Mitt Romney Versus the National Endowment for the Humanities

Romney's attack on the NEH shows an instinct for to go for the capillary rather than the jugular.

For a tale that sums up both the Romney presidential campaign and the battle over the federal debt and deficit, look no further than the battle over funding the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

The endowment, despite its name, is not an endowment but a federal agency, funded annually by Congress, that gives awards and grants to historians, libraries, museums, and filmmakers.

In a recent interview with Fortune, Governor Romney named the National Endowment for the Humanities on a list of “programs I would eliminate.”

I’m all for cutting government spending, but something about Romney’s attack on the NEH is dismaying.

For one thing, it shows an instinct for to go for the capillary rather than the jugular. The appropriation for the National Endowment for the Humanities in the 2012 federal budget is $146,000,000. The overall federal budget is about $3,795,500,000,000. The spending on the humanities is not one percent of the federal budget. It’s not a tenth of a percent of the federal budget. It’s not a hundredth of a percent of the federal budget. It’s all of four one-thousandths of a percent of the federal budget. It’s a rounding error. As an NEH fact sheet points out, on a per capita basis, its agency costs “barely more per capita than the cost of a postage stamp.” 

Okay, one might say, it’s a symbolic point — you’ve got to start cutting somewhere, so why not start with welfare for historians? The history professors, museum trustees, and historical archivists don’t have as powerful a lobby as the ethanol producers or the senior citizens or the pharmaceutical companies, so in this case there might be some chance for actual success in achieving the budget cuts. 

Why not start cutting here? Well, to start with, at least for those of us on the center-right of the political spectrum, the NEH folks are our guys. The list of NEH Jefferson Lecturers looks like the bylines in Commentary or on the Wall Street Journal editorial page: Leon Kass, Donald Kagan, Bernard Lewis, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Robert Conquest. The winners of the National Humanities Medal, another NEH program, include Richard Brookhiser, Myron Magnet, Victor Davis Hanson, Richard Pipes, Ruth Wisse, James Buchanan, Fouad Ajami, Lewis Lehrman, Alan Kors, Harvey Mansfield, Thomas Sowell, and Midge Decter. These are Romney’s natural allies, not his enemies. 

In addition, if Romney has a shot of getting elected at all this November, it will be in part because of the political energy, and concern about the federal deficit and debt, related to the Tea Party movement. That movement, in turn, drew much inspiration from the American founding fathers. Tea Party rallies often feature revolutionary-era flags and colonial-style fifes and drums, and the Boston Tea Party, after all, was a signal event in the American Revolution. 

With the possible exception of the National Park Service, no federal agency has done more to raise consciousness of the American Revolution than the National Endowment for the Humanities. Historians of the American Revolution Gordon Wood, Edmund Morgan, Bernard Bailyn, David McCullough, and the aforementioned Brookhiser have all either won the National Humanities Medal or delivered the Jefferson Lecture. NEH grants have financed weeklong workshops run by the Massachusetts Historical Society that teach schoolteachers about the battles of Lexington and Concord. NEH grants help fund Colonial Williamsburg, financed a PBS program on Alexander Hamilton, and underwrite the projects to publish the papers of George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson in comprehensive and careful modern scholarly editions.

Again, one might object that teaching American history is the job of local schools, not the federal government. But if one believes that, then the federal Department of Education, with its $98 billion budget, is a far juicier target than the National Endowment for the Humanities, with its budget of a relatively paltry $146 million.

One might also argue that the for-profit companies CBS (whose Simon & Schuster published McCullough’s books John Adams and 1776 as well as Walter Isaacson’s biography of Benjamin Franklin), Time Warner (whose HBO aired a John Adams miniseries), and News Corp. (whose Fox News aired Glenn Beck’s programs on Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, and George Washington) have done more for the founders via free enterprise than the National Endowment for the Humanities has done through government expenditures. Yet McCullough himself has testified to the help that the Adams Papers project at the Massachusetts Historical Society provided to his work. 

