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Why They’re Punching Each Other in Portland

The mid-October street brawls in Portland, Oregon between Antifa and the Proud Boys happened just around the corner from where I used to work. This was back in 1984, and my place of employment was the Downtown Deli, one of two establishments owned by the Papas brothers, entrepreneurial Greeks with matching moustaches. They came to Portland by way of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where they earned degrees in restaurant management. They employed Greeks, Brazilians, Ethiopians, and a few wandering New Yorkers like myself.

The Downtown Deli on Fifth Avenue shared a wall with Camera World, which occupied the big lot on the corner of Washington and Fifth next door to Kelly’s Bar, which is where the recent mayhem broke out. Kelly’s Bar was a dive where shoeblacks eked out a living in the foyer. Camera World was more upscale. One of my fellow musicians worked there like a mole in the establishment, a guy named Dale Moerer. Dale played guitar in Squad 51 and liked the Psychedelic Furs, or at least the early Psychedelic Furs, before commercial success blighted their genius. Immediately south of the deli stood a small jewelry shop, kept by a tall, elegant woman of around 30. Today, the Camera World, the Downtown Deli, and the jewelry store are all gone, replaced by the bland façade of E-Trade Financial.

Portlanders of a certain age are in perpetual mourning for their city. To the eyes of those who knew it back then, downtown appears to have been hit by a tidal wave of money, transforming whole blocks, leaving in its wake uncommunicating office buildings, elaborately restored warehouses, fancy condos, and a horde of hollow-eyed orphans. Gone is the caravanserai of record stores and bookstores, cheap eats, independent movie houses, hole-in-the-wall galleries, and nightclubs that made the city seem infinitely hospitable.

Californication

The process started during the 1980s with the Californication of the neighborhood known as Northwest Portland. One by one the old places went under: Rose’s Restaurant, Quality Pie, Café Oasis, Music Millennium, Montgomery Ward . . .

The big money brought educated workers with refined tastes. Rising housing costs pushed ordinary workers farther and farther out into the ’burbs. It seems the cops and firefighters went with them (over 80 percent of Portland police now live outside the city limits). The changing economy took a toll on the vibrant underground rock scene. Satyricon, the city’s legendary punk mecca, closed in 2003.

A group calling itself Rose City Antifa established itself in this booming vacuum in 2007. The Proud Boys are more recent arrivals. They aren’t native Portlanders; they come from places like Vancouver, across the Columbia River in Washington state.

The Portland I remember was the remnant of a society proud of its pioneer stock, mixed political opinions, and lively libertarian streak. The economy was iffy but life was affordable. Challenges abounded, but a sense of civic responsibility flourished thanks to leading figures like Senator Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.), Oregonian publisher Fred Stickel, and businessman Bill Naito. The faculty, administrators, and trustees of the city’s colleges and universities were likewise civic-minded. A number of churches were active in the community, doing good works. Openness is a word that comes to mind. The statues, parks, and fountains had an open beauty about them.

Back to the future. It is 2018 and a violent strain of political insanity overruns the streets near E-Trade Financial. Masked neo-Marxists clash with thugs whose girlfriends wear “Hammer of Thor” necklaces, while the homeless drift aimlessly around. The real problem is the homeless, but the rival gangs command a vastly disproportionate amount of media attention. The city government cannot afford to hire the social workers it needs. Bloated pensions have consumed the city coffers. Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler can extract only so much money out of the local corporate players without driving them away. Leaving the East Side to rot, this handsome, athletic man is reduced to showy gestures, like his rapid fire of loudly progressive Tweets.

The Glamour of Violence

On the stage of Portland’s moral collapse, Antifa and the Proud Boys have become famous, a riveting sideshow for a society addicted to entertainment. The glamour of violence is on display and actively recruiting.

