By The late Mitchell Warren (Author the “The finish of the wonder Kingdom” series)

“One tin Soldier” through Dennis Lambert and also Brian Potter

Listen, children, to a storyThat to be written lengthy ago,‘Bout a kingdom on a mountainAnd the valley-folk below.

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On the hill was a treasureBuried deep beneath the stone,And the valley-people sworeThey’d have it for their really own.

Go ahead and hate her neighbor,Go ahead and cheat a friend.Do the in the surname of Heaven,You have the right to justify the in the end.There won’t be any kind of trumpets blowingCome the referee day,On the bloody morning after….One tin soldier rides away.

So the civilization of the valleySent a article up the hill,Asking for the hidden treasure,Tons the gold because that which they’d kill.

Came an answer from the kingdom,“With our brothers we will certainly shareAll the secrets of our mountain,All the riches buried there.”

Go ahead and also hate your neighbor,Go ahead and cheat a friend.Do the in the surname of Heaven,You have the right to justify it in the end.There won’t be any type of trumpets blowingCome the judgment day,On the bloody morning after….One tin soldier rides away.

Now the valley cried through anger,“Mount her horses! draw your sword!”And they killed the mountain-people,So they winner their just reward.

Now castle stood beside the treasure,On the mountain, dark and also red.Turned the rock and looked in ~ it…“Peace on Earth” was every it said.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,Go ahead and also cheat a friend.Do it in the surname of Heaven,You can justify that in the end.There won’t be any type of trumpets blowingCome the referee day,On the bloody morning after….One tin soldier rides away.

Go ahead and also hate her neighbor,Go ahead and also cheat a friend.Do it in the name of Heaven,You deserve to justify the in the end.There won’t be any trumpets blowingCome the judgment day,On the bloody morning after…One tin soldier rides away.

Who to be the “One tin Soldier” that rode away one bloody morning after? The Canadian pop group Coven first recorded the track in 1969, working v a track written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter. The song became a northern American sensation once Skeeter Davis tape-recorded the single, which also coincided with the Billy Jack phenomenon.

The track was constantly conceived as an anti-war song, and this was really apparent once the song landed on the soundtrack that the well-known Billy Jack film starring Tom Laughlin. The track obviously copy themes happening in Vietnam in ~ the time, as the war was nearing its finish by 1973. Tom Laughlin obviously saw himself as the tin Soldier, which explains why Warner Bros. Very first released the film as “One tin Soldier: The Legend the Billy Jack.”

However, one marvels if Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter yes, really visualized the picture of a blue denim wearing, hat-clad, ass-kicking guy in blue jeans once writing the poignant song. Once the listener gets rid of all pretenses, the story itself is rather abstract; the an inspiration is treasure and also two neighboring people, the hill People and also the valley People, desire it. The Mountain civilization want to share the treasure through their brothers if the Valley human being wanted it because that themselves.

The text never described whether the Mountain people were being elitist in their wanting to share their treasure just with “brothers” instead of the entire land. Were the Mountain civilization acting just as greedily as the Valley world by insisting the treasure was theirs? at the time, we were life in the period of peace loving hippies and aggressive Kent State nationwide Guardsman, and so us assumed the the pure Mountain human being must have actually been exploited through the modernistic valley People. The lesson seemed to make sense; an ext importantly, it appeared to satisfy 1970s audience who read their own problems into this simple song, which can have very well remained timeless and abstract.

Religious references carry out abound in the song, native the denunciation of religious leaders declare to be heaven-inspired, to the “judgment day” comes in which presumably God judges those who space blood guilty for your deeds, no their side. This led plenty of to believe that the song may represent more than simply governmental abuses the power; possibly it was a referral to the power that all organized religion had actually over the masses.

While it’s difficult to think anything that value could come out of The Sonny and Cher Show, the regime did regulate to operation an man cartoon based on the track that increased some provocative issues.

