Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rush versus Rand Paul

"Listen to my music/
And hear what it can do/
There`s something here as strong as life/
I know that it will reach you."
-Rush, 2112

My, how things change:

From USA Today: "Rock Band Rush Tells Rand Paul to Stop Using Its Music":

Robert Farmer, general counsel for the band's record label, tells Gannett colleague James Carroll that the Paul campaign does not have the band's permission to use the music, including the 1980 song "The Spirit of Radio," at political rallies.

"This is not a political issue -- this is a copyright issue," Farmer said. "We would do this no matter who it is."

Jesse Benton, Paul's campaign manager, tells the paper that, "The background music Dr. Paul has played at events is a non-issue. The issues that matter in this campaign are cutting out-of-control deficits, repealing Obama Care and opposing cap and trade."

Ok, fair enough for Rush to assert their copyrights ("Listen to my music," not "appropriate"...). But of course, the ideological connection is newsworthy to Objectivists, given the "objectivish" associations of both Rush and Rand ("no, I wasn't named after her") Paul. See the recent article on this at The New Republic, "And Speaking of Ayn Rand..." So it might suprise some that Rush would refuse a "fellow traveler..." except that Rush, via Neil Peart, pretty much moved away from the Randian influence a long time ago, even downplaying her influence on 2112 ("For a start, the extent of my influence by the writings of Ayn Rand should not be overestimated -- I am no one's disciple.") (See The National Midnight Star interview.)

I've been meaning to write something extensive on Rand and Rush for some time (Chris Sciabarra set the stage with his "Rand, Rush, and Rock" article in 2002.) Eventually, I will, but the salient point here is the "left-leaning libertarian" self-identification from Peart, which makes the "objectivish" synchronicity with Rand Paul that much more notable, since both are criticized by some Objectivists for being too Libertarian (meaning not Objectivist enough)...Rand and Ron Paul get flack for their Christianity, and Peart? The Hold Your Fire album put Peart on the Objectivist firing-line with this lyric from "Open Secrets":
"I find no absolution/
In my rational point-of-view/
Maybe some things are instinctive/
but there's one thing you can do/
You can try to understand me/
I can try to understand you."
And the irony is that Rand supposedly considered suing Rush over 2112...


  1. When I hear "left-leaning libertarian" I think of anarcho-socialism. I don't think of Rothbardian anarchism or minarchist libertarianism. Libertarian leftists are more like anarcho-communists then they they are Laissez-Faire liberals. Peart describing himself that way is not a good thing. I'm willing to bet this guy is no friend of Rand or capitalism.

    D. Bandler

  2. I can't find anything that would indicate Peart as an anarchist or socialist; I think the "left-leaning" aspect identified his views towards "social issues" like drug laws, homosexuality, etc.

  3. An oddly-timed post over on the site asks the question: "Left-Leaning Libertarians - Who, Where, When, and Why."

  4. Oh, and in that post, Phil Coates, who is "trying to sketch out the ideological causes and the ideological strains of what I'm calling the left-libertarians", speculates on the "anarchist' element:

    "And a lot of this seems to go back to the 70's. I have the impression (but would like to see more data or support) they took to the left-influenced Murray Rothbard and his ideas on anarchism and on how America was evil or imperialistic or worse than other countries. Often the textbooks I've seen them recommend are Marxist or leftist ones such as, in history - Howard Zinn's People's History of the U.S. and other 'revisionist' (America-disdaining) historians or political and social writers.

    Note that for those of us who went to a modern liberal college, this is very similar to what was (except for anarchism, although there is an anarchist strain as well on the Left) taught us all in college. And have they simply lapped it up, uncritically? Were they the 'sponges' I was sitting next to all those years ago?

    The LL's (I'll call them) today on the web seem to be associated with,, and the like. And you will find them at Liberty magazine, at Cato, and elsewhere. They sometimes have a strong antipathy to Ayn Rand and any other 'right wing' libertarians such as, among science fiction writers, Robert Heinlein."

  5. Joe,

    Perhaps you've seen this, but I've attached links below to scanned versions of a late 1970's article in a British publication. Barry Miles, a socialist journalist, profiled Rush and criticized their pro-capitalist/anti-socialist views. There are some quotes from Neil that serve as a benchmark for where his views were at the time.


    Page 1 -

    Page 2 -

  6. Hi, Peter, and thanks for the links. TOO aware of the Barry Miles interview, the source of the "fascist" remarks about Rush...I plan to address that in future posts about Rush's connection to Objectivism. It's obvious that they were clearly rattled by that piece...