The 'Cowboy Logic' of Charlie Daniels

Not willing to just rest after his six platinum albums, Charlie Daniels, award-winning country, Southern rock entertainer from Wilmington, N.C., is the author of Ain’t No Rag: Freedom, Family, and the Flag (just published by Regnery, a sister company of HUMAN EVENTS). Here is an excerpt from the book’s introduction, which provides an overview of Daniel’s philosophical and political outlook-what he refers to as “cowboy logic.”

In America

I have not been a successful musician all my life. I know what it’s like to get up before the sun does and work until it’s going down again. I know what it’s like to try to stretch a paycheck from the first till the fifteenth. I know about rent and car payments, patched jeans and thin-soled shoes.

The first house I remember living in had electricity but no running water. Did you ever take a bath in a galvanized washtub on a cold night? The side toward the fire is burning up and the side away from the fire is freezing. You’re red on one side and blue on the other.

We seldom locked our doors and I can remember a time when I didn’t know anybody at all who didn’t believe in God.

If you didn’t have a job you were looking for one, and the work ethic of the day was a day’s work for a day’s pay. Your job security was just how well you did the job. At that time unions were pretty much nonexistent in our little corner of the world.

Almost everybody owned at least one gun, usually a rifle or a shotgun, and all the males in my family were hunters. I was taught gun safety at a very early age, and I would have no more thought about bothering with a gun than I would have thought about picking up a snake. I just knew better.

“Spare the rod and spoil the child” was very much in effect at my house. My mother could wield a switch with the dexterity of an Olympic fencer and meted out the corporeal punishment in accordance with the offense, and as the old saying goes I never got a lick amiss. I’m thankful that my parents loved me enough to teach me right from wrong and respect for people and property.

Humble, yes, but treasured memories all, and I’ll never “get above my raising,” as they used to say down in North Carolina.

My Soapbox

One of the most precious things guaranteed under our Constitution is freedom of speech, which means freedom of opinion and the lawful right to voice that opinion in any forum we choose.

Pro or con, right or wrong, simple or eloquent, we have the right to tell the world what we think about politics, personalities, or the price of peanut butter. I ardently believe in expressing my opinion and I wish that everybody would do the same.

In my time I have had it out with actors, newspaper people, television producers, talk show hosts, and a vast assortment of doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs who have called me anything from a pretty good sort of feller to a warmongering SOB.

You will find that my sympathies and concerns lie mainly with the blue-collar crowd. That’s where I came from and where my heart will always be. I have strong convictions about the things I write about and if they happen to go against the popular thinking du jour, that’s just too bad.

I hate political correctness. I think it’s silly and I will not yield an inch to it wherever it raises its frivolous head. In my mind, touchy feely, I’m OK you’re OK, ain’t we wonderful-type blather is nothing more than a substance I can dig up in my barnyard. And I raise bulls.

I believe that too many people go into marriage these days without the commitment it takes to make it successful. I believe that some people take the very serious act of bringing children into this world much too lightly.

Too many children are left to run the streets by parents whose only interest in them is the monthly welfare check. I believe in welfare but only for those who truly need it. The rest should work for a living.

Common Sense Through My Eyes

I have a simplistic way of looking at things. I use what I call “cowboy logic.” It goes like this: two and two is always four, water never runs uphill, and if there is smoke there is a fire somewhere.

Why do we scream for more gun control and ignore the fact that never in the history of man has a gun ever gone out and shot somebody without a finger pulling the trigger? You have to control the finger, not the gun.

Why do we stand so firmly against giving the death sentence to some wanton killer and not say a word about the death sentence given to innocent unborn babies by wholesale abortion?

Why do we have to be Native Americans or African Americans? Can’t we just all be Americans, color of skin and heritage notwithstanding? Isn’t that what we’ve fought for all these years?

I believe fervently in the American Dream and I myself am a prime example of its validity today. I believe that everybody has a chance to be somebody in this country. It doesn’t come easy and the price is not cheap. It takes a fire in the belly and the burning of the midnight oil, the willingness to be the first one to get there and the last one to leave, the will to work twice as hard as everybody else if that’s what it takes.

There are a few absolutes in achieving success but there is no yellow brick road. Everybody has to find their own way in their own time. Success is pyramid shaped; there is plenty of room at the bottom but the closer you get to the top, the narrower it becomes, and only the most highly motivated venture there.

The American Dream lives. If a nominally talented, chubby, nearsighted kid from North Carolina can make it, you can too.

In 1958, I left small-town, rural America and walked out into a world I knew very little about to seek my fortune in the entertainment business, a business which has taken me from the 38th Parallel to the Eiffel Tower, from the Mediterranean to the polar ice cap. I’ve sat around cowboy cook fires in the middle of nowhere and walked the teeming streets of Hong Kong. There’s hardly a major highway in this nation I haven’t traversed and I’ve kept twenty-five people steadily and gainfully employed for almost thirty years.

I say this not to boast-far from it-but to emphasize where I’m coming from. God has indeed been good to me.

God Bless America,

Charlie Daniels


To purchase Ain’t No Rag: Freedom, Family, and the Flag, click here.



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