Keep on Censoring in the Free World: Neil Young vs Joe Rogan & Spotify

“No one is more hated than he who speaks the truth.” – Plato

If you are an avid Neil Young or Joni Mitchell fan, you might already know this, but their music is no longer available on Spotify. Most people may not be aware of this, and even if they are, might not care too much. However, people should care about the reasons behind the removal of their music from Spotify. Here is Neil Young’s statement on his website: “Music is our life. It is sacred. It lives in young minds and souls. Do not let Spotify contaminate these young minds with misinformation that could cause death. We need to stand behind the spirit of music and protect music lovers everywhere.” So, what exactly is this all about?

Back in December, two guests on Joe Rogan’s podcast show caused a stir. The guests hosted on ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’, the popular podcast available exclusively on Spotify, was Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone. These two medical professionals dared to speak out against the progressive mob that jumps eagerly at the chance to cancel any dissenter nowadays. Neil Young believes the topics of discussion in these interviews should be classified as misinformation and are thus harmful to listeners. Therefore, he began his plea for the removal of Joe Rogan from Spotify. Young presented the platform with an ultimatum: deplatform Joe Rogan or he would take his music elsewhere. Well, since Spotify has not removed ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ from Spotify, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell pulled their music in an act of protest. Just as anyone is at liberty to remove their music from Spotify as a way of separating themselves from sharing the same space with someone whom they believe spreads misinformation as they have accused of Joe Rogan; Spotify is equally at liberty to acknowledge their departure and choose to keep ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ on their platform. While this whole debate can be summarised as simply as that, with each party acting within their prerogatives, it should not be dismissed or overlooked. Neil Young’s outcries exemplify a trend at work within current American culture that seeks to silence any voice not agreeing with popular opinion. A problematic bubble is forming and for the sake of free speech, accepting different views, and the foundational values of the United States of America, it better burst soon.

Joe Rogan hosted Dr. Peter McCullough on his Spotify podcast on 13th December 2021. Dr. McCullough excels in his field as a board-certified cardiologist, publishing extensive peer-reviewed papers while serving on various medical boards. Why, then, are singers complaining about his being on Joe Rogan’s podcast? To boil it down: because Dr. Peter McCullough does not spout the same buzz words, tag lines, and mainstream media monotony that group thinkers sucked into the progressive vortex expect to hear. Rather, Dr. Peter McCullough attempted to shine light on a side of the pandemic that no one is talking about: treatments. Dr. McCullough, who has spent his career in the medical field, urged people to think about what they could be doing to prevent COVID as well as mitigate the symptoms when they contract it. Dr. Peter McCullough dared to present a different opinion than that of Dr. Fauci, and for that, he is accused of spreading misinformation. Put the political aspect of the COVID debate aside for a moment and think about the rhetoric and advice people like Dr. Fauci, the World Health Organization, and the Center for Disease Control have shoved in our faces for almost two years now. The main narrative has been to isolate oneself from any form of human interaction locked away in a room in solitary confinement. No exercise, no fresh air, no sunlight, no companionship. The repercussions of spending up to two weeks in such an environment could wreak far more havoc on a human being’s psyche than the actual virus would on their body. Dr. Peter McCullough advised that people do a nasal rinse every morning and after they’d been in a crowded area. He said doing a nasal spray followed by gargling mouth wash is an easy way to kill the virus. Dr. Peter McCullough also suggested treatments like ivermectin and monoclonal antibodies.

‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ aired another podcast on December 31st, 2021, with guest Dr. Robert Malone. Like Dr. Peter McCullough, Dr. Robert Malone is an accredited, well-respected medical professional. Most notably, and most relevant to this debate, Dr. Malone founded and patented the nine mRNA vaccines. On Joe Rogan’s podcast, Dr. Robert Malone warned of the experimental nature of the mRNA COVID vaccines. Such a warning coming from the person who invented the mRNA vaccines would surely cause a commotion in the United States since a huge portion of the population, including healthy children, have received one or more doses of an mRNA COVID vaccine. However, the peculiar part is that the reaction was not one of concern for what people injected in their bodies, but rather, the onslaught of criticism and hate toward Dr. Robert Malone. The inventor of the vaccines worries they are too experimental to be given to the entire population. Most sane, sound-minded individuals would be smart to heed such a warning. But no, again, because Dr. Robert Malone strays from the rhetoric of the liberal elites in power and in control of the narrative, then he should be silenced, punished, condemned.

Dr. Malone presented his hypothesis that the way most people are responding to the mask mandates, vaccine requirements, and various other totalitarian structures forced upon society resembles symptoms of mass formation psychosis. In short, we are all sheep refusing to think for ourselves, not daring to step outside of the flock, and not wanting to be outcast at the hands of the ruling shepherds who decide what is right and what is wrong. So, we wear masks, get experimental vaccinations, inhibit the learning of students, keep victims locked in living quarters with their abusers, and send the country into an abysmal, disturbing, and sadly preventable mental health crisis. All of this to avoid being cancelled or labeled an anti-vaxxer by another person who believes themselves more virtuous simply because they followed every order like a good little soldier.

