Demons at Work

The Weather Underground’s radical effort to slaughter young non-commissioned officers and their dates at a military dance collapsed. The explosives that were to be placed in dinosaurs went off prematurely, before the nails intended to tear and maim those young bodies were packed to them. They failed in their plan to blow off the Columbia University administration building and just partly succeeded with their bombs at the Pentagon. They did succeed in armed robbery, however, taking $1.6 million in loot from a Brink’s truck and murdering three paychecks guards and police officers.

If they had worn white hoods or the insignia of right-handed militia, they’d still be in jail. They had been left handed butchers and would-be butchers, but so the fates were kinder to them.

Jay Nordlinger has written two documents here. The first is a moral narrative of this Weather Underground itself: its own celebrities, offenses, and mostly impenitent big amounts; its own appeal to violence; its own hypocrisies. He says nothing new.

Jay Nordlinger has been struck, most importantly, by three facets of this Weather Underground: their own attraction to violence; their lack of repentance; their widespread acceptance as good folk who made some mistakes. His Weathermen”were in love with violence” Why? Nordlinger delivers a series of motives: they have been impatient; they affirmed and heard out of”their fellow communists” in Vietnam, Cuba, and China; they admired their peer criminals in Europe. “As far as anything,” however,”they adored violence and sex” They drooled on the Manson family. Maybe, but there is no effort here to locate these normally privileged, rich, and snowy white kids in the American culture where they were educated and raised, to associate their writing, reading, and actions with the traditions of revolutionary violence of that they have been heirs, or to see them in dialogue or contestation using the Old Left. Rather, we’ve got the shopworn narrative of the renowned public acts. Nordlinger rightly finds their lack of repentance is readily explained: In their minds stillthey were right about America; they were and are appropriate in their aims; they had been incorrect only in their most extreme acts.

The Weather Underground were and still are sustained in this sense of themselves by intellectual and academic circles which generally succeeded in portraying them as impatient”activists” fighting for peace and a better world. Nordlinger cites (without detail) sympathetic portraits of such militants provided by 60 Minutes, ” the New York Times, and other big media outlets, but he concludes only that”some people” put them”with love ” The rehabilitation in legislation, public memory, political existence, and individual academic influence of the members of the Weather Underground,” however, is a significant portion of their own heritage. We had less narrative and more attention of those happenings. Historical conclusion is of the profoundest intellectual, moral, and cultural importance. Are they”invested… with love” by any substantial segment of observers?

People, in this opinion, are limited in their knowledge, comfortable with and recalling violence from their own side, but tending”to not know” about violence against another camp. I’m far from confident of this. Stephen Spender, in his article in The God That Failed, came closer to the truth. Seeing the sufferers of the enemies, people see actual flesh and blood, beings whose lives have been cut short, people with personalities and hopes. Seeing the sufferers produced of their own side, people find abstractions, numbers, data, and”collateral damage” That individual failing is a mighty and horrible political force.

It was written 150 decades ago. At Demons, Dostoevsky provided a searing and prescient portrait of this nihilism which has accompanied and ultimately controlled the revolutionary forces of the contemporary era. Stavrogin, puppeteer of their would-be social justice activists, and manipulator of scenarios, leads the idealists into destruction to the sake and excitement of destruction.

The revolutionary Left of the 20th century (and beyond), directed and stage-managed by its own tyrants, was the most destructive and murderous agent in history; it’s surpassed all other methods for producing widows, widowers, and orphans. It stays admired. Given the enormity of its offenses, there is not much moral let alone criminal accountability. The Weather Underground lacked the ability to kill as many as it wished to kill, but we ought to really be haunted by its own crimes, its love of terror, its own narcissism, its own nihilism, and its own absolutions from our ethnic elites.

Given Nordlinger’s opinion that the Left and Right don’t really”know” there are victims on the opposite side, his composition has a certain symmetry. He will allow the Left know what it seemingly did not know and recite the offenses and insufficient remorse of the Weather Underground. In short, his article on the anger and effects of this Weather Underground finishes with the struggle of this National Review contrary to the Claremont Review of Books.