Is Geddy as Much a Libertarian as Neil?
Neil is the one most closely connected to the libertarian strain running through Rush’s music. He’s the one that brought the Ayn Rand persective to the band, credited her in the liner notes to 2112, and descibed himsef in interviews as left-libertarian.
But Bob Cook in a piece called “The Spirit of Rand” he wrote for Jews Rock says it would be a mistake to think Geddy was just mouthing the words without feeling them as much as Neil did. “Peart tapped into something in Lee’s subconscious that made him a more compelling deliverer of Rand’s philosophy than Rand herself,” he says.
This claim isn’t hard to believe. Geddy’s background as the son of persecuted Eastern European Jews makes him a perfect deliverer of the values of Rand, herself the daughter of persecuted Eastern European Jews (his by the Nazis in Poland and hers by the Bolsheviks in Russia).
Geddy’s parents originally intended to emigrate to New York City after they were liberated, his father Morris from Dachau and his mother Mary from Bergen-Belsen, as so many Jewish households did after Word war II (and making that city the capital of Jewish intellectual life in the West). But they ended up a few hundred miles north in Toronto. Its interesting to think what would have happened had they stuck to their original plan. But even though they didn’t, an intellectual strain characterized by a distrust of a too-powerful government runs through much of what Geddy says in interviews, Cook says.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but it’s worth noting that in the case of both Rand’s parents and Geddy’s parents, the persecution came from government. It would be like the United States government suddenly deciding to do away with all of the country’s Jews. Who could ever feel secure in their own country after that?
Geddy says his parents never shied away from talking about the horrors of Bergen-Bergen with their children, but even so you wouldn’t expect a teenager growing up in suburban Toronto to spend much time thinking about it or putting together a cohesive political philosophy. But when that teenager meets up with someone like Neil, with his wide-roaming intellectual curiosity, you can see how latent ideas inside that teen can get stirred up. I think that’s what Cook’s trying to say.—Rob Freedman, Rush Vault
Cook’s piece has been around for a few years. At that time, there was quite a bit of writing about Rush and libertarianism. There probably isn’t much more to say about it. But it’s interesting to connect the dots once in a while.
Here’s a list of some of the pieces on Rush and libertarianism:
Rush’s Libertarianism Never Fit the Plan, 2011, Steven Horowitz
The Spirit of Rand , 2007, Bob Cook
Rand, Rush and De-totalizing the Utopianism of Progressive Rock, 2003, Steven Horowitz
Rand, Rush and Rock, 2002, Chris Matthew Sciabarra
Let Them all Make Their Own Music, 2001, Durrell Bowman (scroll to Chapter 9)
Here are some Rush Vault pieces that look at Rush and libertarianism:
Here’s a fun piece of satire on how Rush and other Canadians unleashed Ayn Rand on the United States in an effort to destabilize the country.