Trust me, the economy will stabilize. We’ll all (including the Third World) be the poorer for it. And we’ll drive around (if we get to drive at all) in paper-thin peddle-cars that struggle to reach 50 mph. I might be forced to take the light rail after all.
Back in college I was an avid fan of Rush, the Canadian progressive rock trio. The early ‘80s were what I dubbed Rush’s “middle period,” i.e. when their musical style transitioned from long, rambling epics like “Xanadu” to more compact but no less adventurous songs. On Permanent Waves drummer Neil Peart’s Objectivist philosophy came into clear view, especially in the preachy “Freewill.” The follow-up album, Moving Pictures, presented Randian themes in more subtle, metaphorical images. “Tom Sawyer” finds in the spirit of a restless teenager the embodiment of individual anarchism. “Witch Hunt (Fear, Part II)” alludes to ecclesiastical abuse but is open-ended enough to suggest political tyranny as well. But the crown-jewel of Moving Pictures is “Red Barchetta,” possibly the best song in the entire Rush repertoire.
My uncle has a country place“Red Barchetta” tells the story of a youth who escapes to the countryside home of an uncle who keeps a restored, gasoline-powered Barchetta in a barn. He describes stripping away the protective covering and taking the sports car for an exhilarating spin through the country – until he meets up with the police in the form of a “gleaming alloy air-car, two lanes wide.” A one-lane bridge allows the young man to escape and return safely to his uncle’s home. Musically, this song pushes the pistons with every note.
That no one knows about
He says it used to be a farm
Before the Motor Law
And on Sundays I elude the eyes
And hop the Turbine Freight
To far outside the Wire
Where my white-haired uncle waits
The illegality of the event heightens the story’s tension and the euphoria of freedom. Had the boy been without the Barchetta’s horsepower he would no doubt have met with some grim fate at the hands of the State. The repressive circumstances of the story are set in the first verse, quoted above. “No one knows” about the uncle’s hidden place. That it “used to be a farm, before the Motor Law,” suggests the State outlawed both rural property use and certain forms of motor vehicle transport – methods of constraining and controlling populations. Eluding “the eyes,” the youth has to hobo as a means of getting beyond the State’s borders.
Clearly, the protagonist of this song lives in a totalitarian State, where freedom of movement and method of movement are restricted.
Can’t happen here? Test drive an Insight.