The Birds, The Bees, & The Monkees
1968 | Rock
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“Throughout the night they fashioned their might, with right on the side of the mighty. -- They puzzled their minds plan upon plan, man upon man and at dying of dawn the great war began.”
- The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees is the fifth studio album by the Monkees and was the first Monkees album not to reach #1 on Billboard, peaking at #3.
- The song was featured in the final episode (The Frodis Caper) of season 2 of their television series.
- The song was written by Bill and John Chadwick.
- The mix for the album and show were different.
THE HOT TAKES
The irresistable buildup to war. The embarrassed kings who have no soldiers to fight for them. It's worth mentioning here that I dearly enjoyed The Monkees TV show when I was much younger. I haven't watched it in a very long time, but I suspect it would still have some effect on me. Zor and Zam illustrates something that is so often forgotten: Wars are orchestrated by people who risk nothing. The warmakers sit safely and comfortably, plotting their objectives. The men and women who fight are often killed or dismembered. Those who avoid that fate are never the same psychologically. War only destroys. This is something that can never be repeated enough times. So imagine, for a moment, a war where everyone refused to participate. The warmakers lose all their power, and the people retain theirs. What a marvelous vision.
This storybook song has one of the most important and powerful lessons that anyone can learn. Power needs participation. Those in power, who carry out the wars, and the injustices, and the oppressions, need our participation. My greatest dream would be that all people would realize this and divorce themselves from the systems of the political elite. I’m often told that we have to use the system to gain freedom. I wish it were that simple. If that were true though, it would have been done by now, but it hasn’t because it can’t. That belief is predicated on the idea that we are not already free and need the system to make us so. When really the problem is that we keep choosing the system instead of choosing to live our freedoms. I know it seems counterintuitive and we want to use the little powers the system grants us in order to do good things, but those little powers are bribes meant to keep you trapped. The system is set up for the maintenance of power. If we could only be brave enough to not show up for the powerful. If we would all just turn our backs, not join up or join in, what a different world we would live in. The last verse of the song is the desire I hold in my heart for mankind, but then, I’m an idealist.
“They met on the battlefield banner in hand./They looked out across the vacant land./And they counted the missing, one upon one,/None upon none./The war it was over before it begun.”
I think this is truly where libertarian thinking truly yields it’s real value. The voluntaryist position on everything is to walk away. Refuse to participate. There are certain ways in which I see this as useful though I think ignoring people with guns telling you not to do things is perhaps not a wise decision. For the opt out to be truly effective the movement needs to large enough to prevent naked reprisal. That’s the hardest part for me with the hard-core voluntaryist position. At a certain point it has to transfer from refusal to legitimize an imaginary authority to seeking liberation from very real assailants. Where is that line? I’m sure in theory everyone’s line is a little different, but surely there is a point that this transfer happens. I’m certainly not advocating for initiating aggression but I want to raise the question. What can be done to avoid getting shot when the police show up to drag me away at gunpoint for agonist activity. This is not imaginary authority at play this is a very real threat of violence. I’d argue that the threat of violence undergirds all of the “authority.” Is there a way to be principled while still act in self preservation while advocating and educating?