Neil Young, Joe Rogan, Cancel Culture and Hypocrisy

Posted: February 7, 2022 in Uncategorized

You’d probably think I don’t have a dog in this fight. I like a few Neil Young songs, I’ve seen a few short clips of Joe Rogan’s podcast and it seemed interesting, but I’m definitely not what you would call a rabid fan, so why weigh in here? Because I do have a dog in this fight and it’s a big one. Let’s start with the basics. Neil Young threatened to pull his music off Spotify if they didn’t de-platform Joe Rogan over the fact that Joe Rogan had a guest on his show who dared to question the COVID vax narrative. Mind you this was not some crackpot who didn’t know anything, it was one of the doctors instrumental in developing the technology behind RNA vaccines, the very type of vaccine that most of the COVID vaccines are. Here’s what bothers me. Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell who has since followed suit, were both protest singers in the 60s and 70s. How is it that people who were at one time champions of free speech are now actively working to have others deprived of their free speech? That my friends is what cancel culture is all about and it is the very essence of hypocrisy.

Here’s the thing, I disagree with a lot of people. Some would say more than most, but I do not want to see anyone’s free speech silenced, even if their opinions and even actions are vile to me. Why do I say that? Because I value my own free speech. Make no mistake. There are plenty of people I have cancelled, at least by virtue of their commercial offerings. I do this very simply, by turning them off. I ignore them and actively work to make sure they get none of my hard earned money, but I would never want to see them denied their freedom of speech. They have the right to their opinion, and they have the right to share their opinion and I have the right not to listen. Further, I have the right to debate them in the areas of ideas, or better yet to try to change their mind. This is open dialog and it is a huge blessing of a free society. Through civil discourse, I can find common ground, share ideas and even possibly bring people over to my point of view and in some cases vice versa. At the very least I can at least try to understand and maybe even alleviate animosity.

Cancel culture is the opposite of freedom. It is totalitarian. It seeks to silence opposing points of view. I would never want to live in that kind of society. It’s a small step between “agree or be silenced” and “agree or die.” We have got stop dehumanizing those with whom we disagree. Beware of cancelling someone else’s speech, the next person they might be coming for is you.

  1. Brian Musser says:

    I think there is a nuance to this story that is often missed. It isn’t that Joe Rogan uses Spotify to platform his podcast. It is that Spotify gave Joe Rogan $100 million for exclusively platform his podcast.

    • amokarts says:

      I’m not sure that makes a difference to me. To become the number one podcast in the world is to be able to command a big pay day. My issue is with people trying to silence other people simply because they disagree. Free speech and the free exchange of ideas is hugely important. To lose that is to lose freedom.

      • Brian Musser says:

        Think of it this way. Neil Young disagrees with Joe Rogan. Neil Young’s content is available on Spotify. Spotify makes money by selling ad space to people wanting to listen to Neil Young’s music. Neil Young makes money off of this as well. But then Spotify takes the money they made off of Neil Young’s music and invests it in sponsoring Joe Rogan’s content. It only makes sense that Neil Young would remove Spotify’s ability to use his content to support Rogan’s message. It would be like allowing a cause you disagree with to sell one if your pieces of artwork to fund their cause. Because of the contract Spotify is not just allowing Joe Rogan to speak freely, they are funding the message and they were in some small way using Neil Young’s content to do it.

        • amokarts says:

          I guess I get that, but the free speech implications are terrifying.

          • Brian Musser says:

            Because of the contract Joe Rogan’s podcast is not free speech it is now corporately sponsored. The worst thing Joe could have ever done to limit his ability to speak freely was to sign a $100 Million contract with Spotify. He now has a master and his speech is owned.

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