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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Achieving Prosperity In Spite of the Left

Achieving Prosperity In Spite of the Left

 [or as Surviving the 60s as posted in David Horowitz’s]

by rycK

Posted by rycK on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 9:06:28 AM
Being a practicing advocate of individualism is like living the life of a paladin. I have long suspected that the left wing has dedicated a lot of time and money to prevent such folks from becoming successful in this world by placing serious obstacles in our pathways. I am now convinced of this vast left-wing plot. It appears that anybody who dares to accumulate some wealth either is scorned for having inherited it from his crooked ancestors or pilloried for having obtained it by unfair or illegal means. Some of us have struggled to circumvent most of the impediments placed in our paths and many somehow have clawed their way to the reaches of the upper middle class despite the loud objections and churlish admonitions. My battles with the left began at an early age and continue to the present. An account of this follows.

I was raised in the San Joaquin Valley due east of a desolate little town called Orosi, which could be used to broaden the definition of the word sanjac. This hamlet lies in Tulare County in the towering political shadow of John Steinbeck and could have been the sole inspiration for his novel, The Grapes of Wrath, where thousands of Dustbowl Okies settled comfortably into the welfare system after the Great Depression. They are still there. Tulare County, in the ‘50s, topped the national list of places with excessively high county welfare expenditures. I was amused to read that it was still numero uno in about 1995. This dusty town of a few hundred was comprised of a mixture of Chicanos, Okies, Japanese Americans, Armenians, Chinese and a few other politically undesignated folks like me. My Japanese friends, comprising 50% of my ten person high school clique, were all born in internment camps like Manzanar or Gila Bend in the middle of the Second World War. We were all rather poor, but in my household we had plenty of kindness, love and food. The kids in my neighborhood didn’t wear shoes in the summer. I was orphaned at 15 by the death of my mother and lived with my aged grandparents after being abandoned by my step father. I quickly learned to be self-sufficient and plan my own affairs. In this modest rural setting, I was (unexpectedly, in hindsight) exposed to a solid and extensive education with an unusual dose of fortuitous political training. Our little high school was the kind of place (poverty disaster area) where the government would willingly forgive a teacher’s college loan if he or she managed to teach there for two years. Tenure required three. Somehow, in this social purgatory, we attracted some excellent teachers. I was taught critical analysis and learned the value of keeping up to date with current events. Our library had a set of Great Books and I read some classics, but was more impressed by works that stressed observation and analysis like The True Believer by Eric Hoffer. The teachings of Hoffer would act as a beacon and alarm system as I made further progress in my quest for education and prosperity.

I received some political training at home probably by osmosis.

My Grandfather administered the California State Brocero Program for several counties which included the stretch from Modesto to Delano, so, I received some first-hand perspective about the politics of farm labor. On occasion, visitors came to the house where they discussed the politics of the farm labor problem. This applied political education began to mature when I started working in the cotton fields in 1954 (11 years old), quite by accident, by haplessly falling into line with some Okie kids, whose migrant parents did stoop labor for a living in the blistering heat. I could make forty cents after a mere three hours of difficult work in the dust and heat and I thought I was rich. The mechanism for obtaining prosperity was clearly at hand: work for it. I labored summers and weekends doing agricultural work throughout most of the late fifties and far into the sixties. I had to work for money for a car and other necessities or do without. My political training was punctuated a few years later by watching Caesar Chavez and his loyal followers bash the heads of reluctant field laborers during the organizing efforts of the United Farm Workers. They even came for me once until they recognized their error. By day they ‘organized’ workers by visiting the fields in their white station wagons, intimidating peasants with threats and beatings, and by night ferried hookers though the Mexican towns, like Cutler, in the same vehicles. They covered the interior lights with blue cellophane and kept their head lights turned off for effect. My observations on this sort of conduct in the real world were in stark contrast to my prior notions, since I was reared in a community with warmth and kindness and taught the virtues of hard work, honesty and the value of truth. Nobody in my extended family, or members of the town, ever lied to me, stole my meager belongings, or tried to sleaze me. I soon learned that these attributes, which I still hold to be essential, were, and still are, virtually worthless when dealing with the left. I was surprised then, but not now, that Chavez was hailed as one of the darlings of the left. He was a cheap thug and I am a witness to his crimes.

