Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss



Last spring, as Whistler was winding down, golf was being played, corn snow was being smooshed around and lily-white skin was being exposed, the National Review – a highly conservative magazine published south of the border – ran a truly bizarre, even for them, article on the top 50 most conservative rock ’n’ roll songs of all time.

Most people don’t tend to associate conservatism and rock ’n’ roll. Rock was, certainly in its early days, loathed by conservatives, who gleefully tried to stamp it out and keep their children safely living in the same straightjacket they themselves wore. Of course, they lost the war against rock ’n’ roll. Rock became the anticonservative cultural glue for their kids who, in protest to their parents’ stultifying lifestyle, grew their hair long, messed around with drugs, screwed like bunnies during the sexual revolution, protested whatever came to mind, graduated from college, got jobs, and became the Generation of Swine, growing increasingly conservative. You can now find them bopping to insipid oldies FM stations while they bitch about how much it costs every time they fill up their SUV.

Written by one of the magazine’s political reporters, John J. Miller, the piece is an amusing, Rovian contortion of reality… or reality as seen through the lenses of someone who sees a conservative aura floating around the corporeal existence of, well, everything. It drifts pretty far into the spin cycle but the notion that rock has a hidden, conservative bias – if one simply looks hard enough – must both comfort and distract dyed-in-the-wool conservatives who would otherwise be spending their time wondering how actually executing their world view in the Middle East and economic agenda at home has proven so diabolically difficult and disastrously wrongheaded, respectively.

In Mr. Miller’s opinion, Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again is the #1 all-time most conservative rock song ever penned. It is, in his opinion, an ode to the very conservative idea that revolutionary change is inherently flawed and all revolutions crash and burn in a deep pool of cynicism. It is, he writes, "An oath that swears off naïve idealism once and for all."

Except for having been licensed and co-opted as the opening bars of one or another of the CSI franchise shows, the song is largely unknown to a generation of attention-challenged Sesame Streeters who can’t be bothered to listen to its eight-and-a-half minutes of, mostly, duelling guitar and organ riffs. But once past the noodling organ and opening guitar chords, the first verse is, on sober reflection, an obvious icon of conservative thought.

"We’ll be fighting in the streets