(Warning: has disturbing scene of Cher singing and butchering a an excellent melody)

Here we catch three messages within the quick animated film: first, that the Mountain civilization were isolated indigenous the remainder of the humanity and were fiercely protecting the gift for your brothers, also taunting the Valley human being with their knowledge of the treasure. This actually obstacles the classic view the the song is around oppression the the weak. If anything, it speak to the poor communication an abilities of both sides. Second, the Valley civilization were mostly affiliated with a Christian religion. Third, the one believe soldier speak away—clearly ashamed in ~ what had taken place.

Was the One tin Soldier ashamed since he was component of the onslaught the took place, or was he maybe one soldier through a conscience the turned far from the masses prior to the carnage ensued? to be the soldier indeed the messenger the God that would one day have actually to lug judgment day and shamefully commit violent acts come those who space violent in really hopes of finally bringing tranquility on earth?

As friend stare into Cher’s glassy fish eye while she croons the theme, it’s clean to watch that she most likely doesn’t master the depth the the song, just as I’m relatively sure the 90% of everyone that listens to it no quite recognize the implications or indeed, the duty they play in the story.

The one allude that everyone can agree on is the the valley People, whoever lock are, deserve judgment for your violent misdeeds. Come that, i say, be mindful who you implicate in this story. By the very same criteria through which you judge others, girlfriend will someday be judged—if not by God, climate by your other man who wields a sword.

I don’t know about you, however after hear this song I commonly run out and also grab mine sword all set to do to tear those Valley world a brand-new cavity for storing their treasure. However, a long time has passed due to the fact that that tune was written. Currently when us go searching for justice we see far too many paths and roads to take, not among which is guaranteed to take us to the redemption we room seeking.

The truth is, it’s easy to implicate any number of people or reality for their crimes against humanity if friend really desire to hold court. Why, if girlfriend analyzed the background of person behavior, friend would watch a long list of sins worthy of judgment day—many the which have been perpetrated by your very own side. Let’s begin with religion.

Suspect #1: religion


From the really moment Christ died for your sins, Christians almost everywhere the human being have been sinning prefer wildfire. The Jews and also the Romans, barbaric in their very own right, teach Christians just how to die. However, Catholics and also Protestants are the ones who truly teach the world how come suffer. Indigenous Saint Augustine’s Cognite Intrare (“Compel them come enter”) plea because that intolerance, to the majestic brutality the the divine Roman Empire’s Crusades, in which Muslims and also Christians killed each other, come the Catholic sponsored Inquisitions, in which heretics were melted at the stake, this Christians have killed mountains of innocent people.

Even after the improvement took place, Protestants ongoing with their very own versions of the Inquisitions, cruelly burn heretics at the stake and also duking it out v Catholics in the Thirty years War, and much later during The Troubles. The absolutism the Luther and also Calvin taught caused the persecution of many other sects that Christians who dared to be various from mainstream Protestantism.

Torture and also intolerance continued throughout the 2nd millennium, culminating in a campaign of misogyny against women throughout the european witch-hunts, a time often referred to as a “woman’s holocaust.” religious extremism is certainly responsible for much of the bloodshed throughout human history, and also usually such violence is urged from a straightforward thought that shed souls must be converted to the appropriate way. And so lock repented, and they winner their just reward…

Suspect #2: The United says of America


While we’re finger-pointing at organized religion, let’s no forget the critical Christian nation, the United says of America. Ever since colonial times, the united States has actually listened to nothing yet its own trumpets blowing. The Manifest Destiny mission had actually brutal aftermath for indigenous Americans and also the U.S. Make no an enig that “white power” to be the main motivator for conquering its inferior neighbors. Man C. Calhoun to be quoted together saying, “We have actually never dreamt that incorporating right into our Union any kind of but the Caucasian race—the complimentary white race.” Calhoun has actually that ingenuous 19th century honesty that is sorely doing not have in white political leaders today. That doesn’t feel patriotic when he states something like, “We room anxious come force totally free government on all, and I view that it has actually been urged…it is the mission that this nation to spread out civil and religious liberty over every the world, and also especially over this continent. That is a good mistake. None however people advanced to a an extremely high state of moral and intellectual advancement are capable, in a civilized state, of maintaining cost-free government.”

