Music

'You Can't Have Freedom for Free': On Rush, Ayn Rand, and Not Compromising

"I don't want to 'grow up,' if growing up means abandoning the principle that individuals matter," writes Matt Kibbe in Don't Hurt People and Don't Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto.

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The following is Adapted from Matt Kibbe's latest book, Don't Hurt People and Don't Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto

In 1977, I bought my first Rush album. I was 13. The title of the disc was 2112, and the foldout jacket had a very cool and ominous red star on the cover. As soon as I got it home from the store, I carefully placed that vinyl record onto the felt-padded turntable of my parents' old Motorola console stereo.

The moment I dropped that stylus, and that needle caught the groove, I became obsessed with Rush like only thirteen-year-old boys can get obsessed. I turned up the volume as loud as I thought I could get away with, and I rocked.

Mom shut that jam session down real fast. So I turned down the stereo, sat down, and began to read the liner notes inside the album cover jacket instead. The text inside the cover read, "With acknowledgement to the genius of Ayn Rand." What an odd name, I thought. Who is Ayn Rand?

2112 is a song cycle that tells the story of a futuristic and tyrannical society where individual choice and initiative have been replaced by the top-down control of an autocratic regime. The theme was not unlike the state of the music industry at the time, a predetermined Top 40 collection of one-size-fits-all pop. (Google Captain & Tennille's "Muskrat Love." Enough said.) Without the decentralized and liberating forces of the Internet, alternative music was left undiscovered, unheard by consumers, crushed by the silence of ignorance.

As it turns out, in the mid-1970's, the members of Rush were battling their own record label for control over their artistic direction. The band wanted to pursue its own creative path, even if it didn't fit with someone else's conception of "good" music. Mercury Records wanted something more "commercial." They wanted Rush to sell more records, or else.

If you follow the evolution of any genre of music, or any creative industry for that matter, you've already heard this story a thousand times. It is the clash between tradition and innovation, and the creative destruction that drives individuals to challenge the status quo. The establishment always gets squirrely when some difficult-to-manage new talent attempts to deviate from the norm.

Too far. Too individualistic. Too extreme. You just know it's going to happen, the labels and the name-calling, the defensiveness, when the protectors of the status quo feel threatened by change and principled disruption.

When it comes to innovation, sometimes the customer is always right. But other times an innovator shakes up market perceptions and upsells buyers on a better product—a new idea that you didn't even know you needed until someone else figured it out for you. This process of creative disruption—standing on the shoulders of your intellectual forefathers all the while challenging them and their best work—seems to be where the good stuff in life comes from.

And it can only happen if people are free. Free to succeed. Free to fail. Free to speak their minds and disagree with the experts. Free to choose. Think about the horseless carriage, handheld computers, or the MP3 files on your iPod that replaced CDs, that replaced cassettes and eight-track tapes, and yes, that even replaced vinyl.

This disruption seems particularly true in music. Music and freedom just seem to go together, just like the word "bacon" belongs in any sentence that includes the phrase "proper meal." I can't prove it, but you just know that it's true.

Back in 1977, such profound insights eluded me. I was wearing black concert tees and wondering who the heck Ayn Rand was, when I stumbled upon a used copy of her novella Anthem at a neighborhood garage sale. I took it home and read it without putting it down once. What an awesome book it was, about a dystopian society where the word "I" had been erased by an oppressive, collective "We." Despite insurmountable odds, the good guys, the "cursed" ones, the ones who begin to start their sentences with the word "I," persevere. I connected with the struggle to be free—different, independent, responsible for my own successes and failures.

I immediately set out to find the other works of Ayn Rand. Imagine how long it took me to find a copy of The Fountainhead. Back in the day, you couldn't just log into your Amazon account and find it, or the multitude of other books related to it. I looked in any bookstore, at every opportunity. It was difficult to find. But, I was obsessed.

Neil Peart, the drummer and lyricist for Rush, was also obsessed with Ayn Rand at the time of his band's career-defining struggle with their record label. The band had toured relentlessly in support of their last album, Caress of Steel, but the record had been trashed by music critics (a trend that would go on for decades).

Without the music industry press on Rush's side, album sales were disappointing. For the next album, company headquarters wanted something conventional, something that would sell. "I felt this great sense of injustice that this mass was coming down on us and telling us to compromise, and compromise was the word I couldn't deal with," recalls Peart. "I grew up a child of the 60s and I was a strong individualist and believed in the sanctity of: 'you should be able to do what you want to do, you know, without hurting anyone.'" Artistic integrity, for Peart and his bandmates, had crashed headlong into the expediency of the moment.

Instead of following the rules, instead of recording an album that conformed to the expected, Rush made 2112. At a time when successful pop songs ran about three minutes long, a twenty-minute song cycle about totalitarian oppression on a far-away planet was hardly what the sales team at Mercury Records had in mind.

Peart penned the dystopian lyrics to 2112 thinking about his individual freedom. "I did not think of politics and I did not think of global oppression," he recalls. No, he was thinking: "These people are messing with me!" He and the rest of the band found their inspiration in Anthem, the same novella that had turned me on.

"You can say what you want about Ayn Rand and all the other implications of her work, but her artistic manifesto, for lack of a better term, was the one that struck home with us," says the band's lead singer and bass guitarist Geddy Lee. "It's about creative freedom. It's about believing in yourself."

Fans agreed. Despite its not-ready-for-pop-radio format, 2112 reached number 61 on the Billboard pop album charts, the first time the band had cracked the Top 100. Creative freedom aside, the brief note inside the sleeve of 2112, the one hat-tipping Ayn Rand, set the world of music experts—the critics—afire with ideological rage. You might characterize music journalists as frustrated musicians that shower their bitterness on youth.

That was certainly the case with Barry Miles, a music critic writing for England's New Music Express, who had a philosophical ax to grind in his trashing of Rush that had nothing to do with the quality of the music they made. On page 7 of the March 4, 1978, issue of NME, the headline read "Is Everyone Feeling All RIGHT? (Geddit?)"

As someone who reads the music press, this ranks as one of the most hateful hit pieces on a band I have ever seen. The problem, it seems, was the source of the band's ideas. Neil Peart is quoted, arguing that his band is "certainly devoted to individualism as the only concept that allows men to be happy, without somebody taking from somebody else." What follows is a hit piece and a clumsy vehicle for a hack journalist to express uninformed disdain for Neil Peart's developing libertarian ideology:

So now I understood the freedom they are talking about. Freedom for employers and those with money to do what they like and freedom for the workers to quit (and starve) or not. Work makes free. Didn't I remember that idea from somewhere? "Work Makes Free." Oh yes, it was written over the main gateway to Auschwitz Concentration Camp.

The story continues on to quote Peart again as saying, "You have to have principles that firmly apply to every situation. I think a country has to be run that way. That you have a guiding set of principles that are absolutely immutable—can never be changed by anything. That's the only way."

"Shades of the 1,000 Year Reich?" observes a very bitter Miles, darkly.

Really? Auschwitz? Shades of the Third Reich? Nobody likes being called a Nazi—except, I suppose, Nazis. For the rest of us, it is a conversation stopper, one of the deepest insults one can hurl, like "racist." A "Nazi" is a cold-blooded mass murderer.

Of course, individualism as described by Ayn Rand or Neil Peart or anyone else for that matter is the very antithesis of national socialism or any ideology that enables a government act of mass murder. I think the accusers who smear others with Nazism know that, and the real purpose is to stigmatize their philosophical enemies. Saul Alinksy, the radical community organizer from Chicago, said it best in Rules for Radicals:

Rule number 5: "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon."

