The sound of bagpipes has stirred the hearts of millions, with it’s mournful dirge that tells of sorrows, glories, and the love of freedom.

But in these days of political correctness, the silencing of the pipes may become the latest casualty of the nanny state and of a large clueless European Union bureaucracy that dictates with little opposition and with few ways to oppose their actions politically.

The London Times tells us why:

From this month, pipers must adhere to strict volume limits or risk breaking European Union health and safety laws. Bands have been ordered to tone down or wear earplugs to limit noise exposure to 85 decibels….

But the pipes, being a woodwind instrument, can’t be played quietly (for example, if you don’t blow through a whistle hard enough, you won’t get any sound). And hearing “protection” distorts the ability of the musician to hear the nuances of the music.

The pipers are not the only ones facing regulations that make it impossible to play their music: Classical musicians have had to eliminate some louder compositions, limit the time spent in rehearsals, and do all sorts of intricate sound measurements in each theatre to see if they meet regulations.

“Composers should bear in mind that they are dealing with people who are alive, and not machines,” said Mr. Nordwall of the Bavarian orchestra.

Nordwall, who censored one piece of music because of the regulations, says he didn’t have a choice in censoring the music, yet critics point out that many musical compositions by Strauss and Wagner also are too loud to be played under present regulations.

And don’t think those regulations can be ignored:

An HSE spokesman said: “If an employer discovers an employee has been exposed above the exposure defined in the regulations they must take action.”

So there you have it: A faceless bureaucrat in another country who was never elected by those he dictates to and who doesn’t speak the same language now has the power to make a regulation, and no one can say no.

As a result, the Pipes are muted and certain music is now forbidden. All in the name of “safety”.

Of course, the ones who will be limited the most will be rock bands, who play even louder than bagpipes.

But of course, rock musicians have discussed ear protection for years, and many figure it should be a voluntarily thing.

And it is a sad day when the pipes that long sounded out to remind the Scots of their freedom are silenced, along with a little bit of their own freedom.

For who is there to say “no” when  European Union bureaucrats regulate all sorts of things in everyday life that used to be considered part of living a life of freedom?

Presumably the bureaucrat’s next step will be regulating stereos and earphones so that they can’t be turned up above a certain volume…whoops, they already did that too.

Dang. There goes my IPOD.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.


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