In the wake of the leak of Supreme Court Justice Alito’s draft opinion that would, if finalized, overturn Roe and Casey, the commentariat has gone into overdrive. Conservative writers tend to describe the draft opinion with adjectives like “brilliant” “insightful” and “courageous”. On the other hand, liberal commentators have tended to use adjectives like, “shocking”, “radical” and “frightening”.
All of which goes to show that the commentators crowded into the peanut gallery are, for the most part, simply cheerleaders who have little new or interesting to say about the substance of the matter. They are simply propagandists. And like propagandists everywhere their work product lacks nuance and context.
The fact is that if the Alito draft were to become the Court’s holding with either a 6 – 3 or 5 – 4 majority, the matter of abortion regulation would be sent back to the several states. Inevitably the people of New York, California, Illinois and New Jersey would, through their legislatures, enact different policy regimes than would the people of Texas, Utah, Missouri, Florida and Alabama. Despite the wailing of the progressive left, this is hardly an assault on democracy.
But there is an assault on democratic institutions going on here. It is an assault led by the progressive left which has been in train since the 1960s. In considering this, the first thing to realize is that the progressive left defines democracy as events or processes that further progressive goals. Democracy, so defined, has nothing to do with fairness, due process, the rule of law, equal opportunity or individual choice. It is simply about the acquisition of power by “the right people”.
Consider the history. The 1960s saw the birth of Students for a Democratic Society (the SDS) which eventually morphed into the “Weather Underground”. Later the Black Panthers and Youth International Party (Yippies) were formed. These organizations (sometimes singly, sometimes in concert) led a wave of violence in the 1960s and 1970s that included bombings across the United States, especially on University campuses that did Defense Department research.
One of their most successful ventures–with an assist from the Chicago Police– was to provoke rioting that led to the complete breakdown of law and order during the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. At the subsequent “Chicago 7” trial, some of the defendants, in particular Rennie Davis (SDS), Tom Hayden (SDS), Abbie Hoffman (Yippies), Jerry Rubin (Yippies) and Bobby Seale (Black Panthers) managed to turn the proceedings into street theatre designed to attack the legitimacy of the proceedings. They largely succeeded.
Subsequently (mostly) organized left-wing violence continued to plague America. To be sure there was a good deal of violence directed mostly at African-Americans by organizations like the Ku Klux Klan, especially in the South. Much later Islamic militants began to direct violence against the U.S. generally, paying particular attention to Jewish targets.
Among the leaders of the violence was Bill Ayers. He was a co-founder of the Weather Underground modeled on the Red Guards of Chinese Cultural Revolution fame. The Weather underground launched a bombing campaign during the 1960s and 1970s against public buildings to, they said, protest the Vietnam War. After years of being hunted as a fugitive, charges against Ayers were dropped as a result of illegal actions taken by the FBI.
Ayers, who married Bernadine Dohrn, subsequently retired from his job as a Professor of Education at the University of Illinois, Chicago. His wife, Dohrn, was also active in the Weather Underground and spent several years as a fugitive on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List. She came out of hiding in the 1980s and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of aggravated battery and bail-jumping. Dohrn, a University of Chicago Law School Graduate, served for over 20 years as a Clinical Associate Professor at Northwestern University School of Law (1991 – 2013).
Dohrn’s goal was the creation of a classless Communist society. She, along with 10 other SDS members issued a manifesto named after a line in Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues: “You Don’t Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows”. According To the Manifesto “the goal [of revolution] is the destruction of US imperialism and the achievement of a classless world: world communism.”
Perhaps the best way to get a sense of the fanaticism of Dohrn is to reflect on her comments regarding the Sharon Tate murders by the Manson clan. In a speech at a Weather Underground “War Council” she said “First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into the pig Tate’s stomach! Wild!”
Let’s leave this happy couple for a moment to consider the story of Kathy Boudin, recently deceased at age 78. She too was a member of the Weather Underground, and lo and behold, she was friends with—wait for it—Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, who raised her son Chesa while she sat in jail after pleading guilty to a felony murder charge. After her release from prison in 2003, Boudin taught at both Columbia and New York Universities as an adjunct professor.
If the name Chesa Boudin (Kathy’s son) rings a bell, it should. He is the San Francisco prosecutor, backed by George Soros, who basically refuses to prosecute criminals, leading to the chaos in San Francisco’s criminal justice system. A recall election is scheduled to take place this June 7.
Variations on the theme of political violence and intimidation have been on display since time began—and not just by one umbrella group. As already noted the KKK has been practicing its intimidation tactics for quite some time, although thankfully its influence seems to have faded. But there are other splinter groups like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and various neo-Nazi groups ready to do damage as well as other radical left wing and jihadist groups.
But something has changed. Unlike before, instead of putting out the fire, major political figures are now willing to pour gas on it. There is the obvious case of the January 6 riots in the Capitol. No sane observer doubts that Donald J Trump, while President of the United States, instigated that disaster and fanned the flames.
And we have the example of the rioting that took place across the country in 2020 under the auspices of Black Lives Matter (a Marxist group). These riots were routinely described as “mostly peaceful” by the establishment press when people were being murdered and entire neighborhoods were burned to the ground. And left wing politicians encouraged some (maskless) marches which were inevitably and predictably hijacked by Antifa and the like.
Let’s not forget then-minority, now-majority leader Chuck Schumer speaking to a crowd at the Supreme Court in which he declared: “I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price.” The message could not be more clear: Intimidation and the threat of violence by proxy is an acceptable political tool.
So it should be no surprise that Justice Alito’s draft opinion was leaked. Or that six of the conservative justices were doxed. Or that marches have taken place outside their private homes, and that more are planned. And it should not be a surprise that masses at Catholic Churches are being disrupted.
It should not be a surprise for the simple reason that the point of the exercise is the same as it was back in 1969 during the Chicago 7 trial: it is to delegitimize America’s governing and civic institutions so as to make way for the new utopia. Politicians who wink at this are playing with fire. They ought to think twice.