Billy Ayers is in the news, after many years — and well he should be. And we all owe Stanley Kurtz a lot, for his diligence, public-mindedness, and even bravery. I think I first heard about Ayers and his ilk from those invaluable men, Collier & Horowitz — Peter Collier and David Horowitz. I think in particular of Destructive Generation, an important and searing book by men who were part of that very generation (and did some of the destroying, before waking gloriously up). One line of Ayers sticks with me, in particular. Post-acquittal, he said, “Guilty as sin, free as a bird — what a country, America.” I have quoted it often.
And the recent talk about Ayers puts me in mind of Susan Rosenberg, another Weather Underground terrorist, and, like Ayers, utterly unrepentant. President Clinton commuted her sentence in his last hours in office. There has never been a satisfactory explanation for that act (or any explanation at all, really). I wrote about Rosenberg and Clinton here.
Alternatively, you might like to see that piece in a nice fat collection, here! (Pardon the plug.) (Maybe I can get GWB to pardon me for these plugs on 1/19 or 1/20/09.)