October 21, 2008
How Bill Ayers became respectable
If there's one thing that's worse than Bill Ayers, it's his respectability. How did it happen that a guy like that came to be respectable?
The same way bad people always become respectable, of course. Nice respectable people fail to speak up. By "nice" I mean the very people I referred to in this post; the country club people. Nice, respectable upper middle class people who don't want to be embarrassed. Such people are often the product of generations of "refinement." They descend from nice pedigrees, and are raised by parents who themselves were raised by people who believe it is "rude" to disagree. Their children, when they reach adolescence, might at first glance appear to be less civilized (and therefore more "rude") and it might appear that they are, at least to their unsuspecting parents. But the latter need not worry, for their kids' early lessons in never speaking up even when they might think others are wrong will manifest themselves in another form of submission to the Tyranny of The Other. This is sometimes called "being cool," and sometimes being "politically correct," but it's really a variation on a very old theme.
In a nice, civilized society where gentlemen deal only with gentlemen and follow long-established rules, handshake deals, and gentlemen's agreements* it might be OK to avoid speaking up and endeavoring to never disagree.
But when evil people like Bill Ayers (who is himself a member of the "nice" class) come along, the system fails, and evil becomes respectable.
Interestingly, the aristocratic Winifred Wagner (pictured above) was said to have been privately disgusted by Hitler's persecution of the Jews.
Better not to bring something like that up, though. Might cause some unpleasantness at the club....
* I remember in the long distant past when there was a thing called noblesse oblige, which included strange ideas about privileged kids providing military leadership. Why, the elite even had ROTC!
MORE: Mickey Kaus is not afraid to condemn Ayers' respectability:
I still think it's creepy the way Ayers and Dohrn are accepted in Chicago, and Obama's acceptance is part of that creepiness.(Via Glenn Reynolds.)
What annoys me the most about Obama's performance last night is his attempt to continue the mainstreaming of a murderous radical who should never have been mainstreamed in the first place.I'm not saying this is all the fault of Barack Obama, but I think it's a predictable result of a simple inability of the respectable classes to speak up.
posted by Eric on 10.21.08 at 07:26 PM
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