My education continued after high school and was strangely mirrored by the antics of the (then future) characters in the movie American Graffiti as I commuted daily to the local junior college (College of the Sequoias) where the tuition and fees were 24 dollars per semester. I studied engineering for two years there during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I won my only college scholarship there ($80) for the highest number of grade points, not because of some scintillating 4.0 GPA (it was significantly less) , but because I took 25 credit hours. Science and engineering were suited to my particular cognitive skill set. In contrast, political science was mystical and defied any rational analysis, so a detailed study of that arena was deferred. I was accepted by UCLA School of Engineering, headed off to Westwood, CA and joined a fraternity. In my view, President Kennedy was the only person who could save Americans from the impending social and economic stagnation. He was promptly shot leaving the country with a major leadership deficiency supplied by LBJ. The draft heated up, which collided with my imperative to work thirty hours per week to pay for school. After an exchange of nasty grams with my draft board, I had to run for a Naval Reserve Unit. I was sent to Treasure Island in San Francisco for forty weeks of electronics training beginning in May, 1965. I brought about three years worth of engineering training with me, a penchant for political analysis, and a singular proficiency in duplicate bridge that I had acquired in L.A. My net worth tallied up to perhaps forty dollars in cash. My car had died of old age.

The Bay Area was jumping. There were abundant political rallies, speeches, underground newspapers and sidewalk pamphleteering everywhere. I made it into town three weekends a month and tried to thread my way through the dope, incense, massage parlors, hookers, and gays cruising for errant sailors and other party goers. North Beach was an experience. I frequented a place known as Coffee And Confusion on Columbus where political debates were always heated, interesting and informative. I was addicted to bridge and had several free memberships in Bay Area bridge clubs where we (my partner was one of my electronics instructors and a Navy Seal) played duplicate bridge for master points. I even accepted invitations to various parties, political discussion groups, rallies, and other throngs with vague names and slogans that were calculated to disguise the designs of far-left oriented political activist groups. I sought these out mainly of curiosity with the intent of satiating my ever-present quest for political knowledge and also for the more practical reason that I was earning only 86 dollars per month as a sailor. There was never any charge. I met all kinds of intellectuals who were frequently dedicated cadres or members of clandestine far-left political groups or others that were recruiting members of the military for interesting political assignments like sabotage, desertion and spying (from a phony Take A Sailor Home for Thanksgiving program at Treasure Island, which was invaded by Berkeley leftists on Thanksgiving Day in 1965 somewhere near 7th Street in Berkeley, CA). I was able to avoid any lasting connections with these hard-core groups, who were apparently well-funded by unknown (to me) sponsors and deftly steered by grad students at UC Berkeley. Their political skills and interpersonal relations training were polished, extensive, and they knew how to influence people. I joined numerous debates on contemporary political issues and voraciously analyzed the contents of their pamphlets and manuals for the information and political theories that they contained. My intrinsic sympathy for their causes first was softened, then actually abated, after learning more about their real agenda. They were out to change the world, by force if necessary, and were doomed to failure. They had little to offer that was constructive in terms of social or economic plans. I learned that dedication to the cause was the most important attribute of cell members of the underground movements. My analysis of their theories and practice were sufficient for me to dismiss their causes as worthless, or worse. Leary and Ginsburg had nothing to offer but sorrow and the prospect of continuous drug rehab. I was offered numerous opportunities to join failed causes--even a chance to desert and flee to British Columbia after a brief stay at some farm in Eastern Oregon. I left San Francisco for other adventures in the spring of 1966 and headed for the Viet Nam war theatre.

I was flown to Saigon, then Clark Air Base in the Philippine Islands and joined the crew of a small destroyer ( a rust bucket one year my junior) whose mission for the next two years was to support shore bombardment of the jungle along the coast of South Viet Nam. The mission was H&I: harassment and interdiction. We could cover the entire coast and even navigate (several clicks) up the Mekong River. There in the muddy waters we interdicted junks and shelled caravans near the shore that were bringing ordnance down from Laos to the war zone. During periods of rest and recreation (R&R), I saw Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and a few spots in South Viet Nam. The major lesson learned here in Lyndon’s war was that the body count (McNamara’s prime metric) was the chief measure of success. The actual count was unknown, but high estimates were more than acceptable to Washington--so, they pumped the numbers. This was a political notion of the sort that loses battles, and had little to do with military strategy. Any centurion in Caesar’s Tenth Legion could have shown us the way to victory or retreat. Hundreds of dedicated, but ignorant, peasants died in a hopeless war at the hands of the guns on my boat. I worked day and night on the electronics gear, helped the gun gangs pass ammo to the deck, and monitored the growth of the Great Society. I was concerned about my future, since we were taking some sniper fire, so on one occasion I calculated my net worth after I was forced to borrow some money for my upcoming adventures at the next port. According to slush fund regulations, I was obligated to pay back six dollars for each five borrowed. My life’s financial progress was calculated after this transaction and my net worth turned out to be about -50 dollars, which included the absence of a car and the salient fact that I had no civilian shoes. I was not getting ahead by participating in this war exercise, my education was behind schedule, and folks were trying to kill me. We barely missed being sunk by some 225 mm coastal guns in the Gulf of Tonkin in some follies known as Sea Dragon Operations, but I did get to see Swedish ships steaming in and out of Hai Phong harbor. I wonder what they were loaded with? In summary, I spent two tours in some steamy fantasy land where we kinetically rearranged the landscape of the Viet Nam coastline and then were rewarded upon our return to San Diego with a nasty welcome from howling hippies, drug-crazed loonies and flower children. In addition, I received a gift of a big gob of spit deftly directed to my sleeve by a deranged female hippie, long on drugs and short of compassion. The world I knew had changed --and not for the better. This was the world I wanted to come back to?

