Those who think that James Comey, John Brennan, and Hillary Clinton are the first East Coast liberals to try to take down the United States have not been following the news—or at least, the old news. Columbia professors Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven argued in 1966 that the “weight of the poor,” that is, the weaponized suffering of the destitute, could and should be used to collapse awful capitalist America and usher in a socialist utopia.

But by the ’60s such revolution talk had become so cliched that even Susan Sontag had gotten in on the act. The real East Coast plan to get revenge on God-fearing flyover country ramped up more than a decade before the army of drug-addled Visigoths went to receive their catechism on a farm in upstate New York.

There were the Beats, yes. But people who spend their time doing zazen on train tracks or aiming orgone boxes at their genitalia are unlikely to be able to lead a real revolution against a superpower. For that, you need someone not clueless, but angry. Someone consumed with rage and ready to blow the entire North American continent to smithereens. There were many wannabe Lucifers in mid-century America, from Saul Alinsky to Herbert Marcuse, but nobody combined sulfur with venom, hate with dead-on aim, the way Norman Mailer did. East Coast revolutionary to the core, Mailer—who once nearly throttled both Gore Vidal and New Yorker writer Janet Flanner on the set of Dick Cavett’s television show—was a spring-loaded pipe bomb stuffed full of spite, touchiness, and mayhem. Mailer hated everyone and everything (including, one presumes, the wife he stabbed), and he was hell-bent on taking out the whole country, at a minimum, on his maniacal road to perdition.

Mailer’s program for destroying his homeland was not nearly as sophisticated as the schemes hatched in the wainscoted halls of Ivy League schools. “The White Negro,” Mailer’s 1957 mega-essay in Dissent magazine on how the Beats could Balkanize America, is little more than a ritual desecration disguised as a work of occasional belles lettres. And yet, “The White Negro” is far more terrifying than anything even a Columbia egghead could inflict on the world. Unlike academic papers, which destroy only the moral fiber of the country, “The White Negro” really and truly set about starting a Hobbesian all-against-all civil war. This was no mere gender studies dissertation or slideshow about cis-privileged Trump voters. This was Mailer saying, “I want to burn the United States to the ground, and this is how I am going to do it.”

Mailer’s thesis is that the hipster is the “philosophical psychopath” capable of breaking free of the conformity and mechanized death of the modern military-industrial state. Mailer’s race-based conception is of a maniac subversive who emerges from and exploits his connection with the white establishment to bring to the surface all of the revolutionary potential of the U.S.’s black underclass. Entrusting the future to “philosophical psychopath[s]” may sound like a bad idea. Indeed, Mailer acknowledges that such people are expected to cause much horror and bloodshed. But in a particularly nauseating section of “The White Negro,” Mailer praises the prospect of two 18-year-old hipsters beating a candy-store owner to death, as long as it allows them to purge their frustrations and to strike against the oppressive institutions of capitalist society. Out of the violence and bedlam will arise, Mailer seems to think, something at least marginally better than the Eisenhowerian hell of material plenty and common decency in which he had the misfortune to live.

Here is how Mailer saw this thing playing out:

The psychopath murders—if he has the courage—out of the necessity to purge his violence, for if he cannot empty his hatred then he cannot love, his being is frozen with implacable self-hatred for his cowardice. (It can of course be suggested that it takes little courage for two strong eighteen-year old hoodlums, let us say, to beat in the brains of a candy-store keeper, and indeed the act—even by the logic of the psychopath—is not likely to prove very therapeutic for the victim is not an immediate equal. Still, courage of a sort is necessary, for one murders not only a weak fifty-year old man but an institution as well, one violates private property, one enters into a new relation with the police and introduces a dangerous element into one’s life. The hoodlum is therefore daring the unknown, and so no matter how brutal the act it is not altogether cowardly.)

