Oliver Anthony and the Loss of the Anchor 

*Apparently-obligatory hot take on a country bumpkin, coming up!*

By now I’m assuming you’ve heard the previously-unknown country singer Oliver Anthony’s smash hit, “Rich Men North of Richmond.” 

The song has gained worldwide circulation in mere days, which was supremely surprising to many (and no doubt Anthony himself). Simply put, the song is a Virginia hillbilly singing about Virginia hillbilly things. By all accounts, it shouldn’t be something widely discussed. But it is—oh it is. 

It has gotten heady, journalistic takedowns from sources as large as the BBC, The Guardian, The Independent, New York Magazine, The New York Times, CNN, and I’m sure from several upcoming school newspapers. 

And this alone proves the point: we’ve lost all perspective. The song has been repeated labeled as coming from and belonging to “The Right.” But if it’s anything at all, the song is nothing more than anti-elitist. No one is named beyond the amorphous, faceless, nameless “rich men” of Washington, D.C. (and beyond), many of whom presumably belong to “The Right” as well. 

In all of this the “free and independent” corporate media conglomerates show themselves to be elitist shills and mouthpieces yet again, as they trash as some big dangerous political statement a message that boils down to: Gee, I wish those politicians did a better job running the show

And here is the rub: those articles (and ironically, therefore this one) shouldn’t exist. The balance between elite and non-elite interests has become the fight between Left and Right political interests, and this is a recipe for disaster. Because, when turned into an unsteady class struggle, politics becomes separated from principles or even policy—and instead is fixed to the fickle whims of prominent individuals. 

The hullabaloo about this song shows a fine example of this loss of perspective. What’s one of the signs that Oliver Anthony’s song is a right-wing anthem? That it (briefly) mentions the “far-right conspiracy theory” that the rich and powerful were involved in Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuses. Except the same media outlets knew otherwise in the ancient days of 2019, when everyone reported on Epstein’s political, economic, and Hollywood connections. But today the elitist interest is different, so such old-knowledge has become the ramblings of the unwashed-fringes. It’s not about what actually happened; or is true; or concords with my political principles. It’s about what those above me decree. 

This is paradoxically true even for the anti-establishment “Right.” While leftists move to support the whims of elites, “conservatives” now move to mirror them. The Left picks up something, and the Right simply picks up the opposite. 

This drives politics deeper into the cult of the personality. The anti-elitist Right clings to the first person who appears on “their side”—even if that person is a wealthy, elitist, Epstein-connected politician themselves. 

We must have the courage to rise above. Political society has lost its anchor, and the average voter is threatened by the overwhelming waves of blind, partisan divides. Stay fixed on the principles that in today’s world only a life of faith can provide; know your Anchor, and weather the storms. This is the mournful fate of “living in the new world, with an old soul.” And it’s a shame indeed. But it’s still less tragic than getting pulled under the waves. 

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