Still, there is the little matter of whether or not our civilization will prevail. What do we do about it? It’s my side versus your side, after all. To make actual progress, we might have to consider the indispensable role of good fathers, or the downside of technology, or what we really mean by social justice. We would definitely have to revisit the challenges faced by communities whose economies are being rapidly transformed, sometimes in ways that leave ordinary citizens displaced.

Portland failed in just that respect. It sold itself to the highest bidders.

Unfortunately, we are addicted to politics in exactly the same way that we are addicted to entertainment. The figures of politician and entertainer are fusing in a blinding apotheosis of cultural power. But here is a difference. The volcanic energy of the underground bands I knew in 1984 could not be readily appropriated by Left or Right politics. I seem to recall a general wariness of political power in all its forms. The stakes were existential, not political. Politics was for politicians. Music (though no one wanted to admit it) was sacred. Entertainment was a joke. Is it any surprise that Portland’s music scene declined as the city’s politics got louder?

Though we cannot fully understand what is happening to Portland, the past affords moments of relative clarity. In this respect, the current lack of human infrastructure stands out. Some of this infrastructure used to be Christian; none of it was aggressively anti-Christian.

Such practical ecumenism found little traction among the carpetbagging hipsters who destroyed the thing they loved. As the hipsters moved in, the colleges and universities obligingly shut down the free exchange of ideas. Portland is located in the once-solidly Republican Multnomah County, which today is only about 12 percent Republican. Among the intellectuals, the Christian basis of the secular humanist vision—the major source of our tolerant, moral, and progressive capacities—was denounced as intolerant or simply ignored. In effect, the new Portland managed to thwart the capacity for human caring that it desperately craved, and now it is learning the hard way that iPhones cannot do the job. The real virtues that keep things going are unpopular or unknown.

Good art is no stranger to loss. But in a world of loss, the artist’s effort can be constructive. Over a lifetime, this civilizing labor is the price of survival, of not wasting one’s talent or dying brilliantly lost. So my advice to the gang of young writers is not to be a gang. Make yourself the object of your own anger, call your own bluffs, and get a grip on who you really are and what you really need in life. Do this on some basis other than what social media are screaming at you. Meet people with views that challenge your own. If possible, befriend them. Conservatism and progressivism are permanently competing ideas, dialectical, inescapable. But we need to recover them in the concrete, in our own habits and dependencies. We need to wrench the authority back from popular entertainers and reclaim it for serious thought and justifiable commitments. Maybe a good laugh is in order. In any case, we need to restore our society to health.

Reader Discussion

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on October 26, 2018 at 09:53:25 am

Abbreviated:

How any society will evolve, develop or decline, is largely determined by how its members "look" upon one another; and, with what regard.

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R Richard Schweitzer
on October 26, 2018 at 10:28:23 am

Actually, it's not at all hard to understand. The punchers are nothing to do with some sort of competing ethics.

All of the soi disant antifas and other punchers are young men, mostly white (just look at that picture). Young men have energy to squander (how well I remember!) but fewer outlets in today's highly comfortable and action-restricted society. It's an anachronistic simulacrum of warrior culture, based on the same fundamentals of the young male psyche as have obtained everywhere and at all times. Young white men especially are under such severe scrutiny today--are basically under standing indictment--that the prevailing social forces practically channel them into some sort of antifa-ism. Whether explained as hormonal or otherwise, the impulse to aggression is a psychic fact of young men. Stigmatizing it as "toxic" changes nothing and is simply the expression of the deep resentment of men that many women have and have always had. In other words, simple misandry.

The discharge of all that energy is fun, enjoyable, satisfying, pleasant, especially when discharged in a crowd and in a socially approved form. Today, the "protest" by the punchers (and by the marchers) is its own reason. Once, such mass protest events were infrequent because they were in service to a time- and place-specific cause, and the means for aggregating a sufficient number of persons at the same time in the same spot were crude. The glorification of the 1960s protests--preserved on film for eternity for endless showings and re-livings to each new generation--has transformed the protest into a cultural institution. There is no longer any originality to a protest; each one is a pre-planned and pre-packaged reproduction of the Standard Protest, an event whose basis is purely aesthetic now. Even the violence of the punchers is simply a reenactment of the violence of extreme '60s elements, whose violence and murders are routinely glorified by the progressive left (and rewarded with college professorships!). The main difference in 2018 is that "the authorities" are made up of people brainwashed by progressive propaganda since birth and no longer oppose such behavior but actively egg it on and stand by to arrest and prosecute anyone else who offers opposition to the punchers.