Rule number 13: "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

Well, the New Music Express certainly personalized it. Both of Geddy Lee's parents had been teenage prisoners held at Auschwitz. "I once asked my mother her first thoughts upon being liberated," Lee told a reporter for JWeekly in 2004. "She didn't believe [liberation] was possible. She didn't believe that if there was a society outside the camp how they could allow this to exist, so she believed society was done in."

His parents' heroic struggle against Nazi genocide really defined Geddy Lee's upbringing in Toronto, and their experiences were discussed openly. Can you imagine his reaction to Barry Miles's ad hominem "Nazi" smears against the band in 1978? "Just so offensive," says Lee, in his typical, understated way.

Ayn Rand, like Geddy Lee, had firsthand knowledge of just how deep such smears can cut. Born Alissa Rosenbaum, Rand was growing up in St. Petersburg, Russia, when the communists took power in 1917. Her Jewish family "endured years of suffering and danger" after her father's small business was confiscated. She wanted to be a writer, but saw no hope for that under a new government regime where the freedom to express opinions, to question authority, to think for yourself, was prohibited. With the help of her family, she fled communist Russia for the United States, arriving when she was twenty-one years old.

The critics never really warmed up to Rand's work, just like they never really warmed up to Rush's music. More than their art, I suspect it was their combative individualism that really irked the critics. For Rand—as for Rush—there was a price to be paid for pursuing her chosen path in life. Challenging the status quo, and the freedom to do so, all came at a price. Freedom, for them, was not free. There was a downside, and it might have been easier to give in and comply with the expectations of others.

But the upside to freedom is so much better. Fans, customers hungry for something else, found them. It is said that Atlas Shrugged, Rand's magnum opus, is the second-most influential book in history, a distant second to the Bible. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, 2112 has sold more than 3 million copies since it was released, a triple-platinum record. Overall, Rush has sold some 40 million records, and the band ranks third, behind the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, for the most consecutive gold or platinum studio albums by a rock-and-roll band.

And it all started with 2112. It started with a willingness to stand on principle when the easier path was compromise. It started, incidentally, "with an acknowledgement to the genius of Ayn Rand." The band took off, fueled by music fans looking for something different, something inspired by disruptive innovation and creative freedom.

I really didn't revisit my early obsession with Rush until 2010, when an insurgent Senate candidate named Rand Paul began playing the band's "Spirit of Radio" at campaign events. He's a big fan, it turns out.

Wikimedia

"I read Ayn Rand when I was seventeen," the now well-known Senator from Kentucky told me in 2013. "I was probably a Rush fan before that… so the serendipity was that I actually liked this band that knew about Ayn Rand. I remember reading the lyrics to 2112 and then reading Anthem and saying this is basically Anthem in music."

The lawyer for Rush's record label, however, is not apparently a big fan of Rand Paul. Robert Farmer, general counsel for the Anthem Entertainment Group Inc. in Toronto, issued the following statement in response to the candidate's musical choices at events: "The public performance of Rush's music is not licensed for political purposes: any public venue which allows such use is in breach of its public performance license and also liable for copyright infringement."

Okay, so maybe the band just doesn't like politics. Maybe they respect their fans enough to not choose sides. Maybe, as their song "Tom Sawyer" goes, "His mind is not for rent, to any god or government."

Or maybe it just sucks being called a Nazi. Maybe the hate cuts deep when it's so personal, so unfair, so offensive. Maybe they just want to do their work. Ever since that ridiculous, slanderous, and yes, hurtful article was published—just as their hard work as musicians was starting to pay off—it seems that the band members have had to answer the same question, over and over: "Are you guys really ultra-right-wing lunatics?"

In a 2012 interview, Neil Peart was giving a rare interview with Rolling Stone to talk about the band's new album, Clockwork Angels. He's not a talker, and typically "doesn't like all of the hoopla." But he really wanted to talk about his latest work. Of course, the question came up again. Do you really like Ayn Rand? He answered:

For me, it was an affirmation that it's right to totally believe in something and live for it and not compromise. It was as simple as that…Libertarianism as I understood it was very good and pure and we're all going to be successful and generous to the less fortunate and it was, to me, not dark or cynical. But then I soon saw, of course, the way that it gets twisted by the flaws of humanity. And that's when I evolve now into… a bleeding heart Libertarian. That'll do."

That'll do. I'm a bleeding heart libertarian, OK? You can almost hear the resignation in his voice. Can we talk about my work, now?

I remember debating MSNBC's Chris Matthews once at an event in Aspen. I was making a (surely profound) point, and Matthews abruptly interrupted. He does that. "I know, I know," he said. "I read Ayn Rand in high school. I used to believe that stuff too, but then I grew up."

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia

I've heard this so many times. I'm sure you have, too. I suppose Neil Peart heard it more than most when he was trying to live down the youthful enthusiasm for liberty he shared with a dishonest critic in 1978.

Well I don't want to "grow up," if growing up means abandoning the principle that individuals matter, that you shouldn't hurt people or take their stuff. If it means not seeking ideals, taking chances, and taking responsibility for my own failures. If it means compromising on the things that really matter.

I don't want to split the difference on someone else's bad idea, and then pat myself on the back for "getting something done." There is a community of millions of people who seem to agree with me on this matter, and we are going through this test together. Not compromising seems to be the glue that holds us as a social movement. Alone you might buckle, give up. But are you really willing to let all of us down?

When I was 13, I discovered the ideas of liberty by accident, by reading the liner notes to 2112. I stumbled upon an earmarked copy of Anthem, an edition so old that Atlas Shrugged was not yet listed in the front with "other works" by Rand. With no "Long Tail" of the interwebs, I searched somewhat blindly for other books, eventually discovering Ludwig von Mises (recommended by Rand in her nonfiction works). I would later attend Grove City College by accident, because my Dad was transferred to the small town. I discovered Dr. Hans Sennholz and the Austrian Economics program there after a beer-fueled debate over the proper role of government. When I switched degrees, I was already one year into a Biology major, but I didn't know.  

Today, I would have just Googled it.

That is precisely what Michigan Congressman Justin Amash, a rising star in the Republican Party, did. "I was done with college, done with law school, and noticed that my views on politics were a little bit different than some of my Republican colleagues," Amash recalls. "It was the [George W.] Bush era of Republican politics. So, I decided I'd do a Google search and threw some of the terms into Google that I thought matched my viewpoints. Up popped F.A. Hayek."

Hayek talks about how individuals come together in voluntary association and create institutions, and those institutions both inform and constrain our behavior. I always thought the interplay between community and the individual made a lot of sense and explained how the world holds together and works so well without some benevolent despot telling us what to do.

Amash agrees. "I like Hayek's style. It's an intellectual style. There's a strong focus on spontaneous order, the idea that order pops out of our free interactions with each other. I found that very appealing."

The beautiful chaos and political disintermediation that is enabled by the Internet and social media is empowering individuals, helping them find ideas, each other, and better information about the corrupt cronyism of D.C.'s entrenched political class. That's real power. It's the reason why the machinery of government no longer functions entirely behind closed doors, shielded from the light of public attention. Information on last-minute floor votes and arcane congressional floor procedure is tweeted out, posted, shared, streamed live, and otherwise instantaneously distributed to millions of citizens, creating a greater social intelligence.

Knowledge is power, and the diminishing marginal costs of getting good information about Washington's ways is changing the old, tired political calculus. Politicians can no longer hide from their constituents, telling them one thing back home while voting for business as usual in the nation's capital. And it's driving the Old Guard of the political establishment absolutely nuts. They are lashing out.

Many people in Washington, DC, want to stop you, the citizen shareholder. Sometimes they call names, names meant to damage and hurt. Should we let them? Should we back down and take the easier path?

