Well, technically, Anarchy 100, a seminar at Lebanon Valley College. I was alerted by a friend to this interesting course by Michael Kitchens, an Assistant Professor of Psychology. The reading materials include many articles and books from Austro-anarchists such as Roderick Long, Bob Murphy, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Walter Block, Anthony Gregory, Tom DiLorenzo, Lew Rockwell, Rothbard, and myself. This is cool. The reading list would make a good book. From the course page:
Introductory Essays on Anarchy
The State & Anarchy
Defense & Security
Roads & Highways
Civilization, Culture, & Life
Libertarians are on occasion accused of trying to steal entertainment for their own ends. From The Hunger Games to Shindler’s List to just every dystopian tale of government run amok, sometimes folks — sometimes even other libertarians! — think we’re trying too hard to stick politics into pop culture where it just doesn’t belong.
But music is a big deal to people, almost as much so as political philosophy. Yet, if you want to put the two together for a soundtrack to state smashing, your choices are limited. You can either have to pick unsubtle, sugary-sweet ballads about Ron Paul, or you can have punk odes to leftist utopias or country odes to righteous warfare.
Or, you can always pretend Objectivism is the same as libertarianism and go listen to some Rush.
But let’s get a little looser with the definitions. Maybe whatever song makes you feel like smashing the state in whatever way you do everyday, maybe that counts.
So here is my short list of some of my favorite songs, none of which were written by anyone who has ever read any Mises (I assume), and definitely none of which are rap battles
between Hayek and Keynes. But that’s okay, damn it. You don’t need it to contain lessons in sound monetary policy to feel like a song speaks to something libertarian.
- “Suspect Device” by Stiff Little Fingers; sample lyrics to sing loudly, but extra loudly during G-20 or other jackbooted thuggery life moments are “they take away our freedom/in the name of liberty/why can’t they all just clear off/why can’t they let us be? they make us feel indebted/for saving us from hell/and then they put us through it/ it’s time the baaaaaaaaaastards fell”
- “Riot Squad” by Cock Sparrer; “he’s in the riot squad/the shoot on sight squad”. Not so nice to the police.
- “Ain’t No Nobody’s Business If I Do” sung by Bessie Smith (and other folks); it’s pretty libertarian: “If I should take a notion, to jump into the ocean/Ain’t nobody’s business if I do.” Hell, it was even borrowed for the title of a book.
- “Copperhead Road” by Steve Earle; libertarian fantasy lyrics we shouldn’t admit: “now the DEA’s got a chopper in the air/I wake up screaming like I’m still over there/I learned a thing or two from Charlie don’t you know/you better stay away from Copperhead road”
- “Ain’t It Enough” by Old Crow Medicine Show; if only for “let the prison walls crumble and the borders all tumble”
- “See How We Are” by X; for “there are men lost in jail/crowded 50 to a room” and other problems of prison lyrics.
- “Ruby Ridge” by Peter Rowan; non-racist, non-heavy-handed look at that real human tragedy; “I got a wife and kids on Ruby Ridge/ please don’t shoot me down”
- “For An Old Kentucky Anarchist” by Erik Petersen of Mischief Brew and The Orphans; Just… do your own thing: “I never cared much for any government/ I got my Jesus for me when the time is right”
- “Fuck Tha Police” by NWA; shame about the sexism and homophobia, but: “searchin’ my car/lookin’ for the product/Thinkin’ every nigga is sellin’ narcotics” gets to the heart of what keeps lots of libertarians up late nights.
- “Washington Bullets” by The Clash; it scorns the U.S. and wretched lefty regimes with “N’ if you can find a Afghan rebel/That the Moscow bullets missed/Ask him what he thinks of voting Communist/Ask the Dalai Lama in the hills of Tibet/How many monks did the Chinese get?” [Keep reading…]
“Anthony Gregory has a lot of litmus tests.” I believe Scott Horton said that about me on the air. Well, here’s one of my rules of thumb to see if someone is even close to being a real libertarian. It’s a three-part rule. You have to satisfy each condition. Then we can get into other issues—taxes, schools, drugs, etc.
1) Are you anti-Obama? He’s the most powerful man in the world. You have to hate the guy in power. But more important, you have to hate him for the right reasons. Obama being a social democrat and police statist are fine reasons. But first and foremost, you should hate him because he kills innocent people in large numbers.
2) Are you anti-Bush? Lots of people hate Obama, but have a soft spot for George W. Bush. Others hated Bush and like Obama. They are 95% alike. Any libertarian should of course dislike both presidents vehemently, and find them both to be among the worst in modern times. Bush started the worst war since Vietnam. If you are OK with that guy, you’re obviously not any kind of libertarian.
3) Do you hate Harry Truman more than Obama and Bush combined? Even though he’s long been dead, Truman should always be remembered as one of the very worst heads of state in the 20th century and one of the very worst presidents. I’m OK with people who think FDR, Wilson, or Lincoln were worse. We can agree to disagree. But what I don’t like is this idea that Obama or Bush is the “worst president ever.” I got that a lot during Bush—liberals claiming he was the worst president ever—and now I hear conservatives say the same about Obama. It’s not true. Both are awful. But neither compares to Truman.
Truman ended WWII by committing the worst terrorist acts in world history, bombing Tokyo after Nagasaki just for the heck of it, and assisting Stalin in the roundup of refugees to be sent back to the Gulags. After helping Stalin murder tons of people, he used Communism as an excuse to launch the Cold War. He intervened in the Mediterranean and waged an undeclared “police action” in Korea where he used napalm and strategic bombing to kill a million civilians. Even the worst Obama actions concerning the economy were foreshadowed in Truman’s Defense Production Act of 1950.
Caveat: I know principled libertarians who might find a plausible good reason not to hate Truman more than Bush and Obama combined. So this litmus test merely has the rebuttable presumption of soundness. One thing I do know, however, is that anyone who reads this and thinks it’s way out there is probably not a radical libertarian.
“Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.” ~ Clay Shirky
You know the slavery Kool-Aid is working well when those who are oppressed petition their oppressors for more of that which helps keep them oppressed.
For instance, public education is a tool that was designed–specifically and directly–as a means of controlling the hoi polloi. The educational system of compulsory public education championed by Horace Mann, chock-full of multiple-choice testing perfected by Frederick J. Kelly, feeding into statistical models based upon the work of (eugenicist) Sir Francis Galton, was (and is) designed to fulfill the need for employees who are primed and ready to inhabit factories where efficiency can be measured in ways developed by Frederick Winslow Taylor. (The fact that so few of such factories currently exist in America should also be telling, but that’s a different discussion.) Mann believed “universal public education was the best way to turn the nation’s unruly children into disciplined, judicious republican citizens.” The whole thing was designed to produce a seething throng of people ready to take orders, stand in line, ask few questions, and install bumpers all day–accepting the interminable boredom of such a life–while their over-lords made a ton of money. Free and compulsory public education was never intended to create inquisitive, risk-taking, leaders. Or entrepreneurs and/or business owners. Or frankly, owners of anything! Yet, people clamor that “education is a right” and “we need more funding for our schools” despite the inescapable fact that these same crap holes are doing their best at producing children incapable of independent thought and unable to read a book (or a blueprint), solve a simple mathematics problem, or devise a new strategy. It’s damned sad, really.