Today's punchers and protesters are essentially nothing more than LARPers, discharging their energies in socially-approved form. They have no goal beyond simply squandering energy and they no longer face any opposition from the adults (quite the reverse). They are also essentially the SA or Komsomol of 2018 America, and should a new Hitler or Stalin replica eventually rise to power here on the basis of their punching mobbery, he will deal with them as those men dealt with their respective goon squads.

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QET
on October 26, 2018 at 13:01:14 pm

I agree that all this began in 1968 when the Anti-War movement merged with the older Civil Rights and the Ban the Bomb movements of the late 1950 and early 1960s. Then, as now, the divide was between popular opinion and the opinions of the still emerging governing elite.

Sadly, this tension was not resolved in favor of popular opinion and Nixon's re-election in 1972 marked the victory of the oligarchy over the masses; the consequences of which we see today. It is ironic that in the end the socialist internationalists who dominated the popular movements of the 50s and 60s ultimately captured the oligarchy, not the masses.

In order place my comment in perspective, let me say that I am a member of the sub-cohort born between 1945-48 that was drafted into the Vietnam War. I say drafted because whether the prefix on our dog tags was "O," "WO," "RA," or "US" we were all in the Army only because the draft calls after November 1965 were enormous and if you did not have a secure deferment your choice was 3 years with your preferred MOS or 2 years as an infantryman. We were all almost guaranteed a one year vacation in Vietnam. Almost universally were very conventional proto-right wing nationalists. That's what all the high schools and colleges were cranking out before 1966; just as now they are all cranking out proto-SJWs.

The Vietnam War got very nasty in the beginning in summer of 1967 and through 1970 we were averaging close to 500 KIAs a month and 2 or 3 times as many very severely wounded and permanently injured. If you were at the pointy end of the spear it was a very bad time. Nevertheless, many of us, being good nationalists, were in awe the casualties the VC/NVA were willing take for what they believed to be their right to self determination and concluded the war was wrong.

I joined the VVAW and the VVAW aligned itself with the now overtly leftist civilian anti-war and civil rights movements. We wanted to know why exactly that god-dammed war was worth killing and maiming about 1500 ordinary Americans a month. The only answer we heard was: "Shut up! It's a pissing contest and we've still got a lot more piss left in us."

Hanging around with the civilians we got to know a lot of Maoists, Stalinists and other kinds of soft socialist internationalists of the Unitarian and Quaker variety (In the VVAW all you saw were Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, Mormons and "no preference" unchurched types). If we voted in 1968 we voted for Nixon simply because Humphrey would not plainly say he would end the war. We did not become political until the Cambodian Incursion and we took Nixon's talks about negotiations, the shape of the conference table and bombing campaigns as a flagrant breach of trust.

We were bitterly disappointed that Nixon was re-elected. After that, most of us were cynically apolitical but we thought we had done some good because the Ford, Carter and Reagan administrations avoided spectacular displays of military power. But we also knew that may of the better educated Maoists and Stalinists we met in the Anti-War movement had made a conscious decisions infiltrate the government and colleges and universities and marveled at how they emerged as viciously pro-war neo-cons and neo-libs in the administrations of both the Bushs as well as the Clinton, Obama now the Trump administration.