I can only think back to laying on my parent's plush red wall-to-wall carpeting as I read the inside cover of 2112. The final song on the second side of the album is playing. "You don't get something for nothing." I'm listening, reading the lyrics inside the record sleeve, the one with the cool, ominous red star.

"You can't have freedom for free."

Adapted from Matt Kibbe's latest book, Don't Hurt People and Don't Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto. Kibbe is the President of FreedomWorks, a grassroots service center to over 6 million activists who believe in liberty and limited government.

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172 responses to “'You Can't Have Freedom for Free': On Rush, Ayn Rand, and Not Compromising

  1. Freedom isn’t free / No, there’s a hefty fucking fee

    1. Freedom cost a buck o five

      1. I thought it was about tree fiddy.

  2. Let me tell you how it will be
    There’s one for you, nineteen for me
    Cos I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

    Should five per cent appear too small
    Be thankful I don’t take it all
    Cos I’m the taxman, yeah I’m the taxman

    If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street
    If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat
    If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat
    If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet

    Taxman!
    Cos I’m the taxman, yeah I’m the taxman

    Don’t ask me what I want it for (Aahh Mr. Wilson)
    If you don’t want to pay some more (Aahh Mr. Heath)
    Cos I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

    Now my advice for those who die
    Declare the pennies on your eyes
    Cos I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

    And you’re working for no one but me
    Taxman!

    1. George Harrison, the fourth, um, Rush-er.

    2. My favorite Rush song!

    3. Great song – played and sang it many a time…..

      Lyrics were funny, but I never took them too seriously…..other than somewhat knowing that those freedom lovers in the UK were taxed harder than we were.

  3. deviate from the norm

    Is this article going to be full of little Rush Easter eggs?

    1. “showering their bitterness on youth”

      from A Farewell To Kings.

  4. Freedom isn’t Free. Hmmm. I have always heard that used an alternative way of saying ‘Freedom is Slavery’.

    1. It can also work in the context of having to keep an ever-watchful eye on people with power over you to make sure you keep your freedoms. Freedom takes effort, something this country has lost in this Mother-May-I? era.

      1. I’ve always preferred the maxim, The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance. That’s what freedom isn’t free means, to me at least.

      2. You and Restoras are correct, but the saying is usually hijacked and twisted to mean the opposite.

        Restoras, you are correct that “The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance” is a better way of putting it.

        1. And besides, the premise “freedom isn’t free” is wrong to start with.

          Freedom is in fact free. You don’t buy it, you achieve it through the mutual assent of other rational persons.

          1. But you must constantly defend it from those who would take it – so it isn’t free.

        2. Freedom is never given – it is taken.

  5. I was a libertarian long before I encountered Rand. While I appreciated her emphasis on the individual, I’ve never really found her worldview as a whole compelling. Still, so few talk outside of the collective box that I found her a nice change of pace.

    I’m definitely a Rush fan (went to a concert just a couple of years ago), but I didn’t pick up on their politics, such as they are, until years after I’d started listening to them.

    1. “but I didn’t pick up on their politics, such as they are, until years after I’d started listening to them.”

      When I heard “live for yourself, there’s no one else more worth living for..” their “politics” pretty much punched me in the face.

      1. “Begging hands and bleeding hearts will always cry out for more.”

        1. I googled that and found this site with a good Peart interview: http://objectivish.blogspot.co…..-coda.html

        2. “You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice,
          If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice!

          You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill.
          I will choose a path that’s clear: I will choose free will.”

          Can’t get much more Randian that that.

          -jcr

          1. I always found the line “I will choose free will” to be preposterous. If you have free will, you cannot choose it; you already have it. If you don’t have free will, you haven’t the wherewithal to choose it.

      2. Well, I know they’ve always
        Told you selfishness was wrong
        Yet it was for me not you
        I came to write this song

        I love this bit from that song.

        1. Actually that whole song is chock full of goodness. Its title is very descriptive.

          “We marvel after those who sought
          New wonders in the world
          Wonders in the world
          Wonders in the world they wrought.”

  6. Always loved Rush, particularly the old stuff. Watched their bio on TV last year and gained even more respect for them. I was so happy when they got the ultimatum to write short pop-songs for their next album, so they handed in 2112.

    1. “Spirit of the Radio,” is about as ironic a breakthrough hit as has ever been produced.

  7. Tony says liberty is tyranny. You see, liberty means being free from having to ask permission and obey orders. Well, what about the people who force others to ask permission and obey orders? How can they be stopped except with force? Thus liberty requires force, which makes it tyranny. While true freedom is asking permission and obeying orders.

    1. And the first thing the Tony’s of the world always do is limit your ability to fight back. Wonder why.

    2. Tony accepts that he does not have the intestinal fortitude to stand up for himself and is thus willing to lick the boots of his master. As long as it will only be that one entity and no other individual has the capacity to have his own will – either for his own freedom or to force anything from Tony – then Tony is willing to wear his master’s chains.

      Tony is comfortable, possibly even happy with this deal and he wants every other human being to have to sign up for it too.

      1. Tony believes that nonsense about government being “we the people.” Government is us, and teh corporations are them. I know, I once felt that way. Now I think.

        1. Tony likes that phrase because it sounds so collectivist to his feeble, reptilian mind.

      2. Tony longs to live in a society modeled on kindergarten.

    3. I think people like that have a touch of OCD with a strong flavor of sociopathy added in. They are compelled to order and arrange people the same way a neat-freak organizes a sock drawer. All of their bullshit arguments are just rationalizations for treating people like objects.

      1. I think you are dead-on right about that Suthen.

      2. Truth. Tony and his ilk are control freaks but they don’t have the guts to take control. They are happy to have a government to do what they would like to have done to and with the rest of us. At heart they are allergic to freedom – their own or anybody’s.

      3. Jackie Treehorn treats objects like women.

    4. Liberty is tyranny to those whom it prevents from controlling the rest of us.

      1. Exactly. So if you want people to be controlled, then you are naturally hostile to liberty.

    5. Re: sarcasmic,

      Tony says liberty is tyranny.

      The fucktard also said that if he does not comment on posts about abuse of power from government or other horrible things against individual liberty, is because he “agrees with what is being said” because he’s more libertarian than what we would give him credit for.

      So if he’s not here commenting, is because he agrees with what is being said here.

      1. So if he’s not here commenting, is because he agrees with what is being said here.

        That bit of troll-bait is getting old and stinky. The guy is a liar.

  8. By the way Matt, great article, great book.

  9. When I think back
    On all the crap I learned in high school
    It’s a wonder
    I can think at all

  10. Speaking as a freedom and music lover who despises both Ayn Rand and Rush, I’d just like to add there’s a little more to their critical failures than “critics hated their individualism”. It’s the fact that both are heavy handed, bombastic, and goofy that turns many people off. “the Trees” nuff said.

    Bombastic and goofy is fine in the realms of metal or cockrock, when other elements like sexuality, or satanism, or “WOOO! ROCKIN’ IT!” can temper everything into a proper rock and roll alloy. But when you’re dealing with three super technical weiners who want everyone to take them seriously, well, you come off as goobers.

    For the record, Rush are also guilty of destroying entire generations of “rock” musicians (especially drummers) who embrace technicality over actual power, heart, or catchiness. Just because Rush can pull off all three sometimes, doesn’t mean that dude your band is trying out can.

    I’ve aged to a point where I can accept all this and even be glad Rush and Rand exist. If nothing else they offer a different path to a similar place. But you don’t have to disagree with their celebration of individualism to think they suck.