It’s not that I don’t understand the arguments against funding the NEH. America somehow managed to have plenty of achievements in literature, history, and philosophy before the endowment was created in 1965 during a period of vast expansion of the federal government. The strongest NEH grantees, both institutions and individuals, would probably find a way to survive without federal funding, albeit with some difficulty and with reduced programs or productivity. As Romney’s campaign puts it, “the federal government should stop doing things the American people can’t afford.” Threatening to eliminate a program is a long way from actually doing so; maybe to have any hope of a budget reduction in Washington, a politician has to start by threatening to eliminate a program entirely as an opening negotiating gambit and then compromise upward from there.

Federal spending, it turns out, is hard to cut. When a politician targets some program, he may find out that it is actually worthwhile, or at least that it is genuinely important to some real and not-so-remote constituency. If Mr. Romney makes it to the White House, I would tell him, if I got the chance, that there are about a thousand other federal programs to cut before slashing the National Endowment for the Humanities. But each of those thousand programs has its own justification, too.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Randian||

    Why not start cutting here? Well, to start with, at least for those of us on the center-right of the political spectrum, the NEH folks are our guys.

    Whuuuuuuu.....?

  • Cytotoxic||

    I stopped reading there. WTF?

  • pmains||

    I have to say, I really like Donald Kagan. His Ancient Greece lectures on Open Yale Courses are fantastic (at least as an introduction), even though he spends a lot of time tonguing Victor Davis Hanson's ear. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

  • Randian||

    I really like Stag's Leap wine.

    That doesn't mean you should have to buy it for me.

  • ||

    Go forbid he might have to write a book and sell it to a mass audience rather then suck off the tit of big government history.

  • pmains||

    He does write books. And he teaches at Yale University. I'm not sure cutting his NEH funding would change that.

  • ||

    Good...then he does not need NEH funding to continue his work.

    Even more reason to not worry about "Our Guys" starving in the streets and being forced to eat dog food to survive.

  • mauricegirodias||

    Yeah, and those same Open Yale Courses could make beaucoup for Kagan if sold through Itunes (or similar google/Amazon/BN+Microsoft elearning venture).

    Markets in pr0n books come and go, the only more reliable earner than classics for Americans would be Civil War studies.

  • pmains||

    I guess so. The problem I see with that is the lectures would never, ever become public domain. So, if you believe that copyright laws as written are patently insane, you have to sell the professors on the public service aspect right away. Otherwise, their families or the university will charge for access in perpetuity.

    There's a reason most of the history books I've read this year were written in the late 19th, early 20th century, and the rest bought at used book stores.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I liked his The Peloponnesian War. In any case, the order for cutting programs doesn't matter. The NEH is just one of many programs that needs to go. We'll still have all the humanities we can eat once it's gone.

  • ||

    Can we call Ira Stoll a ratfucker now?

    "Our guys."

    What a sack of shit.

  • Randian||

    This is going to be the commentariat's coming together Moment of the Day.

  • ||

    For a brief moment, we are one.

  • Randian||

    Libria, I congratulate you. At last peace reigns in the heart of man. At last war is but a word whose meaning fades from our understanding. At last, we are whole
  • ||

    That movie was a very pleasant surprise, I must say.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yeah, I watched that years later and was surprised it wasn't a bigger hit.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Not you, Herbert.

  • ||

    "Mr. Spock...what does 'Herbert' mean?"

  • Pro Libertate||

    "Herbert was a minor official notorious for his rigid and limited patterns of thought."

  • Banjos||

    Clearly a brilliant move by Reason.

    "The commentariat are fighting again, we need one of you to write a pro statist article."

    This is far easier for me to accept than that Reason actually wants to publish this tripe.

  • SIV||

    What's everybody fighting about today?
    I just got here.

  • Randian||

    The Professional Victimologists claimed that Akin had microaggressed against them and they were weeping before I hilariously and valiantly slew them all.

  • wareagle||

    glad you are keeping it in perspective. :)

  • Randian||

    Objectivists do it with reason.

  • ||

    I thought the fight was about all first post OTs.

    Let the thread breath a little before jacking it you bastards!!!

  • mauricegirodias||

    Sorry, but even my libertarian baseball sites are talking about how "the body would shut that down before anything bad happened." Akin needs to freaking go.

    /Even if it means the return of Senator Ashcroft.

  • SIV||

    Shit, Ashcroft would be much better than either of the two Republican Senators from my state.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Ashcroft the senator was fine, it was Ashcroft the AG who was bad.

