Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sympathy For The Devil: Bill Ayers' Approval Rating

''Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon,'' says former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers in his 2001 book Fugitive Days.

When New York Times reporter Dinita Smith interviewed Ayers about his new book for an article published on September 11, 2001, he admitted:
''I don't regret setting bombs,'' Bill Ayers said. ''I feel we didn't do enough.''

He writes that he participated in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, the Pentagon in 1972.

Even more chilling was Ayers response to a question about whether he would bomb again.
''I don't want to discount the possibility,'' he said.

So what to make of a recent Rasmussen poll, identifying a number as large as 13% who can somehow hold "favorable" views about this callous, unrepentant terrorist bomber?
[William Ayers], now a college professor in Chicago, was part of a domestic terrorist group in the 1960s and remains unrepentant for his activities during that era. Just 13% of American voters have a favorable opinion of him while 62% hold an unfavorable view. Twenty-five percent (25%) don’t know enough to have an opinion either way.

Among political liberals, 25% have a favorable opinion of him while 44% give Ayers negative reviews. Seventy-three percent (73%) have an unfavorable opinion of Ayers, including 59% with a Very Unfavorable opinion.

It boggles the mind; after all that's been revealed about this awful man, there are still so many people who can, somehow, like him. Rasmussen tries to dampen the bad news by introducing it with a "just", but the revelation that "just" a little more than one out of ten Americans can find room to morally accomodate this man's evil is one out of ten too many.

Is this sympathy for the devil the result of their paying attention, and approving of what they learn? Or is this from not paying attention at all, reflecting simply the knee-jerk reaction of one out of four liberals that if Ayers also wants to spread the wealth around, then it follows by extention that he must be a fine fellow.
"And thus I clothe my naked villany
With odd old ends stol'n out of holy writ,
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil."
___ King Richard III (I, iii, 336-338)


truepeers said...

Well, I imagine a lot of people are just showing blind loyalty to Obama; after all, "Bill Ayers is just a guy I know in Chicago..."

On the other hand, there have been many stories that suggest the Democratic Party has become something of a criminal gang. I am sure there are many people who probably think it is not so bad if you bomb for lefty political reasons than if you bomb for, say, "fun". But deep down is there really any difference?

Walker Morrow said...

I am surprised at times, how those who identify themselves as "anarchists" per se, are really just advocates for terrorism. Those who celebrate Che Guevara as a valid revolutionary for example, are woefully misguided in that they do not see the definition between revolutionary and monster. It's a fine line; easy to cross; and if we cannot distinguish it, then we find ourselves in support of those like Bill Ayers.

Furthermore, I feel that some feel that violence is necessary to...upset the established order, if you will. They see that as their option for breaking the mould, which is also misguided, but at the same time understandable in its own way.

In short, I would point toward "anarchists". While it may be hypocritical of me to say, libertarian as I am, that the majority of those who identify themselves as anarchists are misguided in their views, I'm afraid I must hold to that observation. Anarchism in its pure form may be something entirely different from what it is now though, I don't discount that. Just look to the failure of the "progressive" movement as another example of how easily enough these subversions can come about.

I wonder if sometimes such things come about as a result of focusing upon minutiae. For instance, and this is where I feel that the libertarian movement has gone somewhat awry, the libertarian focus upon "government". Reduction of government, expansion of government being prohibited, where government jurisdiction begins and ends, but without any kind of real focus on why it is that we have government to begin with, or why it is necessary at all. There is a focus on the aspect of libertarianism of limited government, to the extent of making libertarianism mainly about government.

Perhaps that is what has happened with the modern anarchist movement as well: a focus upon the minutiae, the violence inherent in revolution, to the extent of making it about violence in revolution.

What do you think?

maccusgermanis said...

walker morrow,
Modern anarchists can't even get their symbols correct. How often have you seen the "A" neatly bounded by an orderly circle. Anarchy is only an excuse for advancing their fundamental love of fascism. And so the symbol, though a mistake, does fit them well.

Nature abhors the vacuum which is anarchy. I recommend the explorations of anarcho-capitalism found in "The Ungoverned" by Vernor Vinge. The many negotiated orders shown arising apart from any central planning is what the purest anarchists likely have in mind. But Ayers' crowd only wants the void, because they have a definitive plans with which they would fill it.

Libertarians have the problem of being chased from yet another stolen identity. "Generally advancing the cause of liberty," is a phrase quite similar to "befitting free men." But liars that call themselves "liberal" and their indiscriminate critics obscure the clearest meaning of the word. And now libertine fascist have taken to calling themselves libertarians simply because they like to smoke pot. Offer a program for "free tokes" and they'd sell their liberty.

Government has a role in advancing the cause of liberty, and securing the rights befitting free men. That role is of positing negatives. Thereby creating a more stable void that allows for negotiated orders to arise apart from central planning.

truepeers said...


I would see the focus on minutiae as more of a symptom than a cause. It is when people are sure of their system or their theory, or, in other words, when they are afraid of facing the inevitable uncertainties and limits of any political theory, that they become details people.

The problem with political theories is that they tend to highlight or favor one or another (or a few) aspect of the process by which people generate new culture and defer violence - a process that goes through stages over time. And the theoreticians, in the Western metaphysical tradition, do so without being very aware of the nature of this process: in the West we prefer to idealize abstract theories, imagined on an abstract scene of philosophy, divorced from real events.

If we were more inclined to a generative way of thinking about the historical process, we would be more inclined to see government as a necessary stage in a process or cycle. If any human process begins in the freedom innate to beings who can produce symbolic language, it evolves with that freedom becoming negotiated, changed, and institutionalized. Freedom, after all, is only potential until others recognize it (recognize the form it takes in any instance or event) and share it and agree to defend it. And that sharing in a freedom requires some kind of government. If I attempt to indulge my potential for freedom without my fellows sharing in it, they will naturally resent me and put a stop to it, unless I have a greater number or force sharing in my freedom, which would in turn require some kind of government.

Thus freedom emerges with a path towards institutionalization always foreseeable, just as an inventor in technology looks forward to patents, investors, and money-making incorporation. If we cannot foresee the greater shared ethical purpose that our freedom or invention will allow, or in other words the new and improved, freer, human system of government, then we are not really innovators in freedom.

truepeers said...

Re-reading that last comment, I didn't like this line of mine: "Thus freedom emerges with a path towards institutionalization always foreseeable..."

-it's not correct that the person who starts something knows how it's going to end up. I only wanted to suggest that when we start something we anticipate and try to shape how it will end up...