And indigenous there beforehand America, deceived native Americans (“savages” together the infallible constitution once dubbed them) into losing their land, and also eventually come forcible removal and death, courtesy of the Indian Removal action of 1830 and also the trail of Tears in 1831. Historian authors prefer David E. Stannard that American Holocaust believe early on Americans ordered a true genocidal act v these decisions, even surpassing the Nazi Holocaust in regards to cruelty and also death.

Did the Mountain people learn your lesson the very first time? Why yes, detailed you sidestep American slavery in the 1800s, in i beg your pardon black slaves were owned together property, ridiculed, beaten and also then viciously murdered if they dared come runaway. Abraham Lincoln, America’s best President, reiterated Manifest Destiny when he stated, “If I might save the Union without releasing any slave, ns would carry out it.” In fact, his Emancipation Proclamation only led to the releasing of Confederate slaves and prompting a Civil war that was just waiting come happen. “I have no function to present political and social equality between the white and black races,” Lincoln repetitively assured his contemporaries. At the very least Lincoln to be consistent about his prejudices. He approved the biggest mass execution in American history, ordering 38 Indians and also “half-breeds” hanged come appease authorities in Minnesota who wanted “savage” land for themselves.

At the very least the Mountain civilization learned your lesson in the 20th century—or the very least we thought they did prior to during world War II, in i m sorry the U.S. Bombed and also killed over 200,000 Japanese civilians in Hiroshima and also Nagasaki. Simply when friend think it’s safe to say the U.S. Has developed into a peaceful and dignified nation, you are confronted with ugly army stories out of Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. Whenever over there is silence, American marvels what occurred to those trumpets. Say thanks to goodness for civilized and intelligent people in the world, girlfriend know, choose in the medical community.

Suspect #3: Science and Medicine


A lengthy time earlier (or to be specific, a few years ago in a B-movie called Psychopathia Sexualis) one of Krafft-Ebing’s proteges to be overheard boasting come a patient the the documenting and medical torturing of world for “medical and also psychiatric treatment” was necessary earlier in the day due to the fact that it helped to establish science and also medicine together a legitimate “power” in modern society—one the was no longer regulated by the state or through religion. “People will certainly no longer go to judges and also priests for answers, judges and also priests will now concerned us!” that exclaimed. Indeed, the scientific and also medical ar worldwide—no doubt oppressed for plenty of years by religious fanatics—exacted their own revenge, however unfortunately upon bad unsuspecting anomalies that nature.

Medical researchers in America and also Britain subjected homosexuals, the holy spirit handicapped and also disagreeable women to shock therapy. Who might forget the organic warfare experiments carried out in Savannah, Georgia and also Avon Park, Florida in the 1950s in which military bio-warfare researchers released numerous mosquitoes top top the two towns to view if the bugs would spread out fatal yellow heat or dengue fever? (Oh wait, you did forget about that one…they sort of brushed up that under the rug) As freshly as Bush’s administration, the CIA has carried out cruel and unusual clinical experiments ~ above prisoners. This is no to imply that just the U.S. Has a god complex. What about stories coming out of Lake Alice, brand-new Zealand in the 1970s in which kids were regularly punished v unmodified electroconvulsive treatment? and also of course, we simply love German background which provides us harrowing tales of Nazi experiments performed top top concentration camp dwellers entailing bone, muscle and nerve transplantation. These experiments left countless children and also adults disabled, disfigured or dead. Meanwhile, Japanese medical personnel tortured Chinese prisoners with vivisection surgery and also the Khmer Rouge communist program in Cambodia let researchers bleed suspected nation traitors to death. Everything moral atrocity you might possibly think that in the darkest corners of her mind, her country’s finest scientists and doctors have probably done it to part nameless orphan or senior citizen the no one would certainly miss. Hey, at least some prizes of modern technology have to be revealed to us, one bloody morning after.

