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David Bowie’s Silent Activism

david bowie

One of the world’s first pop stars passed away this week.

David Bowie, died at the age of 69 after a year-and-a-half battle with cancer.

Despite describing himself as “apolitical” repeatedly, the British icon made an impact during his lifetime that most politicians would envy.

While the media is left failing to pigeon-hole Bowie’s views with a political label, his actions place him as a classic liberal, i.e. a libertarian.

Bowie, early in his career, didn’t care much for labels, societal views or traditional paths.

He did what he chose to do . . . and with a level of fervor identical to histories most successful and notorious people.

Bowie turned down royal titles offered to him by the Queen . . . twice.

The performer who took on the persona Ziggy Stardust also had a habit of making and retracting controversial statements. His retractions were likely simply because the media and public could not understand what he was saying.

In an 1976 interview by Playboy, Bowie pounced on the uselessness of hippy activists saying, “The only way we can speed up the sort of liberalism that’s hanging foul in the air at the moment of a right-wing, totally dictatorial tyranny and get it over as fast as possible”.

“A liberal wastes time saying, ‘Well, now, what ideas have you got?’ Show them what to do, for God’s sake. If you don’t, nothing will get done. I can’t stand people just hanging about.”

Bowie put his words to action himself by doing what he does best . . . performing. In 1987, David Bowie set up shop in front of the Berlin Wall (with the wall itself as the backdrop to his stage). During the “Concert for Berlin” Bowie played his song “Heroes.”

The German Government praised the concert and Bowie’s life saying on Twitter:

More recently, the performer called for an end to the Iraq war through his song “I’d Rather be High.”

David Bowie, most known for his music and flamboyance, made a positive dent in the history of the world through his actions . . . yet he remained “apolitical.”


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