  • SIV||

    Name a US AG who isn't bad. Ashcroft might've been the best of the lot.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'm not fighting about anything, being fresh from vacation. Everything is beautiful.

  • Voros McCracken||

    The thing is, that's precisely the reason why none of the program's ever get cut: because for every program there's at least some group of people for whom the program is "our guys."

  • wareagle||

    and if you cannot even start with a capillary, you never get to an artery. Your point is dead on; every dollar of federal spending can be justified by someone as being vital to the welfare of the nation. Bullshit.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Why not slash all of the offending programs at once? Why must there be a hierarchy of cutting at all?

  • wareagle||

    the evidence on that speaks for itself. Neither side is willing to play big ball; only one even talks about small ball and it won't really do anything.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, my offer to redline the budget remains open. If the parties need cover, that is. "Well, we didn't know he would do that when we gave him dictatorial powers over the budget."

  • ||

    "If Mr. Romney makes it to the White House, I would tell him, if I got the chance, that there are about a thousand other federal programs to cut before slashing the National Endowment for the Humanities."

    Good. Then let's start cutting them. Who cares which one we start with?

  • Killazontherun||

    What do you mean 'our guys', kimosabe? If they are on the dole, they are not my guys.

  • Killazontherun||

    Did Nick not read through the article before accepting it, and ask Stoll the big what the fuckety fuck? Would have never happened if Postrel was still . . .

    Don't mind if I do!

  • ||

    Did Nick not read through the article before accepting it

    I think Reason is pretty embedded in the DC grant getting elite.

    They got friends associates family who are eyeball deep in government grants for academia.
    Basically it is a blind spot for them.

    During the "get rid of NPR/PBS" thing a year ago or so Nick did mention how little NPR/PBS get in government funding compared to the rest of the budget. And the "not serious about cutting if you want to cut small programs" is a common meme at reason.

    I am hoping if we bitch enough here they will change their tune.

  • ||

    "I am hoping if we bitch enough here they will change their tune."

    Wouldn't count on it. Everyone wants to start cutting government until it's something that benefits them. This apparently includes the Reason staff as well.

  • ||

    For one thing, it shows an instinct for to go for the capillary rather than the jugular.

    This is a bullshit argument.

    First off even though it is a small amount of money the endowment is huge in scope. Its existence implies the government is the lord of art and culture. It arbitrates what art is.

    Second one can always find one other program that is bigger. Should we not cut social security because the military is so very very big? should we not reform medicare because the Fed needs reforming more?

    No this is an idiotic argument. The endowment is politically weak. One should kill wasteful big government when ever one can. Holding off because there are bigger fish to fry only means we will never get anything cut.

  • ||

    History not art...same difference. Government should not be in the business of controlling and dictating the one true history. In fact if anything the government having a hand in shaping is scarier and larger in scope then controlling art.

    Also many western nations spend a shit load more tax payer money on "history" yet it is the US where the largest consumers of history live. We read more history books we watch more history television and documentaries then anyone else in the world.

    This would imply that the less government spends on history studies that the more history is studied and consumed by its citizens...and you cannot get less then zero.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    The big problem is that historians, so long as they are on government teat, will always finds ways to justify government throughout history.

    All of academia is paid for by government, yet we wonder why all academics (at least a vast majority of them) are pro government.

    When academics have to start pleasing readers of his/her work, rather than a government bureaucrat getting the fuzzies from reading an abstract which is written specifically to suck a bureaucrat's dick, perhaps we'll start seeing history being taught in institutions of higher learning, rather than the history of why government is so awesome.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    +1111111

  • Randian||

    This is a bullshit argument.

    First off even though it is a small amount of money the endowment is huge in scope. Its existence implies the government is the lord of art and culture. It arbitrates what art is.

    Second one can always find one other program that is bigger.

    I 100% agree. Every single dollar cut is a dollar saved to the taxpayers. The end.

  • wareagle||

    of course, it's a bullshit argument but it tells the malicious truth about the DC culture regardless of partisan leanings: everything is sacrosanct, nothing can ever be touched.

    This endowment, the one for the arts, planned parenthood, NPR, all are small in and of themselves. But to paraphrase the politician - sooner or later, you're talking about real money.

