are people who have been provoked out of their comfort zones because they see their freedom, Democracy, and the American way of life, slipping away, and they refuse to let it go without putting up a fight.
Liberal Democrats are of course, masters of astroturfing, or manufactured, fake grassroots. That’s why at their protests and rallies, you see pre-printed signs (who paid for those), and often paid for, bused in protesters/supporters, whatever the case may be.
That’s why you see Obama, the community organizer in chief sending out the bat signal via his website, Organizing for America. (Are all Presidents from now on going to have their own perpetual campaign websites? I have a problem with a sitting President organizing American citizens to go out and fight with, and get in the faces of other American citizens). There’s nothing “spontaneous” or “grassroots” about taking orders from the most powerful person in the free world.
As many of you know, David Axelrod, Obama’s senior advisor, is credited with inventing AstroTurfing. Which sets the irony meter to its highest level, I think.
A great example of astroturfing as it is typically practiced can be found via Michelle Malkin atLooking at the Left, by ElMarco, who was at the Nancy Pelosi event in Denver, Friday, and took pictures of the the 200 or so ObamaCare dissidents, and the handful of astroturfing supporters, some of whom didn’t speak a word of English and had no idea what their signs said. His photo essay is fantastic, and well worth a look.