Henry Rollins: 'America Is Investing in Crime and War'

"Government is us, if it sucks, then you suck," the singer adds.

Ultimate Guitar

Henry Rollins recently touched on several serious issues, elaborating his stance on the US government, economy and education system. And as the singer put it, "America is investing in crime and war."

Henry was initially asked by Alternative Nation to comment on the state of American economy and whether the US government has a chance to "pull through with their debt."

"America is full of money," Rollins kicked off. "There are a few people that are really rich and they don't do anything with their money. Billions of dollars sit still. Everyone else is told to suck it up and work harder and harder. Hey, have at it; keep voting for those who want to abolish the minimum wage. We'll see how that treats you. People often vote for the politicians whose policies disadvantage them. Again, if that's what you want, then go for it.

"There are some people who will have a hard time and there are others who will never be affected," the vocalist continued. "The American government is the people; it's not some alien body like the tea party wants you to think. It's not the enemy, it's us. If it 'sucks' then you suck, so improve it or be happy that you suck. Many Americans need to grow up and put their shoulder into it."

Switching to the topic of education, Henry commented: "I think America is investing in crime and war. Teach to the test, don't allow young people to learn to use their minds and you will quickly have millions of people who will fight for sh-tty jobs, be eager to go to war and haul their a-ses into new mega prisons.

"You want a country that is impervious to invasion and destruction from outside, you make it strong on the inside. Read Lincoln's speech from January 1838, the 'Speech to the Young Men’ s Lyceum.' Tells you all you need to know," Henry added, along with the following link. "How do you do that, you educate your people. If they are stupid, they will do stupid things. You might want to think about what kind of country you want to live in. It starts with you."

Asked about Obamacare and US healthcare in general, Rollins replied: "ACA will be fine. That's why the Republicans are so twisted up about it. If it was going to fail, they would let it. But it's not and so they are in a tizzy. If more of the states would do their share of the work, there would not be such a strain on the Federal website. This too will be overcome. Republicans fear equality. It will disturb their cash flow and great advantage. It's coming to an end and they are not happy. Oh well."

Finally, the singer discussed his hard-hitting personality and skills he had learned throughout his career, adding, "I don't have any skill really. I have tenacity and a lot of anger. I am an angry person. I don't want to hit anyone or anything. I want to do things. I want to go. I want to know. I want to do something all the way, finish it and then run at something else and do it and go from there. It's not about money or fame, it's about kicking a-s and getting onto the next thing. That's it."

