Libertarianism Goes Hip Hop

Last week, I discovered a new rap artist named Tahir Jahi had recorded and released a song called “Man Make Da Money” on his MySpace page. No, this isn’t another “bling-bling” materialistic tune – though those can be good, too – but a rap song critical of…the Federal Reserve?

You bet! Jahi heaps scorn upon the president under whom the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was passed, Woodrow Wilson, and bemoans the transition from sound money to government fiat currency. Here are some lyrics of interest:

If you don’t know where this nation is headed
our nation is controlled by a system of credit

Woodrow Wilson is the one you can thank
birthed the Federal Reserve a privately owned bank

Each dollar bill includes interest from lender
got rid of gold, paper is legal tender

No Constution, will use our little clause
control the nation’s money who cares about its laws

Jahi is not the only rap artist to criticize America’s central bank, either. The much more well-known Prodigy, of the legendary hip-hop group Mobb Deep, also voiced his opposition to the Fed and support for Republican presidential candidate and anti-Fed crusader Ron Paul. Now Prodigy’s in jail on weapons charges.

But anti-Fed expression in media goes beyond the world of hip hop and of music in general. Last year’s Mad Money – the movie; not to be confused with the CNBC show hosted by mad inflationist Jim Cramer – was, in the opinion of radical free-market economist Doug French, an anti-Fed film. Here’s what he said in an article written for LewRockwell.com, the most widely read libertarian site on the Internet:

Heroically, Mad Money portrays the higher-ups at the KC Fed as pompous and clueless, while normal entrepreneur Junior (Mathew Greer), owner of Junior’s Blues BBQ joint where the three ladies meet to hatch their plans over Budweiser and peanuts, is the sharpest guy in the movie.

It’s about time us hard-money folks had an anti-Federal Reserve movie to enjoy. I’m with Lew, “May this be only the first of a string of anti-Fed movies.”

And finally, there is a new novel out: The Flight of the Barbarous Relic. I was sent a promotional copy of this book, and I haven’t been able to put it down. It tells the story of a free-market, gold-standard-loving economist who “sells out” and becomes Fed chairman, much like Alan Greenspan. The difference is, this fictional Fed head plots the destruction of the fiat-money based monetary system. The novel is a suspense thriller that deals with the government’s efforts to thwart a return to sound money and explains why a fiat-money system is good for only one class of people: those in power. I haven’t finished the book yet, but so far, I’ve found it enormously entertaining, and I highly recommend it.

Mainstream economists like to pretend that monetary theory is something only they care about. They’re deluding themselves, though. There is a growing awareness of the damage caused by the Federal Reserve System among the general public, and Ron Paul’s historic presidential campaign – largely fueled by anti-Fed, pro-free market rhetoric – showed this. Now, these pop-culture anti-Fed works are driving the point home. When will anti-Fed beliefs reach critical mass, and how will the government react when they do? The Flight of the Barbarous Relic offers some insights into this question.

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