Neil Young disagreed with Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone. That is more than fine. In fact, disagreement is what helps our society flourish. Arguments help spark ingenuity as each side attempts to find more ways to disprove the other. Free speech, freedom of expression, and differing opinions should be welcomed. While Spotify sides with Joe Rogan, keeping ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ as Neil Young removes his music, they have acquiesced in one way: warning labels. Going forward, Spotify has agreed to issue content warnings for podcasts that discuss COVID. This harkens back to the PMRC and the introduction of the little black and white parental advisory warning on album covers. While in the 80s, PMRC stood for Parents Music Resource Center, in the context of 2022 it should stand for Pushy Musicians Reviving Censorship. However, the curious case of content warnings is that they often have the opposite effect than intended. Just like when told not to push a button, you suddenly want to do so much more. Explicit content warnings on songs made kids want to listen just because they knew their parents would disapprove. Now, content warnings on Spotify podcasts might just make listeners even more curious to know information that goes against the single accepted, non-censored narrative. ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ is, after all, the most listened-to podcast on Spotify with over 11 million subscribers.

The incredible irony in all of this lies in Neil Young’s lyrics. His music relays messages that value freedom of expression above everything else. Both Neil Young and Joni Mitchell sing about what they deem foundational characteristics: freedom, self-expression, sacrificial love. Yet, Joe Rogan, Dr. Peter McCullough, Dr. Robert Malone, and anyone else that dares speak out against the mob of mainstream media cannot follow Young’s advice because they are not allowed to express their opinions. One of Neil Young’s most famous lines, “keep on rocking in the free world”, may cease to be relevant if he and others continue to censor, cancel, and silence. Free-loving hippies like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell epitomise hypocrisy by campaigning for podcasts to be deplatformed. There is not much acceptance, love, or freedom in that. Not only in ideology but also in practice lies the irony of this whole debacle. After serving Spotify an ultimatum, Neil Young took his music off the very same platform through which he was allowed to sing about whatever he pleased.

As an artist there is a certain amount of risk involved in producing music; not everyone is going to like your sound or agree with your message, but that is the price to pay for making creative content. Now, it is easier for an artist to create music that fits the narrative of society. Winston Marshall, ex-member of the band Mumford and Sons highlights that “under this sort of pressure, who can be surprised that artists are acting less like artists – the way they imagine themselves, anyway – and more like, well, Soviet drones?” It is easier to either agree with the accepted narrative or stay silent rather than speak up for what is right and what you believe to be true for fear of being cancelled and thus losing one’s livelihood. The sad part is that musicians used to be free-spirited, anti-establishment voices in society. Now, they are the ones proposing more government control, more censorship, less individuality, and more groupthink.

Rather than silencing opinions that do not conform to the progressive ideology pervasive in America today, a more productive approach would be to encourage speech. Freethinkers, wherever you are and however you may be censoring yourselves out of fear, stand up for what you believe – even if it goes against the popular, accepted narrative. If each person is the same and only listens to specific podcasts with one type of information pertaining to one side of a debate, then society is dumber for it. Under the current cancelling frenzy, the truth will get lost in the monotony of censorship and ideological, one-sided, groupthink. There is a reason to hear out both sides of a story. The truth eventually comes to light.

“Be a free thinker and don’t accept everything you hear as truth. Be critical and evaluate what you believe in.” – Aristotle

Caroline Skillman

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and may not reflect the values of The Liberty Club


Neil Young’s Statement:

‘Spotify and Rogan, the Real Adults’ WSJ op ed, Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

‘Spotify sides with Joe Rogan: removes Neil Young’s music: “A costly move”‘, New York Post, Hannah Frishberg

‘Spotify’s Fate is in the Stars’, Dan Gallagher, WSJ

‘Welcome to the PMRC, Neil Young’, Jim Treacher, Substack

‘Harry and Meghan’s “Concerns” about Joe Rogan could drive Anti-Speech Aspen Institute Project’, Tristan Justice, The Federalist

‘Thanks to Neil Young’s Music, I Oppose His Attacks on Joe Rogan’s Free Speech’, Deirdre Reilly, The Federalist

Bari Weiss Common Sense Substack, ‘When Artists Become the Censors: the new moral majority comes for Joe Rogan’, Winston Marshall

‘Episode #1747 with Dr. Peter A. McCullough’, The Joe Rogan Experience podcast on Spotify hosted by Joe Rogan

‘Episode #1757 with Dr. Robert Malone, MD’, The Joe Rogan Experience podcast on Spotify hosted by Joe Rogan

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