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EK
on October 26, 2018 at 13:02:41 pm

Interesting example of a piece where there isn't a unifying coherent theory for what happened, but which contains so many golden sentences and insightful observations. I can surely relate to the contradictory Gen-X longing for BOTH an active social conservative Christian presence and a punkety super-serious about art lefty/libertarian one. Even if the raw fact of the contradiction remains, the piece captures the sense of loss and confusion many of us Gen-Xers feel these days...

Note the use of the word "hospitable" to describe small-time bohemian businesses! So true about how they are at their best.

Note the equation of much of our politics with entertainment. True.

And yes, early Psychedelic Furs way better than later.

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Carl Eric Scott
on October 26, 2018 at 13:27:58 pm

Why They’re Punching Each Other in Portland

'Cuz they're tired of punching themselves?

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nobody.really
on October 26, 2018 at 13:49:31 pm

"Stigmatizing it as “toxic” changes nothing and is simply the expression of the deep resentment of men that many women have and have always had."

How true! And,perhaps, in a bemused sense of noblesse oblige, men accommodated the (unknowing) misandristic demands. The question is: How long may this state of bemusement last, how long will these *toxic* fellows continue to experience any obligation to those whose plaints have ever multiplied and whose breadth and depth now encompasses any and all male attributes / behaviors. It seems as if the misandry may no longer be termed "unknowing" but is now an integral part of an overall political strategy to provide what in their minds is a millennia long overdue comeuppance to their opposite but toxic gender.

As for " It’s an anachronistic simulacrum of warrior culture, based on the same fundamentals of the young male psyche as have obtained everywhere and at all times", it seems that the leftist tech industry's *solution* to male aggression, i.e., video war games / sci-fi, intended to provide an outlet for this "toxic' MALE attribute HAS NOT WORKED. It is as shallow and hollow as an analogue for "warrior culture" as is the next hollow analogue - "robot sex workers."

However, the lemmings of this generation will no doubt engage in that emerging enterprise, or perhaps as nobody.really illustrates in the link he provided below, the *incels* (involuntarily celibate - OMG, what a term) may simply resort (or return) to punching themselves in the face.

One wonders just how many antifa are "incels"?

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Guttenburgs Press and Brewery
on October 26, 2018 at 13:56:20 pm

I like the essay, but find it wanting in one aspect. It misses the effect that the unopposed March Through the Institutions, attained first through our universities and then via the graduates of those universities in positions of power has had on American society -- particularly in cities with multiple colleges and economic activity based on degreed smarts (but not wisdom). Then living in Japan and seeing the US from the outside, I endeavored to expose the fundamental rot, even before Antifa, after a visit in Portland in 2008: "Postcard from Zinnlandia" http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/3409 (nom de plume).

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Max Denken
on October 26, 2018 at 14:28:20 pm

Don't know if this little autobiography is fictional or not. I assume not, but it really doesn't matter.

We wanted to know why exactly that god-dammed war was worth killing and maiming about 1500 ordinary Americans a month.

Ah yes, the "Me" generation. As if the soldiers and families in WW2 didn't want to know the same thing.

The only answer we heard was: “Shut up! It’s a pissing contest and we’ve still got a lot more piss left in us.”

I was too young at the time, but I'm pretty certain this was not what anyone said. Whatever reasons were given, you disagreed with. You didn't agree with the reasons for your war, the WW2 generation agreed with the reasons for theirs (some would disagree and instead blame state oppression or false consciousness or something). (And once again the Korean War is overlooked.) Fascists taking over Europe was not acceptable and a good reason for war. Communists taking over Korea and Vietnam was acceptable. . . .why? Communist aggression did not just wither away of its own; it was defeated by constant US resistance, even if that resistance did not always nicely result in an unconditional surrender. I don't doubt that certain military operations were ill-advised or poorly conducted. No one today remembers how Mark Clark was put on trial for his conduct of the campaign in Italy. And it is instructive that Catch-22 was largely ignored by Heller's generation but venerated by yours.

