As you may know, Clara Kraebbe, who was recently arrested on charges of felony rioting and misdemeanor graffiti, is the daughter of a wealthy Upper East Side family in New York. Because of her Titian tresses, she was dubbed “little red rioting hood.”
The Rice University student lives in a residence her family bought in 2016 for $1.8 million. They also have a 1730 house in Litchfield County Connecticut, a place to go if New York gets too dangerous, right? (And in fact, fortunate Clara conveniently has been hiding there since her spot of trouble in the city.)
Ms. Kraebbe was arrested with several well-heeled rich alleged rioters, including the son of a famous comic book writing couple.
The affluent can have sincere revolutionary beliefs just like anybody, but you can’t escape the feeling that these privileged young people playing at a dangerous game but one that that will have no lasting repercussions for them. Not so for people who work in the area that was ravaged by riots.
In an article you owe it to yourself to read, Bruce Bawer makes the point in City Journal that spoiled rich kids find it easy to play at revolution (hey, no consequences, Mom). Bawer compares Ms. Kraebbe to Jane Fonda. He writes:
Raised in privilege, the beneficiaries of capitalist success, both these young women turned against the system that had given them so much. Clara trashed downtown Manhattan businesses and, according to reports, wanted to commandeer upper-class New York apartments of the sort she lives in and hand them over to the poor. It’s not quite up there with climbing on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun, as Jane did back in 1972, but it’ll do for these days of diminished expectations.
What motivates such extreme acts of rebellion? To ask the question is, at once, to challenge it. For neither Clara nor Jane is a real rebel. Clara might want to play Robin Hood with other people’s properties, but not, I suspect, with her family’s. The same goes for Jane, who, while singing the praises of Communism in North Vietnam, had no intention of staying there and living under the system; she had, after all, just won an Oscar for Klute and had a career in pictures to get back to.
Not that either Clara or Jane was entirely play-acting. A charitable interpretation of their conduct would be that both women—raised in wealth but innocent of the laws of economics, and perhaps insufficiently conscious of just how exceptional their own lives were—simply found it unfair that everybody couldn’t live the way they did.
Having, presumably, been pampered since infancy, moreover, perhaps neither possessed sufficient humility to recognize that her efforts to undermine the American system of government might be immodest, if not ill-advised. (As Jordan Peterson would say, learn to make your bed before you try to change the world.)
Bill Ayres was and is undoubtedly not playing a game. Nevertheless, the son of a wealthy family, Ayres did not spurn help from his family in extricating him from tough situations. Any why is the one thing I remember about the film about Irish revolutionary Michael Collins is the scene of Collins and his lover in a fancy hotel, while his fellow soldiers for the cause slept in humbler digs?
Kraebbe reportedly had material at the time of her arrest that approvingly cited Stalin, so perhaps we cannot expect sympathy for those whose livelihoods are destroyed by rioting.
But it must be lovely this time of year in Litchfield County.