On this episode, Brittany and Connor chat with Eric July, a libertarian activists and musician who has used his music to spread the message of liberty.
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Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Brittany: Hi, Connor.
Connor: Hey, Brittany.
Brittany: So today we have a special guest, Eric’s July. Eric is a musician in a black Christian anarcho-capitalist, a term we talked about recently, metalcore band. And I know that was a lot but.
Connor: It is a lot.
Brittany: it’s a really good band backward. I own, the album that came out, I think it was four years ago now. But one thing I really love about Eric is he uses his music to spread the message of liberty and it’s working. So Eric, welcome to the show.
Eric: Well, I appreciate you guys, having me, and I thank you for that wonderful intro there.
Brittany: Of course. So, for starters, just should jump right in. I wanted to ask how you got started in music and what, you know, made you decide to take this in like a libertarian angle instead of just any other thing you could sing about or maybe make music about.
Eric: Right. Well, music has been a part of my life for my entire life, definitely growing up in the church, that was kind of the first time that I was exposed, to music, being involved in the choir, and whatnot. But that turned into, I remember, I’ll never forget, 1998, I believe was the year my mother had a Lauren Hill album. A Miseducation album. Yes. And I heard that, and I did. That was the moment that I knew that I wanted to do music cuz it was something about the way that she could, sing and rap and do all of that stuff. And I did all, you know, and, on one track. And I thought that was fascinating. So as I began to kind of expand and, come into a kind of my myself, because I was interested in so many other different genres, considering my upbringing, that turned into a kind of going more so the like, metal and rock element. And as far as taking my music in the direction that I took it in, obviously, I grew philosophically and then, you know, ba basically being a full-blown libertarian. I noticed that there’s zero representation, if you will, of people that are like liberty minded that are in, this not only just this sub-genre but really in music, altogether. And I wanted to be a part obviously, of that change. And because of the success in the album that you mentioned in veracity, it really shows how there, a not just an audience for that, but people are right for it and, they actually love it because there’s a lot of musicians definitely in art in our genre who make you think libertarian music, right? Everybody’s, anti-authoritarian in their music. But when it comes to actually believing in those principles, they often, are antithetical. And the one thing about us is that we were, open about it, what it is that we were, and I really wanted to make sure that people understood that because it was a very necessary thing, I would say, of all of the different things in the venues, and ventures rather, that I’m involved in. Music has been my most successful when it comes to planting those seeds for those that, want to just, be more, I guess open to something else as far, from not just a political, but social and cultural view.
Connor: Eric, I have a question for you. so I grew up in Southern California and that’s when back in the nineties, ska was really big. I was in a ska band and had a lot of fun with it. And, like you say, a lot of music, especially like spa punk was always kind of anti-authoritarian. And, there’s a more recent spa band, that I really like called The Interrupters. And I have recently,
Brittany: Is that recent?
Connor: That I started liking them or that they formed a band?
Brittany: Are they a recent band?
Connor: They’re, pretty recent, like the last five years I wanna say. okay. And Brittany, you may remember this, Eric, maybe you will as well, but during the Ron Paul 2012 campaign, there was this girl who put out a music video.
Brittany: Amy Allen.
Connor: Yeah, she’s the lead singer.
Brittany: That’s what I thought. Ok.
Connor: I had no idea. I started anyways, totally sidetracked. But Eric, my question to you is, the interrupter, so here’s Amy. She did this Ron Paul video and you know, they have some very libertarian messages, you know, anti-establishment type messages. And so I, you know, I sing those at the top of my lungs when I’m, you know, driving in the car and shake my fist at the man, you know, feel good about myself. So the interrupters, I’ve seen in the past, when people push on them, people who aren’t libertarian and so forth, they, they have not really stood up for these ideas. So they’re in their lyrics, but when they’re out in public, they try and distance themselves from these ideas. They want to be, I don’t know, inclusive or they don’t want to alienate people from listening to them. And, for me it’s a missed opportunity to stand up and say like, well, yeah, we do stand for this. That’s why we chose the lyrics. And, they haven’t really backed up their songs with their kind of responses to questions when they get asked in an interview. I just heard you say something to the effect that leads me to believe that, you know, you do want to be publicly tied to these types of ideas. Do you get any pushback on that? Are you worried about, you know, losing part of an audience or what’s that like for you to talk about seeing about these ideas, but then publicly stand for them?