  • ||

    The fact that Reason staffers are making this argument means that the prospects of the DC culture ever changing are extremely bleak. Pretty depressing.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    "It may be welfare, but by God it's *our* welfare!"

    Whatever.

  • Loki||

    Sure, cut out the NEH, NEA, NPB, all that shit. The government shouldn't be patronizing the arts in the first place. Just because those things are tiny relative the budget as a whole is irrelevant.

    Again, one might object that teaching American history is the job of local schools, not the federal government. But if one believes that, then the federal Department of Education, with its $98 billion budget, is a far juicier target

    Good point, let's eliminate the Dept. of Education too.

  • ||

    Ira knows that eliminating the Dept of Education is politically a dead end.

    Yet when there is actually a chance of getting rid of a smaller program he balks.

    "Oh no no no it is too small"

    My guess is if bigger programs became politically feasible to be cut Ira would balk at those as well...with whole new arguments of why oho why they should not be cut.

    Fuck him and his statist bullshit.

  • wareagle||

    exactly. Stoller tosses out the distraction of the Dept of Ed, knowing full well that any Cabinet department going away is damn near impossible. But start cutting at smaller stuff and eventually, people see that you are serious, it puts them on notice that bigger targets are next.

  • Russell||

    Those whose conservatism dates back to Goldwater are more disposesd to celebrate the NEH's demise than its having fallen into Neocon captivity .

    With the honorable exception of tory Robert Conquest, Ira has listed a constellation of anti-Jeffersonian anti-intellectuals and his medalists arein large measure gaggle of culture wars condittieri beholden to the pieties of the Bradley Foundation and the Discovery Institute- the omission of Louis Auchincloss is telling .

  • Fluffy||

    Speak for yourself, douche.

    Victor Davis Hanson is NOT "my" guy.

    The biggest argument against funding both the NEH and the NEA is this: before people can sit around claiming to be the cultural establishment, somebody has to cut the motherfuckers a check. I don't see the justice of cutting people a check from MY money (even if it's just a postage stamp) so they can turn around and use their privileged idleness to cultivate the cultural dominance of ideas that are anathema to me.

  • ||

    somebody has to cut the motherfuckers a check.

    Yes.

    Why are price signals from the market so horrible at determining where to spend the resources on history studies?

    And how would government choosing where to send the resources be in anyway superior then what the market would choose?

  • Randian||

    No shit. Isn't Leon Kass the "Ban All Biotech" guy?

  • ||

    no federal agency has done more to raise consciousness of the American Revolution than the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    I learned more about the American Revolution from commercially published books and tv programs then i ever did from a fucking federal agency.

    Who gives a shit.

    It is like saying agency X has done more for innovation of smart phones then any other federal agency.

    WTF?!?! A federal agency should have jack shit to do with smart phone innovation.

    These arguments are so weak i am beginning to think Ira might be trolling us.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Dear Mittens:

    ONDCP would be a much better starting point.

  • Katieheather||

    My goodness these comments are taking Stolls' arguments too literally! Do we have to be so vicious amongst people who have far similar views than the democrats and republicans with whom we are usually surrounded? Yes all places like NEH and NEA and PBS/NPR should have their fEderal funding cut. Period. But yeah, if Romney really meant business he'd threaten the department of education, but Romney is just another politician who cares more about lobbyists than fixing whats wrong and the federal budget will not be balanced even if he is elected president .

  • Randian||

    As stated upthread, the Department of Education is a total nonstarter.

    I don't care if federal funding for the NEH is one thin dollar. If they aren't supposed to be doing it, it's a good target for cuts.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Do we have to be so vicious amongst people who have far similar views"

    What's similar about them?

  • Katieheather||

    Similar in that they are more libertarian views than republican or democrat...

  • ||

    Nothing libertarian about the article I just read.

  • ||

    The NEH NEA and PBS/NPR may be small in dollars but they are godzilla huge in scope.

    Their very existence implies that government has a say in culture/art/history/entertainment.

    Furthermore $146,000,000 may be small compared to military budgets but compared to its private competitors that amount of money every fucking year is huge.

    Just think what penguin books could publish if it had that kind of money? How many historical documentaries could HBO broadcast with that kind of budget? and on and on and on.

    Also this shit is not added on. This stuff gets made by the government and pushes out private efforts. There is only so much of this stuff that the market can absorb...if government is dumping 140 million dollars worth of it on the market every year what chance does the little guy have?