    1. De gustibus non est disputandum.

      1. Nah, he’s just wrong.

        -jcr

    2. There are no ‘women Rush fans’ just like there are no libertarian women!

      I agree there’s some stuff in the catalog I don’t relate to but the body of work is still impressive and one can’t deny they have such a strong following.

      The technical argument is interesting. If I may use an example in sports, that happened in soccer when technical and tactical aspect of the game over took flair and creativity.

      1. I was introduced to Rush by a woman who was a big fan.

        1. We used to joke about women not liking Rush.

      2. Rufus, due to my lack of television I’ve been watching early 70’s FA Cups on Youtube lately. It’s a whole different game. Not flair in the Brazilian sense, but crazy speed, determination, and heart. Also, half the challenges would be yellow cards today.

        But really it’s worth it just for the horrific hairstyles and mustaches…

        1. Yes. Like most sports, it has gotten faster. I think the determination has always been there.

          As for Brazil, they had flair but were equally as cynical.

          1. The 70’s British game was pretty damned fast. it’s more stamina that all the fitness has brought today. Everyone seems to be going down grabbing cramps by the 70th minute in old matches. And you only got one substitute that you had to declare before the game!

            1. Without question they’re in better shape today but cramp ups and shin splints continue. I remember getting clipped so much in a game that by the end I wanted to just fall to the ground. 90 minutes of that shit hurts.

              1. Ha, I’ve only played a hand full of seriously informal pick up matches where I was ready to puke after the first drive down field.

                What I definitely dig about watching the old matches is how much gets let go by the refs. I checked out the France-Ukraine WC qualifier (because it was full and free) from a few months ago. 8 stoppages in the first 10 minutes from French players hitting the ground every time they were touched. I’m not sure there were that many whistles blown in the entire Arsenal-Liverpool 70′-71′ FA Cup Final. People went down, but they just kept playing.

      3. By technicality in music I mean the “musicianship uber alles” factor.

        On a sliding scale from

        Ramones

        1. Ramones to Rush, I’m way more on the Ramones side. A perfectly executed catchy pop song is just as valuable (harder to write in my opinion) than 10 minutes of noodling.

          1. I agree.

          2. And the great thing about this world is that you can have both and no one is any lesser for it.

            I guess people need to have something to grind their teeth about, but I’m not a musician, only a music fan. So, while I don’t count myself as a huge Rush fan, they’re OK, I don’t have any reason to hate on them, or that many other artists for that matter. (I do make an exception for The Everly Brothers Wake up Little Suzy, which I still cannot hear without going into convulsions.) If you like it and it brings you happiness, who am I to hate on it?

            Still, this is an as good a place as any for a Meytal video, playing Rush, natch.

      4. As a Rush-lovin’ Libertarian woman, I deny the allegation & I defy the alligator!

        1. Oy, please pretend my comment was inserted up above, where Rufus J Firefly denied there are female Rush fans. Thank you.

          1. It was tongue in cheek!

    3. good article, though.

    4. If I hear one more person call Neil Pert te greatest rock drummer of all time…

      That title begins and ends with John Bonham. He made Zepelin. No one has more power, heart, and creativity in his drum lines. No one has touched him since.

    5. One thing I like about Rush is that they find more imaginative things to sing about than pussy, pussy, and pussy. Any idiot can make rhymes about getting laid. Heck, I bet even Tony could.

      1. Generally speaking, good Pop songs are harder to write then prog songs. 3 minutes of Verse chorus verse is a harsher mistress than playing whatever the fuck we want for 6 and adding lyrics where ever.

        Rush is capable of doing a little of both, but Pearts lyrics are ridiculous. I guess it’s easier to write a song if you’re not embarrassed about having trees argue with each other in it.

        1. Not that lyrics really matter. Thin Lizzy were probably the most kick assed rock band in the 70s and their lyrics were mostly retarded. It’s all about delivery. And Geddy Lee, well, I guess he’s good if you’re into that sort of stuff.

          1. Alvin Lee was a pretty good guitarist, but the lyrics to “50K Miles Beneath My Brain” are just hysterical. “Can you pull me up to Jupiter when I’m all hung up on Mars.” Stick to the ax, Alvin.

        2. Like I said, anyone can write about pussy. Even metaphorically. A metaphor about social equality being a race to the lowest common denominator is not something to be embarrassed about. It might even make some people, you know, think.

          1. To each his own. I’m glad there are lots of people trying lots of things. but Rock and Roll isn’t really about thinking to me, and if it were, neither Neil Peart nor Ayn Rand have anything close to the artist finesse to come off as anything but clumsy and silly. It’s not my hatred of individualism or desire to constantly hear about pussy that makes me feel that way. It’s just personal artistic standards.

            1. I think you’re taking things to seriously.

            2. While I readily acknowledge that Rush isn’t remotely for everybody, and that’s totally fine by me, to characterize Peart as a clumsy musician and lyricist is just stupid.

              You don’t like Rush. That’s cool. Calling names? That’s just lame, bro.

              You must hate Yes and Pink Floyd too, right?

              1. He’s a hyper technical musician and a clumsy lyricist. And I don’t think that because I hate his freedom like the author suggests. freedom loving people can despise Rush. That was the point of my original post.

                Yes and Pink Floyd have virtually nothing musically and conceptually to do with each other. Hate Yes. Dig a pink Floyd, who weren’t singing about pussy long before Rush from what I remember.

                1. “Dig a pink Floyd, who weren’t singing about pussy long before Rush from what I remember.”

                  Glad someone called this out. I mean, I like Rush okay, but this guy acts like they didn’t come on the tail end of 10 years of Prog, doing essentially watered-down Van der Graaf Generator, an ACTUALLY un-commercial band . . .

          2. Which is what caught my eye. Or ear, I guess. Radio of that time was “pussy, pussy pussy…” and then came “this is a song about a car…”

    6. Oh please, really? Come on now, Rush kicks righteous ass and their music has never failed to move me emotionally or make me think. That being said there is no right or wrong in musical tastes or opinions. Different music effects different people in different ways. Rush got me through some hard times in my life and I have to defend them, their music isn’t just cold “technicality” there is raw emotion and power that has almost brought me to tears. Me thinks you haven’t listened to them at all or extensively. So you can take your opinion and stick it you know where 😉

      1. Where? In the comments section where people put their opinions? I did. And it actually had something to do with what the guy who wrote the article said. I also said that’s groovy if people like them. The head of the Miami Sound Machine fan club is just as much a fan of music as I am. I get that.

        I just personallt find their lyrics bathetic (with a b). Their front man shrill and goofy, and their technical bonifides completely unimpressive as I hate jazz and prog and playing scales and fills really quick for the sake of it. A lot of people do. And that has just as much to do with people not “getting it” as people not understanding their Objectivism (which they don’t actually have and have up decades ago).

        1. And it actually had something to do with what the guy who wrote the article said.

          Actually, it really didn’t, since the music critic quoted throughout expressly attacked the ideological viewpoints of the band and compared them to Nazis rather than base a critique on their music. It’s certainly possible to dislike a band for any number of reasons, but the critic in question, in point of fact, did base his criticism on something other than the band’s music. You decided to refute a point never in contention, that you can love liberty and still hate Rush. Sure, you could, but the prick being quoted in the article did not, and no broader point on the issue was ever made.

      2. Or I can just stick it up my ass if you want to see that.

      3. As a drummer, I worshiped Peart when I was a teenager. The problem as I see it was Lee became obsessed with the keyboards. The keyboards were in the same pitch range as Lifeson’s guitar. Geddy Lee should have just made a side band with tons of gay keyboards, imho.

