What Spaz’s House Destruction Party Can Teach us About the Radical Left

When I was in high school, I actually listened to a punk rock group called “Anti-Flag”.  If you cannot tell their politics from the name of the group, perhaps the titles of some of their songs (“Watch the Right”, “John Ashcroft was a Nazi”, “F— The Flag”, etc.) should clarify the matter.  Basically, they make the Daily Kos look like Michael Savage.  To be clear, I never agreed with their politics, but at that point in my life, I didn’t yet understand how to fully disagree with them either.

However, there was one thing that always puzzled me about Anti-Flag:  On the one album of theirs that I actually owned, all the songs were overtly political except for one entitled “Spaz’s House Destruction Party”.  Now, about 10 years later, I think I finally understand that this seemingly apolitical song is perhaps the most informative of all in trying to get inside the mind of Anti-flag, as well as the folks on the radical left whom they represent.

Essentially, the song is about a young man named Spaz who gets some bad news.  Here is what happened to Spaz and his response:

An eviction notice to his house sparked off an idea,
“I should have one last party at my place…”
so off he set with his master plan, the invitations in his hand read:
“you’re invited to my house destruction party”

So sure enough, a “House Destruction Party” ensues and Spaz and his “punk rock” buddies were able to accomplish the task set before them:

…the place was trashed
the house was now missing its support beams
the bathrooms had no toilets or sinks left in them
there was nothing in the kitchen left to break
rotten spray painted on walls, drunk punks passed out in the halls
and this was just the second night, of a three-day long party

At the very end of the song, the police did arrive at the scene:

“the cop said, ‘I want to speak to someone who lives here!’
and this punk kid said she did
he asked, “is this the condition this house has always been in?”
she answered, ‘ah… yeah, it is’”

My general assumption had always been that this is simply a song about some selfish, arrogant youths who had a rash response to the misfortune of their friend.  I now see that there is much more to it than that.

1)    The biggest take-away from this song is how deeply engrained the instinct of “if I/everyone cannot have X, then no one ought to have it” is in the leftist mind.  To be on the left is to seek utopia for everyone, and if this utopia does not exist, this fact necessarily requires that entire system be destroyed.  This description, of course, calls to mind the health care debate.  We heard time and again how there are some minority of people out there for whom that the current system does not work well, and that is certainly true.  However, what about the fact that the clear majority of people like the health care system and there are many unique pluses to health care in America (the privatized system encourages the development of drugs and medical devices that improve millions of lives both here and abroad, among others)? Irrelevant.  Something is unfair and therefore, to those on the far left, massive change to a single payer system or at least a public option is required.  Like Spaz’s house, the status quo had to be demolished.

2)    The second takeaway is that the leftist mind characteristically engages in what Thomas Sowell calls “stage one thinking”.  The emotions associated with the idea that “something is unfair!” paralyze the rational mind.  Notice that in the song, there is no mention of either where Spaz might go next nor of any of the possible consequences of destroying his house.  Spaz was preoccupied with his immediate action and never bothered to ask the “stage two” question of: “but if I do that, what will happen next?”  This is also characteristic of the left, which is notorious for passing rules and regulations that sound compassionate, but inevitably plauge society with unintended consequences.  For example, increasing the minimum wage to a “living wage” sounds great…. until we actually look to the future and ask “well, if we do that, how might companies respond?  Is it possible that if they have to pay significantly higher wages for low-skill workers that they might move them elsewhere or get rid of those job opportunities altogether?”  From health care to cap and trade to taxation, the far left gets caught in emotion and often fails to think beyond Stage One….. just like Spaz did.

3)    One final point: the song could easily have ended with the house destruction party itself, yet it goes out of its way to mention the punk girl who lies to the police officer.  This is an example of one of another primary goal of the left:  undermining law.  As discussed, strong emotional reactions (especially if in response to perceived or real inequality) are validated in the world of the left, even when these reactions take the form of illegal actions, such as death threats.  To the radical left, the law is often either a limiter of the leftist’s ability to emote freely or the structure that safeguards the status quo that needs to be destroyed (or both).  Therefore, it should not surprise us that Anti-flag chooses to introduce the final verse in which the police officer, the ultimate symbol of law, is treated with scorn and lied to.

Coda: Indeed, Anti-flag’s song is incredibly revealing, as all three elements of the radical leftist trinity: the desire for radical change in the face of inequality, the lack of regard for future consequences, and the derision of law, are present.  The only question remaining is whether or not we will be able to understand and confront the left and protect America from its influence before our great nation, like Spaz’s house, is demolished, with “nothing left to break”.


