When Rand Paul was a teenager, the lyrics of Canadian prog-rock band Rush spoke to him. “The Trees,” an allegorical tale of bitchy maples destroying a forest by fighting taller oaks for equality, was a particular favorite. Paul’s admiration for Rush has continued on into adulthood and he’s frequently used the band’s music to score his political life, from victory rallies to campaign commercials, all of which must make what drummer Neil Peart told Rolling Stone in an article published yesterday even more painful: Peart, a newly minted American citizen, would never vote for Paul.
Plus, Peart told Rolling Stone, it’s “very obvious” Paul “hates women and brown people.” Ouch. Those can’t be easy words for Paul to hear given his life-long admiration of Peart’s work. But maybe the Kentucky Republican saw this coming. He and Rush have had a somewhat contentious public relationship since his rise to national prominence in 2010. Back then, a lawyer for the band tried to get Paul to stop using its music at his events and to stop quoting lyrics in his speeches, citing copyright infringement. At the time, the lawyer wrote, “This is not a political issue — this is a copyright issue. We would do this no matter who it is.”
Now that seems to have changed. Though Neil Peart was an exuberant Ayn Rand fan in the ‘70s, he’s abandoned the ideas that influenced much of his early work. Peart calls himself a “bleeding-heart libertarian” who practices the same kind of generosity he lampooned in the 1975 ode to selfishness, “Anthem.” Paul, meanwhile, should probably start looking into possibilities for a new favorite band. Maybe this one.