  11. “That was certainly the case with Barry Miles, a music critic writing for England’s New Music Express, who had a philosophical ax to grind in his trashing of Rush that had nothing to do with the quality of the music they made.”

    Brits have always been condescending assholes toward Canadian stuff. Most recently, at the Vancouver winter games they wrote a bunch of stupid stuff about the weather. What the fuck do they know about Winter Games anyway? Win some medals than talk you whiners.

    As for never critics ‘never warming up’ to Rush. Who cares? They probably have one of the most loyal fan base of any band or musician outside The Grateful Dead. Maybe they should have pissed on their instruments and called it ‘art.’ Maybe then jerkoffs like Miles would have liked it.

    Last, about Rush possibly not being overtly political out of respect for their fans, it’s interesting. I wish Springsteen and other musicians would do the same. Never got why they picked sides like that.

    Saw Rush live a couple of times. Not normal how much power three guys can produce.

    1. Springsteen and other musicians have the “correct” politics, so it’s OK.

      1. My friend and I were at one of his concerts and made a really left-wing comment (I forget what it was) but we looked at each other and wondered why he would alienate some of us like that. But we shrugged and just enjoyed the music. But it still rubbed me the wrong way especially since I dropped $75 on the show.

        1. You sure it just wasn’t that Springsteen is the single most overrated performer in our lifetimes? 😉

          1. Heh. I fall into the category of believer. You have to see him live to enjoy him. The band is sooo tight it’s nuts. Bah.

            Wild won in OT. I watched the game. That’s how the Wild have to play to win.

            1. I remembered your love of the Boss. Had to take the shot.

              Yeah, that was a helluva game. I can’t believe how fucking good that CO team is, though. Varlamov is absurd – 46 shots to score a goal?

            2. Count me in on the “who gives a fuck about Springsteen” train. It was all downhill from Born to Run.

              He wouldn’t bother me so much if his fans could shut up about his greatness for 5 fucking minutes.

              1. But Born to Run is a genius album.

                1. Whoa. Hold on. After Born came Darkness, The River and Nebraska. Not exactly crappy albums. I guess you can quibble on the last two, but Darkness on the Edge of Town is awesome.

      2. Springsteen is coming to town. I’ve never seen him live, so I looked at tickets. Cheapest one was $107. Pass.

        However, since Springsteen concerts never sell out down South, one can usually walk up day of show and get tickets half off.

      3. Being for the working man….having lived and breathed it in his town and with his own family thrown out of work by big corps looking to save a $$, Bruce came around to the “proper” views.

        God forbid some of you should use the real world instead of fiction….to set a world view.

        1. My grandmother was dragged from her house one day with her entire family and community and marched through an ice-cold desert until most of them died. They took the kids, killed the parents with swords (bullets cost too much) and gave them as workers for non-christian families.
          She escaped, came to america and worked her little ass off as a small business person for 80 years and died a millionaire. She NEVER once complained about being a victim of “corporations” and the whiny-ass “working man” you speak of can go fuck themselves. Life’s a bitch – that’s real world for you, dumb ass.

          1. Amen, GregMax.

            1. Actually, his comment is rather presumptuous and insulting. As if Bruce Springsteen is the only person to ever go through tough times.

              Shit, my own father came to this country in the 50s dirt poor and made something of himself by working, saving and eventually owning his own little business.

              He faced all the same, usual racism, government obstacles and all that crap and he rarely complained and he certainly didn’t let it stop him.

              1. His comment actually speaks to his voluminous absence of any worldy perspective. All the hardship he’s known is when the McFlurry machine breaks down on a hot day.

        2. Yes. Our own experiences come from a fake world.

          Oof.

          1. They must if some of you feel that Bruce and others have no right to their experiences.

            “Reason” would dictate that the many hundreds of millions of Americans who have lived – have each had different experiences which have formed them.

            This may be hard to understand, but my guess is that most of them have not had their outlook dictated by works of fiction. I know…hard to believe.

            1. Awesome, I never thought I’d see it – a vagina that can type.
              You’re a troll. You put quotes around words rather than say what you mean, you attribute beliefs to people who don’t express them, anthropomorphize reason, and conveniently leave out your experiences while demeaning opposing points of view.
              And by the way, the Bible is a work of fiction and it’s influenced a shitload of people’s outlook – probably including Springsteen’s and many of the working people for whom you have chosen to speak.

              1. According to people of reason, those influenced by the bible are least likely to believe science. This is a fact confirmed many times over.

                So, yeah, it influenced many people. So did and does the Quoran and Torah. But it’s time we all wake up and update our operating systems a bit.

                Read it:
                http://ap-gfkpoll.com/featured…..est-poll-2

                As they say, facts can’t argue against faith. The only question here is whether folks who read a web site which trumps reason and logic – use facts or faith to determine their world views?

              2. And by the way, the Bible is a work of fiction…

                Actually I’m not so certain that it is entirely fiction.

                Btw, Greg, that’s an intriguing story about your grandmother. Where was that “ice-cold desert” exactly – Asia? or the Middle East?

                1. Waaaaiit a second. His name is craiginMASS.

                  That explains the derp.

                  “Awesome, I never thought I’d see it – a vagina that can type.”

                  Me too.

        3. Oh, god, not this class warrior shit again. Dude, find me a “working man”, then we’ll talk. Because so far all I see you cats trotting out are union slobs bitching because they can’t force Volkswagen to pay them $50 an hour to use a drill press.

          And don’t give me that shit about 50-year-olds who’ve “specialized” in making carburetors for ’72 Ford Mustangs being too old to learn a new trade. I’m on career #3 after not being able to make a living cooking or writing. It was tough, and I’ve got more 60-hour weeks under my belt than your boy Bruce, but at the end of the day I’m making a decent living doing something I’m now pretty damn good at.

          That’s the real world, chief, not crying and bitching until your local representative whips up some make-work jobs so you can put in 20 hours and feel like a man.

          1. A real question. What are we all to do as the robots do just about everything?

            Are you advocating, for instance, that MLM and mortgage refi brokers are responsibly making (and worth) $50-$150 an hour, but the machinist is not?

            That’s the big problem with social critics and the GOP and right) in general. They throw out all these theories when when asked for the alternative – draw a big blank zero.

            Very few workers will be needed in the future – at least compared to the total population.

            1. craiginmass:

              A real question. What are we all to do as the robots do just about everything?

              Again: the appeal to ignorance. You don’t know what we’ll do when robots can do just about everything. So, just because you can’t imagine what people will do when robots can do just about everything, that becomes an argument? An argument in support of what? Against what? All you’re claiming is that you don’t know what we’ll do in some far off future.

              Meanwhile, we can’t get a straight answer for what’s going to happen when SS or Medicare goes bankrupt. But, forget about that: let’s worry about the coming robot apocalypse.

              That’s the big problem with social critics and the GOP and right) in general. They throw out all these theories when when (sic) asked for the alternative – draw a big blank zero.

              I’m sorry, but throwing out the robot apocalypse as an argument against markets is precisely and accurately described as “throwing out a theory” and “drawing a big blank zero.”

              When a robot can literally do “everything”, i.e., like a deity, all you need is one person with a robot to allocate it to do whatever you want. Provide all the masses with clothing, food and shelter? Voila. Done. Because the robot can do “everything.” So, all you need, in that situation, is a free market and one person who thinks that everyone should be provided with clothing, food, and shelter.

              How that becomes an argument against free markets, I have no idea.

              1. When the robot apocalypse comes we’ll end up like the Krell. Monsters from the Id. All I want for Christmas is a 25 million megaton H-bomb.

