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Thread: Does Classical Music Study Turn One Against Liberalism?

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Default Does Classical Music Study Turn One Against Liberalism?

    Do you think that after knowing classical music, it tends to make a person less liberal and more moderate or conservative?

    As a moderate, I feel that liberalism, in the same way as communism, is slowly fading out. People like Jordan Peterson show how academia is turning against liberal ideas. I hold environmental views and championing the rights of the poor and working class, and most of my friends since my teen years could be called liberal. I don't like divisiveness around people where it need not be in the slightest way, and so I don't use political terms to talk about human beings. I don't think that the terms liberal and conservative are real world descriptions, much like the way some philosophers say that language cannot talk about metaphysical ideas accurately.

    So, not asking people to come out saying they are liberal or conservative just if the values that it takes to listen to and even play classical music has less of a chance in a liberal mindset than conservative.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by regenmusic View Post
    Do you think that after knowing classical music, it tends to make a person less liberal and more moderate or conservative?
    For me, it’s made me more liberal and conservative at the same time as I’ve gotten older. You can still be wild and openly adventurous to the new and untried and still have conservative standards for what you accept. Music is called one of the liberal arts, not one of the conservative arts. One of the conservative arts seems to be trying to get rid of the liberal arts because it costs too much or it’s not practical like a hammer and nails. But who asks why music is considered one of the liberal arts in the first place? People can’t do without it but they never think about why it was taught and considered important as part of classical education. The liberal side is the freedom of creative expression, and the conservative side is that everything has its limits. Both can intensify in interest over the years and work together.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; May-02-2018 at 22:10.
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    I have loved classical music my whole life, and the older I get the more I love it. I have been a liberal/progressive my whole life and the older I get the more progressive are my beliefs. I'm not sure if there is less of a chance in a liberal mindset to appreciate classical music. One of the constants in so much classical music is beauty. I think a liberal mindset would be just as attracted to the beauty in classical music as a conservative mindset. Perhaps, the mathematical qualities inherent in classical music appeal more to a conservative than a liberal, but I'm not sure I could tell you why. I think Albert Einstein was a liberal as well as a mathematician and musician. Albert Schweitzer loved Bach and loved people, putting him in my liberal column. Liberals are more concerned with social issues involved with raising awareness of poverty, hunger, pollution, climate crises, war and economic justice. Still, I would not be inclined to say that liberals don't have time for classical music. The music of Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven doesn't have to be elitist and out of touch with social justice. Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Youth Symphony Orchestra may be a prime example of how classical music literally plays right into the liberal agenda. Maybe?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    For me, it’s made me more liberal and conservative at the same time as I’ve gotten older. You can still be wild and openly adventurous to the new and untried and still have conservative standards for what you accept. Music is called one of the liberal arts, not one of the conservative arts. One of the conservative arts seems to be trying to get rid of the liberal arts because it costs too much or it’s not practical like a hammer and nails. But whoever asks why music is considered one of the liberal arts in the first place? People can’t do without it but they never think about why it was taught and considered important as part of classical education. The liberal side is the freedom of creative expression, and the conservative side is that everything has its limits. Both can intensify in interest over the years and work together.
    Well said, Larkenfield. Thanks for thinking of that.

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    Senior Member Harmonie's Avatar
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    I do not understand why you would expect it to have any such effect. I live in a conservative as heck state and all of the Musicologist staff I've known at my university have been liberal, and I am, too.

    In fact, my study on the history of classical music and how women were kept out of orchestras for the most absurd of reasons (literally the "She is distracting me" argument, back in the mid 1800s) and just everything else about the history of women through my studying has made me more of a feminist. Yes, a modern feminist.
    ~ Wind Instrument Enthusiast ~
    Oboist and bassoonist

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    Generally speaking (though observably true), you will find more “liberalism” in the arts and the academie (and certainly in the arts academie), musically classical or otherwise.
    Last edited by SCSL; May-03-2018 at 01:55.

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    Senior Member Haydn70's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    Music is called one of the liberal arts, not one of the conservative arts. One of the conservative arts seems to be trying to get rid of the liberal arts because it costs too much or it’s not practical like a hammer and nails. But who asks why music is considered one of the liberal arts in the first place?
    The “liberal” in liberal arts has nothing to do with political orientation and the concept and term predates modern politics by centuries.