101 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Mr Winters
    "People often vote for the politicians whose policies disadvantage them" And that's why here in Spain we have a government that's slowly turning into Franco 2.0 Idiots keep voting them.
    Back in the day I partied in Spain, (Ibiza) beautiful country. good times for sure. But trying to get a US citizen a work visa over there is next to impossible.. what is up with that Spanish Tax ID number??? its impossible to get I swear.
    Same here in Latvia, man. More than half of the population was against Euro, and yet they introduced it on the 1st of January. Just because idiots vote for idiots.
    Same here in Portugal, my friend. It's always the same 2/3 parties in the government, and people still wonder why things don't change...
    i'm surprised UG doesn't post more henry rollins related stuff. he's always coming out with top opinions like this
    "There's billions of dollars sitting still" And therein, for what little I know, is the problem. I am by no means economically minded, but I'm fairly sure that an economic system only works when the money is always changing hands. Yes, there's millions of dollars changing hands every day, but when that's a smaller percentage of the total cash, then it's not gonna work
    Just because one doesn't see the wealthiest Americans spending their money on goods doesn't mean it's not being used. Lots of these people's money are in investments, stocks, bonds, and business. Saving money is very important for an economy. If you're interested in becoming more economically minded, I recommend reading Bastiat's What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen or Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson.
    There's a huge difference between saving and hoarding. When the wealthiest 20% own 90% of all stocks, there's a serious problem. Like Romney, they make most of their money this way, and get taxed at the capital gains rate, which is 15%. They also stash money in offshore tax havens, pay expert lawyers to evade as many taxes as possible, and lobby the government so their businesses can have so many tax loopholes, some pay no taxes at all, like GE.
    Also check out "the wealth of nations" and "moral sentiments" by Adam Smith also Frederick Hayek's the road to serfdom.
    "I am by no means economically minded". Should've stopped right there then.
    That's simply a disclaimer stating I apologise in advance if I'm wrong. But it seems I'm right, so yeah, good one
    Love this guy. Gotta be honest Black Flag isn't really for me, but his comedy and writing is truly great.
    I feel the same way. I am not a Black Flag or Henry Rollins band fan, despite THPS3's best efforts. Every time I hear him speak his mind or interview someone I like what he says.
    the only thing thats really comedic about him is the fact he's still trying to stay relevant by spouting edgy anti-government bullshit that the 14 year old masses on here agree with.
    sorry but thats bullshit, if you have political insight once, then how do you lose it? You'd still be able to see whats really going on, just like this guy. then again maybe he is trying to cling on a bit, doesnt mean he's wrong at all
    Flying Afros
    Check out Damaged. It's the record that really first got me interested in Black Flag, and hardcore in general.
    "It's not the enemy, it's us. If it 'sucks' then you suck" Not sure how I feel about it. It's not really like an extension of the people, more like a drowning person that drags you with them. Programs are paid by tax money from the citizens but it's not like people have a choice whether or not to be charged. And voting is usually just picking the guy who sucks least, which isn't helpful at all.
    I didnt fully agree with that statement either, Im finding that many politicians are in it to empower themselves and their interests more often than not are destroying the other parties/politicians, not getting bills passed that make life easier. Too much compromised legislature as a result of partisan politics.
    Well you have a system where a group is given large amounts of freedom and power at a higher level than most people. It's not going to attract the most selfless people. Kind of like how you'd need a good level of greed to become a major company CEO, only even the biggest companies have little power in comparison to government.
    I want Henry Rollins in my band.
    Vicryl 2.0
    youll get schooled and then his gonna kicked everyone out of the band. how would you feel when Henry is in your band and you got kicked out? lol
    amazing how much political insight there is among the clearly wasted talents of ultimate-guitar members
    People shouldn't vote for parties that benefit the individual, people should vote for what they think is best for society and everyone who lives there. I try to understand why so many americans think the best society is where everyone has to fight to survive. I'd rather not worry about medical bills or having enough money to send my kids to the best school. The government should never tell you what to choose but the government shouldn't create a system where your choices are limited by the money on your bank account.
    This government, nor any other, effectively do anything. They waste money by the billions-both sides. When it's everybody's money then it's nobody's money. The only people "fighting" to survive here are the honest people working there way out of the crime-ridden neighborhoods full of people collecting entitlements. There's safety nets galore here...that a lot of people choose to live on forever.
    So no government does anything? I live in one of the worst neighbourhoods in my country, it was ranked 33rd or 34th worst neighbourhoods based on poverty and crime. Every night I walk the streets here smoking a joint before I go to bed for 3 years and have never witnessed a crime. Once I was asked by the police if I had seen a car, then he lighted my joint. Not every government body of every government is the way you think it is and neither are people. Don't think you know exactly how the world works unless you've been everywhere and listened to everyone's story. Just because the american government doesn't help it's people doesn't mean every other government does. If you'd live in a democracy you'd understand.
    America needs to listen to their wise men like Rollins, Biafra, Morello. If not then enjoy being trated like shit. And the same goes for all the world.
    Yeah, socialism: it's only killed 200 million but let's give it another chance
    Socialism, saving millions of people by the day. But not in the brainwashed reality of the american.
    You might just have been thinking of communism, the clinically insane brother of socialism.