            2. MLM and mortgage refi brokers are responsibly making (and worth) $50-$150 an hour, but the machinist is not?

              A machinist might be worth that, but a drill press operator? If you’ve ever worked in a shop, you ought to know there’s a big difference between a machinist and a machine operator. It’s like the difference between a certified weldor and a tacker.

            3. If only it still took the entire family working 60 hours per week to achieve subsistence. Man, those were the days.

              The more productive we become per worker, the more time people will have for art, leisure, entertainment and academic pursuits. What, now the progs hate those things too?

            4. Are you advocating, for instance, that MLM and mortgage refi brokers are responsibly making (and worth) $50-$150 an hour, but the machinist is not?

              It’s almost like there’s a market where people get paid based solely on the value they can provide to someone else, and prices aren’t fixed by some objective measure, and the labor theory of value has been debunked for over a century. Economics In One Lesson is simple enough that even you might be able to comprehend it. You should give it a read sometime.

        4. Springsteen is a cock sucking douche.

          1. Who gives his roadies drug tests.

        5. I read a interview once and Bruce admitted he never worked a real job in his life. He said he did gardening but quit so Bruce is full of shit when he sings and identifies with the “Working Class”, go take your smug comment to the baker so they can bake it into a shit cake for you to eat, jerk off.

          1. Totally correct. But have you ever read the history of his family? The area and town he grew up in?

            The factories and corps didn’t start with moving to Mexico and China. First they moved from NJ to the south or other low-wage places. Only after they realized that they’d rather pay $1 an hour than $5 did they move further on.

            1. So? Corporations don’t exist to provide jobs. They exist to make money by providing goods and services that people are willing to pay for. Jobs are a second order benefit.

            2. Prog thought process: “Hey you – corporations. Where are you going? We are not done taxing and regulating you yet. What do you mean you don’t have to just sit there and take this abuse? Who is going to pay for all of the shit that I want now?”

              Honestly, their entire worldview is premised upon shitting on businesses that actually seek to produce goods and services, and then they get pissed when those businesses flee. Cause and effect, assholes. Get used to it.

            3. Again with that shit.

              Craig we just gave you two examples – mine and Greg – of immigrants making it. What, only his experience matters?

              What’s wrong with you?

              Oh wait.

              Derp.

            4. Totally correct. But have you ever read the history of his family? The area and town he grew up in?

              Lol. “So, I mean, yeah, he’s a fucking fraud and a hypocrite limousine liberal prick who hasn’t seen a poor person since the last time his maid got deported and he had to pick up his own dry cleaning, but once his family had to deal with the economic vagaries that every other person in the United States deals with on an everyday basis without whinging like a infant with a shitty diaper, so, he’s, like, totally blue collar, man!”

  12. Well, sadly Matt, I guess Neil “grew up” like Matthews. He said this in 2012 in an interview in Rolling Stone:

    “Do [Ayn Rand’s] words still speak to you?” He responded:

    “Oh, no. That was 40 years ago…For me, [Rand’s writing] was an affirmation that it’s alright to totally believe in something and live for it and not compromise. It was a simple as that. On that 2112 album, again I was in my early 20s. I was a kid. Now I call myself a bleeding heart libertarian…So as you go through past your 20s, your idealism is going to be disappointed many many times. And so, I’ve brought my view and also ? I’ve just realized this ? Libertarianism as I understood it was very good and pure and we’re all going to be successful and generous to the less fortunate and it was, to me, not dark or cynical. But then I soon saw, of course, the way that it gets twisted by the flaws of humanity. And that’s when I evolve now into ? a bleeding heart Libertarian. That’ll do.”

    1. And Alex Lifeson said this in an interview with High Times:

      “I think I’m a liberal. I’m certainly socially liberal. And I think government can play an important role in our lives, which libertarians don’t believe.

      As far as our album 2112 and the tribute to Ayn Rand – I read one of her books, but she was a little too far out for me. For Neil, it was a period in his life, and now he’s kind of moved on.”

    2. And Geddy Lee in an interview with Classic Rock about Rush Limbaugh, and then Rand Paul, using their music, and then how they made them stop:

      “…we didn’t know that. I wouldn’t know where to find his radio show, he’s such an offensive human being; I try not to bring that into my life…We had a similar thing happen with Rand Paul, the Libertarian candidate – he’s like a Tea Party guy, he’s Ron Paul’s son – earlier this year. We heard he was using our music on his campaign and actually quoting lyrics of ours, and we sent him a nice letter saying, ‘Please don’t do this’. I don’t want to be seen to be sponsoring these guys.”

      http://www.2112.net/powerwindo…..anpack.htm

    3. Well, sadly Matt, I guess Neil “grew up” like Matthews.

      It isn’t growing up – it’s giving up.

  13. That Barry Miles piece was incredibly mean-spirited. I can’t see any mainstream commercial publication publishing that today, especially given Lee’s family history. There would be a huge printed retraction and a firing if something like that slipped through today.

  14. Relevant:

    Freewill: You Never Forget Your First Love – http://valme.io/c/philosophy/o…..irst-love/

  15. I always have “2112” with me on my phone. Geddy Lee has said the album “2112” bought Rush their freedom in the recording industry. After “2112” the band took off.

  16. Another Ode to works of Fiction…….the Bible and Ayn….

    Being obsessed with this stuff is anti-reason and anti-logic.

    A large study came out yesterday which 100% equates “religious view” with “ignorance”…that is, the more religious, the more ignorant of facts about how the world and science works.

    Basing your world view around Fiction is religion. Period. Take the facts as they play out, not the outlook of someone who made their living from writing fictional tales.

    Matthews is correct in this sense. He grew up. Same with many hippies of my generation….figured out that having multiple sex partners and imbibing drugs was not mature behavior.

    In the same sense, advocating anarchy or constantly criticizing everything without showing real world examples (back to those fictions again) is immature behavior. Perhaps you will realize that someday.

    Don’t worry about losing the fiction writer. As with 1984, Animal Farm, 2001 and lots of other made-up works, there can be a few lessons to learn….in a format you may like. But mature people move to to real history, current events and modern society…instead of clinging to fairy tales.

    That’s “Reason”…

    1. Indeed. Libertarians can take heart, though, if disappointed in Rush growing up. Liberals too were treated to a “grown-up” Bob Dylan telling them in Chronicles that he wasn’t the liberal lion they thought he was:

      “I didn’t belong to anybody then or now. I had a wife and children whom I loved more than anything else in the world. I was trying to provide for them, keep out of trouble?”

      “I don’t know what everybody else was fantasizing about, but what I was fantasizing about was a nine-to-five existence, a house on a tree-lined block with a white picket fence, pink roses in the backyard. . .That was my deepest dream. .”

      “Whatever the counterculture was, I was sick of it. . . .sick of the way my lyrics had been extrapolated, their meanings subverted into polemics?”

      “Did I ever want to acquire the Sixties? No. But I own the Sixties I’ll give ’em to you if you want ’em. You can have ’em.”

      Growin’ up.

      1. Grownin’ up. Yeah, can’t help noticing he hasn’t written a decent song in decades. I guess the lyrics just don’t come so easy after you give “grow up”.

        I wonder if he’d like to give back the fame and fortune he made from the ’60’s?

    2. If “the fiction writer” is Ayn Rand in this post, your ignorance is blatant, on the facts first, on the essentials moreso. To counter this, you might explain how you consider Ayn Rand to be only a fiction writer.

      1. Shit. He’s probably never read either her fiction or her non-fiction.

    3. craiginmass:

      Basing your world view around Fiction is religion. Period. Take the facts as they play out, not the outlook of someone who made their living from writing fictional tales.

