Bonus Morning Read: Pye In Daily Caller re: Tom Morello

Our very own Jason Pye penned a column in The Daily Caller responding to a Rolling Stone article by Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello. Morello apparently doesn’t like VP Candidate Paul Ryan, even though Ryan likes Rage Against The Machine’s music. Says Pye:

In his piece at Rolling Stone, Morello wrote, “Ryan claims that he likes Rage’s sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don’t care for Paul Ryan’s sound or his lyrics.” He continued, “[Ryan] can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage.”

These views are not uncommon among musicians. I spent my late teens and early twenties playing in punk rock bands. I’m still a fan of the genre, listening to bands like NOFX, Propaghandi, and Refused, all of which frequently espouse anti-capitalist rhetoric in their lyrics. However, I’ve always found it somewhat humorous that these anti-establishment bands complain about the “slavery” of capitalism while at the same time promoting a more collectivist society, one in which individualism and self-interest become taboo.

I agree. I always get a chuckle out of people living in Western Democracies who make a fortune bashing capitalism. Without capitalism guys like Morello, Micheal Moore would be nobodies toiling away in a factory outside Cleveland because of some Dictator’s utopian dream. I’m not saying you have to love America or leave it but as Jason points out, the society Morello dreams of wouldn’t allow him to do what he does.


  1. Blake says:

    I doubt you have the slightest idea what society Tom Morello dreams of. Morever, even if he does dream of a collectivist society, why would that automatically prevent him from doing what he does? Collectivist does not necessarily equate to totalitarian.

    Of course, all this stems from Pye’s oversimplification. He takes Morello’s statement of opposition of “shifting revenue more radically to the one percent” and expands that to full anti-capitalism “in which individualism and self-interest become taboo.” Somehow I doubt very much Pye has accurately described Morello’s thinking.

      • Blake says:

        Oh, I’m so sorry, most holy Zen master! Let me review the rest of your argument and glean all your pearls of wisdom.

        Ah, I see; you attribute a manufactured quotation to Che Guevara, implicitly assume that because Morello has professed admiration for Che generally, that therefore he must agree with everything Che ever said, including said manufactured quotation, and conclude that Morello is anti-individualist.

        Quality argument. No wonder you’re writing for the Daily Caller.

  2. wicker says:


    What I get tired of is liberals always claiming that conservatives don’t understand liberal ideas. Conservatives have studied and understand liberal ideas; they just reject them. I’ve heard plenty of Rage Against The Machine songs, and you don’t need a master’s degree in philosophy, political science or economics to understand them. Rage Against The Machine is anti-capitalist, period. This He takes Morello’s statement of opposition of “shifting revenue more radically to the one percent” and expands that to full anti-capitalism “in which individualism and self-interest become taboo” is just garbage; Morello attempting to sound mainstream for the press. Listen to their music and it is hard core revolutionary Marxism. It is infuriating to hear liberals deny that these hard core radical types aren’t exactly that … as if all of the outside the mainstream fringe types are on the right. Rage Against The Machine doesn’t even advocate European social democracy (which by the way is outside the AMERICAN mainstream of political thought). They are farther, much farther, to the left of that.

    As for collectivism does not necessarily equate to totalitarianism, show me a modern collectivist society that isn’t totalitarian. You can’t, and there is a reason for that. Collectivist states need to be totalitarian in order to A) force people who don’t want to be collectivists to be so and B) keep the people who don’t want to be collectivists from leaving for places where they can enjoy the benefits of their own talents and initiative.

    • I Miss the 90s says:

      Well, wicker maybe you should study philosophy, poli sci, and economics more.

      Morello is not anti-capitalist, he is anti-market-capitalism. If you studied more you might know that there are several variants of capitalism. As a Rage fan myself and one who does know what he is talking about, Morello and Rage are labor-capitalists. Furthermore, Modelling was the guitarist, not the lyricist of the band.

      Collectivism does not require totalitarianism. We have all sorts of collectivist policies here in the US. When we would like externalities addressed or free-riding to be discouraged we institute collectivist policies. In fact, ideas such as democracy and justice are collectivist ideas. Moreover, the entire Preamble to the Constitution is a collectivist statement.

      I think you are confusing collectivism with specific ideologies that you dislike. Those countries you are referring to, yet do not name, were founded on sound collectivist theory and taken advantage of by dictators bent on profiting personally…not collectively. Cuba, China, and the former USSR were never actually communist states. They may have call(ed) themselves such, but they are/were most definitely right-wing dictatorships. Afterall, their founders were all simply talented at exploiting the political market…like good market-capitalists like yourself. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find a more market-capitalist state than China.

      • I Miss the 90s says:

        Possible correction, China hyper-capitalist…but it may be corporate-capitalist more than market-capitalist.

    • Blake says:

      wicker, I appreciate your frustration with the frequent claim that “conservatives don’t understand liberal ideas,” which is certainly overused and frequently incorrect, but I am not talking about all conservatives: I am only talking about Jason Pye (who, unless I’m mistaken, in fact would describe himself as libertarian, not conservative).

      I am also well acquainted with Rage Against the Machine’s music, and like any other political band, you can only derive broad-stroke ideas from their lyrics, not detailed positions. There is more detailed information in Morello’s short piece for Rolling Stone (which Pye laughably calls a “long screed,” even though it is shorter than his own cursory post) than in an entire album of Rage songs. However, instead of examining Morello’s own speech–say, the Rolling Stone article which sparked his post, or anything Morello has actually said about Che Guevara–Pye uses quotations that I can’t actually source to anything Guevara said (plus selective and, to the best of my knowledge, probably distorted history about him) and throws that on Morello. Pye isn’t dealing with what Morello actually thinks; he’s dealing in a caricature.

      It ought to go without saying, but just to be perfectly clear, I am not defending Che’s (actual, not imagined) deeds here, incidentally, any more than I am defending any violent revolutionary.

      To be even more clear, I am not denying that Morello is a hard-core radical. What I am saying is that Buzz Brockway and Jason Pye do not understand his radicalism (otherwise they would not suggest that he wishes to suppress the individual or yearns for a dictatorship).

      And no, so far as I know there haven’t been any collectivist states that weren’t also totalitarian, but then again, there have been very few so-called collectivist states (and I say “so-called” because the two most prominent examples, the USSR and China, never actually had collectivist decision-making). Collectivism seems to me more to have been partly incorporated into many states governance (including the USA) rather than being the sole organizing principle for any of them, so you have on the one hand some totalitarian collectivisms and some democratic collectivisms. The only genuine collectives I can think of are not at the state level, but subunits such as the Israeli kibbutzim, and I don’t believe they forbade individual expression.

Comments are closed.