"This song seems to be looking at all the problems of the world through the eyes of a concerned individual. They want to solve everything, all at once, instantly. Of course with the line 'With a quick wink of the eye and a God you must be joking' refers to that and how easy it seems to accomplish but how impossible it really is. The title seems to refer to wanting to conquer the world for the reason that if this individual did then all of these things that they want to change would be possible if they did, it does not refer to 'conquering the world' for their own pleasure."
"I love this song, but disagree somewhat with Samhain's take on it. I've always thought that the lyrics were absolutely loaded with sarcasm. You can practically hear it dripping from Graffin's voice as he intones lines like, 'Do away with air pollution and then I'll save the whales, We'll have peace on earth and global communion...' I kinda figured he was poking fun at the left wing liberals and condemning the right wing people who have made a mess of the world at the same time. It's obviously an angry tune, which is part of what makes it great, but I think the sarcasm makes it seem even angrier and more disenfranchised. Like Graffin doesn't side with anybody else."
"I'd have to agree with JG that in this song it sounds like their is a lot of sarcasm, you can hear it in Greg's voice but more importantly in Brett's lyrics."
"That was Brett's song."
"This song 'I Want To Conquer The World' takes a look at the worlds prop bums and gives us the one aliment solution changing people’s religion not our organist religion. The word religion in this context means personal religion or the way live our life and our values. This song says that we value out self’s. We knead to think about our fellow men and woman and conduct bines and teach the hided curriculum responsibly by looking out for each other."
"I think that Apb punks interpretation sounds stilted, he has quite an extensive vocabulary although it's framed with bad grammar."
"I'm not going to try to interpret the whole song, but the lines, 'hey moral soldier you've got righteous proclamations and precious tomes to fuel your pulpy conflagrations' is calling moral soldiers (P.M.R.C., Concerned Parent Groups) book burners. (tomes=books) (pulp=wood=paper) (conflagration=large fire)."
"This song seems like it could go both ways. On a personal level, I relate to the idea that I if I were to have control over things, this mess would be straightened out once and for all. But then again, who doesn't feel that way, and I think that is the real point. It's sarcastic. Everyone thinks that they have the true solutions, yet everyone is isolating themselves from the full issues to pursue their finite interests. The moral soldiers, the scientists, the diplomats, the bleeding hearts; all working as if they are the saviors, as they always have, yet things still just get worse. I think that the chorus is just the author's personal view of what is right, but it's also acknowledged that they are indeed no different from the rest. I think that's where the saving the whales line comes from, as well as replacing the idiot's religion with his own way of thinking. It's almost poking fun at himself for being so self-righteous. The song at once addresses! the allure of imposing your world view upon others, while acknowledging the reality that you're really no different from the rest. Still, I do want to conquer the world."
"'Show me a man who can conquer that which can't be tamed, and if that man could speak would the words evoked be sane? Ask me the reasons for misery and shame. I'll give you reasons for the wind and for the rain.' That's really the core of it right there. I think that Bad Religion has a much larger perspective then most bands, and a single song doesn't embrace an isolated political or social concept, but incorporates a more dynamic view of existence. I don't think they're necessarily assigning blame or making fun of anyone, just pointing out the contradictions inherent in people's intentions, which are often well-meaning. The state of reality that creates a framework where no one can really be right without also being wrong is a complex system that won't be understood by any generation in the foreseeable future. I think it's kind of interesting that a lot of what Bad Religion says seems to correspond to Taoist philosophical concepts, which can't be easily explained through a simple singular definition."
"I believe that song 'I want to conquer the world' really defines the problem of how our highest officials in society such as preacher, scientists, governmental authorities, really don't do as much to our world as they are brought out to be and really in actuality they crooked. 'Hey Mr. diplomat with your worldly aspirations, did you see your children cry when you left them at the station' that line really defines it. Perhaps I am wrong but i can really make a connection, you know everyone has their opinions."
"Though the title might be repulsing for people who dislike punk rock from the start, I Want To Conquer The World delivers a message of peace. It talks (in my opinion, always) about the world being better if we could get rid of those in command and put uncorrupted people in charge. So, it can mean if it was me in charge, but only if I can consider myself uncorrupted without misunderstanding of my own mind. Because if I conquered the world, i would decide to put an end to poverty, uncleanliness and toil, and I would promote equality in all of my decisions. (I don't need to tell you that I took that from the lyrics, I think that about everyone who loves BR enough to read this sort of thing knows about every BR song.)"
"I Wanna Conquer the World - great, great song, probably the ultimate pisstake ('send-up' for those not familiar with the word) on inflated self-importance. People are always off doing things THEY feel are important to all and sundry, but as Fat Mike might say, are they 'doin' it for the cause'?
1970's Australian Rock act Skyhooks wrote a song called 'Ego is not a dirty word' (another pisstake). Would Brett have heard it? I very much doubt it. When hearing IWCTW, this phrase is so relevant, as people so often seem to have an ulterior motive when doing what they perceive is for the common good...'I do therefore I am'"
"To briefly talk about my thoughts on this song I would begin to add something to the previous one.
