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August 24, 2021

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Not sure who the Woke police are but I would rate the two infractions, very low as well. They are instead indications of white privilege. The mask is bought and displayed and you see no problem with it. You do not know who made it, the culture and you seem not to care. These are indications if white privilege to purchase anything and display simply because you like it without detailed knowledge about the other questions. The OCF is full of appropriators who make cultural art and also see no problem. I could go on but that is the beginning. I think the Wokes are wrong on the second infraction mostly. You are acting against oppression and racism by telling the story in a newsy blogsite. So you are doing what you feel is right, and not everyone needs to be in the street attacking the opposition to be doing something. You are also counseling folks to not be violent. This idea of peaceful nonviolence is a way to oppose fascism. But for many people this can turn into not doing anything which supports the fascists. Too much violence also supports fascism. It's a nuanced game of activism. I don't think writing about being nonviolent is wrong, it's your opinion but could get the ire of some new activists who think it's more white privilege. It's a privilege to do nothing at all because that position will benefit the white people who already have all the benefits of society. But as I noted you are doing something and a simple discussion on your part is not itself racist or against the antifascists.

David, the problem I have with the notion of white privilege is that it typically is a victimless "crime." I can't think of any harm done to anyone by me buying and wearing the mask. All I see are benefits. I supported a booth at the Oregon Country Faire, Oregon's #1 outdoor event promoting the counter-culture and progressive values. Wearing it made me feel good, and gave other people a glimpse of an artistic creation. If white privilege, whatever that means, doesn't lead to any harm, why should I be concerned about it?

I emailed a link for this blog post last night to some progressive friends who I've previously discussed the notion of "wokeness" with. Just got this thoughtful reply.
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Hi Brian,
I have just read all of what appeared in the link below. To me, your most powerful statement included "shades of gray, political nuance...." Yes, precisely. Those beating the drums on both the right and the left, including the local "Woke Police," are sending overly simplified messages.

These are designed to capture minds and memories with catchy and easily remembered soundbites. and, in many cases, to quote Shakespeare in the speech by Marc Antony "to cry havoc, and let loose the dogs of war..." to serve their particular goals.

The higher level thinking skills of critical thinking and analysis do not work well in these arenas. You have worked to challenge a general audience to think critically. Of course, that is at best a steeply uphill struggle.
Vaya con Dios mi amigo. (I grew up in L.A.)

As always, Brian, thank you for your fine work, and thank you for sharing it with us,

I shared this post on one of my other blogs, Church of the Churchless, where a comment was left that deserved to be shared here also.
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Excellent post, Brian. I was in some initial discussions about the Let's Discuss Salem group. I'd just connected (on FB messenger) with the woman you are describing--about 4 weeks ago. I soon learned she is intense, controlling, and passive-aggressive. She started messaging me at 5am on some days and it seemed as though she thought I was her employee. I was misled by her and always felt there was a hidden agenda to the group. She never told me the true intent of the group, which I believe is organizing against the proud boys. I want them out of town too, but sending people into crowds during a global pandemic is absurd. She is all about virtue signaling and I feel the group was started to compete with the FB city council group. I chose to leave the group after being personally attacked by 3 people and being called names. Political fundamentalism indeed.

I posted this to your FB page, but would like your larger audience to see it.

With both the left and the right, when you think yourself too much to be right you end up in a corner called "tyranny."

Brian: these comments illustrate that the liberal age is over. Parenthetically, I doubt many of your readers could begin to articulate what the concept means. There is totalitarianism on the left, just as on the right, as these comments prove.

Different people value different ends. The things we want in life are not perfectly compatible, and given most of us do not want to coerce people into seeking ends they have not chosen, then some form of pluralism is our best answer.

Pluralism is the heart of liberalism.

Isaiah Berlin described it well when he wrote of “a society in which the largest number of persons are allowed to pursue the largest number of ends as freely as possible, in which these ends are themselves criticised as little as possible and the fervour with which such ends are held is not required to be bolstered by some bogus rational or supernatural argument to prove the validity of the end.”

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