  1. Boy, are you dim-witted. But this was quite the funny read.

  2. Johnny Wad says:

    As far as the last point- I find it ironic that you hold up some sort of conservative respect for law enforcement. While the far left may call them names or treat them with scorn, the right does even worse.

    The far right does things like routinely calling them “union thugs” and threatening to kill cops who come to take their guns away . Read a right leaning website like Glenn Beck’s “the blaze” and it’s filled with comments threatening physical violence against police officers.

    Besides that, there’s the very real and systematic attempt by new conservatives to destroy police officer, fire fighter’s & other public sector employee benefits, reduce wages and even privatize entire police forces. Add in the attempt to take over public employee pension plans and dip their hands in that goldmine…..well, I’d rather endure some smelly crusty punk calling me the P word than some fake conservative telling me “fine job son” as he tries to destroy my entire way of life and put my family in the poor house.

    But you are right in one thing, anti-flag are pretty generic. 🙂

  3. After all that, Reagan still sucks. No, the Economy was not great in his time, even with his tax cuts to the Uber-Rich; Trickle Down Economics didn’t, and don’t work. Yes, the Soviet Union collapsed after his term. No he was not responsible for that.

    I don’t care about your bad punk rock experience or analogy. If you want the best way to govern, seek President Bill Clinton. I’m an empiricist, and his results speak for themselves — not so for any Republican president since Eisenhower.

  4. Randy in Richmond says:

    I re-read with interest your post from the past. All three of your summary coda have, or are, happening right before our eyes. And the most troubling of the three, “the derision of law”, has become our President’s favorite mode of governing.

    Thanks to the commenters for reminding us of how your post of over three years ago was right on the money regarding Obamacare.

  5. It is interesting trolls would find this after three years. And yes, Ryan got this one, didn’t he?

  6. So I read your post with some amusement. Why? Because I know Spaz and was roommates with the drummer for Anti-Flag for some number of years. The interpretation you have of the song is interesting but ultimately a reflection of your own views rather than those of Anti-Flag or Spaz. This song was written because the band really just wanted to wrote a fun song not laden down with political weight. It is just a punk song about what was supposed to be a pretty epic party. Your attempt to turn it into a manifesto of the left is simply inaccurate in terms of the meaning and intent of the song.

    What is far more interesting is your interpretation of it. First off, it shows that you seems to have a deep need to politicize that which is not political in order to fit it into your preconceived world view. In other words, you reject the prima facia evidence because it conflicts with the schema that you have developed in order to make sense of the world. To wit: Anti-flag is a political band. Spaz’s House Destruction Party does not seem to be a political song. Therefore, it must be a political song in spite of evidence to the contrary.

    Likewise, you argue that there is deep meaning to be teased out of this song even though, if you have ever actually listened to Anti-Flag, you’d have recognized that they aren’t exactly what one would call subtle. Again, a rejection of evidence that doesn’t fit your world view in order to maintain the rigidity of your schema. Schema, just for those that aren’t aware, are the mental constructs that we create that we use to incorporate information into our concept of how the world works. A simple schema would be that “Birds fly. therefore if something is flying it is most likely a bird.” This schema doesn’t have a lot of emotional weight behind it so it’s easy to modify it to include bats, flying squirrels, and birds that don’t fly. However, when we develop schema to make sense of more complex social and political interactions they tend to have a lot more emotion invested into them. For example, “Liberals are ruining America. Therefore if a liberal suggests a policy it will end up ruining America.” The converse of this is that a policy suggested by a conservative will be viewed as correct even if it’s fundamentally the same policy suggested by a liberal that was previously rejected. Additionally, evidence presented by a liberal, even if it is objectively accurate, will be viewed as likely to be a lie and contrary evidence will be weighted more highly even if it objectively inaccurate.

    Obviously this happens on both sides of the political spectrum but we see it far more commonly with the stereotypical conservative rejection of well founded scientific evidence dealing with things like anthropogenic climate change, evolution, and the like.

    Secondly, your post illustrates another trait. You have taken one song from more than 13 year ago from one band to be representative of the thoughts and feelings of tens of millions of people. This tendency is pretty typical of people who are engaging in a tribalistic view of the world. Now, by tribalistic I don’t mean drums and grass huts but the viewing of the wide scope of humanity into those who are part of your ingroup/tribe/political party and those that are not. Those that in in your ‘tribe’ are viewed as being more trustworthy and correct than those outside of the group (as I briefly mentioned above). In contrast those that are not in your tribe are seen in a negative light and singular examples that reinforce that opinion are taken to be as indicative of the whole even though they simply don’t. This reinterpretation of outliers to be meaningful representations of the whole is, while sadly common, entirely inconsistent with logic, morality, and good judgement.

