RE Merle Haggard

I made reference to Haggard in my 4th of July piece for his musical merits, but Merle’s politics are pretty solidly libertarian, too. This profile on Salon (from November 2000) is a good place to start:

[O]ver the years it has become apparent that at the heart of his conservatism lies an idealization of the American past and a sincere, though occasionally paranoid, concern about the loss of privacy and individual freedom.

“Look at the past 25 years — we went downhill, and if people don’t realize it, they don’t have their f—-ng eyes on,” says Haggard. “In 1960, when I came out of prison as an ex-convict, I had more freedom under parolee supervision than there’s available to an average citizen in America right now. I mean, there was nobody going to throw you down on the side of the road spread-eagled, and look up your butt for a f—-ng marijuana cigarette. God almighty, what have we done to each other?”

Though Haggard campaigned for Ronald Reagan, who pardoned him while serving as California’s governor, he bristles at both candidates in the 2000 presidential election. “Let me say this,” he remarks. “I’m friends with George Bush Sr. He calls to wish me happy birthday. But I’ve got lots of friends that call to wish me happy birthday who I wouldn’t want to see become president.”

Haggard has also reportedly shared his, er, enthusiasm for John Ashcroft with audiences (scroll down on this link.)