A diatribe that lacked basic facts

To the editor:

Re: “Are we on the road to socialism?” by Kenneth Porter, Voice of the Public, Sept. 20:

Implicit in Kenneth Porter’s Sept. 20 letter is the absurd notion that Barack Obama and Joe Biden have a hidden agenda to gain authoritarian control over every aspect of our lives. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Porter’s diatribe against the progressive presidencies of Obama and Biden is based solely on what Porter says are statements written by 1960s community activist Saul Alinsky. As I read Porter’s letter, I thought to myself, “Why would a progressive like Saul Alinsky be for increasing the poverty level, controlling what people read, and creating a police state?” It didn’t make any sense. So I did some fact checking.

I found that the quoted “eight steps” needed to create a socialist state have been circulating for years. The claim that Alinsky wrote them is false. It is obvious from the paranoid tone of the “eight steps” that their source was conservative media, where the claim is often repeated.

It was debunked in 2014 by the fact-checking website snopes.com. It was debunked again in the New York Daily News in 2017, and again by the well-respected news agency Reuters in 2020.

To prevent the spread of misinformation, I hope Porter will fact-check his sources next time. Furthermore, Porter’s readiness to believe that this false quotation was true indicates that he has a very distorted view of the values of those of us who call ourselves progressives. No wonder our country is at such a political impasse.

Charles Adler