Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Adam Buker: "I Am A Capitalist"

Adam Buker, in his Objectivist-oriented Music and Philosophy podcasts, takes a break from the music this week to focus on the philosophy to proclaim, in these uncertain economic times, that he is, indeed, a capitalist:

Kudos to Adam for putting it out there! I'd like to hear Adam, who is a classically-trained composer, expound on the academic approach to capitalism and music, and how leftists like Theodor Adorno have taught that tonal music is a product of hierarchal capitalist-pig tendencies, while advocating "egalitarian" solutions such as the 12-tone row, etc.. Or, it would have been interesting to hear his reaction as to how such music gets funded; like most unlistenable music or "anti-art," through taxpayer money. (Maybe in future podcasts?)

But I do appreciate, A LOT, what Adam DOES say, especially this bit:
It may sound funny coming from somebody who wants to make a living through music, as one doesn't normally associate artists and musicians with the idea of capitalism.
Now, Adam comes from a classical background, while I'm a rock guy at heart. What he says hits especially hard for a rock musician; classical music has its association with the bourgeouise, but "rock" is the "voice of the people," of rebellion, etc. (Nevermind the dirty little fact of record companies and platinum records; you ain't a real rocker if you ain't a "street fighting man!"). And yet, I'm a capitalist, and proud of it. But it's funny that what he speaks of crosses genres, styles, and periods. Art has, for too long, been "monopolized" by the left. (As they say, the devil has all the best tunes.) Ayn Rand tried to correct this, by making art the fifth branch of her philosophy, but it still, for the most part, is marginalized in the Objectivist world (as least up until recently; it didn't even rate in the The Philosophic Thought of Ayn Rand.) I suspect that this is due to the "conservative" faction of Objectivist fans, who seem to focus more on politics, economics, or the "scientific" faction of Objectivism, which focuses on technology. I see here a parallel between the politics of the sixties, and the music of its day. The "establishment" had its "safe as milk" tunes, while the hippies had "rock"; born of "rock and roll," whose "rebels without a cause" went from "Rockin' Robin" to the "The Times, They Are a Changin'." The Left took on the radical and subversive opportunities of art, while the Right went to jingoism and propaganda.

Of the Left: to paraphrase Kira in
We The Living, "I loathe their goals, I admire their methods."

As a result, the Right took to the religious country music, while the left took to Jim Morrison, Dionysus, and the gift of wine. (Interesting parallel there, as Jesus and Dionysus have their parallels.) But the appropriation of "creativity" by the Left in the sixties exists to this day, so that the idea of a Capitalist artist is, indeed, a funny thing. (This has broader historical roots, to be sure, with the "patron" system of the past, being a sticky widget in the development of the idea of artistic freedom in the Enlightment.) Rand herself was an exception, what with her novel-writing and Hollywood work, but there have been too few artists of note to come from the Objectivist world, at least not enough to have enough impact to reclaim the arts from the monopoly of the Left. There is the case of the band Rush and Spiderman co-creator Steve Ditko. I wish I could name more off of the top of my head (and those are hardly household names in the grand scheme of things.)

So, to Adam, from one musician to another, thanks for speaking up. Shine on.

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