But no matter. You disagreed, and the times were such that crowds of disaffected youth were manna from heaven to TV networks. Television in fact is what ended the war. I have remarked elsewhere on this site that all of the philosophizing about how to define a just war is beside the point, because all wars are waged in the same cruel manner regardless of whether they are deemed just or unjust by the philosophers, and it is that cruel waging--and its presentation in vivid imagery to the entire nation on an hourly basis--that determines the politics of the war.

You were well within your rights to protest the Vietnam War, but that doesn't mean your understanding of the war was correct. As for Nixon and the oligarchy, I don't see the same cause and effect, and you have not explained why popular opinion separated itself from the governing elite starting in the 1950s but not in the 1930s. And as for the career trajectory of Maoists and Stalinists, such people are simply and solely opportunists; it was expedient to mouth Maoist pieties and raise the clenched fist right up until the moment that it wasn't. At that moment expediency dictated a different path, just as it will with all of the various "Ists" dominating the Interweb today.

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QET
on October 26, 2018 at 14:53:43 pm

It's not fictional and I'm surprised that I seem to have touched a nerve.

As I thought I made clear, we had no objections to being sent there. Our fathers and some of our mothers were in uniform between 1940-46 and we expected the same. We were all very much urban and rural working class, hardly stereotypical upper class "Me Generation" types. It's what we saw there that changed us.

Interesting note on the Korea War veterans. One of our VVAW missions was going around the alleys in Boston looking for Korean War veterans to help. We found more than a few. It turned out the vets we found were mostly long time heroin addicts, just as so many who discharged after 1970 were also heroin addicts.

At that time, the VA's position was that we all just a bunch of alcohol and drug addicts with pre-existing mental conditions.

I assume that is your position as well.

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EK
on October 26, 2018 at 15:06:10 pm

That is really a superb article. I am going to send it to my (collegiate) children but have slim hope they will read it attentively or at all. A voice crying in the wilderness (but there are those of us hear it). A prophet is not honored in his own house (though there are some few of us who so honor).

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QET
on October 26, 2018 at 15:22:01 pm

That is not my position in the least. I honor those who fought for this country even if they later regret their service or deplore its rationale. But I do not accept the evaluation of the moral legitimacy or political necessity of the Vietnam War by its opponents, even if they are veterans. I do not believe that soldiers in Vietnam saw anything essentially, meaningfully different from what soldiers saw in Normandy, Sicily or Tarawa. Or at Gettysburg or Shiloh. Or at Brandywine or Yorktown. I imagine every one was horrible. So I cannot understand how "what we saw" can possibly be a basis for condemning the war.

I especially disdain the narcissism of the US civilian anti-Vietnam War protesters and their unearned superciliousness. They believe themselves to have been heroic without the faintest understanding of what heroism is.

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QET
on October 26, 2018 at 15:27:06 pm

Very succinct

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Minorkle
on October 26, 2018 at 18:42:50 pm

"You disagreed, and the times were such that crowds of disaffected youth were manna from heaven to TV networks. Television in fact is what ended the war."

If i may add to this:

Not only did television end the war, TV also determined the outcome.

Insurgency operations (what a bloody euphemism that is) are often referred to as asymmetrical warfare. This is so and has been since William Wallace of Scotland introduced such tactics in the late 13th century.
North Vietnam became quite adept at this form of warfare. The results are now history.

YET, it must be stated that even with a general as shrewd and adroit as Gen Giap, the North did not win o0n the battlefield. Their victory may be said to be attributed to asymmetrical warfare of a different order / dimension.

TV.

While the American public, and yes, soldiers such as ourselves AND feckless politicians were subjected to a constant inundation of the horrors of the Vietnam War, such was not the case with the inhabitants of the North; nor were they subjected to an endless barrage of proselytizing pundits declaiming all efforts and operations by their respective military forces as was the American public.

QET, like William Tecumseh Sherman IS right. War IS hell and no amount of temporizing, no philosophizing, no justification, no matter how erudite or elegant may disguise this simple fact.

