Reggae & Liberty
The reggae artists I know, and the people who listen to Reggae, tend to be non-conformist, misfits and rebels to society. I mean this as a compliment. They tend to question what authorities tell them. This is an attitude ripe for liberty. Perhaps because I came from the progressive camp, I see the connections between progressives and libertarians more often than others. I am not alone. Dr. Thomas Woods Jr. sees it, but sadly calls himself a conservative. Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, Thaddeus Russell, Jeff Riggenbach and Robin Koerner are writers with diverse approaches and beliefs, but are united in their anti-authoritarianism. That is the brilliance of anti-authoritarianism. We are against coercive authority, because we want to do things our way. And our way, is different for each one of us.
Reggae’s living legend Wyclef Jean sang a ballad to his hypothetical presidential run 10 years ago. During the Haiti crisis, he actually tried and failed to be a president. This historical anecdote aside, I want to tell you what I learned from studying the philosophy of aesthetics. There is a debate amongst philosophers of aesthetics as to what is important to ascertain meaning in art, the artist’s intention or the art-piece itself? I won’t take you through the whole debate. I think the artist’s intention is important, but that the art-piece itself can contain meaning that the artist didn’t even know of. My evidence is the Bible. How many prophets, let alone artists inspired by worldly passions, knew the full extent of what they were saying? And yet, the writings of the prophets are bursting at the seems with the good news of Jesus Christ. Jean’s ballad If I Was President, that he performed live on Dave Chappelle’s Show, has naturally anti-authoritarian elements from Jean’s intention, and I read more anti-authoritarianism in the song then Jean would probably see.
Let’s see if you see what I see.
If I Was President
“election time is coming… If I was president,
I’d get elected on Friday, assassinated on Saturday,
and buried on Sunday.”
If Ron Paul had won in 2008, or in 2012, or if Rand Paul wins in 2016, would we be surprised if the system swallowed them whole because of the power of their ideas? Our ideas. Wyclef Jean’s ideas.
“An old man told me, instead of spending billions on the war,
we can use some of that money, in the ghetto.”
Nobody more lucidly and delightfully tells the story of the misallocation of resources like French anti-authoritarian writer Frederic Bastiat. Bastiat sees the military, produced by confiscation of wealth, as a reminder of that which is unseen. The unseen is the societal growth that could have taken place had wealth not been confiscated from We The People by a group of guys with guns. Billions could have gone to growing the ghetto.
“I know some so poor, when it rains that’s when they shower,
screaming “fight the power”.
That’s when the vulture devoured.”
People who experience the State hate the State. Nobody experiences the State like people who taste police brutality and bigotry on a daily basis. The poor get harassed by police the most. Liberty is an easier pitch to people who encounter this, stand against power, but don’t know how to express this angst.
“But the radio won’t play this.
They call this rebel music.
How can you refuse it, children of moses?”
If public radio is sponsored by the coercive government, how could we reasonably expect them to express all views? Why would they express views that would not support their agenda of maintaing the status (statist) quo, and or enlarging and further centralizing the State? Moses is associated with freedom, because with the guidance of God, he led the descendants of Abraham out of the house of bondage that was Egypt. Egypt is a type. It is the house of bondage. Our coercive government is the new Egypt. We are children of Moses, of anti-authoritarianism, of freedom.
“Tell the children the truth, the truth.
Christopher Columbus didn’t discover America.
Tell them the truth.
Jean is a revisionist historian in these last verses. Hope you had a merry Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Columbus is far from a saint, and thus deserves no holy day.
“YEAH! Tell them about Marcus Garvey.
Tell the children, the truth, yeah! The truth
Tell them about Martin Luther King.
Tell them the truth.
Tell them about JFK”
Marcus Garvey wants blacks to go back to Africa. In an unfettered free market society, we could travel to Africa and back without the black market. In the black market, blacks are perishing and being extorted en masse. It is not easy to travel with all of your belongings and dodge the State’s bullets. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has quotes that inspire people from sundry backgrounds, and I love that about him. But, he’s not perfect. He is a philanderer, and his using of the political means to draft the 1964 Civil Rights Act is a sign of inconsistency in his advocacy for peace. He should have stuck to stateless stigmergic resistance against bigoted white authorities. President John F. Kennedy’s Executive Order 11110 is research worthy. Kennedy argues for sounder money then anyone in the Democratic party today. His policy is U.S. currency backed by the historically precious metal known as silver.
Hey progressives and libertarians, cooperate. You’re more or less on the same side, the Left. The far Right are those who lust after power and controlling others. Let’s drag everyone to our side. Let’s depoliticize everything.
depoliticize all means of production through entrepreneurship