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As I have written about briefly in the past, I was an off-the-charts radical leftist as a young man.

Why? Partly because I was confused about the way the world works, partly because I was always interested in maximizing liberty, partly because I always detested establishment, ruling-class oligarchs having their way with the people.

I had an enlightening conversation with my friend Michael Savage yesterday. We both saw it the same way. While our political, moral and ideological journeys were a little different, we both came to the conclusion that our real values, what we really cared about deep in our inner beings, hadn’t changed all that much.

Are we wiser today? Sure. Have our characters changed for the better? We like to think so. But, in many ways, we haven’t changed as much as the crazy world around us.

Pete Townsend of rock group The Who wrote a song back in 1971 called “Won’t Get Fooled Again” that addressed this issue. At the time, I considered the song “counter-revolutionary.” But I had to admit, it had a great beat.

It went like this:

    We’ll be fighting in the streets
    With our children at our feet
    And the morals that they worship will be gone
    And the men who spurred us on
    Sit in judgment of all wrong
    They decide and the shotgun sings the song

    (bridge)
    I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around me
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    And I’ll get on my knees and pray
    We don’t get fooled again
    Don’t get fooled again

    Change it had to come
    We knew it all along
    We were liberated from the fall that’s all
    But the world looks just the same
    And history ain’t changed
    ‘Cause the banners, they all flown in the last war

    (bridge)

    I’ll move myself and my family aside
    If we happen to be left half alive
    I’ll get all my papers and smile at the sky
    For I know that the hypnotized never lie

    Do ya?

    (bridge)

    There’s nothing in the street
    Looks any different to me
    And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
    And the parting on the left
    Is now the parting on the right
    And the beards have all grown longer overnight

    (bridge)

    Don’t get fooled again
    No, no!

    Meet the new boss
    Same as the old boss

That’s really the story of history and revolution in a nutshell, isn’t it?

Sometimes it’s good for a while. Sometimes it’s disastrous from the start.

In fact, I can name only one purely political revolution in the history of the world that had the right idea – the American War of Independence.

It was truly based on the idea of empowering the people and limiting the scope and size of government.

And we have thrown it away. We’ve cast it aside. We’ve acted like we had a better idea when we didn’t. We empowered government in ways that would have been almost unimaginable back in the 18th century. We’ve gone backward. We let the slavemasters and the elite take over. We invited them to do it.

That’s where we are today.

And those of us who still believe in those principles of self-government for which that War of Independence was fought at great peril and sacrifice find ourselves in the unenviable position of being called revolutionaries again.

But it’s not us who changed – not all that much.

We just realized that, as Kris Kristofferson wrote in another popular song from the same era, “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”

As America rapidly succumbs to dependence once again, I’m still fine with being anti-establishment.

I guess I’ll never change until true freedom reigns.

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