By Lauren Galik
No individual should be forced to fund the arts — in whatever trivial amounts or indirect ways — that they may openly despise.
Last year, Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate majority leader from Nevada, made a speech on the Senate floor in which he criticized Republicans for their proposed budget cuts, arguing that the bill, H.R. 1, which plans to defund the National Endowment for the Humanities, would eliminate jobs, decrease tourism, and was just plain “mean spirited.”
What was Senator Reid so worked up about exactly? To quote, “The mean-spirited bill, H.R. 1 eliminates national public broadcasting. It eliminates the National Endowment of the Humanities, National Endowment of the Arts. These programs create jobs. The National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a cowboy poetry festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist.”
In addition to funding the annual cowboy poetry festival, other projects that have received grants from the National endowment of the Arts include an international accordion festival and the San Francisco Mime Troupe. While these examples alone are mostly funny, they ultimately raise the issue — why is the government involved with the arts in the first place?
This brings me to my first point, which is: Government support of art is in no way necessary or sufficient for the production of art.
Read the rest here.
(ht John J)