Punk Songs for Classical Liberals
By Bryan Caplan
Russ Roberts gives me the lead-in I’ve been waiting for:
I was talking to my students last night about inspirational education—writing or music that not only informs but inspires. And I wondered out loud with them about why there isn’t an economics or free market folk song.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have one?
I’d sing it all day. I’d play it on the guitar. I’d teach it to my children.
I can’t recommend any applicable folk songs, but if Russ is willing to play electric guitar for his kids, he could teach them the songs of my latest obsession, the punk band Tsunami Bomb. Here are all the lyrics of all their songs. A few highlights for Russ:
5150, a plea to make the most of your life by ignoring sunk costs:
Forget your torment, What should have been, What's expected of you. Face your fears, Face your open future, And remember the way that you shine.
Be grateful that you have a brain for thinking And legs to take you places. You can do what you dream about, Just believe in the way that you shine.
20 Going On… adds Julian Simonesque mockery of doomsayers:
Tired at 20 years old Memory collecting before his time Recall the old stomping ground I see a tear welling up in his eye
No, you can't cheat time, don't let that control your life Hold your breath, close your eyes, just jump in, the water's fine
Russ speculates that the scarcity of classical liberal songs “has more to do with the seen and the unseen.” Tsunami Bomb rises to the challenge with a devastating attack on drunk drivers in Headlights on a Handgrenade:
She drinks away her pain As she takes your life into her hands Her memories remain As she takes your life into her hands
Losing control Bits and pieces scatter like small toys She'll never know The lives she has taken and destroyed
The point, of course, is that the victims’ lives are “unseen” to the drunk driver, but just as real as the lives of the people she personally knew.
That’s almost as cool as Bastiat – and if you play it at full blast, it might be even cooler.