  • wareagle||

    he can threaten Ed all he wants but everyone knows the threat is emptier than Obama's suit. That goes any Cabinet agency; sure, it sounds good but so do free ponies.

    For cuts to happen, they must first begin. And it is easier to begin with smaller outlays and work up than to go in reverse order. Having similar views no more entitles you to my money than having opposite views does.

  • Randian||

    There's a reason that the "single step" cliché is a cliché

  • wareagle||

    there is a common element in cliches and stereotypes.

  • Gladstone||

    Okay how can Romney get rid of the Department of Education when cutting the NEH is bad? I would think that getting rid of SS and Medicare would affect far more people then eliminating NEH.

    Also I thought that libertarians think that Victor Davis Hanson and Richard Pipes are a bunch of neocons?

    Also libertarians defending an LBJ program? Are libertarians in the future going to be gushing over Obamacare?

  • ||

    What the fuck are you talking about, dipshit? Try and be coherent for once.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Who the fuck is Victor Davis Hanson? Did he kill as many people as John Wayne Gacy?

  • Randian||

    A guy who takes Waragara and refuses to call his doctor.

  • Fluffy||

    He whines like a bitch for war with Iran every day, so I think his ambitions go a little further than Gacy's in terms of body count.

  • SIV||

    I thought Hanson mostly wrote about brown people stealing all his irrigation pipes and meth precursors

  • ||

    and meth precursors

    I have not watched the new episode.

    Last week when they shot that kid on the dirt bike might be the point in which i stop watching it.

    I have lost nearly all sympathy for the main characters...now it is like watching robots kill one another but the same 7 or 10 robots never seem to die.

  • Christina||

    Can't he be both?

  • Marshall Gill||

    I don't care for VDH's politics either but he wrote a pretty good book on the Peloponesian war that was pretty interesting.

  • SIV||

    I love his post-apocalyptic columns on being the last law-abiding white man in the Imperial Valley. Jeremiah got nothin' on Victor.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Okay, maybe the point isn't so much about the NEH but rather this:

    "maybe to have any hope of a budget reduction in Washington, a politician has to start by threatening to eliminate a program entirely as an opening negotiating gambit and then compromise upward from there."

    I guess what he is saying is that Romney should propose cuts to larger programs if he's serious about cutting anything at all. In other words start big and negotiate to the middle.

    Sort of how some people would like see the libertarian movement working in the GOP.

  • Randian||

    Then all the "our guys" stuff should have gone away.

  • wareagle||

    whatever. Politicians are forever talking big, then doing nothing. Even a small start is the one thing we never see, A START. Actually eliminating funding for something shows that it can be done and the sun will still rise the following morning. From the East, no less.

    Cutting is so anathema to the DC culture that look at what even something as small as this does. Look at talk of cutting funding for NPR or Planned Parenthood. Pearl clutching all around. No one takes talk of big cuts seriously because we've heard it before. Actually doing small cuts moves the bar to where bigger things are possible.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Even a small start is the one thing we never see, A START."

    Yeah, look at the progressive response for trying to migrate towards privatizing a part of Medicare. I honestly don't know what the best approach is tactically. Seems to me unless people are willing to unequivocally state what they're going to cut and get elected, nothing is ever going to get cut.

  • wareagle||

    one guy promising big cuts is just that. No president can eliminate things without a willing Congress and I think that is easier accomplished with smaller things to 1) show that it can be done and 2) to get folks used to the idea.

    I could be wrong but cutting likes the Dept of Ed goes back a long way and nothing close has happened. Just look at last year's budget business. What got cut, about 35 cents?

  • BakedPenguin||

    OT: I'd emailed this in, but it doesn't look like it's going to be posted: Ukrainian government hates gay Spongebob!

  • ||

    Another thing Ira, you completely wasted a chance at taking a real shot at Romney.

    The dude supported TARP and invented Obamacare and killed and ate a dog after he raped it.

    Instead you go after him on something that libertarians would actually like him to do.

    WTF Ira??!?

  • ||

    Legalizing gay marriage would not save very much money...plus a bunch of "our guys" budget hawks in congress oppose gay marriage...so we shouldn't do it and by supporting gay marriage it only shows that one is not serious about cuts.

