“Don’t believe the church and state And everything they tell you”
“There’s a gun and ammunition Just inside the doorway Use it only in emergency”
“Never hint at what you really feel Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters Will rise up and fight while we stand still.”
Song is written by Mike Rutherford & B. A. Robinson, Rutherford of Genesis fame.
The haunting vocal performance is by Paul Carrack of Ace & Squeeze.
There is an interesting & synth-tastic version performed by The Protomen. That sounds mesmerizingly more 80’s than the original.
A pretty popular song, it reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March, 1986.
The Hot Takes
This song does way more than most other songs would dare to do. It tells us to be wary of the church and state. It encourages guns for self-defense. It even urges us to feign allegiance and raise wiser children, who will be able to change the future in ways we failed to do ourselves. Better yet, it does all of this with an ethereal, futuristic vibe.
I think Sherry covered a lot of this really well already so what in the hell do I have to offer? Prior to this moment, I have never paid attention to the lyrics of the song. I just got lost in Carrack’s voice. I’ll go wherever that voice tells me to go. I think she covered the actual meaning of the song well, so I want to muse on the context. This is unquestioningly a pop song, a pop song that cracked the top ten of Billboard just over 30 years ago.
Think about that. A song that openly advocated the violence of a gun to protect yourself from a corrupt evil government. A song that asked its protagonist to at all costs protect the children’s minds from the state. A state which will try to teach them to love it. Say the words but never give it your heart. Look at where those 30 years have brought us. I think more people should have listened to those words. I wish I had, could have opened my eyes sooner. I think there is a sadness that perhaps the people who got the message are the very ones we didn’t want to. But I’ll not taint a beautiful message with the failure of reality to line up the way we desire.
This may be the first song I ever remember thinking intently about what it meant. I was eight years old when it was released, and thirty-four years later, it still sparks my imagination, although, now I have a greater understanding and appreciation for the message. It portrays a conflict between two factions. The music is dramatic, and the lyrics mirror this from the very beginning when the speaker is giving directions to someone to hide with children in the cellar because there is fighting nearby.
The wicked marriage between Church and State makes its appearance in this first verse, making clear who the players are. Later in the song, the speaker tells them to pledge allegiance to whatever flag is offered and to never reveal their true feelings. These words resonate with me, as I’m sure they do with many libertarians who reject the sacred objects of The State and refuse to pledge our allegiance to that murderous institution of authoritarian rule. There are instances today of people being harassed or even assaulted because they refuse to worship the idols of the State. The lyrics seem to hint at a more terrible fate for the characters if they dare to reject the idols. The chorus of the song asks if the speaker is heard, is he getting through?
I often wonder the same as a libertarian: are we getting through to them? Do they understand our acts of protest, our “running” from the destructive forces? Sometimes it’s as if we speak a different language. This is why it is important to learn to talk to people in terms they understand in order to try to cut the malaise of indoctrination. As a homeschooler, the line “teach the children quietly for someday sons and daughters, will rise up and fight while we stand still,” is inspiring. I seek to give my children the most dangerous weapon against any authoritarian regime: a dangerous mind.
Every tyrannical power seeks to “educate” children, and none of them will ever teach those children what they need in order to overthrow that power. Like Roland Deschain, from King’s “Dark Tower” series says, “I do not shoot with my hand; he who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father. I shoot with my mind.” Forge your minds and the minds of your children into weapons against tyranny, which is the first thing step to fighting it.