Utah Phillips

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Now that I’m agreeing with Jesse Walker, I will say I also agree on Utah Phillips, RIP. A great artist of a left-anarchist bent, he had an Old Right streak:

I have studied the presidency carefully; I have seen that our best presidents were the do-nothing presidents: Millard Fillmore, Warren G. Harding. When you have a president who does things, we are all in serious trouble. If he does anything at all — if he gets up at night to go to the bathroom — somehow, mystically, trouble will ensue. I guarantee that if I am elected, I will take over the White House, hang out, shoot pool, scratch my ass, and not do a damn thing. Which is to say, if you want something done, don’t come to me to do it for you; you got to get together and figure out how to do it yourselves. Is that a deal?

And I love his song “Anarchy” (I can’t find the lyrics or youtube) which is a tribute to Ammon Hennacy, a “Catholic, anarchist, pacifist, draft dodger of two World Wars, tax refuser, vegetarian and one-man Revolution in America.” Whenever I heard that line, I thought of Hennessy as a sort of proto-left Rockwellian. If not quite that, and if not a Rothbardian, the Hennacy-inspired Phillips was at least a good guy, and a decent anarchist, one who did not buy into some of the severe problems that inflict the intellectual foundations of many others who so label themselves. As my good friend Nicole said, Utah was the first anarchist she was aware of that seemed to actually think things through (before she learned of the Spooner-Rothbard tradition). Rest in Peace, Utah.

1:17 pm on May 27, 2008