At bottom, the drama of the psychopath is that he seeks love. Not love as the search for a mate, but love as the search for an orgasm more apocalyptic than the one which preceded it. Orgasm is his therapy—he knows at the seed of his being that good orgasm opens his possibilities and bad orgasm imprisons him. But in this search, the psychopath becomes an embodiment of the extreme contradictions of the society which formed his character, and the apocalyptic orgasm often remains as remote as the Holy Grail, for there are clusters and nests and ambushes of violence in his own necessities and in the imperatives and retaliations of the men and women among whom he lives his life, so that even as he drains his hatred in one act or another, so the conditions of his life create it anew in him until the drama of his movements bears a sardonic resemblance to the frog who climbed a few feet in the well only to drop back again.

This mad dialectic of senseless violence spurring the hipster on to ever more transgressive acts will somehow bring about something better than white bread, postwar America. Mailer’s white negro, murdering shopkeepers, is the Hegelian destroyer who levels in the unwitting service of reformation.

Some might be tempted to believe that modern hipsters have defied Mailer’s prediction by proving to be much more annoying than revolutionary. Didn’t post-Sixties hipsters become so enamored of microfiber couches and avocado toast that they forgot to go on the rampage that Mailer was calling for? The white negro, in the final analysis, didn’t kill all the bourgeoisie, overthrow the government, and initiate an apocalyptic conflagration. He just posted pictures of his new forearm tattoos on Instagram. As white negro, the hipster apparently failed like New Coke.

Those who would argue thus forget about Antifa. Comprising the usual gang of graduate students, teachers’ union reps, adjunct philosophy professors, gender and women’s studies majors, and bussed-in socialists from Chicago, Antifa is a traveling circus act of gratuitous violence that would have sent a thrill up Norman Mailer’s leg. If Gavrilo Princip and the Black Hand secret society went on tour with Bill Ayers and Squeaky Fromme, it would approximate the kind of self-righteous, mayhem artistry that we witness every time Antifa takes over a downtown and terrorizes a population, while a Democrat mayor orders the police to stand down. The hipster of the 1960s, that darling brain-beater lauded by Mailer as the hope for a hung-up mankind, gave way to a juice bar barista with a Ph.D. in Feminist Poetry wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, waving the new black flag of communist revolution, and wielding a crowbar dripping with the blood of elderly passersby. Norman Mailer would be so proud.

But the genealogy of the white negro is not complete unless we fill in the gap between the 1950s, when Mailer hung his hopes for wanton anti-American violence on the Caucasian hipster, and today, when Caucasian neo-hipsters with lip rings and blue hair are doing their Mailerian best to beat up old people and commit arson at places of business. In the 1960s, the Black Panthers, for example, committed rape, murder, and theft with wild abandon, proving that black people can be white negroes, too. Whoever said that America isn’t the land of opportunity? Many of the police officers whom the Black Panthers and their glorious spinoff, the Black Liberation Army, killed were also black, but this only reinforces Mailer’s original argument that the white negro was not destined to destroy white America in particular, but America overall. A black man working to keep his community safe and wearing the uniform of a police officer was just as hateful to the white negro—white or black—as was his white counterpart.

Not to be outdone by the Black Panthers and their white-as-glue fans from the suburbs, Filiberto Ojeda Ríos and his illustrious colleagues in the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN) went on a bombing spree in the 1970s and 1980s that left death and destruction in its wake. America is a multicultural society, after all, so if whites and blacks can be white negroes then there’s no reason why Hispanics can’t, too. The Puerto Rican terrorists were eventually rolled up and thrown in jail, and the more than 130 bombings they perpetrated against innocent Americans finally came to a halt in the early ’80s.