    From Wikipedia:

    "Liberal arts education (Latin: liberalis, free and ars, art or principled practice) can claim to be the oldest program of higher education in Western history. It has its origin in the attempt to discover first principles – 'those universal principles which are the condition of the possibility of the existence of anything and everything'. The liberal arts are those subjects or skills that in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free person (Latin: liberalis, "worthy of a free person") to know in order to take an active part in civic life, something that (for Ancient Greece) included participating in public debate, defending oneself in court, serving on juries, and most importantly, military service. Grammar, logic, and rhetoric were the core liberal arts (the Trivium), while arithmetic, geometry, the theory of music, and astronomy also played a (somewhat lesser) part in education (as the Quadrivium)."

    Political liberalism and the liberal arts have no connection.
    Last edited by Haydn70; May-03-2018 at 03:56.

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    I think one might take an art history stance and come against some tenets of liberalism. Take a look at this video for reasons why.
    What is post-modernist influence on art and how has classical music usually not taken them seriously? It would be destroyed if it did.


    Stephen Hicks - Postmodern Resentment

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    I think an erroneous distinction has been made here. Compassion and sympathy has been recast as 'weakness' and identifying with 'lack' of being (in the great Western tradition of war and domination of 'primitive' cultures).

    The truth is, 'being' is achievable without being assertive or climbing mountains. It's a different kind of receptive being.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; May-03-2018 at 21:22.

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I think an erroneous distinction has been made here. Compassion and sympathy has been recast as 'weakness' and identifying with 'lack' of being (in the great Western tradition of war and domination of 'primitive' cultures).

    The truth is, 'being' is achievable without being assertive or climbing mountains. It's a different kind of receptive being.
    Yes, it's funny how there are a certain number of descriptions of possible human beliefs (conservative, liberal, etc.) and we are only allowed to pick and chose between this limited subset.

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by regenmusic View Post
    Yes, it's funny how there are a certain number of descriptions of possible human beliefs (conservative, liberal, etc.) and we are only allowed to pick and chose between this limited subset.
    Of course, he's doing that because he has a point to make. But You & I we've been through that, and this is not our fate...

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    I don't think Jordan Peterson is indicative of academia turning against liberal ideas.

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogen View Post
    I don't think Jordan Peterson is indicative of academia turning against liberal ideas.


    I don't think he is alone. One can make a distinction between socialism, liberalism, and post-modernism, but to some academics, they are all of the same stripe.

    Have you heard of the expression Neo-liberalism? Chomsky was against that very early on. He's also against post-modernism.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwTfHv5dpPw
    Last edited by regenmusic; May-03-2018 at 22:27.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    “Liberal arts programs typically focus on certain academic areas. For example, languages and linguistics are a field of liberal arts that teaches students to become interpreters, classical translators, and historical linguistics. On the other hand, literature is one of the most popular areas of the liberal arts. Therefore, students will obtain a degree in literature, such as American or British Literature, if they want to become a teacher. Liberal arts students can also concentrate on music, sculpture, fine arts and performing arts.”

    The liberal arts are not the conservative arts by definition. They are related to the humanities rather than objectified science and math. The humanities have a strong subjective element related to the quality, enjoyment, freedom of life, interpretation and self-expression.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; May-04-2018 at 03:27.
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    Senior Member Haydn70's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    “Liberal arts programs typically focus on certain academic areas. For example, languages and linguistics are a field of liberal arts that teaches students to become interpreters, classical translators, and historical linguistics. On the other hand, literature is one of the most popular areas of the liberal arts. Therefore, students will obtain a degree in literature, such as American or British Literature, if they want to become a teacher. Liberal arts students can also concentrate on music, sculpture, fine arts and performing arts.”

    The liberal arts are not the conservative arts by definition. They are related to the humanities rather than objectified science and math. The humanities have a strong subjective element related to the quality, enjoyment, freedom of life, interpretation and self-expression.
    With all due respect you don't know of what a liberal education consists.

    Here is the syllabus from one of the best (and very few) colleges in this country offering a liberal arts education. Please note the abundance of scientific and mathematical writings:

    https://thomasaquinas.edu/a-liberati...ation/syllabus
    Last edited by Haydn70; May-04-2018 at 04:12.

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