My introduction to classic rock was more-or-less preordained, since it is one of the three styles of music my listens to, and probably the principle one he forced on me by playing it on the radio whenever we drove anywhere (although, I never really caught on to this two other preferred styles: country and classical). But, sometimes in high school I took the jump from classic rock to some heavy metal (I suppose) when I bought my first Iron Maiden album. I think I was more generally moving to the music of the 1980s, including the different styles embodied by bands like Iron Maiden and The Ramones. I’m a 90s child, so it makes sense to fill in the gaps between what my dad listens to and the stuff I was exposed to through my friends (my first rock album from the 90s, I remember, was The Offspring’s Americana, which was released in the late 90s).
I immediately fell in love with Iron Maiden — although since then I never really dove into other heavy metal bands — and I decided to put it on in my dad’s music system. Suffice to say, he wasn’t into it and I don’t even think we got through the first song, “Run to the Hills” (the album was their greatest hits). To me, this music was close enough to classic rock to sound essentially the same. 80s heavy rock and metal isn’t exactly unknown to those who listen to classic rock radio stations: Def Leppard, AC/DC (the Brian Johnson era began in 1980), Whitesnake, et cetera. These were all bands that were founded in the late 1970s, but rose to fame in the early to mid-1980s, and Iron Maiden more-or-less belongs to this group (“hair metal”) — at worst, the band represents a transitional music from early hair metal to bands like Metallica. Long story short, I thought my dad would enjoy it. But, I was wrong.
I’m sure that to my dad this was borderline heresy. For him, Iron Maiden was nothing like the music he enjoys: AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and other heavy rock that’s closer to the style of the late 1960s to the late 1970s. But, this is an interesting paradox. One person things that the styles are similar enough such that a person who enjoys one should enjoy the other. Yet, the other person thinks they are completely dissimilar, one being enjoyable and other not.
The reason this thought comes to mind is that it resembles the question of intellectual purity. Take the Austrian School, for instance. Some have argued to the effect that the Rothbardian tradition represents the “purest” of the school, and look upon Austrians who might take somewhat different positions as having deviated. On the other hand, many of those who have deviated consider their position to be similar enough to the rest of theoretical body of the school that for all intents and purposes they are also within the Austrian tradition. It’s ultimately all a question of relativity. Of course, in economics this kind of territorial demarcation is more damaging, since, unlike music, there really is an objective correct body of economic theory. In both instances, focusing on toeing the line stinks of conservativism, in the literal sense of the word: dragging one’s heels against progress. But, whereas in music it’s trivial since taste is subjective, when it’s done in economics it’s unscientific.
Note: This isn’t a criticism of the Austrian School or any particular self-declared camp within it. I could just as well have used “Keynesian School” and used “New Keynesians” and “Post Keynesians” as two warring camps (the latter being the most vocal, by a long shot, in arguing for intellectual purity in the tradition of Keynes). It’s just that I don’t know other schools as well, and since I’m an Austrian I think it’s in better taste to attack myself.