Some readers have probably noticed that pondering the political scene in the US has lately brought to my mind Machiavelli's unscrupulous advice to princes, those pesky paragons of perilous ambition whose 'Caesarism" the American founders often warned against. (As a torch is to the flame, so is Machiavelli to Lucifer. Though we hear a lot about Saul Alinsky these days, he could barely hold a candle to Machiavelli. So, when Alinsky dedicated the now infamous book, Rules for Radicals to Lucifer, he looked back at him over the shoulder. When Machiavelli finished writing The Prince, he could have done so without turning his head.) In Machiavelli's writings the Caesar in question is often Cesare Borgia, the Italian princeling whose ultimate failure is the analytical rubric for the thinking on which Machiavelli bases his plan for humanity's strategic assault on the sovereignty of 'Nature and nature's God'.
As I reflect on the supposed disgrace and collapse of ACORN, I can't help thinking of the fate of Cesare's faithful lieutenant, Remirro de Orca. Cesare sent Remirro to deal with the situation when his province of Romagna suffered from rebellious lawlessness and unrest. Remirro was a man who apparently richly deserved the accolade Machiavelli bestows on another, whom he described as a man of "cruelty and infinite other virtues". With bloody execution, Remirro brought the province to heel. However when his terrorist regime threatened to stir the people of Romagna to united rebellion, Cesare paid him a visit. One morning not long after the visit began, the people of Romagna were treated to what was for them evidence of a morbidly satisfying surprise attack. They awakened to see the hated henchman's body, sliced in two halves, decorating the public square.
Remirro served Cesare with single-minded fidelity. So the duplicity represented by his divided body was, of course, that of his master. It also represented the restored unity of Romagna under Borgia's rule. De Orca's death was therefore a political resurrection. (This is profoundly appropriate since Machiavelli's use of the story reveals how much he studied and intended others to learn from Jesus Christ, the Prime Minister of his greatest enemy.)
ACORN appears to have fallen prey to a similarly unexpected and spectacular execution. But as we consider it, we should keep in mind that we live in times greatly influenced by the strategic lessons Machiavelli intended to teach with his Cesare Borgia stories. Though in one form Remirro de Orca appeared to die, his death in fact confirmed the new order Cesare Borgia intended, by his cruel administration, to impose on Romagna. This suggests that ACORN is not dead, nor even sleeping.
The whole thing reminds me of those who, when Van Jones was driven from his post, celebrated the departure of that communist from the White House. But Obama is still in the White House, benefiting from the impression that the communist is no longer working there. Talk about hiding in plain sight! It's almost as effective as that other form of duplicity we've been talking about- the so-called two-party system. But that's an whole other story, isn't it?