In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, famed country music artist Hank Williams Jr.informed the world that President Obama hates America, a topic which, he says, is explored in detail on his newest record. Based on his comments, most readers would probably conclude that Williams is right or that he's just another crazy Republican. Both answers are incorrect.
The proper conclusion to draw from the interview is this: however clever the lyrics or interesting the arrangements, political music sucks, every last note of it.That may sound like an exaggeration, but it's not. Here are just a five reasons why political music harms our country and should be avoided at all costs.
1. Musicians are usually idiots
If you value somebody's opinion, it's generally because they have demonstrated that they know what they're talking about. Very few musicians prove that they deserve our attention before they start pontificating about how to solve America's problems. After all, they become famous because they're talented guitar players or vocalists (or whatever). Then some journalist decides to ask them how they feel about an issue or a candidate, or they take it upon themselves to get involved in a political debate. They have no experience in politics and no training in any relevant field. Or as shock rocker Alice Cooper put it, famous musicians are where they are "Because we're morons. We sleep all day, we play music at night and very rarely do we sit around reading the Washington Journal."
2. Musicians reinforce political stereotypes
The Tea Party has had a difficult time shaking the racism label so many of its critics have attached to the movement. Indeed, the argument has been raging since the Tea Party's inception in 2009. So when Hank Williams Jr. identifies with the movement and then accuses our first black president of hating the country, he doesn't do himself or his cause any good; he just gives ammunition to his critics. And instead of talking about the important issues the Tea Party has brought to the forefront of the political discourse, everybody is talking about how much of an idiot Hank Williams Jr. is. This has been a problem for conservatives in past years thanks to the "insightful" comments of artists such as Toby Keith, Ted Nugent and Yngwie Malmsteen. Of course, if the these folks would stick to guitar solos and songs about their pickup trucks, the problem described above would go away entirely.
3. Musicians get people involved for the wrong reasons
Many voters in this country are horribly uninformed. They can't identify major presidential candidates like Mitt Romney and they know nothing about important political issues, yet they still vote, often because they're encouraged to by their favorite artists. This point applies to all voters, but it's especially true of millennials. Getting more people informed and involved in politics is undeniably a good thing. But getting more people voting and campaigning for causes before they have a clue what they're talking about is dangerous. As economist Brian Caplan points out, uninformed voters often enact all sorts of stupid policies, which we are paying the price for right now.
4. Musicians are freaking hypocrites
Sometimes celebrity hypocrisy is just funny, like when Kanye West, a millionaire rapper, shows up at an Occupy Wall Street rally. But in some instances the hypocrisy is downright irritating. Until System of a Down quits selling their albums on iTunes, I absolutely refuse to listen to their complaints about capitalism. And this standard applies to every leftist musician who has made a killing working in one of the greediest industries that has ever existed.
5. The Right Brothers
If this song doesn't convince you that political music sucks, I'm not sure what will.