    I find adherence to overly rigid schema (you can call that ideology if you like) and political tribalism to be fundamentally undermining the proper functioning of the government and society as a whole. It has created a a system in which winning and losing is far more important than actually dealing with the problems that we are facing. Compromise has become a synonym for capitulation and extremism has become the new norm. Instead of trying to accomplish something and accepting good ideas wherever they come from, it has turned into a pointless game. A game played in a crumbling stadium that neither team cares about enough to shore up the structure and put out the fires – especially when they can be blamed on the other side for short term advantage. It’s really kind of sad.

    Anyway, thanks for the laugh.

  7. Cindy, not trolls. Just some people that know people and party in question.

  8. Yeah everybody that disagrees is a “troll”.

    I was hoping for a right wing response to my post about how they are actually about 100 times more anti-law enforcement than the left, with their state by state approach to weaken police unions, enact laws that make it legal for a home owner to shoot a cop entering his home if he “thinks” it’s illegal ( passed in Indiana, after pressure from the NRA on the R governor), privatize prisons ( creating danger to guards etc), and right here where I live- cut state funds to law enforcement with no reduction in taxes, but more money than ever given away to corporations.

    Like I said, some crusty punk can call me names all day long, who cares,while the far right systematically tries to take away my lobbying power ( anti-union legislation) take away my paycheck and benefits, while wearing their flag lapel pins.

    Show me where I’m wrong “conservatives”……

  9. Randy in Richmond says:

    Most people, left and right, that I know support law enforcement. Opposing public union policies that are detrimental to the general public does not make one ‘anti-law enforcement’ any more than opposing this administration’s public policy on Obamacare, also detrimental to the general public, makes one anti-medical care.

  10. Commenting on a post more than three years old means you were trolling. Not to worry. As long as you use manners you get to disagree with anything you want.

  11. I know Spaz. I think you just don’t know punk rock… ie: Anti-establishment, in whatever form.

    While some punk rockers are raging liberals, I know many (some probably at this party) that are litertarian/conservative as well.

    I think you’re trying to read a bit too much into this…as pointed out, there are many other songs by this band that you don’t have to infer anything, just read the lyrics.

  12. Figures a cop would use John Holmes’ alias as his moniker here. Goes to prove that theory that cops are over-compensating for structural deficiencies.

    And for the record, I detest latter day police officers.

  13. Thanks for taking the time to post Chris. I did appreciate your response and found some of your points to be thoughtful, even while I thought you were at times assuming a bit too little/getting preachy (since I took a couple college-level psych classes, I am quite familiar with the concept of a schema. Since I have read more than 5 books in my life, I am quite familiar that “tribalism” has a meaning beyond pow-wows and teepees, and while I haven’t heard every Anti-Flag song ever made, I have probably heard 20-30, which is more than enough to realize they aren’t subtle).

    You are correct that I am generalizing in my post. I don’t see that as a bad thing. I would contend it is very difficult to understand the world without recognizing patterns, which is essentially what generalizing is. Do I think every person who voted for Obama seeks utopia, engages in stage one thinking, and undermines law? Of course not. Likewise, do I think no one who voted for McCain or Romney ever shows any of these tendencies? Of course not. That’s part of the reason why I continuously used “left” rather than “liberal” in my post. Again generalizing, most “Reagan Democrats” would not hold to any of these things, but the left wing of the Democratic party often does. And generally speaking, I think an intellectually-honest person who takes a fair-minded view of the contemporary American political landscape would agree that these are traits that are GENERALLY more associated with the left than the right.

    The other thing that puzzles me is that you seem to have created a straw-man that I asserted that Anti-Flag CONSCIOUSLY tried to incorporate these 3 themes into their song. I said no such thing. When you say that Anti-Flag intended for this to be “a fun song not laden down with political weight” I think you are almost certainly correct. However, when a person has a strong political worldview, that reflects what they think and say even when they aren’t trying to be overtly political. If a Christian band, say, Reliant K, set out to write “a fun song”, I highly doubt it would be about tearing their place of residence to the ground because they could not continue to afford to live there. It just wouldn’t occur to them to write such a song anymore than it would occur to Anti-Flag to write “I’m Lion-O”, a silly song that Reliant K did in fact write. Our worldview colors not just our direct statements on politics, but also our thoughts, actions, and, in the case of musicians, the songs they produce.

    So while I am glad you found my post amusing, I would challenge you to actually confront what I wrote. Is it people on the left or on the right who are more likely to want to reform a system to make it better and is less concerned with the unintended consequences that are may result? Would it be those with the politics of most hippies or those with the politics of most Mormons who are more likely to engage in demonstrations that turn violent or make death threats against those who disagree. You seem like a smart guy…. I think if you are fair-minded about it, you will come to the same answers that I did.