Neil Young - Trogladite, Svengali, or Muse?

I’m really conflicted about this Neil Young / Joe Rogan / Spotify situation! I used to love Neil, or really respected him as an artist. Though his recent stances seem completely oblivious to his counter-culture roots. He called out Richard Nixon for the Kent State massacre back in 1970 (“Ohio”), but he now endorses Big Pharma experimental gene therapy, apparently. Nothing to do with his catalog sales to Hipgnosis/Blackstone/Pfizer I assume. :thinking:

One of my favorite songs of his past was “Cinnamon Girl”, which has been covered by more artists than I can name. Tributes, nods, and genuine affection for his artistic contributions. I loved him with CSNY and his solo stuff, and even the ‘Punk’ phase to some degree. What happened Neil … sold out to the corporatocracy? Not cool, not in character. You even did a song called “This Note’s For You” to poke fun at the Budweiser beer ad campaigns. Now you’re a shill for Big Pharma.

I don’t care where someone decides to be ideologically, though I prefer they take a principled stand, but at least be consistent for God’s sake. Neil must have gotten ahold of some of that “brown acid”, and can no longer think straight.

All that said, reviewing his past performances, I’m struck by how I enjoyed his emotional vibe, but how his body language seems Trogladite-ish. There’s a certain primitiveness to his style, which I guess I used to like, but which now seems unsophisticated and crass, even lame.

Does anybody wish to defend Neil Young and his style choices? I’m losing faith in the guy, quickly.

I don’t really hold musicians, or any artists really, to any higher moral a standard than I do the guy next door. I expect people to be a mixed bag of principles and self serving jerks, and I expect them to flip flop constantly, because it’s what we all do all the time.

The idea that a person needs to be a representative of an idea I think is the root of pretty much most of our problems. We take ideas and then attach them to people. It’s like we don’t know how to process ideas unless we anthropomorphize them.

I’m a big proponent of decoupling ideas from the proponents. It makes it possible to see good and bad ideas from all sorts of different sources, and give weight purely to the idea, rather than the person advertising the idea.


We’re social creatures, and many ideas come to us from other people or sources that represent them. We’re naturally curious what other people think, and how that might apply to us or our situation. It may be the cause of much of our problems, but would we be human if we didn’t do that? I’ll have to think about that a bit more. As a working title, I’ll call it “The Boz Theory” (see what I did there? :slightly_smiling_face:).

I’ll have to correct myself and say that I do care where someone is ideologically, as some ideologies can be harmful to other humans, and that I would very much care about. For instance, I’m looking into Mark Devlin’s “Musical Truth” material (mind control, social engineering). It’s clear that there is something to the manipulation of media and music to influence people, the public, but it’s a disturbing idea. It looks like Mark does a good job of ‘decoupling’ as you mentioned, so rather than blame the artists that are used as tools for nefarious influence, he works with the ideas and tries to get closer to the source - which usually turns out to be an ‘agency’ - which is still people, ultimately. I guess we could just become aware of it, and label it “bad ideas”, but there’s that social awareness thing again. Where is the threat coming from? How do we train ourselves to spot it? How do we protect ourselves from it? We can say that one human chucking a spear into another person is a bad idea … but what really matters is who is holding the spear and what are their intentions (as best we can tell).

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I think I ultimately agree with everything you said here, so I won’t even attempt to push back on any of it.

Where is the threat coming from? How do we train ourselves to spot it? How do we protect ourselves from it?

I think we train ourselves to recognize the threat by recognizing the ways that we are the threat to other people. I think we protect ourselves from it by learning to predict the behavior of other people. There are two ways to do it:

  1. Create rules for people to make them more predictable. This is why religions and laws exist.
  2. We learn to understand ourselves and then figure out how to project that understanding onto other people.

The problem is that method 1 is a lot easier and has much faster results. Number 2 would be cool, but I’m not sure it’s ever going to be possible. It’s waaay too hard to even understand our own motivations, much less figure out how to apply that understanding to other people. It’s a cool ideology, but I think it’s pretty impractical. But it at least it can be practiced on an individual basis.

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Unless Neil Young songs show up in advertising for Pfizer products I don’t see a problem. He’s always sold his music, he just didn’t want it used in advertising.

