The Corner

Politics & Policy

A Fascinating Interview with the Composer Whose Career Was Canceled


Say the wrong thing in America today, and the forces of “progressivism” will have your head on a pike. That recently happened to Daniel Elder, a composer of choral music. He offered the opinion that arson was not a good tactic for social change and has paid dearly for that bit of heresy.

Quillette has an excellent interview with Elder.

His publisher drafted an apology for him, but Elder declined to sign on. In the interview, he observes, “Someone that arouses the attention of the online mob rarely escapes punishment by prostrating. Stand and face your executioner.”

Elder has stopped writing music and explains that he is hoping for changes in America that will restore the artistic environment. He says, “There are some principles vital to the healthy artistic environment that I have seen under increasing threat—polluted by intolerance and groupthink. This [is] why I’ve claimed I do not currently compose music: I’m waiting for [a] healthy environment of free thought to return, since it’s necessary for deeply communicative art. I’ve chosen to look at my loss as a temporary sacrifice in the interest of helping [bring about] change. And in that changed field, I may thrive again, more than ever. As more people take a stand, I have faith this change is coming … sooner or later.”

Let us hope so. In the meantime, I wonder if anything can be done to help this young man.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


The Latest