Living in a New World With an Old Soul
Updated: Aug 19
By Jeffrey Tucker, American Libertarian / Epoch Times
Yes, like millions of others, I’ve been listening to Oliver Anthony’s “Rich Men North of Richmond” on repeat for days. I can't seem to get enough of it. It's a passionate cry from average people against exploitative elites, with lyrics that reach so deeply into the heart and soul that they elicit tears. The whole presentation is perfect: melody, lyrics, singer, setting, and sensibility. It’s pure magic and hits the sweet spot of our times.
I’m also feeling a great joy from seeing the song rocket from nowhere to the No. 1 most downloaded song in the English-speaking world, including the UK and Australia. It's the cry of the masses against what has been done to us.
It touches on all of the themes: inflation, welfare, substance abuse, suicide, totalitarian ambitions, the lack of representation, and even the sensitive subject of the blackmail of politicians by Jeffrey Epstein’s horrible business. For this latter point, the song is being denounced as QAnon, whatever that means.
Just as preposterous is the claim that this is about “right-wing influencers” manipulating working-class populations. That isn't it at all. Right-wing influencers don’t have the power to make a song go from nothing to No. 1, much less push four other songs by the same artist into the top 10. Mr. Anthony is suddenly higher than Taylor Swift on the charts, and the reason is simple: He's telling the truth and thus earning trust.
This song has rocked the world only a week after the song/video “Try That in a Small Town” by Jason Aldean traveled a similar trajectory, and was therefore widely denounced by the legacy media. They used all the usual smears: racist, fascist, etc. This is what they call people who simply want their lives back.
And this happened only a few weeks after the film “Sound of Freedom” pushed its way out of the censorious claws of Disney to become one of the top-earning films in the United States. Even my thoroughly "woke" local theater was showing it nonstop simply because it needed the money.
And this happened after Bud Light was dethroned as the No. 1 beer and threatened the profitability of the biggest brewer in the world, which is now being forced to sell off eight of its most popular brands just to get revenue in the door. They said none of this would work. It did work. Now, the elites are paying attention. Indeed, they're terrified. Rightly so.
Meanwhile, some of the biggest companies and financial advisors are dropping ESG [environmental, social, and governance] and DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion] from their priorities. This is in response to an investor revolt. So here, we have consumers, investors, stockholders, and probably voters, too, ready to exercise whatever power we have left to right what has been made wrong, to better the world and not allow any more of our precious freedoms to slip away.
The most salient aspect of Mr. Anthony’s song is that it names the enemy: the rich men in Washington. Anyone who has visited in recent years encounters a scene straight from “The Hunger Games.” There's no suffering in District One, but only decadence and disregard for everyone else. The last time I went there, I visited a neighborhood on Capitol Hill where I once lived and barely recognized it. Then I realized why. The buildings on Massachusetts Avenue that used to be colonial brick all had massive new marble facades in the Greek and Roman style. They built all of these while the rest of the country was falling apart.
It really is pretty simple. The riches of the ruling class are coming at the expense of the working classes, the middle class, and the poor. Reality is more awful than the dystopias of fiction. It’s a combination of “The Hunger Games,” “Brave New World,” and “1984.” And they dare to prance around on TV and get profiles in articles as if they're heroes. These are the same people who want to segregate our cities by vaccine status and involuntarily jab multitudes of people. In a country that imagines itself to be free, this is utterly unsustainable. The vaccine has caused untold amounts of harm and death. This is the shot they said would save us from a virus that turns out not to be a medically serious affliction for 99 percent of the population. As for the 1 percent of the vulnerable, we don’t really know the death rate because there has been so much bribed misclassification. It’s all a scandal for the ages, and the people are catching on.
Through this song and its wild success, we gain a vision of a true revolt that isn't just brewing but coming to full fruition in whatever way it can. The message is getting out there that this will no longer be tolerated. We don’t have to live under the yoke. We can throw it off. How precisely that ends up is hard to say, but cultural, economic, and political trends in this country are enough to send chills down the spines of the ruling classes.
The people can't take power back from the ruling class until they recognize that they must and also have a means to do so. In this case, there's a growing consciousness about the sovereignty of the people as consumers. We have dollars, even if they're declining in value. How we use them shapes industrial structures. We can send a message by driving a gripping protest song or movie to No. 1.
Just about the only way we can get through to elite circles is through the power we have as spenders and investors. Once enough people put their minds to it, we have the power to make and break empires. That realization is enough to gradually shift the weight of opinion and the use of society’s resources. Maybe if Hollywood makes enough "woke" flops, and enough independent filmmakers crash the local theaters, we can have an impact on the culture.
The final frontier of change comes through politics. Here we aren't as strong, but there are insurgent candidacies that are rattling the establishment. Here I don’t mean former President Donald Trump, and I say that with full awareness that the Democrats hate his guts. They also think they can beat him. They aren’t so sure about Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has a history of showing surprising strength among voters of all types.
Even more incredible has been the rise of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Now, here's a man and voice who utterly terrifies the Democrats, Big Pharma, Big Tech, the intelligence community, and the whole of the establishment as we know it. They want him to shut up. And now. But they're unable to accomplish this through the usual means.
Can the Democrats really ram through the nomination of the decrepit fool President Joe Biden, whom absolutely everyone knows isn't fit for office? If they do this, it could be the party’s last disaster. The system they built for themselves is fraying and weakening.
We're indeed living in a new world, but we have old souls. But I’m seeing the rise of an insurgency on all fronts. We need to make the new world the old world, and renew our souls with the salve of freedom.
Consider the Psalm read by Mr. Anthony at his Sunday farmers’ market performance:
“The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them. But the Lord laughs at the wicked for he knows their day is coming. The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. “But their swords will pierce their own hearts and their bows will be broken. Better the little that have righteousness than the wealth of many wicked. For the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster, they will not wither and in days of famine, they will have plenty. But the wicked will perish. “Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed and they will go up in smoke.”
This piece originally appeared in The Epoch Times