Praesidium

Monday, September 12, 2005

Senseless Violence, Moshpits and Liberal Legislation

As I said, I went to see Trivium tonight. Great show it was, even better than before. To say they could be as big as Metallica, at this early stage, is pushing it, but they could certainly be a huge underground metal band – like Pantera or Machine Head, say.

That’s not what I’m going to talk about though. As promised, I’ll link to a review later. What I want to moan about is moshpits. Why do people flail around like they do? Some of the morons tonight were even doing flying kicks, like a martial art demonstration, rather than at a crowded gig.

I go to concerts to see bands. Not just to jump around to their music, I could do that in my room with my CDs. What’s the point of running about in circles and such, if it means you don’t even get to see much of the band, on a fairly rare chance to?

Similarly, I don’t see the point in people getting off their heads on drink and/or drugs. If you want to do it, fine – but again, do it down the pub or in your house, what’s the point in a great gig you don’t remember?

If these people were only spoiling their own enjoyment of the gig, there’d be no justification for stopping them – or, indeed, me telling them how to enjoy themselves. The fact is, however, they endanger other gig-goers, and spoil their fun. I don’t want to be punched/kicked in the head, and I certainly don’t want to be stabbed by piercing or hit by cigarettes. I want to be able to see and hear the band, without having to constantly worry about such dangers, or be looking over my head for crowd-surfers, rather than watching the stage.

It may sound like I want rather too extensive legislation here, interfering with people’s actions down to the ways they enjoy themselves. However, I do not say such conduct should be banned by law – that would likely be unworkable anyway – I rather implore such people to be more considerate in their conduct.

For the record though, not only is all conduct in a public place potentially liable to regulation, but I think legislation (if workable) would be in conformity to Mill’s famous liberal statement, the harm principle:

“...the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others... He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right...The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others.”

I would not prohibit violent moshing because I find it distasteful, or simply see it as the wrong way to enjoy a gig. Rather, it interferes with others – both hampering their enjoyment, and risking direct physical harm. Since I see no value in such conduct – there are plentiful other ways for those concerned to exorcise their testosterone/anger that don’t impinge on others – there’s no principled reason why it shouldn’t be legislated.

I warned you about incursions into political theory didn’t I? Suffice to say I not only dislike violent moshpits, but think my attitude a justifiable one rather than a mere personal preference.

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