Demons on the Job

The Weather Underground’s radical attempt to slaughter young non-commissioned officers and their customs at a military dancing collapsed. The explosives that were placed in dinosaurs went off prematurely, before the nails intended to tear and maim these young bodies were packed to them. The terrorists had succeeded in murdering three of their own and sending two to hiding (backed by a network of sympathizers and admirers). 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, carrying $1.6 million in loot in the Brink’s truck and murdering three working-class guards and police officials. They urged and dementedly attempted to ignite the violent overthrow of the United States government.
If they’d worn white hoods or the insignia of right-handed militia, then they’d still be in jail. They were left handed butchers and would-be butchers, however, hence the fates have been kinder to them.
Jay Nordlinger has written two documents . The first is that really a moral story of the Weather Underground itself: its actors, crimes, and mostly impenitent major amounts; its attraction to violence; its hypocrisies. He says nothing new. The second article, on legacy, by focusing on Antifa, Trump assistants’ verbal threats over the 2020 election results, and”a right-wing insurrectionist mob [that] assaulted the U.S. Capitol, leaving carnage in its wake,” seeks to draw us the rather unoriginal conclusions that”extremism” and”violence” go hand in hand and civilization is fragile.
Jay Nordlinger has been struck, most importantly, by three facets of the Weather Underground: their own attraction to violence; their lack of repentance; their widespread acceptance as good folk who made a few errors. His Weathermen”have been in love with violence” Why? Nordlinger provides a string of motives: they were impatient; they affirmed and heard from”their fellow communists” in Vietnam, Cuba, and China; they admired their peer terrorists in Europe. “As far as anything,” however,”they adored sex and violence ” They drooled over the Manson family. Possibly, but there is no attempt here to locate these generally privileged, rich, and outspoken white kids in the American culture in which they have been raised and educated, to associate their writing, reading, and actions together with the traditions of radical violence of which they were heirs, or to see them in dialogue or contestation with the Old Left. Instead, we have the shopworn story of their renowned public acts. Nordlinger suitably finds their lack of repentance is easily explained: ” In their heads still, they were right about America; they both have been and are right in their aims; they were wrong only in their extreme acts.
The Weather Underground were and still are sustained within this feeling of themselves by intellectual and academic circles that generally succeeded in portraying them “activists” fighting for peace and a better world. Nordlinger mentions (without warning ) sympathetic pictures of these militants provided by 60 Minutes, the New York Times, and other major media outlets, but he concludes merely that”some people” put them”with love ” The rehabilitation in legislation, public memory, political existence, and individual academic sway of those members of the Weather Underground,” however, is a major portion of their own heritage. We had less story and more attention of these happenings. Historical judgment is of the profoundest intellectual, ethical, and cultural significance. Are they”invested… with romance” by any significant section of observers?
People, in this view, are restricted in their knowledge, familiar with and recalling violence against their side, but tending”not to know” about violence against the other camp. I’m far from sure of this. Stephen Spender, in his article in The God That Failed, came closer to the facts. Seeing the victims of their enemies, individuals see real flesh and blood, beings whose lives had been cut short, people with personalities and hopes. Viewing the victims produced in their side, individuals see abstractions, figures, information, and”collateral damage” That human failing is a mighty and horrific political force.
It was written 150 years back. At Demons, Dostoevsky provided a searing and prescient portrait of their nihilism that has accompanied and ultimately controlled the revolutionary powers of the contemporary age. Stavrogin, puppeteer of their would-be social justice activists, and manipulator of scenarios, leads the idealists into destruction for the sake and delight of destruction.
The revolutionary remaining 20th century (and beyond), directed and stage-managed with its tyrants, was the most destructive and murderous representative in human history; it has surpassed all other systems for producing widows, widowers, and orphans. It stays admired. Given the enormity of its crimes, there’s little ethical let alone offender accountability. The Weather Underground lacked the power to kill as many as it wished to kill, however we ought to really be haunted by its crimes, its like of terror, its narcissism, its nihilism, and its absolutions from our ethnic elites.
Given Nordlinger’s view that the Left and Right don’t really”understand” there are victims on the other side, his essay has a specific symmetry. He will let the Left understand what it apparently did not understand and recite the crimes and inadequate guilt of the Weather Underground. In short, his article on the rage and consequences of the Weather Underground finishes with the struggle of the National Review contrary to the Claremont Review of Books.