Eric: We’ve been there, and done that. That’s been basically a big part of what it is that we do in that, you know, you’re gonna miss opportunities, you’re gonna have a target on your back. Everybody’s gonna try to challenge you because you do stick out like a sore thumb and you are, you know, advocating for something that is different from the norm and what they are accustomed to. But I welcome that. And I guess, that’s also speaking to kind of my growth in the political realm and that I don’t shy away from that. And I also, indefinitely in combination with, and having that right-hand man and Alex who’s the basis, who sings a lot of the clean vocals, on our records. Like we know what it is that we’re talking about. So it’s not like these guys are gonna be much smarter than us in that regard. So we have no problem defending ourselves and defending these ideas. But to your point, I’ve had so many people definitely when we were, going on tour for that first alb and we did what about four or five different kinds of runs, and we’d be on tours with these bands, including ones that are bigger than us, and they would have drummers in their bands and people that would come up to us and say, Hey man, we agree with a lot of what you say. We can’t say it, but man, we love what it is that you do. And it’s kind of like this idea that, well, people don’t want to deal with the pushback that they’re going to get and they don’t welcome that confrontation. And I’m the complete opposite. and, my bandmate is the complete opposite. well the whole entire band, but especially Alex in that we actually believe these principles, we, want to work towards a free or more prosperous society, and that, deals with you. And if we’re gonna work to that towards that point, we need people that are within these sort of subcultures that are unapologetically who they are. It’s not about alienating people, it’s not about, demonizing people even of other views. But when it’s time to stand up for just the fundamental foundation and the principles of liberty, it’s very necessary. And I think, again, a lot of our supporters come from that whole idea of, okay, it’s finally people that are within this space that I can feel good, certainly in supporting because they believe, let’s say what it is that I believe in, they don’t hate their customers, that type of stuff, which is what you’ve been dealing with a lot of musicians artists, actors, actresses, and, they just value that. But it’s a necessary thing. And I would absolutely encourage people that are in that space. It doesn’t mean you have to wear it on your sleeve or beat people over the head with it. but when it is time to stand up for it, stand up for it.
Brittany: That’s really well said. I’m curious, how did you find Liberty? How did this political journey, we talked about, you know, how you grew up with music all around you, but how did you find this philosophy?
Eric: This man, it was a process. I grew up a leftist. it’s not a secret. I grew up a person that was more so in alignment with, definitely the economic left. And I, in college, I say all this time, like I was one of the ones that got shamed outta my position because, you know, you go into college thinking you know everything, you lose a couple of arguments because you really don’t know what it is that you’re talking about. And then you want to go get educated. So, in going down the rabbit hole, I mean, I guess the subject matter, I always liked money. So the subject matter for me was economics. and, I remember taking out, can’t remember if it’s Macel Microeconomics, I’m quack Kenzie in, class when I was in college at the University of Memphis at the time. But it did send me on a rabbit hole in a journey, outside of the classroom. And that’s when I stumbled upon the lights of both Dr. Walter Williams, rest in Peace as well as, Thomas. So, it changed my life. it just changed everything because of the way that both of those guys were able to break these concepts down for just a regular person, to understand some of the legitimate gripes that folks like myself had with maybe government and things that they were doing could be, pointed to, let’s say the more of the economic, realm and easily explained. So that is what got me. And obviously, that turned in okay, learning about the different schools of economic thought. So Austrian, Chicago and obviously going full Roth Bar is kind of never turned around after that but that’s what certainly got me thinking along those lines. And I created both of them, and Dr. Thomas Sole, as well as, Dr. Alti Williams.
Connor: Eric, I have a question for you. you know, we, our organization works, in the political realm in policy reform, changing laws. And one of the things that is very important to know for our audience is this idea that politics is downstream of culture. And what that means for the kids listening, you think of like a stream and you know, if you throw some dirt in the stream, someone, you know, drinking that water down the stream, they’re gonna get dirty water. And so, politics is further down the stream than culture. What happens in the culture then affects what’s happening in politics. So for those of us working in the, you know, policy realm, trying to change laws and so forth, it’s really affected by what the culture supports. if it’s culturally popular to have socialism, then inevitably the laws are gonna change. Cuz that’s what the culture is kind of, you know, supportive of. So you’re someone who sees the importance of changing that culture beyond just your efforts. I wonder if you will give us kind of a broader snapshot, first off, like, you know, I’m assuming you agree that it is important that we engage in kind of these cultural efforts to make the ideas of Liberty popular. But assuming that you do, I’m more curious to get your take on, you know, how are things going right? For those of us who care about Liberty, it feels like there’s not a lot of people who do engage in culture. It feels like the quote-unquote left. The people who support, you know, big government and socialism, that they are very tied into a culture, but those of us who love liberty aren’t. What’s kind of your diagnosis about how the freedom movement so-called is doing with culture and what needs to change?