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That makes a lot of sense. Self-awareness, self-analysis, self-reflection. Whether it’s innate or was programmed into us, we all have a tendency to initiate or become involved in “control dramas” - the desire to have power over other people and circumstances. Presumably, this originates from a primal survival instinct. To have dominion or dominance. That’s how we feel we can be ‘safe’ (i.e. fight or flight), because uncertainty invites variables of danger. I think that’s why there is so much focus on “safety” in the world today - safety from threats, “safe and effective”, etc. Ironically, that desire to be safe then leads us to surrender our power and consent to authorities who promise to ‘save’ us. I guess if I was one of those elite authorities, I’d want to control the masses too … because there are way more masses than elite authorities. :wink:

Yes, method 1 is the path of least resistance, so as long as the masses cooperate it’s a cakewalk for the rulers. I agree that method 2 is very challenging, but I don’t think it’s impossible. Perhaps many people lack the diligence and curiosity to examine themselves, so they just don’t do it, but I think it’s a worthwhile venture. It can certainly be uncomfortable though, which may be another factor dissuading people from the pursuit. We might have to face things about ourselves that we don’t like. Examining the “control drama” aspect of wanting power over others can go a long way toward an understanding of what motivates manipulative behavior. If we can get comfortable with our own experience of that, the lessons can be applied to external potential threats.

Since you mentioned “laws”, I was reminded of the difference between “lawful” and “legal”. Most people don’t know the difference, they think they are the same thing. My understanding is that they are not. Legal refers to an artificial system created by elite authorities to rule over the masses. It’s frequently called a “fiction” or “legal fiction”. If you subscribe to that fiction, you have given “implied consent” and it will rule over you. Unfortunately, if you don’t comply and it ticks off an elite authority, whoever has the most guns wins. :open_mouth:

But as I’m learning, there is some value in understanding what’s called “Natural Law”, which is somewhat represented by what is called Common Law. This would be looking at actions as “lawful” rather than legal. Natural Law is challenging to understand, since we’ve been programmed to not think that way, but seems to be a thing that exists regardless of human interference. Some liken it to Karma. You can take a spiritual approach to it, but that’s not required, just consider that Nature has its own mechanisms and laws that it operates by which have functioned for eons - billions of years. The simplest way to explain Natural Law is the phrase “Do no harm”, but I like how Mark Devlin puts it: “Do no harm, but take no shit.” :sunglasses: In a sense it’s like the Golden Rule - when you define what works, then what doesn’t work sticks out like a sore thumb.

That’s a good point. What I was describing was implied, or inferred on my part. But was his music on Spotify advertising for Joe Rogan’s podcast? I guess you could say “guilt by association”, but there’s not really anything linking the two except a common platform, so I don’t know if I’d consider it advertising. Have some bands decided to leave a record company label because they disagreed with the image of other bands on that label? It’s probably happened, but I don’t think it’s that common. My sense is that there are deeper alliances and allegiances at play, but of course I can only speculate. Regardless, it clearly looked like some kind of power-play since he was willing to stay on Spotify if Joe Rogan was kicked off. The classic “there’s only room for one of us in this town” logic.

“Well I hope Neil Young will remember, a Southern man don’t need him around anyhow!”

This is not Neil’s first rodeo.

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That’s a great one, I always loved that Skynyrd line! It was “Sweet Home Alabama” as I recall, and was referring to Neil’s song “Southern Man”, which was not very complimentary to the South. Neil is Canadian IIRC, too bad he doesn’t share the Skynyrd rebel legacy like his Freedom Trucker Convoy countrymen. I don’t remember how Neil responded to Skynyrd, but maybe it doesn’t matter. He did take on Richard Nixon, and all the southern United States, so I have to give him credit for being a fighter. However, if Joe Rogan was the horse in this rodeo, Neil got bucked and nearly trampled. :face_with_hand_over_mouth: Maybe he was okay with that, or even planned it that way. He certainly took his parting shots at Spotify by slamming their audio quality. Sore loser? Who knows. I don’t fault someone for wanting pristine audio, but his Pono music player went … nowhere. A commercial failure. Spotify seems to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. I guess Neil has a few more years left in him to figure out the rodeo thing. :wink:

I’m not sure I see how that is any different from legal. The whole point (in theory) of the legal system is promote behavior we agree that we want to see (lack of harm being one of those features).

