Circle Jerks – Red Tape

Not every protest song must call for more government involvement to rectify a problem. If taken literally, this punk classic wants government out of the way, taxes included, because it is wasting our time, not serving much purpose and “killing you, killing me.” The anti-statist message could be anarchic, or even conservative/classically liberal (though including the word “bourgeoisie” adds an incongruous whiff of Marxism).

“Red tape” usually refers to government regulations and procedures that restrict personal freedom, or at least, make it harder to do business. Standing in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles is red tape, and a bore. More seriously, years of bureaucratic hoops and hurdles to officially start a business can impact economic development in poor countries, as argued by Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto. At the same time, government sometimes necessarily adds hassle to ensure impartiality and fairness in the application of laws and regulations to citizens. Nonetheless, promising to “cut red tape” is a common political campaign promise the world over.

In keeping with the theme of efficiency, this Circle Jerks song, considered key to the hardcore punk canon, is from their debut album in 1980; it includes 13 other songs, collectively totaling just over 15 minutes!


3 thoughts on “Circle Jerks – Red Tape

  1. You could do an entire blog just on political lyrics in punk rock alone. If you haven’t checked out the Subhumans epic16 minute 80’s political-punk statement par excellence, “From The Cradle To The Grave” you might want to. It ranks with the best of any political music of any era or genre. Plus the musicianship is top notch, not just flailing.

  2. Thanks for reading and commenting. You are right, this blog could focus on punk alone. I will check out the Subhumans. There is a legendary punk band of the same name from Vancouver Canada, too.

  3. Pingback: Donovan – Rules and Regulations | Political Tunes

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