      Personally, I prefer socialist democrat world views, strongly grounded and rooted in a powerful tradition of populism and propaganda.

      I mean, who needs fiction when you have a Communist Manifesto?

    4. I know it’s late in the day, but I couldn’t let this one go.

      You want to talk fairy tale?

      You and your idols are trying to transform the U.S. (world, actually) into a place where the brain surgeon, farmer and street sweeper all make the same. The government can run all production and services with great efficiency and no corruption. Everyone who can work, is glad to do so, in what ever capacity the state deems correct. And those few who can’t muster the strength to do ANY productive work will be loving cared for by the benevolent state.

      Jets run on unicorn farts and the homes are powered by sunshine and windmills, even on cloudy, windless days.

      Thanks, but I’ll take the reality of individuals free to cooperate to mutual benefit and property rights.

      1. But…but…but that wouldn’t be fairrrr – ‘cuz some people might be better off than others. They might even end up with a dollar more than others think they need.

      2. Remember, their science and its lineage comes from the late 60s and early 70s when the climate alarmists were born and wreaking stupid fear-mongering havoc claiming the world – civilization – would end inside five years. And every decade or so it gets reworked and pushed up as we recently saw with Al fucking Gore and David motherfucking Suzuki shrieking that we need ‘to act’ because bigger whooshes and mightier splashes.

        An engineer and lab researcher no less were saying it backed up by a specious list of consensus.

        40 years later we’re still here.

        Idiots.

        Every single one of them.

    5. The real world examples of your ideology in action span from Stalin’s Russia to modern Detroit. So by all means, please ride that stallion to the ideological high ground.

  17. I had a very similar experience. (BTW – I believe the liner notes thanked Ayn Rand for her “literary genius”.) When I asked my Dad who Ayn Rand was he told me she was an anarchist lesbian…His obvious disdain for her intrigued me…It didn’t take me long to discover that she was neither an anarchist nor a lesbian.

    Thanks for the nice article Matt.

    1. I guess her attraction to Alan Greenspan made her a hereto. At the same time, that relationship may have caused economic (and therefore freedom-removing) harm to billions.

      1. I’m in Mass too. I’m a libertarian. I’ve read quite a few of your comments lately…Why do you come here?

      2. Her love life with men is pretty well documented, but I’m sure you get confused by facts.

        Greenspan was against bank bailouts? Pretty sure Ayn would have been.

        1. Greenspan was originally a hard money enthusiast and was a disciple or associate of Ayn Rand in his much younger days. I guess he “grew up” though.

        2. Ayn Rand loved her some Federal Reserve.

    2. I, too, had a similar experience having brought home a used 2112 record (circa 1986). Played it again and again on the record player. Asked my mom at some point “who’s Ayn Rand?”. She rolled her eyes and said, “some atheist weirdo”. Interest piqued!

  18. Looks like more Americans are interested in a slightly different outlook on the topic! There is hope…yet!

    “The number-one book on Amazon.com isn’t a guide to green juice or an erotic romance novel. No, the top seller on Amazon right now is a 700-page book, translated from French, about rising inequality and the state of modern capitalism.”

    “Also in the top five on Amazon is Michael Lewis’s latest, “Flash Boys,” about high-frequency trading on Wall Street.

    Piketty’s book, which is also a New York Times best-seller, challenges the conservative economic theory of trickle-down economics, or the belief that a rising tide lifts all boats. In Piketty’s view, backed by centuries of data on wealth and economic growth, the typical outcome of unfettered capitalism is rising income inequality.”

    1. Piketty’s book will sell well for a while, because it tweaks the sweet spot for the envy-driven collectivists who lust to confiscate wealth. Piketty champions world wealth taxation. It is just rehashed Marxism, nothing new, including his so-called statistical justification. The collectivists have not had a literary hero recently, while freedom lovers have had Ayn Rand all along.

    2. “trickle-down economics” is not a conservative economic theory. It is a slur used by the left to denigrate things like the Rahn and Laffer curves which they do not understand.

    3. Again, bullshit from a idiot who swallows collectivist propaganda wholesale. Trickle down, my ass, every Western country has more government control, regulations and taxes than ever before that “inequality” you speak of is rising because the rich are in collusion with big government to keep any and all competition out. You people really twist facts and truth to prove you sick world view of controlling people. The connected keep competition out with higher taxes they don’t pay, regulations that smaller businesses can’t comply with etc. New York Times, I’d sooner trust USSR era “Pravda” more.

    4. craiginmass:

      In Piketty’s view, backed by centuries of data on wealth and economic growth, the typical outcome of unfettered capitalism is rising income inequality.”

      And the typical outcome of unfettered socialism is stabilization to equal poverty, for all except the dear leaders, driving around in big black cars.

      Socialists would rather make everyone poorer, as long as they’re more equal. That’s why income equality is always measured in percentages and movement between quantiles. Having all the probability mass close together looks real egalitarian, until you realize that those people think microwave ovens are a luxury item.

      1. A typical argument, but full of the black/white view of life so common among many.

        We have the luxury of modern communications and education in order to learn and take the best part of many historical systems.

        Libertarianism works in terms of a personal doctrine, government staying out of one’s mind or bedroom, etc.

        But it fails at large institutions. We certainly can’t say that the CATO institute, owned by virtually one dude (Koch) is a successful institution which represents the Way Things Should Be. So we have to look at other models for institution and government(s).

        We The People are the end result…or should be. It doesn’t say “We the People Who Figured Out the Best Algorithm for High Speed Trading or Predatory Business”.

        IMHO, that would mean a relatively peaceful form of social democracy. That is not socialism, but simply a more reasonable form of the government we already have with the interests of the people trumping that of the military-industrial and corporate complex. As of now, the people are second fiddle to fellas like the Kochs and to the trillions paid out for the security state.

        Some people here seem so concerned which what society (the government) requires of them (taxes). I never look at what I have to pay in taxes – I look at what I get to KEEP-way more than what I need to survive and thrive. So I’m very happy.

        Fiscally conservative – socially liberal. That’s my ideal. debt and deficit suck. Legal drugs…are fine.

        1. craiginmass:

          A typical argument, but full of the black/white view of life so common among many

          It’s funny how you didn’t think that:

          In Piketty’s view, backed by centuries of data on wealth and economic growth, the typical outcome of unfettered capitalism is rising income inequality.”

          is a typical argument, full of the black/white view of life so common among many. I mean, that’s about as sophomoric and over-simplified as you can get. Is the big takeaway metric from centuries of historic data income inequality? Do we just ignore the rapid rise in standards of living across people of all incomes that occurred under capitalism?

          Sorry, but I assumed that it if gross oversimplifications were good for the goose, they were good for the gander.

          The rest of your post is not coherent. Could you please repost and try to actually say something? Otherwise, all I get is that you reject libertarianism because it’s too tied into the military industrial complex, which makes about as much sense as embracing libertarianism because it’s 100% communist, and you love communism.

          But, by all means, if you think that the status quo democrats and republicans are offering you a better alternative to the status quo military industrial complex with their support of the status quo military industrial complex, then don’t let facts get in the way.

        2. I never look at what I have to pay in taxes – I look at what I get to KEEP-way more than what I need to survive and thrive. So I’m very happy.

          So you oppose libertarianism on the basis that it is selfish, but you’re fine with imposing a tax system on 320 million people because you like it?

          Btw, either portion of your tax bill you look at, the math is the same. It’s hilarious that you trot out your apparent total ignorance of accounting as the basis for your worldview. And you’re stunned when it fails to convince people who don’t share your stupidity. I bet everybody you know voted for McGovern, eh?