But there’s nothing natural about avoiding harm to humans. I think we can all agree that harm sucks, and we want to avoid it, but nothing about natural law says it should be avoided, other than the fact that harm feels bad.

I guess it’s fine to think about it that way in a humanistic sense, but there’s nothing. natural about humanism. I don’t see how anything beyond the basic laws of physics should be considered “natural law.”

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Legal presumably derives its formulation from Natural Law, though they are different and act in different ways. I said that it was challenging to understand, and that we have not been taught to think in that way, so it does require going outside the box to understand this. I have posted some definitions below from a legal dictionary, though my understanding is that Natural Law precedes anything Legal, so that’s an interesting twist, but as I say most people only know and understand Legal, so that’s the platform we find.

As you will see below, Natural Law or Natural rights do not change with time. They are considered to be inherent in human nature. It is sometimes called “Objective Morality”, and may derive from a philosophical basis. Whereas “human rights”, which is a legal representation, are subject to change through governmental organizations. This is why governments in the world argue about “human rights violations”, because they each define those differently through their legal processes.

The main difference between them, as it says below, is that “natural rights are endowed by birth”, and “human rights are deemed by society” - which essentially means that we delegate that to government representatives to formulate legal prescriptions. Natural Law is probably close to what you called “good ideas vs. bad ideas”, they are inherent and can be arrived at through reason. Once government operatives have the power to make laws (legal) through legislative means, they can devise any kind of prescriptions they want, which may or may not actually achieve the goal of “behavior we agree that we want to see”. Those legislative agendas may end up benefiting the “government machine” rather than the people. This is all subjective and debatable of course.

I’m sure my attempts to explain this will be imperfect, I’m still learning about it myself. But there is certainly something to it from what I can tell. Let’s look at the example of “auto insurance”. From Natural Law, there would be no such thing. If you caused harm to another with your ‘vehicle’, you would simple meet in a Common Law court (closer to Natural Law) and make amends based on evidence of fault and injury (a “Claim”). In the days of horse-and-buggy, this would have been a relatively simple matter in most cases, and the injuries may not have been severe or life-threatening. But in the modern world, our ‘horseless carriages’ are so powerful and move so fast they can do tremendous damage to property, person, and life. Basically, they are a type of weapon! So the legal system has devised mandatory auto insurance to resolve these conflicts quickly and efficiently (that’s the idea anyway). We gave the power to government (government derives its legitimacy from “the consent of the governed”) to resolve these issues on our behalf. I’m not suggesting the Legal system is unnecessary or irrelevant, simply that it’s a “fiction” we have created to make life easier on ourselves as a society, though I’m not sure it always achieves that goal. And it seems to have been hijacked by agents such as The Bar Association and Legislatures, which no longer reflect the will of the people in many cases, but serve political agendas.

Natural Rights vs. Human Rights

It may be simple semantics, but the adjective before the word “rights,” whether that adjective is “human” or “natural,” can make a difference in how the term is defined. When asking the question of natural rights vs. human rights, consider that natural rights are those endowed by birth and are to be protected by the government. These rights include life, liberty, and property, among others.

Human rights, on the other hand, are rights deemed so by society. These include such things as the right to live in a safe, suitable dwelling, the right to healthy food, and the right to receive healthcare. In many modern societies, citizens feel that the government should provide these things to people who have difficulty obtaining them on their own.

How the Constitution Addresses Natural and Human Rights

At the time that the Declaration of Independence was drafted, the “rights” that people spoke of were thought to be natural, or God-given. However, beginning in the 20th century, the term “rights” evolved to be referred to as “human rights.” While natural rights and human rights are essentially universal, there still exist some significant differences between them.

Natural rights are not granted to people by their government. Governments simply establish the political conditions under which people are permitted to exercise their natural rights, and then the government expects its people to live according to those conditions. Conversely, human rights are those granted to people by the governmental authorities. The term “human rights” has become a catch-all term for anything that society as a whole believes to be important.