    Totalitarian governments that used the promise of Communism to placate the people, while never actually even attempting to bring about a Communist society* A Communist society is defined as a "moneyless, classless, stateless society". By that definition, no true Communist nation has existed, because, by that definition, a Communist nation cannot exist. You can rail Communism for being an idealistic ideology that requires a near fantasy-like world to exist, much like Libertarianism or any other Anarchist sub-group, but don't use Stalinist nations like the USSR and China to judge Communism, it's simply wrong.
    Second Rate
    And you prove my point by trying to refute my argument with a variation of the tired old "I didn't mean this" or "it will be different next time" arguments. Stalin's brutality or the merits of whether or not Stalinism is "true" communism or not in no way deflect from the fact that in 1921, a mere four years after the institution of socialist economic policy, Lenin began a program of economic liberalization. Why? because under the socialist policy people were starving, there were food shortages (this had been exacerbated by drought). People began trading valuables on the black market for extra food. The economy was stagnant at best. In the end, Lenin's liberalization helped save the soviet economy. The ability of the population to pursue their self-interests caused agricultural production to jump by 40 percent. Urban industrial production also increased as a result of the introduction of the profit motive, and a reopening of foreign trade. Read up on it sometime. It's called "New Economic Policy," and it is the absolute best case ever made against Socialist/Coummunist economics.
    I'd just like to pipe in that Canada has a great amount of socialism and it works pretty good.
    True, communism is by definition anarchistic. But unlike opposite ends of anarchism, what went on during many of the "communist" nations with totalitarianism wasn't too far from the ideal. Marxist theory has the Dictatorship of the Proletariat as the necessary step between Capitalism and true Communism. So while these countries never reached communism they were on the path with the intention of reaching it and the results were tragic cause of course once the proletariat took power the goals switched cause as it turns out power corrupts pretty strongly. Just something to think about. Intentions vs outcomes and you could argue it was that concentration of control that resulted in the negative effects.
    Second Rate
    You might just be splitting hairs. One is the goal of the other, so what's the real difference? A socialist is simply a person who supports communism in its early stages, then when it reaches its ultimate fruition.. when people are being dragged off in the middle of the night by the government for dissenting, when they are being starved to death in government engineered famines, when they're being shot for refusing to surrender their family's farm to the government... expect to escape any moral responsibility by crying "but I didn't mean this." Socialism is a dead end street. Brutal control is required to sustain a command economy. Otherwise, it stagnates and begins to break down. Even Lenin realized this toward the end, that's why he liberalized the Soviet economy (something that good old Stalin would do away with).
    I disagree with him about the government, the government ****ing blows and is NOT us, it's a group of greedy *******s that wants to dictate our lives. Idk wtf this guy is smoking, but I sure don't want any of it!
    Whether Henry is sincere or not (I've heard people say his whole public persona is just an act), the ideas he represents still inspire me. Love that guy.
    "ACA will be fine" that's thousands are loosing their coverage, but seeing as Rollins is a millionaire he doesn't have to worry about that, ****ing hypocrite. Punk rock is all like, "**** the system, unless it's a democrat, then vote for it", when will these idiots see that both parties are one in the same, they give zero ****s about you.
    I thought the black flag was for anarchist not a progressive Hollywood meat head. I love black flag the band but it seems Henry is just too rich now to see how laws actually affect normal people. And yes he's right we elect people into office but they aren't bound to the articles of the constitution anymore just look at what Bush did with the wars and domestic spying, George Orwell is turning in his grave right now. The average person doesn't have time to pay attention to thousands of pages of law passed and put in practice. I follow as much as I can because I love politics but I can't keep up with the shit they're doing so I knowJoe blow sure as hell can't keep up. Good ole joe just votes for whoever comes off as knowledgable and has the same ideals and that's the problem there's no guideline or boundaries for legislation anymore. It's like the early 1900's again. It just irks my nerves when some biased moron gets up there and jumps on the bandwagon because it's rebellious. Henry now falls into the same category as Tom Morello, the talented but uneducated about their cause activist swimming at the bottom of barrel with the rest of the Che t-shirt wearing dullards. Ok I'm done haha
    Are you on drugs??? Who qualifies to talk about the issues that "normal people" face? You? Me? The government? The poor? Anyone who isn't rich, whatever that means? You recall Henry grew up in a typical suburban area, like most of the people on here, yes? That Black Flag operated pretty much on the breadline as a band, yes? That the riches you imply he has come from years and years of working pretty hard for it? Hard work doesn't just happen on building sites, remember. Does that tick the boxes for you? If not, then what the Hell does? Is there a list of people who CAN talk about these things? Are you on it perhaps?
    Agree or disagree, these over-generalized opinions are really annoying. All of the problems he's talking about are apparently too complex or inconvenient for him to speak specifically about. It's easy to point at the whole country and blame one side for everything. Pure intellectual laziness from a guy who otherwise seems to be pretty smart.
    Phil Labonte (All That Remains) is the only intelligent politically charged musician. Rollins, Morello, Etc. are all the same... "Democrats are so smart, they fight for the people! Republicans hold down the small man!" These idiots don't realize that ANY ruling party supresses the people.
    "Phil Labonte (All That Remains) is the only intelligent politically charged musician." If by "intelligent" you mean Glenn Beck programmed, gun-obsessed redneck jerk-off then yes, he's very "intelligent".
    Enough fellating both sides, both parties are guilty. That's what they want you to do, talk shit about the other and so forth. It's self cannibalization, while everyone is too busy taking sides, we're forgetting about the real issue.