Can one imagine if during the Civil War or WWI, your local "News (and Footage (no pun soon to be intended)) at Eleven" were to burst on to the scene and begin broadcasting images of thousands of Union (or CSA) soldiers amputated limbs stacked outside of the Surgeons tents for later disposal; or of bloated, decaying corpses littering the fields after Picketts Charge, Bull run or Shiloh; or the dead from Ypres, Belleau Wood?
How long would it be before the citizenry began to question "Why? What can possibly be worth this?

Fortunately for the US and history, a) television was not available and b) the authorities displayed some common sense and prevented such images and such denigrations of military operations / objectives from being disseminated.
Yes, that means I support "censorship" - at certain times and under certain conditions.
Failure to do so results in being on the wrong side of asymmetrical warfare as its principal defect is to first ignore the inherent and inescapable nature of war, i.e., sheer and unconstrained brutality, and secondly, in consequence of the omission, cause one to question the rightness of the act itself and to make equivalent the acts of both the tyrant and the respondent.

I understand those, some of my own friends included who accepted the VVAW ministrations / positions. I disagreed but understood.

One wonders if VVAW would have had such a following had the US not so meekly accepted the terms of the asymmetrical "televised" wars.

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gabe
on October 26, 2018 at 18:57:06 pm

Sadly, this tension was not resolved in favor of popular opinion and Nixon’s re-election in 1972 marked the victory of the oligarchy over the masses;
Nixon won the 1972 Presidential election with 60.67% of the popular vote, which was the third-highest vote percentage for a US Presidential election in the . Only FDR in 1936 and LBJ did better. Oligarchy 61%- Masses 39%. Yeah, right.

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Gringo
on October 26, 2018 at 20:02:56 pm

I came to Portland for college in 1974. I was a small town girl, terrified of the "big city" but Portland was, back then, a very large small town. It was clean. It was safe. I went to PSU, often taking night classes, waiting for the bus at 10pm and not worrying about my safety. I worked downtown in the 80s. It was clean, vibrant, fun and prosperous. Politics were as the writer noted, Libertarian for the most part. Few entrenched on either side. It was a purple town in a purple state. My parent's friend a liberal college professor was known as the "gadfly" of the Portland City Club that was at the time comprised of sober, well dressed, polite businessmen. Dr Q would be tossed out as a crazy conservative now.

I really started noticing the difference during the Iraq War. Taking some night classes at PSU I was astonished by the street life, the demonstrations and protests. I remember one evening being furious as I tried to get to class and was blocked by a bedraggled group of anti war protesters who blocked the streets. Then came the Occupy Movement and they never left. Our clean city with its wonderful park blocks is now a disgusting cesspool of tents, trash, panhandlers, aggressive street people, sad and pathetic folks sleeping in every doorstop.

The real turning point was the 2016 election after which a riot did over a million dollars in damage. The irony was that this city voted something like 85% Democrat. These people shat in their own nests and no one has cleaned up since.

I live in the 'burbs and never go downtown unless it's absolutely necessary. I can't wait to leave the state, a state my great great grandfather helped to settle in the 1800s.

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Elisabeth Anderson
on October 27, 2018 at 01:44:31 am

Thanks. I was living in Japan but flying in twice a year to scout cities where I might want to live upon my return. I was shocked: this was no longer my country. The cities were populated by a strange mix of alien tax eaters, socialists, minority race and gender activists, increasingly ignorant students filled with unwarranted self-esteem, Marxist professors, Stalinist city planners marching to the tune and commie "increased density" plans of faraway false prophets of global warming doom, and weathervane mayors catering to the noisiest. Then, while I was in transit to Denver at SFX, Tom Wolfe, unmistakable even from 50 yards away, stood in front of me in the TSA check line. He "triggered," was increasingly stripped, ultimately led to be stripped more. They found nothing but managed to harass a great man. We talked, I expressed my outrage, he encourage me to write. Critical essays about my trips to Denver and Seattle ensued, then Portland, Philadelphia etc. I'll put it together in a book, as soon as I'm done with the one I'm working on.