Science #4: Humanity

The fact is, like any type of transcendent parable, One tin Soldier eras with us, and also evolves unique from one corrupt generation to the next. We constantly see ourselves and our worse foe in the story, since we favor to think that we space on the ideal side the God or in ~ least, the right side of rational human behavior. We remain true come our hill of hope. Meanwhile “they” space the civilization of the Valley, the ones who have actually no motivation other 보다 greed, hatred and intolerance. Whether they are religious zealots, patriots, scientists or capitalists, they room evil. They to fill the function we do for them and march v their empty indicators showing the whole human being their hypocrisy.


Now here’s the fatal stab. You room the hill People. You space the valley People. Everyone dares to trespass ~ above your personal treasure suspect the duty of a contentious mob. Everyone dares come insult your pride or stand in between you and certain success, is an obstacle that must be destroyed.

Can friend deny the your own human being have failure to lug peace on earth to this world? How have the right to Americans maybe make excuses because that their treatment of native Americans or african Americans? How deserve to the Germans ever apologize for giving us Hitler, or Russia ever apologize because that Stalin? How deserve to Islam ever comprise for extremist Muslims that commit terrorist acts? How have the right to Christianity ever reconcile murdering so numerous witches, heretics, sinners, dissenters and also yes, also fellow Christians? How have the right to you perhaps forgive your brothers throughout the world for practicing cannibalism? space they really her brothers if they want to share civilization peace and also a few legs the fried human being meat? How deserve to you forgive her neighbor because that contributing to pet suffering? How have the right to you forgive the bear in the woods that ate your girlfriend? (God loves ya, Timothy Treadwell) perhaps you can’t forgive. Possibly that’s just how you desire it.

Injustice deserve to be uncovered wherever friend turn and the Valley world need no an ideas ascribed come them other than they are Valley People—urbanized, soulless sodomites who lug their culture in choose mud and rudely location their wishes in prior of you. They room the bullies, the expansionists, the capitalists and the attention dreamers girlfriend fear. Unless, that course, lock stand between you and also that treasure, in which case they quickly become selfish, intolerant and also greedy small buggers capitalizing on your misfortune.

If anything, come me, One believe Soldier through its iconic spiritual imagery, takes back the idea of a simply or unjust God, and also leaves moral responsibility v the miserable people of this contemporary world, human being who are completely incapable the bringing any peace on earth. So go ahead and also hate your neighbor, friend can constantly justify the in the end. All we require from you is a little more hate to do the civilization turn.

One last concern for you, the thinking subversive: who really to be the “One tin Soldier” that rides away? perhaps Lambert and Potter wrote the lyrics as a call to action, asking your listeners come decide who the one tin soldier was, and consequently, what you intended to do around all the unjust you see.

Ideas because that Redemption

If you space the One tin Soldier here to pass judgment on the wicked, climate by all method join the self-destruction bombers, Tea Party Christians, atheists and also serial killers in the world and continue wallowing in your hate as regularly scheduled. Keep trying to readjust the world, because all of these stupid civilization need to be enlightened.

If friend think the One believe Soldier represents the error of man and also you are currently ashamed that your previously self-righteous ways, then by all means, proceed to repent of your sins, leaving peaceably, pardon others, live and let live, have a big interfaith orgy, preach hippie peace, and also do every sorts that Yoga and also Tantric crap to relax your an unfavorable energy.

Lastly, if friend think the One tin Soldier to be the one soldier that turned ago from the angry mob and avoided committing a senseless plot of violence, and also that he somehow represents independent thought amid a morally senseless world, then brace yourself. Be prepared to be trampled on by suicide bombers, Tea Party Christians, atheists, serial killers and evil medical scientists who want to carry out vivisections on you. Because your type, the form that resides separated from culture in that suspicious spring mountain, no live long.

For me personally, I check out the One believe Soldier as Billy Jack. Periodically in order to defend yourself and your treasure in ~ the stone you have to have a weapon. Billy Jack was a life weapon, and also was so cool that even Chuck Norris desire he was chuck Norris however pretending to be Billy Jack. Men like me, who can’t afford karate lessons only have one alternative.

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COME and also GET IT sink PEOPLE!

“I got your piece on earth right here!”


“Go ahead…hate her neighbor.”


If the Mountain world had maintained a few badass shotguns next to their stone, possibly those Valley human being would have left castle the hell alone.