Doctor No and the Sex Pistols

Dr. No and Johnny Rotten

So if you were watching the Tonight Show yesternight, you got to hear Ron Paul talking about Austrian economics, followed by Johnny Rotten singing “I am the Antichrist, I am the Anarchist …. Hi, Mr. Paul!” and the two shaking hands. Surreal! Hoping to see a pic of the handshake showing up online – a great symbol of the libertarian/counterculture convergence.

Okay, so Paul isn’t my ideal libertarian, and Rotten – as an admirer of Reagan and Thatcher – isn’t my ideal counterculture dude. But it’s still cool.


I was wrong about Rotten being a Reagan/Thatcher fan; see the comments section.

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12 Responses to Doctor No and the Sex Pistols

  1. Anon2 October 31, 2007 at 2:53 pm #

    Wouldn’t admiration of Reagon and Thatcher ipso facto discount someone as part of the “counterculture”?

  2. Bob Kaercher October 31, 2007 at 2:57 pm #

    I seem to remember reading John Lydon dissing Thatcher, not praising her.

  3. Administrator October 31, 2007 at 3:06 pm #

    I vaguely recall reading an interview in which he said Reagan and Thatcher were great because they were expressions of punk sensibility — or something like that. But “vague” is the word, and I may be maligning him. Anybody know more?

  4. Administrator October 31, 2007 at 3:06 pm #

    Actually “vaguely” was the word.

  5. Sag October 31, 2007 at 5:39 pm #


    You’re definitely mistaken. The Thatcher regime and the English establishment really did a number on him in the late 70s and early 80s. If you’re interested, please read Rotten’s autobiography “No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs” published in 1991. When you read about his experiences growing up in England and how the English establishment and police treated the Sex Pistols…to make a long story short…Johnny Rotten is absolutely no admirer of Thatcher, Reagan, the Queen or “Thone and Altar”. Quite the opposite.

  6. Black Bloke November 1, 2007 at 5:55 am #

    You’re probably think of Joey Ramone. I was talking about his “Kill a Commie for Mommy” shirt after the Sex Pistols performance on Leno after Paul.

  7. Administrator November 1, 2007 at 10:34 pm #

    No, I meant Rotten — but I suspect I was misremembering, or misinterpreting, or over-relying on, this piece.

  8. Bob Kaercher November 2, 2007 at 11:26 am #

    Yeah, according to that Reason Hit & Run piece, it’s actually American Spectator’s Greg Gutfeld’s interpretation that punk somehow led to Reagan, and Reagan somehow led to the demise of the USSR. (Why, oh why, do conservatives STILL insist that Reagan collapsed the Soviet Union???) There isn’t anything in there that quotes Rotten as backing up that opinion.

    For Rotten’s own assessment of Thatcher, go here:


    [Interviwer:] “Margaret Thatcher came in around then.”

    “And who knew that she’d become ongoing – she never went away. One thing she was solid on was ‘This lady’s not for turning!’ That was impressive, but she sold the North Sea oil to the Americans, sold Sheffield Steel, raised the tax and made the country impossible to function economically. And then she blamed the unions.

    “Why unions are so important in England is this. Before them, it was the workhouse. The unions stopped that. If some of the unions had become corrupt, then the workers would sort that out nicely. A lot of blame was attached to people like Arthur Scargill. Apart from his manic Marxist leanings, he was also a democrat. He believed in voting, democracy. And that wasn’t understood. So he was victimized. So, naturally, my instincts, I side with him. Anyone who speaks for the people is on my side, and I’m on their side. I don’t expect us to agree on every subject, utterly completely. That’s why I don’t believe in political parties, where you have to toe the line. You have to go with the lobbying agenda, and this is wrong.”

    Rotten does go on to say that he sees more “working class values” in the Conservative party these days, but as you can see, his assessment of Thatcher is that “she made [England] impossible to function economically.” Hardly a glowing review of Mrs. Thatcher. I wonder what Gutfeld, who is so eager to co-opt the punk ethic as somehow “conservative” (talk about your “second-handers”!), would think if he read that.

    As for somehow inferring that Johnny Rotten is some kind of punk Reaganite, you have to read this excellent piece by Brad Laidman:

    In it, you will find out what Mr. Lydon REALLY thinks about American variety conservatism, the war in Iraq, and Bush & Cheney (hint: he uses a derogatory term for a certain area of the female anatomy to describe them).

    I can’t help but maybe think Johnny Rotten was having a bit of fun at the lazy and clueless Gutfeld’s expense. And as usual, the joke’s also on Nick Gillespie.

    Alright, alright…enough o’ my yappin’!

  9. Sag November 2, 2007 at 12:17 pm #


    The Reason piece is totally clueless. If you read the MTV piece they link to, you’ll see Rotten actually uttering the exact opposite of their Thatcher worship. What complete nonsense from Reason to include Rotten and the Sex Pistols as Reagan/Thatcher supporters. You might as well call Lew Rockwell a bush supporter. It’s a load of bollocks!

  10. Administrator November 3, 2007 at 1:07 pm #

    Well, I certainly unfairly maligned Lydon/Rotten. Apologies!

  11. Sag November 5, 2007 at 3:15 pm #

    No worries Roderick. I couldn’t let Reason get away with that hit piece. BTW, if anyone’s interested in early punk, especially the English version, read “No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs”. That goes for Clash fans too. Rotten interviews Joe Strummer and others in the book. It shows what the Pistols were up against (racism, Labour/Conservative state oppression and propaganda etc.). It’s bloody excellent.

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