We Need More Songs Like Jason Aldean's That Promote a Virtuous Sort of Violence

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

“Try that in a small town.”

It’s a simple phrase that carries a lot of weight. It’s a dare to the ideologically radical and perceptually violent that they can do a lot of mostly peaceful rampaging in cities and maybe even blue communities, but the moment you set foot into one of those everyday American neighborhoods that the left spits at and start trying to damage property and threaten people, you’re going to find yourself Rittenhoused really quickly.

It’s a sentiment that was shared by Americans well before Jason Aldean wrote that song that attracted the outrage of the left and the love of Americans, sending it to the number one spot on iTunes. I, myself, wrote an entire article effectively saying the same thing back in 2020.

(READ: A Warning to Rioters and Antifa Members Threatening to Come to the Suburbs)

I can’t count the number of conversations I overheard or was even a part of, where I or someone else borderline fantasized about what we would do should Antifa try to begin burning down neighborhoods. Keyword there is “try.”

But there are people out there who denounce the song, and I don’t mean on the left. There are those on the right who think that Aldean went too far. Over at National Review, Kathryn Jean Lopez declared that “Jason Aldean Isn’t Helping,” and takes Tipper Gore’s side about how today’s music industry is fueling society’s rot:

Part of the reason some conservatives are defending the song is that there is plenty of other music that is violent that doesn’t get pulled by anyone. The healthy answer isn’t to add more anger and violence. Some of us are old enough to remember former second lady Tipper Gore, a Democrat, and former secretary of education William J. Bennett, a Republican, warning us about sex and violence in music and video games. They were right. And it’s only gotten worse since then. No small part of the reason that young people find themselves getting abortions is that the music they listen to insists that aggressive sexuality is the only way to have a relationship with someone of the oppositive sex. Then if they are not having sex, TikTok videos tell them the solution to their normal middle-school awkwardness is puberty blockers and surgery. Our culture adds cruelty to life that is already challenging.

With all due respect, Lopez is missing the details in the picture.

Aldean’s song might have been a day late (actually three years late) but it wasn’t a dollar short. It gave voice to the anger people were still feeling about the riots. Being ignored by the greater culture and/or being told you’re a racist for denouncing the riots will do that. “Try That In a Small Town” scratches an itch and gives people something of an anthem against these once-and-future rioters.

The difference between Aldean’s song and a lot of the violent music you hear is that Aldean is talking about violence as a means to protect and deter. He’s not advocating people hop in their trucks and begins gunning down others because it’s a gangster’s duty or encouraging violence because he’s just had it with the world. His lyrics are specific to the situation where attackers come to a place worth defending.

Sometimes, violence actually is the answer. The people who seek to destroy and subjugate aren’t going to be wowed by your wish for peace or listen to your wisdom. A rioter doesn’t want to communicate or come to an understanding. He’s not there to be friends. He’s there to see to it that you suffer for the sin of being of a different ideology from him and representing a system he’s been brainwashed into hating.

He (or she) drunk on the momentum of the riot will only understand one language, and that’s violence. Righteous, unrepentant violence. Anything less is a wasted effort. They aren’t going to negotiate and their better angels aren’t there to stop them from doing anything extreme. Extremism is what they’re there for.

To be clear, I would rather there not be violence either. I don’t want to have to hurt or kill anyone, but I will if it means the safety and comfort of my family is maintained. That should pretty much be the standard idea for all Americans, and that’s the feel you get from Aldean’s song.

America needs to understand that violence isn’t inherently good or bad. If it’s utilized by the right hands at the right time, violence is one of the best tools society has. We trust the police and our military with that kind of judgment. We encourage home and even self-defense from gun owners with that kind of principle in mind.

This idea of violence with real virtue behind it should be promoted, not negated. Spitting on it will only embolden those who seek to do others harm. I would like to see more songs akin to Aldean’s, effectively sending the message that there’s a line you just don’t cross and there are consequences when you do.


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