Natural rights, by their very nature, do not change with time. Everyone everywhere has always been endowed with the same right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” By contrast, human rights are subject to change and often do, with new human rights being recognized, defined, and promoted by governmental organizations.

That’s been debatable for a couple of thousand years or so. The argument is basically “natural law vs positive law” if you want to Google it. This comes up because conservative supreme court justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch supposedly believe in “natural law”.

Not sure where Neil Young weighs in on this.

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I had not heard of “positive law”, but it sounds like Civil Law which is essentially “Legal” IMO.

Examples of positive law include rules such as the speed that individuals are allowed to drive on the highway and the age that individuals can legally purchase alcohol. Ideally, when drafting positive laws, governing bodies would base them on their sense of natural law.

“Natural laws” are inherent in us as human beings. “Positive laws” are created by us in the context of society.

This suggests that Positive Law responds to Natural Law (“base them on”), which is the Micro responding to the Macro.

In conflicting with Aristotle’s belief that humans can govern themselves due [to] rationalization, Hobbes believed that humans are violent and war like and that they have a right to all things.

Clearly, the difference depends on how you choose to look at the world. If you trust other people to make the right choices, Natural Law makes a lot of sense. If you assume all people are enemies, you want the government to protect you from them, through Legal means. Yes, our history is savage and barbaric, but are we bound by that … or can we transcend to a state of achieving our highest potential, which we are assumed to already possess innately? (Neitzsche’s “Übermensch”?)

Thomas Hobbes seems to have advocated for “social contract theory”, a model that usually concerns the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual. Natural Law does not concern itself with a state at all, from what I understand. It is based on the inherent natural rights of a Man or Woman born into this world. So once again, I would say that granting your power and authority to a government (state) to rule over you moves you into the Legal realm, the “legal fiction”, which seems equivalent to “positive law” from what I can tell. My sense of it is moving towards the “Big Brother” of the “1984” novel. We could go that route, but should we? Natural Law advocates for the freedom of the individual. So it looks like “never the twain shall meet”.

Early Neil struck me as very Natural. Today’s Neil strikes me as “the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual.”
Congratulations Neil, you managed to span the crevasse in one lifetime. We should all be so lucky, though hopefully we move in the opposite direction. :wink:

From what I’m hearing, Joe Rogan is being paid well over $100 million for his presence on Spotify.
Neil Young’s beef was that Rogan was spreading misinformation on his program, and he took it upon himself to “punish” Spotify by removing his music, possibly hoping that Rogan would be removed.
What’s interesting in terms of Natural Law is that in today’s society Rogan is more important than Young.

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I read something the other day, in regard to Rumble offering Joe $100 million if he decided to leave Spotify for any reason, and supposedly the Rogan/Spotify deal is more like $200 million or even more, but that’s just something I saw in passing and can’t confirm it. I believe it was reported to The New York Times by some insiders with that kind of knowledge, though they remain anonymous (good old “anonymous sources” :shushing_face:).

That was the public narrative, and maybe that was essentially correct, though like many stories there’s usually some deeper behind-the-scenes stuff going on. It clearly looked like a move by “The Ministry of Truth” in some form. You know, the self-appointed authorities - the ones historically the most corruptible and corrupt - like governments and corporations :smirk: … that want you to believe they are “telling the truth” and that anything counter to their official narrative is “misinformation” or “disinformation”. That’s a good one, because so many people fall for it, while those perpetrators laugh all the way to the bank!

Everybody loves a “duel”, loves the drama, presumably. It was a weird scenario, and trying to compare the two main actors is apples-to-oranges IMO. That’s why it seems ‘manufactured’ to me. The Ministry of Truth felt threatened ($$).
You can easily tell when that happens, because the spectacle has to be created as a diversion. Otherwise, people might do their own research. :wink:

BTW, Neil is Canadian, so it will be interesting to see what the “Rockin’ in the Free World” wonder boy has to say about his government declaring martial law (essentially), which will lead to all kinds of constitutional violations and even more censorship. Go get 'em Neil, if you have the guts, if you really stand for what you say you do. Canada’s Emergencies Act being used to smash legitimate dissent is a big bold neon sign to the rest of the world that the globalist New World Order no longer cares to maintain a façade. If you think they’re not coming for you next, you’ve got another thing coming.