I ignored as much of this as possible and purchased an old car with my recent poker winnings (which cost 300 dollars and reduced my total net worth to 800), much of which was skillfully earned in the seedy card parlors of San Diego, and headed to Sunnyvale where I worked on the FB111A bomber simulator as I was now an expert in most phases of radar technology. I was sent to Binghamton, NY for ‘two weeks at best’ and met a person who would be my lover, friend, confidant, comrade, co-conspirator and spouse for the next 38 years. I never went back. The bomber contract was scaled back (the wings were falling off the planes) and I was terminated the next year. I promptly switched my attention back to college and the study of chemistry at the State University of New York (now Harpur college of Binghamton University), earned my A.C.S (American Chemical Society) accredited chemistry degree in only two years, and have been a chemist ever since.

Harpur College was a hotbed of New York City radical activists whose second-tier grades prevented them from getting into Columbia, Hunter, Brooklyn Poly, or one of the better schools in the City. The anti-war fever was high and punctuated by the riots at Attica. Professional SDS rabble-rousers and other political agitators were on campus weekly to foment political passions. The Black Panthers were recruiting and passing wicker baskets around for donations and deliberately interrupting several of my classes. I attended all the rallies and listened intently to the speeches. Nearly everything they said was a pack of lies designed to sway opinion over to the far left position. The mental pathologies of these frustrated activists, clearly described by Eric Hoffer, were apparent in the ranks of the students and activists. I had fairly long hair and nobody suspected that I concurrently trained with the local National Guard and Naval Reserve units for student riot control. Binghamton being the most probable hot spot in our area, I wondered if any of these radicals were soon to be my targets. Kent State had set a precedent. The student politicos told me that the revolution would soon start and asked if I would be there in the streets for the action. I promised that I would, indeed, be there. I published two research papers at S.U.N.Y as an undergraduate. Hot stuff!

Later, I spent the next four years at Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology as an engineer on the research staff specializing in separation science. My son was born at Yale and has since been the central focus of our lives. Living very close to the financial abyss in New Haven, I was treated to a diluted rehash of the usual leftist political rhetoric, devoid of logic, but still harbored ample disgust for the right wing while civilian support for the Viet Nam war effort simply rotted away. I adapted to the university culture, thoroughly enjoyed its elitist social life, and honed my scientific skills. I was presented with several chances to get into political activism, but declined. My sympathy for the leftist causes dwindled and my taxes started to rise. I published four research papers at Yale.

Finally, I left the university atmosphere that had been my eternal turf and intellectual stimulation and went into industry as a scientist. I was accused of ‘selling out’ to business before I left. In industry, I worked in biotechnology and separation science for E. I. DuPont for more than 23 years. I have now published 25 research papers, acquired some 400 citations+ in the scientific literature, and have begun to cope with ever higher taxes. I have developed a dozen commercial products with more than $ 45,000,000 in sales and have been granted six patents with more pending. After Yale, I only partially escaped the noisy banter of the radical left mentality, since many of my corporate colleagues, had spent seven or eight years at the best universities in the land, were still infected with liberal ideology and assorted illusions. I now rely on eternal literary works with strong predictive qualities like Destructive Generation by Collier and Horowitz, Intellectuals by Paul Johnson, the works of the highly esteemed judge Robert H. Bork: Slouching Towards Gomorrah and The Tempting of America, The Bell Curve by Herrnstein and Murray, The End of Racism by Dinesh D’Souza, and other intellectual resources to form a platform for my ongoing political analysis. I listen to Rush and Sean Hannity and watch Ann Coulter on Fox News. The mortgage is paid.

This interim report must be concluded with some reflections and conclusions based on my experience and the resultant analysis. I was offered many politically inspired opportunities to be an accomplished (and celebrated) loser and was only able to navigate around the left’s well-placed craters and traps with luck, intuition and industry. Just what did Tom Hayden, Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan, Susan Sontag and Allen Ginsberg really offer? Sloth, sodomy and sedition? Chronologically, I live on the leading edge of the giant boomer movement whose members are now muddled in debates over global warming, how to hastily stuff 401(k) s to the limit, expansion of social programs, and other follies. Hopefully, we can reduce the size of government and evade some of the social leprosy that is intended for us. Prosperity, despite the scorn and disgust of the liberals, is certainly within my grasp, baring some cataclysmic tax event. I am confident that a genuine success story like this, one that was obtained in spite of the perceived horrors of individualism, aided by a general contempt for most things left-leaning, will inflame the liberal establishment and is thusly touted and reported with relish.