Demons at Work

The Weather Underground’s revolutionary effort to slaughter youthful non-commissioned officers along with their dates at a military dance collapsed. The explosives that were placed in dinosaurs went off before the nails meant to rip and maim those youthful bodies were packed into them. They failed in their plan to blow up the Columbia University administration building and just partially succeeded with their bombs at the Pentagon. They did succeed in armed robbery, nevertheless, taking $1.6 million from loot in the Brink’s truck along with murdering three working guards and police officials. They advocated and dementedly attempted to ignite the violent overthrow of the United States authorities.
If they’d worn white hoods or the insignia of right-handed militia, they would still be in prison. They had been left handed butchers and prospective butchers, however, so the fates have been kinder to them. Susan Rosenberg, part of the Brink’s heist with its ensuing murder of innocents, was pardoned by Bill Clinton and wrote her memoirs; Kathy Boudin was paroled, got a Doctor of Education Degree from Columbia University Teachers College, became an adjunct professor of Social Work at Columbia University and also co-founder along with co-director of the Columbia University Center for Justice; Cathy Wilkerson taught high school and printed self-promoting memoir; Bill Ayers became a professor of education at the University of Illinois, Chicago and assisted establish Barack Obama’s Illinois governmental profession; Bernardine Dohrn, who discovered that the knife in Sharon Tate’s stomach”groovy,” went on to teach at Northwestern University’s School of Law.
Jay Nordlinger has just written two essays here. The first is that really a moral narrative of the Weather Underground itself: its own actors, offenses, and largely impenitent big amounts; its own attraction to violence; its own hypocrisies. He states nothing new. The second essay, on heritage, by focusing on Antifa, Trump supporters’ verbal threats within the 2020 election outcomes, and”a right-wing insurrectionist mob [that] attacked the U.S. Capitol, leaving carnage in its wake,” attempts to draw for us the rather unoriginal conclusions that”extremism” and”violence” go hand in hand and that civilization is delicate.
Jay Nordlinger has been struck, most importantly, by three facets of the Weather Underground: their 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 offers a string of motives: they have been impatient; they supported and heard from”their fellow communists” from Vietnam, Cuba, and China; they admired their peer terrorists in Europe. “As much as anything,” nevertheless,”they adored violence and sex.” They drooled over the Manson family. Maybe, but there’s no effort here to find these generally privileged, rich, and snowy white kids in the Western culture where they were raised and educated, to associate their reading, writing, and actions with the customs of radical violence of which they have been heirs, or even to see them in dialogue or contestation with the Old Left. Instead, we have the shopworn narrative of the renowned public acts. Nordlinger rightly sees that their lack of repentance is readily explained: Within their minds still, they were right about America; they were and are right in their goals; they had been wrong only in their extreme acts.
The Weather Underground were and still are sustained within this sense of these by academic and intellectual circles that generally succeeded in portraying them as impatient”activists” fighting for peace and a better world. Nordlinger mentions (without detail) sympathetic pictures of these militants offered by 60 Minutes, ” the New York Times, and other big media outlets, however he concludes merely that”some individuals” invest them”with love .” The rehabilitation in legislation, public memory, and political life, and individual academic influence of those people of the Weather Underground,” nevertheless, is a significant portion of their legacy. We had less narrative and more thought of those phenomena. Historical judgment is of the profoundest intellectual, ethical, and cultural significance. Are they”spent… with love” by any significant section of observers?
Rich kids wanting to repeat the entire world afresh”by any means necessary” have little understanding of the pathologies, narcissism, brutality, and indifference to regular lives of people who’d make use of their bodies.Nordlinger likes David French’s current justification of why”Right” and”Left” reach different conclusions regarding political criminality. Folks, in this view, are restricted in their knowledge, comfortable with and recalling violence against their side, but glancing”to not know” about violence against another camp. I am far from convinced of this. Stephen Spender, in his essay in The God That Failed, came nearer to the facts. Seeing the victims of the enemies, people see actual blood and flesh, beings whose lives have been cut short, individuals with personalities and hopes. Viewing the victims produced of their side, people find abstractions, figures, data, and”collateral damage.” That individual failing is a powerful and dreadful political force.
There is a persuasive apprehension available not just of the Weather Underground, but also of those Red Army Faction, also the Baader-Meinhof group, the Japanese Red Army, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the Brigati Rossi, et al.. It was written 150 decades back. At Demons, Dostoevsky offered a searing and prescient portrait of their nihilism that has accompanied and finally commanded the revolutionary powers of the modern age. Stavrogin, puppeteer of their prospective social justice activists, and manipulator of scenarios, leads both the idealists into destruction to the interest and excitement of destruction.
The revolutionary Left of the 20th century (and beyond), led and stage-managed by its own tyrants, has been the most destructive and murderous representative in history; it has surpassed the rest of the methods for generating widows, widowers, and orphans. It remains admired. Given the enormity of its offenses, there’s little ethical let alone criminal liability. The Weather Underground lacked the capacity to kill as much because it desired to kill, however we ought to be haunted by its own crimes, its love of dread, its own narcissism, its own nihilism, and its own absolutions by our cultural elites.
Given Nordlinger’s view that the Left and Right don’t truly”understand” that there are victims on the other side, his essay has a particular symmetry. He’ll let the Left understand what it apparently did not understand and recite the offenses and inadequate guilt of the Weather Underground. He should also now inform or remind that the uninformed Right of its own Trumpian threats of violence against Georgia Republican officials and the”carnage” of January 6. In short, his composition on the rage and results of the Weather Underground concludes with the battle of the National Review contrary to the Claremont Review of Books.