Songs and limericks about Liberty

[Created November 18, 2010]
[Updated June 13, 2011]

 

I have gathered here a few songs and limericks I have written about liberty. I hope you find them amusing.

About Frédéric Bastiat

There once was an arch anti-statist,
Who thought the state's dangers were greatest,
When those whom it favoured,
Oppressed those whom it fettered,
With statutes that made them the strongest.

There once was a critic of tariffs,
Who argued restrictions are rip offs,
Consumers are plundered,
Trade rivals are hindered,
And commerce in all quarters drops off.

 

“Freddie and the Free Traders” - a retro-50s Rock N’ Roll Band

I proposed that we form a retro-50s rock n' roll band who would do cover versions of famous songs about liberty:

  • “I can’t get no Liberation” (to the tune of the Rolling Stones “I can’t get no satisfaction”)
  • “Laissez-faire” (to the tune of the Beatles’ “Let it Be”) [see below for the lyrics]
  • “Stairway to Freedom” (to the tune of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”)
  • “Crazy little thing called trade” (to the tune of Freddie Mercury and Queen’s “Crazy little thing called love”)
“Freddie and the Free Traders” singing
“Crazy little thing called trade”

 

 

A Song in Honour of the Great Austrian Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973):

"Laissez-faire" (to the tune of the Beatles' song "Let it Be"):

LET IT BE

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

And when the brokenhearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be

For though they may be parted
There is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Yeah, there will be an answer let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be

I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Yeah, let it be, let it be
Let it be, yeah, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

LAISSEZ FAIRE

When I find myself in times of trouble
Ludwig Mises comes to me
Speaking words of freedom, laissez faire

And in my hour of darkness
He is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of freedom, laissez faire

Laissez faire, laissez faire
Laissez faire, laissez faire
Whisper words of freedom
Laissez faire

And when the regulated people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, laissez faire

For though they may be ruined
There is still a chance that the'll be free
There will be an answer, laissez faire

Laissez faire, laissez faire
Laissez faire, laissez faire
Yeah, there will be an answer laissez faire

Laissez faire, laissez faire
Laissez faire, laissez faire
Whisper words of freedom
Laissez faire

Laissez faire, laissez faire
Laissez faire, yeah, laissez faire
Whisper words of freedom
Laissez faire

And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine on until tomorrow, laissez faire

I wake up to the sound of freedom
Ludwig Mises comes to me
Speaking words of freedom, laissez faire

Yeah, laissez faire, laissez faire
Laissez faire, yeah, laissez faire
There will be an answer, laissez faire

Laissez faire, laissez faire
Laissez faire, yeah, laissez faire
Whisper words of freedom
Laissez faire

This one is not by me but very clever:

4. Patriotic Songs which invoke God
[Date, 2010]
The publication in the Atlantic Monthly of Julia Ward Howe's "Battle Hymn of the Republic" (1862)
A cartoon in Life, Feb. 1901 of Mark Twain as "The American Lion of St. Marks" scattering the American imperialists. In the same month MT wrote an "updated" version of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" to take into account the American war in the Philippines.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on."

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is Wisdom to the mighty, He is Succour to the brave,
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of Time His slave,
Our God is marching on.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the launching of the Sword;
He is searching out the hoardings where the stranger’s wealth is stored;
He hath loosed his fateful lightnings, and with woe and death has scored:
His lust is marching on.

I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded him an altar in the Eastern dews and damps;
I have read his doomful mission by the dim and flaring lamps—
His night is marching on.

I have read his bandit gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my pretensions, so with you my wrath shall deal;
Let the faithless son of Freedom crush the patriot with his heel;
Lo, Greed is marching on!"

We have legalized the strumpet and are guarding her retreat;*
Greed is seeking out commercial souls before his judgement seat;
O, be swift, ye clods, to answer him! be jubilant my feet!
Our god is marching on!

In a sordid slime harmonious Greed was born in yonder ditch,
With a longing in his bosom—and for others' goods an itch.
As Christ died to make men holy, let men die to make us rich—
Our god is marching on.

* NOTE: In Manila the Government has placed a certain industry under the protection of our flag. (M.T.)

Observations on patriotic songs which assert that "god is on our side": It is a truism that all countries claim that they are God's chosen people, that they alone have been especially blessed with his favour; that their leaders have special access to God and therefore know his will; and that all those who fight in their country's cause do so knowing that justice and goodness are on their side. An obvious contradiction occurs when both sides to a conflict assert the same thing. Either one or both of them have to be wrong. A particularly glaring example of this occured during the American Civil War when the Union forces went so far as to put the slogan that "In God We Trust" on their coinage and individuals like Howe wrote appalling lyrics like the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" which was quickly adopted by the Union soldiers and is still sung with gusto by Americans today. The sad thing is that the tune was taken from an admirable abolitionist song, "John Brown's Body", and used for other less noble purposes. The Confederate forces did likewise by using the phrase "Deo invice" (With God as our champion) on their great seal - also done in 1862. In 1901 Mark Twain had become increasingly critical of the American invasion of the Philippines (a Catholic nation under the Spanish). What had been touted as a "war of liberation" of the Philippine people had turned quickly into a standard European-style conquest of a would-be colony with Protestant American boys killing Catholic Philippino resistance fighters leaving hundreds of thousands dead. So he felt it was time to update Howe's patriotic song with some new lyrics better suited to the new century. Note his condemnation of the Americans as "faithless son(s) of Freedom" and that he retains some of the original, namely the refrain "Our god is marching on" (admittedly in lower not upper case this time around). Twain's reworking of the hymn should be compared to his equally devastating "The War Prayer" (1905) in which he shows that the opposite side of the coin to praying to God for swift and glorious victory for one side is the eqaully swift though inglorious death and suffering of the defeated enemy. Praying for victory for oneself implies praying for the death and suffering for others - but this is never mentioned in polite company.