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Steppenwolf – Monster

This was my favorite song when I was a teenager in high school.

Steppenwolf was definitely my favorite group.

It played a seminal influence in shaping my ideological world view.

I finally got to see Steppenwolf perform live in a little club in Tulsa in the late 1980s.

I was never much of a person to go to concerts or live performances so this was significant.

I loved its brutally frank recitation of history and the powerful indictment of the divisiveness fostered by statism it described, yet the central thrust was optimistic and libertarian (long before I knew the meaning of the term or concept of libertarianism).

That would come in November of 1970.

The song still captures my ideological world view perhaps better than anything else.

Presidential candidate Edward Clark at the 1979 Libertarian Party National Convention in Los Angeles made the concise statement below which also summarizes exactly what Monster was driving at in outlining what was crucially distinct about the founding of the American Republic:

Freedom is the genius of American civilization. Other great nations have been born in conquest. Ours began with the Declaration of Independence, and the enshrining of the idea of the Natural Rights of Man. It was founded, not on the power of the State, but on the liberty of the individual. That principle of individual liberty has had its good days and its bad days in the United States, and it’s been denied to many groups of people for far too long. But the ideal has always survived. It is our answer, and our hope.

Despite all their hits this song alone qualifies Steppenwolf & John Kay to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

This is one of the strongest political statements ever made in rock — and it’s incredibly prophetic.

Steppenwolf – Monster

‘Monster’. From the album ‘ Steppenwolf – Live’

I had both albums and loved each version.

The song came out in 1968.

 

Once the religious, the hunted and weary
Chasing the promise of freedom and hope
Came to this country to build a new vision
Far from the reaches of Kingdom and pope

Like good Christians some would burn the witches
Later some got slaves to gather riches

But still from near and far to seek America
They came by thousands, to court the wild
But she just patiently smiled and bore a child
To be their spirit and guiding light

And once the ties with the crown had been broken
Westward in saddle and wagon it went
And till the railroad linked ocean to ocean
Many the lives which had come to an end

While we bullied, stole and bought a homeland
We began the slaughter of the red man

But still from near and far to seek America
They came by thousands to court the wild
But she just patiently smiled and bore a child
To be their spirit and guiding light

The Blue and Grey they stomped it
They kicked it just like a dog
And when the war was over
They stuffed it just like a hog

And though the past has its share of injustice
Kind was the spirit in many a way
But its protectors and friends have been sleeping
Now it’s a monster and will not obey

The spirit was freedom and justice
And its keepers seemed generous and kind
Its leaders were supposed to serve the country
But now they won’t pay it no mind
Cause the people grew fat and got lazy
Now their vote is a meaningless joke
They babble about law and order
But it’s all just an echo of what they’ve been told

Yeah, there’s a monster on the loose
It’s got our heads into the noose
And it just sits there watchin’

The cities have turned into jungles
And corruption is stranglin’ the land
The police force is watching the people
And the people just can’t understand
We don’t know how to mind our own business
‘Cause the whole world’s got to be just like us
Now we are fighting a war over there
No matter who’s the winner we can’t pay the cost

‘Cause there’s a monster on the loose
It’s got our heads into the noose
And it just sits there watchin’

America, where are you now
Don’t you care about your sons and daughters
Don’t you know we need you now
We can’t fight alone against the monster
America, where are you now
Don’t you care about your sons and daughters
Don’t you know we need you now
We can’t fight alone against the monster

America…America…America…America…

2:14 am on October 3, 2019