Thursday, August 25, 2005

Blows Against the Empire

All the secessionist talk in Anthony Lewis’s The Third Revolution inspired me to stick Paul Kantner’s sci-fi rock anthem Blows Against the Empire in the Accord’s CD-changer this week. In my junior year of high school (1970-71), when Murray Rothbard, Karl Hess, and Paul Goodman were starting to stir my political thinking, Blows stoked the revolutionary inferno in my gut. Jefferson Airplane had always been an explicitly anarchist band, but this Airplane spin-off LP (the first to use the “Jefferson Starship” moniker) moved beyond Old World politics. It was what we called back then a “concept album” (a la Sgt Peppers and Tommy), and its scenario included dodging the government jackboot, hijacking a starship, launching ourselves into space, and freely colonizing the stars. Here’s an especially poignant lyrical bit:

A child is coming,
A child is coming,
A child is coming to you.

What’re we gonna do when Uncle Samuel comes around
Askin’ for the young one’s name,
And lookin’ for the print of his hand
For the files in their numbers game?
I don’t want his changes for freedom to ever be that slim,
Let’s not tell ’em about him!

More than three decades later, Blows Against the Empire might seem fanciful as hell, but gee, we were all fanciful as hell in the early ’70s, and the music still sounds great. And you know, with secession movements now dotting the landscape (and books like The Third Revolution leading that charge), maybe Blows ain’t all that fanciful anyway. We could do worse than share Kantner’s rock manifesto with younger libertarians, or re-experience it ourselves.
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At 9:14 PM, Blogger freeman said...

You know, I'm well versed in classic rock (especially since most modern rock bores me to tears), but Jefferson Airplane/Starship has always eluded my attention. I've heard of that album before and was intrigued, so thanks for reminding me about it. I'll definitely have to check it out soon.

At 7:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Must have been something in the water (or whatever...) back then. I graduated high school in the class of '72 as well...


At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Mitch said...

This album was released in the summer of 1970. I was 17 and to this day it remains one of my favorite albums ever released. The writing, the vocals and even the album art, were all incredible. I so wish I could go back in time and relive that whole period. The amount of great albums released between the late sixties and early seventies was unbelievable. Its all I listen to.


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