    5. Apparently it’s not too difficult to buy one’s way onto the best-seller lists. Considering how nicely Piketty’s theories jibe with the White House’s, it’s entirely plausible that his “rock star” status is engineered.

      http://online.wsj.com/news/art…..3623600544

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/je…..lers-list/

      1. Hah, you must have read the recent stories on the right wing hate machine being fueled by the Kochs – who also run places such as Reason!

        http://www.politico.com/story/…..05774.html

        1. Hang on, let me go check with ThinkProgress and see if billionaires influencing politics is okay…

    6. craiginmass:

      Looks like more Americans are interested in a slightly different outlook on the topic! There is hope…yet!

      “The number-one book on Amazon.com isn’t a guide to green juice or an erotic romance novel. No, the top seller on Amazon right now is a 700-page book, translated from French, about rising inequality and the state of modern capitalism.”

      Meanwhile, in other news:
      Atlas Shrugged (a 50 year old novel) is for sale on Amazon.com for $8.92 new, $3.78 used.

      For socialist democrat readers:
      Nickle and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (a 3 year old book) is for sale on Amazon.com for $5.85 new, $1.93 used.

      The Audacity of Hope, the great fiction novel by Barrack Obama, is for sale on Amazon.com for $2.54 new, $0.01 used. That used price is a global minimum, suggesting that you could pick it up for free at the right garage sales and trash cans.

      So, Ayn Rand greater than Barbara Ehrenreich greater than Barrack Obama.

      Wanna place bets on the new and used prices for Piketty’s book in 50 years?

      1. The Audacity of Hope, the great fiction novel by Barrack Obama, is for sale on Amazon.com for $2.54 new, $0.01 used.

        (snicker) 🙂

    7. “The number-one book on Amazon.com isn’t a guide to green juice or an erotic romance novel. No, the top seller on Amazon right now is a 700-page book, translated from French, about rising inequality and the state of modern capitalism.”

      They probably think it’s full of steamy sex scenes – you know how that comes to most people’s minds when they think of French writers.

    8. Piketty’s book, which is also a New York Times best-seller, challenges the conservative economic theory of trickle-down economics, or the belief that a rising tide lifts all boats. In Piketty’s view, backed by centuries of data on wealth and economic growth, the typical outcome of unfettered capitalism is rising income inequality.

      Leaving aside that we haven’t had anything approaching an “unfettered capitalist” economy for about 120 years, the first statement has nothing to do with the second statement, and vice versa. It’s entirely possible, and actually probable, for a “rising tide to lift all boats”, and for wealth inequality to increase at the same time. Wealth is not a zero-sum game. It’s actually mildly hilarious that a complete non-sequitur is proudly supplied in the promotional copypasta for the book for unthinking idiots like craig to ctrl-p all over the internet without the faintest whiff of awareness.

  19. It seems that both Matt Kibbe and Rand Paul are unaware of the song “Anthem” on Rush’s Fly By Night album. Rush’s association with individualism, Ayn Rand, and “Anthem” in particular, began with the Fly By Night album in 1975. Besides the song “Anthem”, the album has the non-fiction individualist song “Best I Can”. It can be argued that Fly By Night lacks the immature pomposity and too-long songs of 2112. (FBN does have very long songs too, but many think that it has stronger melodies to support them).

    It is quite wrong to say that “it all began” two albums and over a year later with the 2112 album.

  20. Barry Miles didn’t just write a hit-piece on RUSH and Ayn Rand. Miles also condemned Frank Zappa’s politics. Barry Miles has Nazi-like tendencies towards capitalists.

  21. 1) As someone already has stated, Rush, in general have drunk the green kool-aid and are liberal-statist, or, if are in anyway “libertarian”, it is of the David Brin sort – yes, get the state out of people’s lives AFTER you provide universal education, healthcare, food, and housing. Anything purer than that is “dogmatic”, like seeing that any state that endeavors to provide all that has to take everything away from people AND have complete control over their behavior. The David Brin’s of such “libertarianism” are infected with the same ignorance of basic economics as liberals.

    2) Whenever I hear about Rush “sticking it to the man” in corporate pop music, all I can think is the record company is underwriting the first X number of albums – he who pays, calls the shots. In essence, when Rush’s management promised a more “radio friendly” album, and the band gave them 2112, one could argue fraud. Rush had every right to go back to their farm implement stores and be plumber-mates if they didn’t like what the men handing them tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars wanted them to do. There’s nothing heroic in biting the hand that is feeding you, or telling them one thing to keep the production dollars rolling in while making something completely other than what was promised.

    1. Cont.

      When Rush DID turn a profit with 2112, they began writing more of their own ticket. But they had EARNED something by then instead of BORROWING it. Their indentured position with the record companies was paid off, and as far as the record company was concerned, if they wanted to use their own money on full album sides, go right on ahead.

      And that’s the essence of all the rock-star belly achers. I guess it’s tough being a speculative-oil-well-with-feelings, but that’s the nature of it. Holes in the ground don’t have feelings, but self-centered rockers do. The record company puts money in, they want money back out. And I don’t think, in Rush’s case, Fountain of Lamneth part II was going to do that.

      And, yes, Rush is still one of my favorite bands. I just have to call it like I see it.

    2. when Rush’s management promised a more “radio friendly” album, and the band gave them 2112, one could argue fraud.

      I doubt very much that such agreements were formal enough to be enforceable. You could probably argue the same way about a record company that signs a band with a certain creative style to X number of albums, and then insists that the albums be of a different style somewhere down the line. As you said, an investment into a band is speculative. If a label wants a bespoke record they should hire a producer and some studio musicians to make them one. It’s not difficult, and a lot cheaper. When you speculate on a band, you do accept some inherent risk that you may not love the creative output – that’s what makes it speculative.

      There’s always going to be that antagonism between creative freedom and commercial interest between band and label. It’s becoming less and less so as time wears on, markets become more easily accessible to musicians, and record companies become less relevant. The 2112 of 2014 probably won’t come from a major record label, and the people who want to find it will do so with a few keystrokes instead of waiting for a record company to strong arm somebody to get it on one of the 4 radio stations in their local market or get a limited pressing out to the boutique record store. The sooner that happens to the music more broadly, the better IMO.

  22. I’m young enough not to care too much about the ways things used to be
    I’m young enough to remember the future, the past has no claim on me
    I’m old enough not to care too much about what you think of me
    But I’m young enough to remember the future, the way things ought to be

  23. Objectivist-ish Rock Lives On! Via The Fenwicks “Preeminent Domain”:
    http://www.thefenwicks.com/PreeminentDomain.mp3
    And on iTunes: http://www.itunes.com/thefenwicks
    “You can’t have freedom for free”? Indeed.

  24. They are compelled to order and arrange people the same way a neat-freak organizes a sock drawer

  25. Thanks for the validation. I used to find Rush trite, then i grew down.

  26. “For Rand?as for Rush?there was a price to be paid for pursuing her chosen path in life. Challenging the status quo, and the freedom to do so, all came at a price.”

    No, the opposition to Rand in the west came not from her challenging the status quo, but from the Marxist-enthralled political left.

  27. damn, so it’s not recently that the jews have equated everything they dont like to nazis & concentration camps?

    holy hell, get a new schtick! thought you jews were supposed to more intelligent than us worse than pigs atheists.

    -FFM

  28. Outstanding article. I find myself struggling against the same collectivist forces in the world of photography.

  29. In 10th grade I listened to “2112”–my first Rush album–and at the same time our English teacher assigned us “Anthem” to read. Seeds were planted. I loved them both. I quickly got the other three Rush albums. It was until 13 years later when I discovered the Libertarian Party, that I realized Ayn Rand had a few other books to read.

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