Covid has led a lot of alleged free speech advocates to call for censorship when they don’t agree with what’s being said.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Emma: Hi, Brittany.

Brittany: Hi, Emma.

Emma: So, there is something very fascinating going on right now in the music world, and I am a huge music history lover. I am absolutely obsessed with reading about, especially kind of like older artists, like folk artists and classic rock. And anything from like the sixties through the nineties really fascinates me. And I love learning the stories behind the music that I like to listen to. And something that has been really interesting to watch happen lately, like in the last week as we record this, has been seeing some of these artists that are very famous for being very anti-censorship anti, you know, authoritarian government, embrace the censorship of others when it comes to views that they dislike. And just to give you a little bit of background we very briefly mentioned this in another episode. Basically what’s going on is, you know, Brittany and I love Joe Rogan. We talk about him all the time. He has had on a few guests on his podcast who have brought up some concerns about COVID-19 treatments, vaccines, just the medical establishment in general, and how the government and big tech are working to restrict opposing viewpoints on those issues. And because of that, there is an artist named Neil Young, who was a pretty famous singer back in the sixties and seventies has made a lot of very famous music on his own and with bands. And he actually said, he put out this public statement saying, Spotify can have Rogan or they can have Young, but they can’t have both. And it was a pretty bold statement to make. And I don’t think it ended up going the way that he thought it would because Spotify the next day says, okay, we’ll pull your music down now. We’ll take you down since you don’t wanna be on here with Joe Rogan. And I think that probably backfired a lot more than he thought it would. I have a feeling that he thought he was going to just, you know, have them listen and take down Joe Rogan. But as it turns out, a lot more people listen to Joe Rogan on there than they do Neil Young. And it didn’t quite work out the way that he wanted it to. And while I am very supportive of people, you know, using their voice as a form of protest, even if I disagree with them, I find it very, very interesting that someone like Neil Young would be so opposed to being on the same platform as Joe Rogan and would be so embracing censorship. And the reason for that is because in the sixties and seventies, like I mentioned, there were so many protests over free speech, and a lot of them came from, students and young people who were very against the Vietnam War. And the government did all sorts of stuff to try to shut down their protests. And it became a huge free speech issue. And a lot of it came from the Bay Area, Berkeley, California, and areas where, you know, Neil Young and a lot of his band mates and his sort of contemporaries and people that were in his genre and his friends, they were hugely involved in that stuff. And they were very anti-government censorship for art and for protests and all of that, which is really awesome. That’s a really great thing for an artist to stand up for. And it makes sense because artists want to be able to speak freely and talk about whatever they wanna talk about. And in Neil Young’s sort of generation and genre of music, there was another singer, Joni Mitchell, who I really, really love her music. She’s one of my favorite artists. And she actually, after Neil Young’s music got pulled from Spotify, she said, I’m protesting with Neil. I’m in solidarity with him. I hate to see vaccine misinformation being spread and I don’t wanna be on this platform with Joe Rogan and take my music down too. And this was a huge bummer for me because I listened to her pretty much every day and it was very.

Brittany: Really, so she’s a big person for you?

Emma: She for me, yeah. She has this beautiful voice and she plays these very simple folk songs on guitar and just has written some really incredible songs. And I was so bummed to hear that because she always, to me had seemed like the funny thing was like two days before she did it, I was talking to my husband about how fascinating she was as a person to me and how cool I thought she was. And then I totally regretted it because she did this really stupid thing with Neil Young. And so she pulled her music down as well. And she was another person who was huge in the sixties and seventies standing up for free speech. And to me, watching all of this has just been such a bummer because it’s these artists who claim to stand for free speech, and then all these years later they’re just falling in line with the government and with, you know, with these censoring sort of people who wanna control what sorts of information people can have. And that is a really disappointing thing to see, especially from them. And the thing to me that really sticks out is that these are artists who essentially are calling for the government to censor other artists because Joe Rogan is, he’s an entertainer, he’s a comedian, he has his podcast, he is counted as an artist on Spotify. And I think it’s extremely concerning when you have certain artists that are saying, no, I don’t want to exist on the same platform as this person that I disagree with. And Brittany, I would be curious to hear your thoughts as to, you know, how, what is the right way for an artist to engage in like this And is there some sort of contradiction that they’re making when they do these sorts of things?