Eric: I will say just bluntly speaking, not doing a great job. and look like you mentioned, this is something, this is my leading topic. I would say if there’s one topic that I talk about the most, be it, in the music and in things that I do, as well as like speaking engagements and stuff of that nature, it’s exactly that. It’s that you change the culture, the politics change by default. Now, what’s happening to make sense of this is that people that are more liberty-minded, no matter what it is that they call themselves, have looked at the world unfortunately in the way that they want it to be, as opposed to looking at it for what it actually is. So what’s happened is, that the quote-unquote left recognized the importance of that. And they never thought that any kind of subculture was, trivial. They never thought that. Whereas the folks that were generally like-minded like us, they thought that it was trivial. Hey, we have the ideas on our side, we’re the smartest people in the world. you know, we lead with the ideas and that’s gonna be good enough. And obviously, as you’ve seen, it has not, if anything, it proved that it’s a losing strategy. So what we need is folks that are, doesn’t even matter if you do prefer more of going the political approach, doesn’t even matter. You cannot ignore the importance of the culture and you are going to need to infiltrate that or rather be a part of that if you are going to bring about any change. That’s so important. And a lot of people, unfortunately, lose sight of that. I’ve said in, I’m involved and I don’t know how many spaces, comic book stuff, music stuff in multiple genres and so many different subcultures that I’m involved in. And I’ve had the blessing of being in a position to be able to put and pursue those even from a career standpoint. And I, say, one thing I, generally put out there to my audience, anybody want to ask me if there’s any, any of these like let’s say liberty, minded, be it in, people that are, leading more so with the policy standpoint, business owners or anything like that, have ever asked me to collaborate, sponsor, endorse, or anything like that. And the answer’s zero. I haven’t been asked by any, they don’t even reach out. And that in itself goes to show the just lack of engagement. A lot of people would like to believe that it’s just utter like we’re okay, you be pushed out if you’re a libertarian or something and you out yourself, you’re not gonna be in any, you’re not gonna get popular or right, whatever. And maybe some of that may be true, but you have to understand, we got to this point because of the utter neglect of it. People thought that it wasn’t important and then it was important. And now you’re seeing that come to fruition. So we have to engage. And that’s, I can’t tell people directly how to do that because everybody’s a part of some sort of subculture that is your ticket when it comes to, influence. I can tell you what works for me, I can tell you what has worked for me, but everybody has some sort of demographic that I’ll never touch. And that’s what we need. We need people that are in those, spaces, and less about just leading with straight politics.
Brittany: I love that. That was a perfect answer. Well, thank you, Eric, for joining us. We’re gonna link to some articles about your band. I wanna link to the great Thomas Soul documentary you’re in real treat talking to you. Thank you so much for coming on.
Eric: Appreciate you. Thanks for having me. Thank you.
Connor: You know, it’s, so important that we have people like Eric and others and even, you know, the band I mentioned earlier, the interrupters, just, we need these lyrics. We need people thinking about these ideas. We need, video, we need podcasts, we need all these things because it’s where people get their ideas. And you know, you look at something like critical race theory that like everyone’s been up in arms, about a while and like that’s been talked about in, in different like, you know, media circles and academic circles for a long time. And so it shows, or like the Green New Deal, we’ve talked about how, Alexander Ocasio-Cortez and others, they’re talking about these, like these law laws and these ideas. But there have been people talking about these culturally and magazines and books and things like that for a long time. And so if we don’t, if we don’t create culture, if we don’t have movies and cartoons and shows and things that, that impact how people think, that’s gonna have a big impact down the road. And so for everything Like Tuttle twins or Eric’s music or whatever else, it feels like we need like a hundred times more if we’re gonna have an impact. So good to talk to someone who’s working in the cultural battle. thanks, Brittany, great conversation. And until next time, we’ll talk to you later.
Brittany: Talk to you later.
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