The Corner

Bang Your Head Against a Wall

A reader has spotted a pretty big error in Michael T. Spencer’s “scholarly” article on my list of conservative rock songs. (My reply is here.) On the original list, “Don’t Tread on Me” by Metallica is the #9 song, with this explanation:

A head-banging tribute to the doctrine of peace through strength, written in response to the first Gulf War: “So be it / Threaten no more / To secure peace is to prepare for war.”

Spencer argues that “Don’t Tread on Me” couldn’t possibly be about the Gulf War. “The song cannot respond to the Gulf War as it was written well before the conflict … the song was released in the same month as the Gulf War began (August 1991), it is well known that Metallica spent almost a year and a half recording the album.”

Hey Spencer: It is well known that the Gulf War was over by August 1991. It began when Saddam invaded Kuwait in August 1990. Most of the fighting in Operation Desert Storm took place in January and February 1991. According to Wikipedia, Metallica was recording the album that includes “Don’t Tread on Me” during this period.

So much for peer review and fact checking!

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.


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