Mark — I love that statement from the noble scholars in defense of Ayers. Indeed one of my favorite things about the Ayers controversy is that it “heightens the contradictions” of the America left, as the Marxists might say. If I may say so, I was one of the first columnists to write about Ayers (back in Feburary), and my chief interest in Ayers was what he represents:
What fascinates me is how light the baggage is when one travels from violent radicalism to liberalism. Chicago activist Sam Ackerman told Politico’s reporter that Ayers “is one of my heroes in life.” Cass Sunstein, a first-rank liberal intellectual, said, “I feel very uncomfortable with their past, but neither of them is thought of as horrible types now — so far as most of us know, they are legitimate members of the community.”
It seems to me the liberal left needs to decide, was Ayers a horrible figure to be ashamed of, or a hero? If you don’t like this choice, why?
And since I’m quoting myself here’s a page from my book on the Weather Underground passionate civil rights and anti-war movement:
Many of us forget that the Weather Underground bombing campaign was not a matter of a few isolated incidents. From September 1969 to May 1970, Rudd and his co-revolutionaries on the white radical left committed about 250 attacks, or almost one terrorist bombing a day (government estimates put that number up to 600 percent higher). During the summer of 1970, there were twenty bombings a week in California. The bombings were the backbeat to the symphony of violence, much of it rhetorical, that set the score for the New Left in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Rudd captured the tone perfectly: “It’s a wonderful feeling to hit a pig. It must be a really wonderful feeling to kill a pig or blow up a building.” “The real division is not between people who support bombings and people who don’t,” explained a secret member of a “bombing collective,” but “between people who will do them and people who are too hung up on their own privileges and security to take those risks.”
Bourgeois self-loathing lay at the very heart of the New Left’s hatred of liberalism, its love affair with violence, and its willingness to take a sledgehammer to Western civilization. “We’re against everything that’s ‘good and decent’ in honky America,” declared one rebel. “We will burn and loot and destroy. We are the incubation of your mother’s worst nightmare.” The Weathermen became the storm troopers of the New Left, horrifying even those who agreed with their cause. Convinced that all whites were born tainted with the original sin of “skin privilege,” the ﬁghting brigade of the New Left internalized racialist thinking as hatred of their own whiteness. “All white babies are pigs,” declared one Weatherman. On one occasion the feminist poet Robin Morgan was breast-feeding her son at the ofﬁces of the radical journal Rat. A Weatherwoman saw this and told her, “You have no right to have that pig male baby.” “How can you say that?” Morgan asked. “What should I do?” “Put it in the garbage,” the Weatherwoman answered.
Bernadine Dohrn [Ayers’ wife], an acid-loving University of Chicago law student turned revolutionary, reﬂected the widespread New Left fascination with the serial-killing hippie Übermensch Charles Manson. “Dig It! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, they even shoved a fork into a victim’s stomach! Wild!” In appreciation, her Weather Underground cell made a three-ﬁngered “fork” gesture its ofﬁcial salute.
Yep, nothing but a lot of singing “We Shall Overcome” and peaceful civil disobedience here!