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Max Denken
on October 27, 2018 at 02:08:38 am

This is so sad to read. I am an ex-European immigrant myself, of 50-yr tenure in the US, son of refugees from Hitler and then from Stalin, and I am myself a refugee from California where I lived for 30 yrs, paid enough taxes to build a bridge with, employed people, built a house, planted a garden, etc. It was all pulled from under my feet, as it was from under the rest of the California middle class. Now the same process repeats in Washington and Oregon. Even though a great majority of that entire territory is "Red," inhabited by people who are recognizably American, the center of gravity is in the few large cities, and they pull everything in their wake into a future that's a mix of "1984" and "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." I keep challenging the Obamoids and other drones locked into the current zeitgeist. I tell them "How can you?" tell them about the hardships of the early settlers, the war of 1848, the sacrifices -- all that for this? When you are giving away your freedoms, your ancestral culture, even the very soil of your city that's now a "sanctuary" to tens of thousands of invading welfare moochers and criminals. They don't understand what I'm talking about...

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Max Denken
on October 28, 2018 at 12:50:00 pm

Thank you. You are absolutely right. So many friends and family have left the state. As you said most of the land is possessed by normal average Americans who just want to be left in peace to raise their familes. But the big cities are the tail that wags the dogs. We are helpless to change anything

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Elisabeth
on October 28, 2018 at 13:32:36 pm

Thank you. You are absolutely right. So many friends and family have left the state. As you said most of the land is possessed by normal average Americans who just want to be left in peace to raise their familes. But the big cities are the tail that wags the dogs. We are helpless to change anything

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Elisabeth
on October 28, 2018 at 13:39:30 pm

I went to PSU in the late 70s. While there were the usual suspects like the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade and foolish Persian students demonstrating against the Shah, the faculty was apolitical. It wasn’t just the business school where I majored but in the English, history and sociology departments. I returned for some Master’s level classes in the early 2000s. Not only had the campus become over run with virtue signaling SJWs but even the professors would spend classtime bloviating about the Iraq War, George Bush and “the religious Right.” You are right the rot is in the universities. Working people have better things to do than get involved with the latest victimology screeds.

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Elisabeth
on October 29, 2018 at 13:35:38 pm

I don't know if you were in country or not and I don't know which, if any, branch you were in; but I do know that if you were an "EM" between 1966 and 1969 you might never have looked at a TV except if you were home on leave. Whether you were in Germany or Vietnam, and I was station in both, your only source of information was Armed Forces Radio and Stars and Stripes.

After Tet, we all expected we'd be going North to end this thing. We didn't. We kept going back into the same LZs, sweeping the same sectors and taking greater casualties than before. It became a war of attrition where we held all the advantages. In the end our conscript Army simply got tired of killing for killing's sake. I think that speaks very well of the citizen soldiers the US produced in the 1960s.

After 1970, the troops began turning on the officers and by 1971, the US Army was broken and no longer an effective field force; that was Creighton Abrams' assessment, not mine. This had nothing to do with the media in the US.

The reason for my hasty and inaccurate language about the "masses" is that notwithstanding TV and the press, who we felt were do Ernie Pyle quality work on our behalf, as soon as the draft ended nobody cared anymore. The EMs were forgotten and dismissed while a year later the officer POWs were praised to hilt and called heroes.

The the VVAW was a club dominated by enlisted Marine riflemen and Army infantry and air-crew men. The only reason we latched on to civilian Leftists and ex-officer creeps like Kerry was no on else was listening.

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EK
on October 29, 2018 at 18:22:14 pm

It will get worse before it'll get better, but you can trust that it'll change. History has a built-in hammer that whacks those who disdain reality and consider it optional. All that madness will crumble into dust, but at an inestimable cost to the US and its people. Alas, for it will have been so eminently avoidable.

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Max Denken

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