Marvin Gaye, Libertarian


Ta-Nehisi Coates has written this week's best piece of tongue-in-cheek music criticism:

I noticed that Marvin's politics were marked by a strong aversion to taxes ("natural fact is/Honey, that I can't pay my taxes" and "There's only three things that's for sure, taxes, death and trouble"), a disdain for foreign occupation ("Father, father we don't need to escalate"), and a strong belief in the right to privacy ("I want to get it on/You don't have to worry that it's wrong" or "There's nothing wrong with love/If you want good loving, just let yourself go").

Indeed there is way of listening to "Let's Get It On" as anthem for gay–or interracial–marriage. I mean think about lyrics like, "There's nothing wrong with me loving you/Giving yourself to me could never wrong, if the love is true." Give a good listen to "Right On" which has an almost laissez-faire acceptance of the natural order of things ("Some of us born with money to spend/Some of us were born with races to win/Some of us are aware that is good for us to care/Some of us feel the icy wind of poverty in the air"). At the end, Marvin addresses those who live "where peace is craved," those who "live a life surround by good fortune and wealth," those who are simply "enjoying ourselves" and those who "got crowned in the sea of happiness," with a simple "right on." Or think of the title cut to Trouble Man where Marvin says that "I come up hard, but that's OK/Trouble man, don't get in my way" or "I come up hard, but never cruel/I didn't make it sugar, playing by the rules." The song is clearly a meditation on the limits of the state and the power of individual will.

Speaking of tongue-in-cheek criticism: I submit, without comment, Brad Hicks' outline of Ayn Rand's unfinished novel, Atlas Shrugged 2: Shrug Harder.