The white negro was, for Mailer, an avatar for his contempt for America. From his highbrow milieu, Mailer egged on the social degenerates of his day in a sick scheme to break up what he saw as the worst country in the world. The Black Panthers and other terrorists have long been the object of maudlin praise, long-distance slumming by Ivy League professors who cry “Free Mumia!” and cheer on the destruction of the U. S., one murdered cop at a time. Bill Ayers, white negro par excellence, is the unrepentant Weather Underground cofounder and bomb fiend who became a distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois and is hailed as a cultural hero by the Mailer set. Honorary White Negro Bill Clinton granted clemency to all but one of the FALN terrorists. The Reverend White Negro Jimmy Carter supported him. Barack Obama pardoned the remaining FALN member, but remained mum on Black Lives Matter members gunning down white police officers and calling for violence against more. Sanctuary cities throw open their doors to MS-13, which duly responds by murdering innocent people. The white negro never went underground. He was celebrated by the elite from day one.

Antifa is thus the natural culmination of the bifurcation of the white negro into two classes, those who do the dirty work of tearing down society, and the elites who root for them from behind the pages of The New York Times. Antifa is DIY white negroism. In an earlier and gentler time, the public school teachers, philosophy professors, graduate students, and lily-white undergrads with trust funds who staff Antifa would have been on the sidelines encouraging sadistic socialists to pummel grandmothers in broad daylight. Today, the cheerleaders have entered the game. The white negro and his enabler—the anti-social nihilist and the legions who support him—are one and the same now. Antifa calls for the violence and then carries it out directly. In an age of cost-cutting, eliminating the middle man has its merits. Mailer, who luxuriated in direct violence the way that some people enjoy bubble baths, would have been very happy to see the kids carrying on his legacy so brilliantly.

One question remains. Why did Mailer turn against his country in the first place? Why would anyone in the U.S. so loathe their home, their very selves? Why should whites seek out their own destruction, even to the extent of pulling other races into the maelstrom of their own self-hatred?

An answer can be seen in the person of one particular white man, Kyle Jurek. Jurek, a Mailerite in the flesh if ever there was one, is a field organizer for the Bernie Sanders campaign. He was caught on tape recently by Project Veritas, praising gulags and calling for “re-education” and “de-Nazifying” Trump voters. Jurek expressed on hidden camera his desire to pull people from the MSNBC newsroom out “by their hair and light them on fire in the streets.” Anybody who opposes Sanders’ and Jurek’s politics will meet the same treatment as those who opposed Castro in Cuba: “You want to fight against the revolution? You’re going to die for it…,” Jurek leered. If Sanders does not win the nomination for candidate for president from the Democrat Party, Jurek prognosticated, “Milwaukee will burn” and the police will get beaten up.

Jurek’s sick imagination should not surprise anyone familiar with communist ideology, which presupposes the necessity of violence. That a self-identified communist talks casually of lighting people on fire, beating police to a bloody pulp, killing counter-revolutionaries, and inciting street riots is utterly unremarkable.

Neither is the dull and crude resentment of others Jurek expresses. His speech is a string of expletives, solecisms, syntactical tangles, and the ubiquitous millennial verbal tic, “like,” which he uses to direct his resentment toward those who display more outward trappings of success. He describes his ideal political order, one in which billionaires will break rocks so they can learn what it’s like to be working class.

Envy is a universal human failing, but is particularly salient in the U.S. In a country of abundance and endless possibility, the mediocre have nothing to blame, and every incentive to turn violent. A possessor of such a mentality loathes himself and wants to destroy the society that looks like him but has left him, in his mediocrity, behind. In this twisted psychology, this alienated Other becomes a hero: All That Is Not The Thing That Rejected Me. Free Mumia! Sacco and Vanzetti Are Innocent! Remember Haymarket! Viva Che! Feel the Bern! All of these things are functions of the abiding mediocrity of the American left, their reliance on politics in a country where success is possible for people with ability.

Mailer was no more talented than that hack writer of lurid pulp, Mickey Spillane. He was just better at selling violence as a lifestyle. The same goes for Ayers, a thoroughly untalented hack whose only real talent was setting off explosives in crowded areas. These political activists are as unimpressive as they come, but have found a way to spin careers out of grievance. Jurek is just following in the masters’ bloodstained footsteps. Bernie has secured the Antifa vote in 2020, and Mailer would undoubtedly cast his vote for the Gray Guevara, too, were he still alive.