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Guest article by MIKE ZAPUTIL

Photo by Genghis

NO VACILLATION!: Genghis stayed with his Shovel like the way I've stuck with my Panhead.


Scott, I gotta tell ya, instead of my usual "great job" pat on the back, let me concur another way. Like you, when I kick that Pan of mine to life, throw her jockey into gear and get rollin' its always the same---much pleasure is about to happen. Last Friday, I rode the pan to the post office, went inside and stood in line to get whatever bullshit I needed to get mailed, mailed. Behind me, someone walked in and also got in line, he slapped me on the ass (I quickly turned around expecting to smack whoever would dare do that to me in public) but it was only Sonny Barger. He had also arrived there on his Victory. We got caught up, and talked as I haven't seen him in quite awhile. When I was done at the post office, we shook hands, he said to give his blessings to Nancy (they were always tight, she bought a horse from him) and I split.

On the ride home, I pondered about Sonny. Here was a guy who had been riding since before I was alive, he had built badass knuckle chops years before I was even born- in 1959. And he's still out there riding. Gosh, he must have been at it 58 years by this point, if not more. Behind the bars, and still luvin' it. Always on American Iron (not the crappy magazine, the bikes). Now a Victory is certainly not my thing, they leave me cold as hell and I would never own one. But he digs it for him,and he's commited enough to ride with a full-face helmet because of that screwed-up hole in his throat from the cancer operation.

Which brings me to my topic, The Free Thinker's Syndrome. As I've mentioned, I'm on vacation.I haul shit from here in Phoenix to the Long Beach and Terminal Island ports in Los Angeles in shipping containers that roll on a trailer-like chassis. Haven't had a vacation in years, so I'm taking a month off. On the days when its too hot to ride, I crack open my stash of old Iron Horses and read. And read some more.The other day I read issue #140, which actually was a very pivotal issue. It's the one when Flynch split from the magazine. Now, I'm not here to bash him or anything, him being a contributor to this page and all. What I want to talk about is your column, the one that mentions a malady called the "Free Thinker's Syndrome". As you wrote, "the 'free thinker's syndrome' is a malady that afflicts it's victims through the revelation that previously held principles that were sacrosanct one day are so easily discarded the next by claiming 'individulality' as an overturning tenet that frees one from the bonds of the old biker priciples." Like Mike Seate and his copout switch to japbikes while writing for a Harley-only oriented magazine, and sees nothing wrong or ironic with that. I see this syndrome not only with bikers, but lately also with politics.

I have an old friend who I converse with on Facebook who's an ex-bandmember of mine from 25 years ago. We usta see perfectly eye to eye on everything political. Both of us were conservative Libertarians with an anarchistic bent, and the hardcore punk band we had reflected those views. Lately he has become so full of being an "individual" that any past solid commitments and tenets to our beliefs from the past are now thrown out the window by him. He now believes that the "Illuminati" controls everything, that any strong morals or principles to how people should live their lives are nothing but "man made bullshit," that good and evil don't exist and that nothing is worth fighting for in this country, because its all controlled by forces out of our power to change. What nihilistic rubbish that thinking is.

During our last conversation two weeks ago, he said that even the alternative media, as well as the mainstream media are controlled by them. Don't know about him, but I highly doubt that the likes of Andrew Brightbart's page and Drudge are controlled by them. Nor the Punk Rock Libertarians, or the Reagan coalition page or the Constitutional Libertarian Zombie Hunter Info Warrier's page. Sad when one throws the baby out with the bathwater and believes in nothingness, all to bow at the altar of being an "individual." Ridiculous. And we bikers have our values, our preferences and our tenets. If we didn't, what would separate us from Joe Blow who jumps on a new Softail and thinks he's Lee Marvin? Who cares nothing at all about our culture and traditions. They have their little world, and we have ours, and that includes the one percenters. Its what separates us from them. If you don't have your core beleifs, what have you got? Nothing. And you're not an individual thinker either, just another jerkoff that can't make up his mind.