The crucial part to remember lyrically is 'with a quick wink of the eye and a 'god, you must be joking!''.
Much like man with a mission, the title of the song is made to put across a comedic irony. The phrase is associated with something we all can relate to, the human desire to conquer, and superlatively, the world. Hell, Madonna said it, the desire to if not literally, to stake your claim. So it initially leads you on to believe the speaker wants the same.
However, with the addition of that lyrical line which is usually overlooked, it can be seen as irony. It is expressing the mindless obsession of wanting to be the 'one' or speaking in terms of sexual politics to be the 'man'. To be the leader, and have others validation, to command, and be the one that can lead everyone out. There's nothing worse than being a blind follower, than having a savior complex.
The 'wink of an eye' evokes imagery of an infomercial salesman who snaps his fingers and just 'poverty reduced, the whales saved, see all you needed was me'. Solving problems isn't that simple. The desire to conquer the world may fulfill your needs, but you are not necessary (echoing the song on same album, the world won't stop without you) to solve the problems of the world. If you as in the 'I' want to conquer the world you're not thinking about it realistically in terms of solving poverty, etc. While adding fuel to solving such problems will lead to bettering the situation, your role in any type of movement is not 'necessary' though desired. The world doesn't 'need' you. You need the world.
Further, the 'my god you must be joking' nails the coffin shut on expressing the sentiment of how silly the comic book wish to conquer the world is. The black and white egotism of swooping down and solving the worlds problem, the outcast redeeming himself now that you finally have the chance, is foolish self-absorption.
If you look at the verse lyrics, they all talk about various types of people who try and 'conquer the world' with the belief too that if the 'man of science', 'mister diplomat', 'brother Christian' had their way and could just have unilateral control, poof like magic all problems would be solved.
And its laughable that such attempts at charity and good intention is anything but the desire to say it was you who did it, made it happen, and have that achievement be reflected on your glory, or whatever ideas you swear loyalty to. Ambition is not uniformly virtuous.
The desire to 'conquer the world' will always be for personal gain as long as the 'I' is within earshot.
At least that is my take."
"Actually I thought the sarcasm to be pretty obvious. Especially because of the last chorus where Greg sings about ending air pollution and saving the whales. These goals are a lot more ambitious than the ones mentioned earlier in the song. I believe the song is about a really ambitious but naive person with big plans (just like most of us, I reckon). But despite the fact that this individual will probably fail and will have to face reality, it still encourages us to fight for what we believe in. The feeling of determination and the strength of the song as a whole are what makes it my favorite. PS: Pardon my English, it's not my first language."
"It has been said that the best government possible is a 'benevolent dictatorship'; unfortunately it does not exist. It is a sad but true assumption that the general public cannot come to logical discussions for the betterment of the world because things like IGNORANCE, greed, pride, and fanatical religious belief gets in the way. Since the people cannot think for themselves, they need some completely unselfish, logical thinking, wise individual to think for them. It does not and perhaps cannot exist in the sense that the original goal of solving the plethora of problems that plague the world would succumb to pride (megalomania i.e. Mr. Diplomat) or idealistic crusades (i.e. Brother Christian, Sister Bleeding heart, & Mother Mercy). However, there is an important distinction in interpreting this song is that doesn't mean one stops trying. You cannot help, much less save the world without being a part of it in some way (i.e. Man of Science). By all means if you are pragmatic and wise enough, try to save the world. One of the great qualities of 'I want to conquer the world' and indeed most all Bad Religion songs is that they address social and political problems of the world. To say the world doesn't need you is quite frankly irresponsible; because the world sure does need somebody. Anarchists have never solved any problems, only added to them by idly standing by so ready to give up without changing anything."
"I believe that this song points out the flaw of being human. Achieving imperfection in search of perfection. Meaning that everyone (diplomats, soldiers, religious', heart throbbers, etc.) has their own vision of the 'perfect' world and they all try to create this world. However that fact is that not everyone else has the same view of the 'perfect' world, so their is conflict which ultimately leads to the world being worse than it already was. For example, in the song they talk about the 'soldier', the 'soldier' believes in honor and their country and such. The 'soldier' believes (in my mind) that in order for the world to be at 'peace', one nation must rule all, or a group of nations (the UN) or something, otherwise there will be conflict. However not everyone in the world agrees with this 'soldier's' country, or the UN group he/she is a part of. So therefore there can be no 'peace', which is what the soldier wanted in the first place. The chorus shows us tha! t even though the band realises that no ones perfect world is in fact perfect for everyone, they still have their own views of perfection, they are not above this flaw either. Their is alot of sarcasm aswell, saying that if he ruled the world he could end all the suffering, when that is impossible."
"For me, this song is definately sarcastic, but i view it in a diffrent way to eveyone else who has already posted. I agree that the key line is "but with a quick wink of the eye, and a god you must be joking" but i interpret this line as revoking all the other promises made in this song. I see the song as the equivalent of a politician's manifesto (election promises)saying, " vote for me as ruler of the world beacuse i will save the whales, etc." Yet, he knows himself that he has no intention of doing any of these things ("god you must be joking")but he is just using fake promises to get into power, like almost every government in the world today."