Alinsky and his method negate and reject morality and ethics. The denial of history is an important component of the denial of ethics and morality. Alinsky writes in the dedication to Lucifer that history cannot be known.
“…Who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins – or which is which…”
Without a knowable historical record there can be no learning from past events, and no trust in previous knowledge. The result of the denial of history is the denial of learning, because no existing knowledge can be trusted. Denial of the capability of people to attain knowledge and understanding from existing sources of information is a component of nihilism. This leaves the future open to radicals and de-constructionists like Alinsky who have made a definitive break with the past.
The institutions of society, the old institutions upon which society and morality are built, are therefore illegitimate and are to be brought down. This distrust in the idea of knowledge itself is a totalitarian, anti-intellectual concept.
Alinsky’s worldview is built then on new knowledge only and experience as the old cannot be known or trusted. This shattering of old orders is completely revolutionary and destructive as the past is therefore inherently unworthy because it cannot be trusted (myth and history are the same). The result of the rejection of the past and of knowledge can best be seen in Pol Pot’s Cambodia where knowledge and wisdom and those who possessed such things were destroyed to make way for the revolutionary Utopia of the Khmer Rouge.
Beginning on the day in 1975 when his guerrilla army marched silently into the capital, Phnom Penh, Pol Pot emptied the cities, pulled families apart, abolished religion and closed schools. Everyone was ordered to work, even children. The Khmer Rouge outlawed money and closed all markets. Doctors were killed, as were most people with skills and education that threatened the regime. (New York Times)
The rejection of morality and ethics and the embrace of total pragmatism to achieve the goal of power is characteristic of the “radical” Lucifer so respected by Alinsky. It is not important to Alinsky that Lucifer is the embodiment of the idea of evil and opposition to good; what matters is that Alinsky sees Lucifer as effective; the trains always run on time when Satan runs the show. Effectiveness and success are divorced from issues of morality and ethics; success is its own morality for Alinsky and his followers.
Morality and ethics have no value for the "radical" who wants to overturn the institutions of society and save the world. Alinsky was a Utopian dreamer who turned his formidable intellect to de-construction and removed morality from the equation for operational purposes. There can be no place for morality and ethics when the world must be transformed to a Utopia – for Alinsky and his followers this purpose is superior even to any "supreme being" and the morality and ethics which may have originated from such a being.
In fact, this rejection of accepted morality means that anything goes; any "action" is acceptable if it destroys or undermines the "status quo" and brings “change.” This is radical anti-stability for the sake of Utopianism.
Here's a somewhat different spiritual take on the matter, vj……..at the time of the Civil War, slavery as an institution was beginning to be seen for the evil that we would all eventually come to understand it as. Compared with much of the civilized world, we were behind the curve for a whole lot of reasons (and yeah, here I'll give you economics as chief among them. We were committed, especially in the south) But in very much the same way as an alcoholic knows that eventually his disease is gonna do him in, but cannot admit it to himself, we knew we would have get beyond slavery if we were going to move forward as a legitimate and civilized culture.
We know these things long before we can actually admit them to ourselves. We know these things even farther before we can muster the strength to do anything about them, and the interim period is one of moral confusion and spiritual angst. It isn't a matter of merely lacking the strength of one's convictions, it's more an issue of growing into an awareness of just what those convictions are going to be.
When individuals are in this state of spiritual confusion, it's really common for them to rail against any sort of change (just think of all the conversion stories, like Saul to Paul, where the soul was mired in moral destitution and rebellion right up until the time he gets religion) and depending on the scope and grip of the problem, they become extremely dangerous to themselves and those around them. It's a common story among addicts' families, a sort of raging against the light, although even that only happens in the final stages because the act of seeing the light (and being willing to see it, perhaps more poignantly) is such a long and gradual process.
These are not my ideas, actually, and I'm trying to present them as coherently as I can, but since the priest who presented them to me over a whole lot of Irish in a Southie bar is no longer among us (RIP Father Tom), I have to work from memory, which is, as you might guess, a little cloudy.
Anyway, Father Tom's historical expertise was in the colonial era and especially King Philip's War (which embraced, in its own circumscribed way, a level of cultural iniquity unseen in any of the European wars that then served as a reference point) But he would have qualified by most of your standards as a CW buff, I think. And ever since I heard him expound on the matter, I've never been able to see that conflict against the backdrop of any other issue besides slavery. Which is not to say I don't see, and appreciate how well articulated are the ideas and causes and factors that others are throwing out in this thread. But I see them as raisins in the pudding, not the pudding itself