Today was a day for patriotism, and Tocqueville describes two kinds. One is the natural love humans develop for the place and polity they were raised in, for its folkways and so forth. The second is a more reflective patriotism that, aided by enlightenment rationality, grows with the exercise of rights . . . and intermingles in a way with personal interest. In the 1830s, European nations had only a fading version of the first, whereas the U.S.A. had developed the second to new heights, and had the first as well.
On many conservative websites today, were asked to reflect upon the genius of the founders, and the truth of the principles they built our regime upon. Rightly asked, if you ask me. Slightly more than Peter Lawler does, I endorse founderism, especially of the Claremont/West-Coast Straussian variety. Yes, there is ultimately more to the American story, as my love of Lawlers, McWilliamss, and Tocquevilles thought indicates, but I fail to see how popular founderism can really be bad for us. True, it cannot save our regime by itself. But I dont think it can become as dogmatic (in a libertarian or Rawlsian way) as some persons (like Patrick Deneen) fear.
But enough about our reflective patriotism. A key element of our organic patriotism is musical, and allow me to suggest it ought to involve a hearty contempt for sluggish self-important Rock in favor of the humbler pleasures of American Music. By my Martha Bayles-ian way of thinking, all American Music is to some degree Afro-American Music, whether it comes out of New Orleans or Nashville, Tin Pan Alley or Azusa Street. It is not slave music as those who have read too much German philosophy might suggest, but is rooted in various conflicted mixtures, the most important of which is the African/American world the slaves made mixing with the burdened-with-freedom world of Main Street. Rock, by contrast, comes out of the British, and sometimes American, middle classes. It comes out of higher education gone flat, out of the aristocratic floundering around in a world gone democratic.
But jabber, jabber, jabber, the proof is in the pudding. Let the battles begin!
(I wont bother to link to the more well-known Rock numbers, and do pump up the volume to do basic justice to the Basie and Armstrong numbers.)
Round 1: Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit v. Carl Perkins, Boppin the Blues
Round 2: Rush, 2112 Overture/Priests of Xyrinx v. CCR, Down on the Corner
Round 3: Joy Division, Disorder v. Dorothy Love Coates, Get away, Jordan
Round 4: Van Halen, Runnin with the Devil v. Hacienda Brothers, Light It Again Charlie
Round 5: Barry McGuire, Eve of Destruction v. Mike Fern, A-Bomb Bop
Round 6: The Damned, Neat Neat Neat v. Clifton Chenier, Tighten Up Zydeco
Round 7: David Bowie, Heroes v. Brother Joe May, Move on up a Little Higher
Round 8: Jimi Hendrix, Foxy Lady v. Hank Williams, Hey Good Lookin
Round 9: Alice Cooper, Schools out for Summer v. Huelyn Duvall, Three Months to Kill
Round 10: Bauhaus, Bela Lugosis Dead v. Louis Armstrong, St. James Infirmary
Round 11: Titus Andronicus, State of the Union v. The Beatles, Boys
Round 12: Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb v. Count Basie w/Jimmy Rushing, Good Morning Blues
Round 13: Led Zeppelin, Whole Lotta Love v. Muddy Waters, I Just Want to Make Love to You
Round 14: Ozzy Osborne, Crazy Train v. Duke Ellington, Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue
Round 15: Led Zeppelin, Kashmir v. Chuck Berry, Back in the U.S.A.
Oh my, its nuthin but a slaughter! Even picking some of Rocks most popular and proudest moments, and sometimes pitting these against fairly obscure or even B-league American Music ones (e.g., Mike Fern), there just isnt a single British-in-spirit contender left standing! Oh, maybe a few of you have a soft spot for Kashmir or Heroes, or maybe Neat Neat Neat is close enough to rock and roll for you to foolishly prefer it to Cheniers zydeco, but even so, thats 12-to-3 at best!
No, rock n roll should never be what we most proudly hail here in the U.S.A., but its still worth being patriotic about, and it can still deliver us from the days of old, which for us happen to musically be 1968-the present! So, heres hopin yall had a happy hamburgers sizzle on an open grill night and day . . . records jumpin on the jukebox back in the U.S.A. Fourth of July.
P.S. John, follow the youtube link in Round 1 to some NRBQ!