"The Art of War," written by ancient Chinese philosopher, Sun Tsu, has been called the concentrated essence on the conduct of war. While thousands of years old, it has long been available in inexpensive paperback form because its tenets are timeless, unmistakably true, and still relevant. One of the important lessons from the master is obfuscation. Effective coaches of competitive sports know this lesson, and all successful athletes put it into practice every time they play. Never let the opponent know what you are up to. Hide your strengths and weaknesses. Feign right, cut left. Attack where the enemy is weakest. If the opponent knows what you will do ahead of time, actions will be taken to counter it and your effort will be wasted.
What goes for the military and for sports can be applied to any other competitive effort. The Fabian Society, founded in England in 1884 for the promotion of socialism through non-violent means, has had a profound influence on political activity over the last century. Its methods include covert infiltration of organizations, governments, and academia to promote their ideals and move nations toward socialism, while calling it something different, like progressivism. Their methods work. The radical left is no longer considered radical by many Americans. National health insurance is now considered mainstream. The War on Poverty, in spite of its absolute and utter failure, has made the fundamental premises of socialism acceptable by using different words. Like the methods used by Fabius Maximus, the ancient Roman General after whom the Fabians are named, it is a battle of attrition and harassment, recognizing that people get worn out from the fight. Eventually opponents tire and quit resisting, especially if lots of diversions can be implemented. You can use confusion and fear to advantage.
Van Jones, chosen by President Obama in his first term to be the "Green Jobs Czar," one of various Czars appointed from the radical left, was forced to resign because he did not hide his radicalism very well. He violated Sun Tsu's admonition for subterfuge. Jones seems to have learned his lesson, though. He is still influential and has started an organization called Rebuild the Dream, dedicated to what the website calls the American dream. Who's dream is he trying to rebuild, however? It certainly is not the one upon which America was founded, the idea of minimum government, maximum freedom, and personal responsibility of the individuals in society.
The Rebuild the Dream program is quite clever, and Jones is an articulate and nuanced speaker and writer. He presumes that everyone agrees with him that government is the solution to every problem and that everyone has a right to share in the prosperity of others, with the help of that government, of course. He gives a lot of lip service to those who are robbing Americans, but he ignores the biggest robbers and the biggest killers of the dream in the Capital building and at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., regardless of which party occupies them. Socialism, in practical terms, has never been a movement of the people. It has been intellectuals and politicians coordinating to build power structures. Not surprisingly, many of the wealthiest people in the world support socialism, for they see themselves as the string-pullers.
There still is an American dream, the ideal that people are not dependent on a paternal state, but able to build their lives through productivity and honest commerce, trial and error, failure and success. That dream is at risk, but the deception of Jones, Obama, and others promoting the false dream cannot stand if enough people recognize it and expose it to the light of day.
Dan McLaughlin is a columnist for The Post-Journal. Contact him at email@example.com.