I was reading about an aspect of the composite New York girlfriend which our current President incorporated in that gracefully luminescent autobiography which apparently very few people read, when I was reminded yet again of how much I despise Bill Ayers. Yep, that Bill Ayers, wanna-be terrorist, influential educationist, neighbor and apparently BFF with said president. My daughter has a word (or several, actually) for people like him, of which the mildest is ‘hipster douchbag.’ It seems that some of the elements of the composite girlfriend have something in common with the girlfriend of Bill Ayers in his bomb-throwing days … the one whose skills at bomb-making were – shall we say – somewhat less than skilled?
Diana Oughton – like Mr. Ayers and some of his other confreres – came from an embarrassingly well-to-do family. They pleased and amused themselves four decades ago by messing around with violent revolution, bank robbery and the inexpert assembly of high-explosive devices, presumably for the benefit of the working class, the poor, the proletariat, or whatever Marxist euphemism it pleased them to label the recipients of their beneficence. The bomb, which exploded prematurely in March of 1970 in a Greenwich Village townhouse, was made of roofing nails and dynamite stuffed into a length of water pipe; the intended target was a dance at the Fort Dix NCO club.
Wrap your mind around that for a moment: a bomb, intended to kill as many military NCOs and their dates as possible. This was the time of the draft of American males, and so a fair number of the military personnel targeted may assume to have been men, of sufficient expertise (however unwillingly they might have begun their career in the military) to have had achieved NCO status. Which is no mean thing; generally in the American military, NCOs are the ones who keep things going, who know where everything is, and the really good ones are tapped into a network of their peers, who maintain a kind of equality among themselves. It is an equality of mutual ability and respect, a web of obligation and professional courtesy. It keeps the whole thing running – this network of NCOS. They are just high enough up on the ladder to have responsibility, control and a great deal of latitude in carrying out their duties. Officers have professional responsibility and oversight; but the saying was in the Air Force was that the NCOs ran the place and the officers just thought they did. These are the people that Bill Ayers and his merry band of Weathermen wanted to kill, although I am sure that they told themselves it was because they were part of the war-making machinery behind the popular establishment.
The NCOs of the larger world – they are the middle class. They are the skilled those who do, the hustlers, who have their hands on the control levers day to day, no matter if they work for themselves, or a larger enterprise. They are a little up from the factory floor, but not in the corner office. They are the owners of small businesses, or working supervisors, as the Air Force professional literature used to describe it. The middle class: not the dependent proles, a thin hair and a paycheck away from disaster, with little leisure or income to spare on the larger matters of the mind, culture or community. They are also not the officer class, the upper classes, with a comfortable cushion of income and property, or even the aristocratic class. Come what may, our American aristocratic class has the means of riding out whatever economic storms may come.
And one way or another, our American aristocratic class in the media and intellectual circles seem to hate the middle class. Hate them, despise them with every fiber of their being; the ostensible reason is for being square, dull, conforming, suburban hypocrites, (although as a member of the NCO suburban middle class I haven’t found much of that dreaded and much-advertised power-to-conformity on offer. Maybe I just live in the wrong suburbs, but I have never found it so, anywhere I lived since childhood). The working middle class and slightly-above-them supervisory-middle-class and independent-business-owner middle class are also roundly condemned by all the right-thinking intelligentsia for having things, and wanting to live in detached houses with a bit of yard, for liking the utility of large motor vehicles, for wanting to make their own decisions about who they live next to, the schools their children go to, their religious beliefs. Our would-be aristocrats hate the middle class for all kinds of offenses, although I suspect that the real crime of the middle class is our failure to be biddable, and because we are absolutely essential to a well-adjusted and functioning democracy.
The substantial and prosperous middle classes built creative and technologically advanced societies throughout Western Europe, starting with the Dutch and the English, and moving on to America, to the disgust and dismay of aristocrats – and that includes the traditional blood aristocrats, and the new kind from the 20th century, whose will to power over their fellow citizens knows no bounds. The independent middle class was then and is now most certainly a threat to the power exercised by aristocrats of the blood and the ideology. One can’t help but notice that in the grim swathe cut across Russia, Cuba, Eastern Europe, Africa, Cuba, Cambodia and South America by the ideological fathers of the Weather Underground, the first order of business was the destruction of the successful middle class … either by impoverishing them utterly, or actual physical destruction.
Oh, the new aristocratic class – no matter what they call themselves, or how they justify their ideology and their actions – at the core of it is their own conviction that all power should reside in the hands of the elite, the aristocrats, themselves. It’s the same old will to power, to have ulimited authority over others … and the middle class stands in the way. Gut the middle class; destroy the American republic as we know it. To destroy the republic; reduce the middle class – it’s as easy as that. And that is why I despise Bill Ayers and his fellow travelers: They were never for the people … they were only for themselves as the new aristocrats, draped in revolutionary theory, instead of purple robes.
(Crossposted at www.ncobrief.com)