Brittany: Yeah, well I think you’re, I mean, everybody’s free to have their opinion, right? And Neil Young is free to say, I don’t wanna be on the same platform. As Joe Rogan. And that can be a political statement. And I was searching through Twitter and I did see there are a lot of people that do think he’s, you know, being brave. Yeah. But, these actions come with consequences. And so maybe he thought this is gonna like, oh good, Spotify is gonna side with me. And that clearly did not happen. So you gotta wonder how he’s thinking right now. Yeah. But absolutely everybody has the right to stand up for what they believe in. But I agree with you that there seems to be this irony in people saying they believe in free speech and then doing this Now Neil Young has since come out and it’s funny, he’s actually made a very libertarian argument, which he probably doesn’t even believe in, where he said like, it’s a private company and that’s why I’m calling for it. But I still don’t believe in government censorship. But I think the reason we have to be so careful with COVID stuff, especially is this propaganda is coming from the government. Right. So it’s not even, it might be a private platform, you know, that’s trying to, that’s in question. But this, all this narrative we’ve been fed is coming from the government, is coming from people like, you know, Fauci. So it is very closely related to the government. Yeah. It is to me. I like music history specifically for like Woodstock era because I’m very into the counterculture, and while that’s not counterculture anymore, at the time it was. Yeah. And it was very, you know, again, anti-war, very anti-establishment. And so that time means a lot to me. And so it is really funny to see people, like, I remember when Bob Dylan got like some award from Obama, and one of my favorite anti-war songs is called Masters of War Yes. By Bob Dylan. And I’m like, here you have a guy that used to be so against like Vietnam, he’s got a whole album basically that’s about like Vietnam and social issues. Yeah. And then you have Obama giving him a medal who was drone killing, you know? Countless people. And so it made me really mad. It’s because you get this hypocritical, it’s supposed to be rock and roll, supposed to be anti-establishment, you know, I was really into like punk rock like music back of the day and punk rock used to be completely anti, it was even anti-rock and roll. They thought rock and roll was too, you know, was too mainstream. Yeah. And now you have these old school punks, like, like also doing the same thing where it’s like, go get your vaccination, believe the government, or Howard Stern, who used to be the counterculture podcaster now wants Rogan to censor too. And you’re just like, what? Yeah. Is happening.

Emma: It’s absurd. I mean, the punk rock thing cracks me up. I don’t know if this band would technically count but rage against the machine. They’re, oh.

Brittany: Not punk, but they’re definitely like that anti-establishment for sure.

Emma: They’re, the name of their band is like rage against the machine of, you know, government establishment, all of this stuff. They’re requiring people to get the vaccine to go to their concerts. It just, the irony of that really, really strikes me.

Brittany: It’s so funny.

Emma: And the name of this episode is, is there ever a good reason for censorship? So this, this is gonna get right down to the heart of this entire issue. So Joni Mitchell and Neil Young both have had polio and polio is something that has been almost eradicated through vaccines. And that’s, I think that’s awesome. It’s a technological advancement that has been really positive. And, you know, maybe we, I, and some of our listeners will have different opinions on certain vaccines and stuff, but I like to look at each one individually. Is this good for us? Is this not as good for us? What are the risks? What are the upsides and downsides? And that’s how I tend to view medicine in general. And this polio vaccine has done a lot of good, and a lot of people are saying, well, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young are doing something that makes a lot of sense because they’ve both had polio and they understand the importance of vaccines. And I can understand why someone might look at all of this and, and walk away with that conclusion if they weren’t, you know, questioning the government. They weren’t questioning why are people pushing us so hard to take these medications. but it’s still, at the end of the day, calling for the censorship of others, even if you really, really disagree with them, is not the right way, I think to go about this. And, you know, we’ve talked about how these people do have the ability to protest and to take their music down, but I find it extremely unnerving when censorship is the answer, rather than, you know, the two of them could have gotten together and brought in some of their, you know, quote, expert friends who love these vaccines and love the government propaganda on COVID. They could have invited Joe Rogan in and had a debate and it would’ve been viewed by millions of people. I bet that would’ve been really, really impactful. And they may have even won some people over to their side. But when we call for censorship and we call for people we disagree with, to just be de-platformed and just shut down, it doesn’t even do what these people want it to do. All it does is generate more attention for people like Joe Rogan who, you know, he was this MMA announcer. He was a comedian. He had kind of this random career. And the more people try to cancel him, the more people find him and start listening to him. And it doesn’t even do what these people want it to do. So that’s kind of my main point here is that you know, even if it seems like, hey, there’s a good reason for this person to be offended by Joe Rogan being critical of vaccines. Maybe they have benefited from a vaccine in their lifetime, but the answer to being offended should not be to take away someone else’s voice. It should be to have a conversation. And I really hope that we can learn that and that we can get back to that as a country, because that’s what these people in the sixties and seventies wanted. They wanted open, free dialogue and for people to be able to make their own minds up. And I really just hope that we can get back there someday.

Brittany: I think that’s a really good point. Yeah.

Emma: Yeah. Anyway, we are to wrap it up here, guys, thank you so much for listening and we will, as you know, be talking about censorship a lot over the next few weeks and episodes. So stay posted. We have more on this and we will talk to you all again soon.

Brittany: Talk to you soon.