“Only a Fool Would Say That” (Steely Dan)

A modern-day gunslinger in a Stetson (LBJ?) announces that with his weapon he can produce “a world become one” “where all is free.” Hard-working, everyday Joes feel the pull of this tuneful argument: after all, who wants to be told the opposite—that the world will always remain divided against itself, and that freedom cannot be universalized? And it seems quite reasonable that some old-fashioned “murder,” liberally distributed, would do the globe a lot of good, and at least move things in the right direction. From Korea and Vietnam to 21st century drone strikes, a certain idealism makes “fools” (and not holy ones, but just plain ordinary fools) of us all.


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