Prog Rock, Continued

There is some risk that I’m going to start ruining Scott’s music beat here on Power Line with my continued excursions into Progressive Rock.  I admit that Progressive Rock is the single malt scotch of popular music—definitely an acquired taste that’s not for everybody—and like certain single malts (my favorite is Laphroaig, a peaty Islay malt that tastes like it was run through dirty socks—and yes I have mine neat, thank you), much of it is inconsumable, and can only be taken in small amounts anyway.

But this note from Jack Butler, a freshman at Hillsdale College, is worth passing along:

I am only 18 years old, but, thanks in large part to my father’s influence, I am a huge fan of Pink Floyd, King Crimson, ELP, Genesis, Rush, Yes, et al, though I’d only heard of Gentle Giant in passing before your mention of them.

The main purpose of this email, though, is to demonstrate a link between progressive rock and F.A. Hayek, of all people. There are some lines in the King Crimson song “Epitaph” off of their first album “In the Court of the Crimson King” that I’ve resorted to as shorthand for the general folly of people in positions of power, who, try as they might, can’t overcome the inherently decentralized nature of knowledge:

“The fate of all mankind I see

Is in the hands of fools.”

In the same song, there’s a couplet that can serve as a justification for setting up a rationalistic framework to allow social evolution, like the Founders did:

“Knowledge is a deadly friend

If no one sets the rules.”

So, in short, you are certainly right about progressive rock…even if another song on the same album (“21st Century Schizoid Man”) was purportedly written with Spiro Agnew in mind.

Thanks, Jack.  It’s been a long time since I listened to “In the Court of the Crimson King,” but who can forget the epic cover, which is highly ranked on most lists of the greatest album covers ever.


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