Neil Peart, bleeding heart libertarian

June 18, 2012 Off By admin

This should interest co-blogger Terrence Watson:

Neil Peart, like many of us, was an Ayn Rand fan in his twenties. Neil Peart, of course, is the drummer for Canadian rockers Rush, who are slowly getting the kind of respect that they deserve (I’m not really a fan, but it doesn’t matter. They are amongst the best in that genre, which I don’t like all that much). As Peart got older, he lost his love for Rand and turned into a “bleeding heart libertarian.”

Here’s a nice excerpt from a Rolling Stone interview with him from June 12:

This is somewhat random, but you were interested in the writings of Ayn Rand decades ago. Do her words still speak to you?

Oh, no. That was 40 years ago. But it was important to me at the time in a transition of finding myself and having faith that what I believed was worthwhile. I had come up with that moral attitude about music, and then in my late teens I moved to England to seek fame and fortune and all that, and I was kind of stunned by the cynicism and the factory-like atmosphere of the music world over there, and it shook me. I’m thinking, “Am I wrong? Am I stupid and naïve? This is the way that everybody does everything and, had I better get with the program?”

For me, it was an affirmation that it’s all right 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 twenties. I was a kid. Now I call myself a bleeding heart libertarian. Because I do believe in the principles of Libertarianism as an ideal – because I’m an idealist. Paul Theroux’s definition of a cynic is a disappointed idealist. So as you go through past your twenties, 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.

(N.B. “Libertarian” with a capital-L refers to the political party. “libertarian” with a lower-case-l refers to the political philosophy. It makes me a bit grumpy when people get it wrong, and I sort of expect Rolling Stone to get it right…)

H/t: Paul McKeever