    Reading up on Phil's political statements, I gotta say, the guy definitely isn't a Beck-style Conservative. He's more of a Libertarian, so he's not as blindly idiotic. But he does follow a political ideology that has a follower-base made up mostly of 20-something middle-to-upper class white males, because the only people who will ever benefit from Libertarian policies are middle-to-upper class white males, and Libertarians have never been known to care much about anyone else. So, the main point of your comment still stands: Following a flawed ideology based around a selfish social policy, a debunked economic theory, an isolationist foreign policy, all of which is fuelled by the liberal use of useless buzzwords like "big government" and "military-industrial complex" and thinking we all live in a fantasy world based off an idealistic view of 19th-century USA that never existed, isn't exactly the definition of political savvy or intelligence.
    To be fair Beck can be kinda libertarian at times. My main issue with him is he just seems to blindly restate what other people say. He's said stuff I agree and disagree with but either way he never seems able to aptly prove or defend what he says cause he probably can't. Hence why he resorts to arbitrary drawings on a chalk board.
    Beck has become increasingly libertarian in recent times, he's one of the few who's views actually evolve.
    Majin Gaara
    Typical Liberal... I love how all you can do is just rip on the right instead of tackling the issue. Pathetic
    Generalize him as a "liberal" even when he never gave his political stance. Generalize the entire left as doing one action. Do nothing but criticize said group, and ironically complain that all these people do it rip on the opposite side. Thanks for reminding me why I moved away from the two sides and trust in political parties. They're all the same when you get down to it.
    All you did was call Rollins and Tom Morello idiots and call me a typical liberal. How is that "tackling an issue"? Please, teach me.
    This guy is ****ing loaded, he's a millionaire, what the **** does he know what the working class like us. Hypocrite... His "Solution" is to talk shit about the other puppet party, and then vote for the other puppet party. It sure does get all the fanatics from whatever party riled up to fellate you phil.
    He grew up in a less-than-working-class society for pretty much the vast majority of his life. Have a bit of respect for the dude. Henry might have a lot of money now, but he sure knows what it's like to see this kind of corruption happen and have ideas to get rid of it.
    What does this guy know about economics or politics in order to make educated statements about the state of the united states? stick to punk rock vocals. Minimum wage puts a price floor on labor and keeps low skilled workers out of the workforce.
    Battery Chicken
    The guy is actually incredibly intelligent and incredibly well informed. Minimum wage ensures that citizens have a base standard of living and are not going to be railroaded into slave labour because generic billionaire can buy things he doesn't need and won't use, so he can impress people he doesn't like. Honestly the country is an economic joke, your government spends more on your military that the next 26 countries combined, of which 90% are allies. If you want to look at unchecked waste look there first, then take a look at Wall Street, who spend every single day figuring out how to get that last 1% of wealth out of the 99%, and will do it as ruthlessly and devoid of morality as is necessary.
    Actually minimum wage just hurts people who earn more than minimum wage. When minimum wage goes up my pay stays the same and moves me closer to the poverty line that I worked my ass off to escape lol it's also a sign of inflation rising the cost of living. I love feel good legislation that is supported because it sounds all rainbows and sunshine but has the complete opposite consequential effects. I wouldn't call a plumber to perform open heart surgery so why would I elect politicians to dictate to me how to run my business. Truthfully what are people gonna do when minimum wage gets so expensive employees are let go because business can't afford it?
    increased minimum wage = increased economy. People buy things. People cant buy things if their 2-3 minimum wage jobs allow a small budget.
    Actually, an increase in minimum wage does exactly what the person before said it does. If he makes more than minimum wage and they raise it, it brings him close to the poverty line. Also, you say people will buy things. When a company that pays close to minimum wage such as a lot of local companies, are forced to pay all of their employees more and can't afford it, they do one of two things. They either raise prices on goods to compensate, or they lay off employees. So in a nutshell, a raise in minimum wage causes more people to be close to the poverty line, inflation and higher unemployment.... How does that sound?
    That's bullshit, and here's why. There is no need to cut jobs or raise the cost of goods to compensate for higher wages, the reality is that the CEO refuses to take a hit in the company's profits and/or their obscene executive salaries and bonuses.
    If labor is more expensive, then the finished product, whether it be a walmart good or a McDonald hamburger, will go up in price. Its basic economics, when the cost of production rises, the cost that the consumer pays for the final product or service rises as well. Basic economics.
    Flying Afros
    Can't we all just at least agree McDonald's should increase their minimum wage just a tad?
    If that was really true, why should we ever stop raising the minimum wage? Why not raise it to $1000 per hour for everyone? Then we would all be rich and the economy would prosper! Hurrr
    Battery Chicken
    Inflation occurs regardless of minimum wage, so if you abolish it in a down turned market, employers start negotiating price between employees where you literally have people fighting for mere dollars a day. It's a sure fire way to increase poverty. There's more to an economy that just employment figures.
    So you judge him for speaking his mind and tell him to do just his one job and nothing else. are you kim jong un?
    Jacques Nel
    You know age is setting in when the guy who drove a jeep while a druggie is getting a tattoo in the back seat screaming "This was designed to f--- you up!" starts complaining about politics...
    "Starts?" You're aware that Henry Rollins has always been super politically minded, right? That he used to sing in a punk band with a heavy political message? The man has had an entire life before appearing in Jackass.
    Didn't even know this idiot was still alive. Some things never seem to change.
    And the person who interviewed him was... ME - one of the best interviews I think i've done. UG should give credit where credit is due to the one who did the interview with him.
    WoW! It keeps surprising me how apprehensive and revealing this multitalented guy is.
    Maybe Rollins should invest in the "Resource Based Economy", I think he would be all over that in a heartbeat just like I am.
    hey get ride of drugs -America be great again.
    Just curious - when was it great? I'm gonna rule out anything before, say, the 1980s, because of rampant civil injustice. Then I'm gonna rule out everything since because of everything since.