Serj Tankian: 'Sometimes It's Better To Have A Benign Dictator Than A Dumb Democracy'

Josh Hart of GuitarWorld.com recently conducted an interview with System Of A Down singer Serj Tankian.

Serj Tankian: 'Sometimes It's Better To Have A Benign Dictator Than A Dumb Democracy'
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Josh Hart of GuitarWorld.com recently conducted an interview with System Of A Down singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, poet and political activist Serj Tankian. A couple of Blabbermouth.net excerpts from the chat follow below. GuitarWorld.com: Since your last proper solo outing, 2010's "Imperfect Harmonies", a lot has been going on in the world, the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement to name a couple. How much of that fed into the writing of [Serj's new solo album] "Harakiri"? Serj Tankian: I think everything that was going on in 2011 and prior, based on experience, was probably feeding into everything I was doing from "Harakiri" to all the other projects that I was doing. But because it's probably the most lyrically viable record - because some of the others are instrumental - it probably fed in a good amount. If you listen to "F--k Let's Figure It Out" - which is now just called "Figure It Out", thanks to iTunes - it kind of comedically tells the story of CEOs being the problem. I say comedically because it focuses on one little aspect of the whole complex problem of inbalance, injustice and inequality, and it does it in a funny way. As you mentioned, "Figure It Out" really goes after CEOs, who are taking a lot of the blame for the financial crisis in 2008. A lot of that, from my perspective, stems from a shift in management culture in which CEOs are given incentives to maximize shareholder revenues by any means necessary, including outsourcing, layoffs, cutting corners, etc. I think that's led to a lot of anti-capitalism sentiments, but is capitalism really not a viable system or have we just gotten off track a bit in the U.S.? I think anytime that you go to the extreme of any mode of economics, be it capitalism or communism, you have these feedback mechanisms that make the system turn in on itself. If you allow for a purely capitalistic society, without any type of regulation at all, you will get one monopoly that will eat all of the smaller fish and own everything, and then you'll have zero capitalism, zero competition - it would just be one giant company. So I think we have to be careful how we associate ourselves with different economic structures. You know, to me, as much as we're a capitalistic society, we have to have these built in security nets for the public for the sake of democracy. Capitalism unchecked is not a democratic system. And I think we should be more on the side of democracy, rather than waving the capitalism flag as a nation. I don't think we should be married to an economic system unless it's good for all of our people. It just makes more sense to me. You touched on the idea of the "social safety net", which is suffering a bit as there's a push to privatize things like prisons and education, and obviously a push to keep health care private. They've done the experiments with prisons over the years and the results have been horrible. And same with education. There's a lot of private education already, so to a certain point that works, but I don't think they should privatize all public education. They should put more money into it so that we're not number 30 on the educational scale on the planet. You know? As far as medical, I wish that Obama had pushed for the public option even though he couldn't, based on the Republicans. He got whatever he could pass and now they're trying to fight it as a Constitutional thing. I can't believe this country, honestly. It's so f--king backwards sometimes that it pisses me off. I don't get it. I don't understand. You see people that are really suffering and they don't have health care, their kids don't have health care, and they're asked why they don't support Obama's health-care plan and they say, "Well, we want freedom." And I'm like, "F--k you!" I think that's why education is so important. To have an uneducated democracy... sometimes it's better to have a benign dictator than a dumb democracy, to be honest with you. Read the entire interview from GuitarWorld.com.

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    scrymusic
    And sometimes it is better to go back with your bandmates and make a great SOAD album.
    redisni
    Well Serj's words clearly reflect what's happening in many countries around the world, not necessarily the US. It's something we can all relate, no matter where our shithole is: An European country, The US, South America, the thing is replicated everywhere.
    vikingman369
    lol, and i thought, with obama in office, liberals wouldn't have anything more to whine about. what happened to your messiah, he didn't come through on all of his promises? and no, i don't support conservatives either. politics is just one big slut-fest. they just talk about issues to get peoples' sentiments, then they get in office and either can't or don't do anything about them. so what do we get? A Whole Lotta Hate and the country is falling apart while these two political sides are fighting over the best way to save it.
    herpaderp22
    best quote: "It's so ****ing backwards sometimes that it pisses me off." When talking about America.
    DexterF
    Making a stand would have been of course to tell iTunes to go F--K themselves and not list the album there.
    led_sevenfold
    i like what he said about capitalism and communism, i find it hard to agree with either left or right wing people, but id probs be a little right of center. that being said, a bird cant fly without both a left and right wing, so its all in the balnce
    zeropercent1
    happy to support the man. new album is great/meaningful. 4 bucks on amazon. do yourself the favor!
    metfan5555
    Please put out another SOAD album so we can all go back to pretending we care about what you have to say...
    imbra
    moparhead wrote: at least better opinion than Dave Mustaine
    Unfortunately, that doesn't say much...
    GenerationKILL
    This arbitrary political debate was brought to you by Serj Tankian, former musician in a once relevant band, out of work since the Obama administration was voted in.
    6-String_Madman
    vikingman369 wrote: lol, and i thought, with obama in office, liberals wouldn't have anything more to whine about. what happened to your messiah, he didn't come through on all of his promises? and no, i don't support conservatives either. politics is just one big slut-fest. they just talk about issues to get peoples' sentiments, then they get in office and either can't or don't do anything about them. so what do we get? A Whole Lotta Hate and the country is falling apart while these two political sides are fighting over the best way to save it.
    +1