    FUCK YOU IRA!!!

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I think Stoll may have a point. The NEH is very small in terms of cost, but very large in terms of visibility, so attacking that seems like the equivalent of dealing with municipal shortfalls by closing libraries: all it does it maximize the amount of backlash you get to the proposed cuts.

  • Gladstone||

    How many of the "big fish" aren't very large in terms of visibility?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    That's the point. If you're gonna have a knock down drag out fight over a visible program, why not pick something that actually mean something if you're successful. Cutting the NEH, even if you win the fight, you've just wasted a ton of effort with very little to show for it.

  • wareagle||

    in modern day DC, every program becomes visible. Look the dustups over NPR and Planned Parenthood, not to mention the sequestration cuts aimed at the military. Something has to be cut, the first shot so to speak.

    It's like firing people or murder; the first one is the hardest one.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I read your last sentence as 'firing people for murder' and thought, "no, even the first one should be pretty easy."

    Woops.

  • Gladstone||

    Unless you're a cop.

  • General Butt Naked||

    True.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Something has to be cut, the first shot so to speak.

    Yes, and since it's not going to be an EASIER to cut the NEH than the cut Medicare, why waste effort on the knockdown drag out fight over NEH for minimal gain? We should focus on maximum effect for effort and start with the big ticket items.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Stormy Dragon,

    he NEH is very small in terms of cost,

    Good! YOU can open your checkbook and pay for it. I'm not willing anymore.

  • ||

    Legalizing pot would not save very much money...plus "Our Guys" budget hawk conservatives oppose it...so we should not do it and by supporting legalized pot it only shows we are not serious about cuts.

    FUCK YOU IRA!!

  • SIV||

    Reason sure is showing its' cosmotarian roots today.Riggs was calling Ryan's vote against federally funded needle exchanges "ugly" and now Stoll wants to save the fucking National Endowment for the Humanities from that radical anarchist Mitt Romney's government axe.

  • ||

    It's like they don't think we can see right through them.

  • ||

    Eliminating the TSA would not save very much money plus "Our Guys" budget hawk neocons support it...so we should not do it and by supporting the elimination for the TSA only shows we are not serious about cuts.

    FUCK YOU IRA!

  • Gladstone||

    Yeah I thought libertarians don't like Romney because he is a big government statist not because he wants to eliminate the NEH.

  • Gladstone||

    Eliminating the military wouldn't save much money either.

  • ||

    Stopping eminent domain abuse would not save very much money plus "Our Guys" budget hawks support it...so we should not do it and by stopping eminent domain abuse only shows we are not serious about cuts.

    FUCK YOU IRA!!!

  • califernian||

    "These are Romney’s natural allies, not his enemies. "

    No, they are not. Romney is a central planning, supply side statist who hates freedom in all its forms. don't kid yourself.

  • ||

    These are Romney’s natural allies, not his enemies.

    If they were his allies and yet he is cutting their budget wouldn't that imply he is principled?

    Anyway not disagreeing with you just pointing out Ira's failed logic.

  • ||

    looks like the bylines in Commentary or on the Wall Street Journal editorial page

    If they can get publishing gigs then why the fuck do we need to feed them tax payer money?

  • Rich M||

    Wow, Ira Stoll making the Democrapublican establishment argument in a Reason article. I can't believe I just wasted 3 minutes of my life reading that intellectual vomit.

  • The Hammer||

    "The appropriation for the National Endowment for the Humanities in the 2012 federal budget..."

    There's a 2012 budget?

  • Gladstone||

    There's a 2012 budget?

    Shrike says there is you christfag bushpig.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Sorry Ira, I am all out of fucks to give for tweedy teet suckers.

    And the name "Gertrude Himmelfarb" sounds like a character in a farcical '30s political-comedy play.

  • OldMexican||

    Why not start cutting here? Well, to start with, at least for those of us on the center-right of the political spectrum, the NEH folks are our guys.


    Ira, you're free to open your checkbook and give to it, and to invite others to do so. I'm not willing anymore - my money is mine. Do you understand that concept, Mr. Stoll? "It's mine"?

  • OldMexican||

    Yet McCullough himself has testified to the help that the Adams Papers project at the Massachusetts Historical Society provided to his work.

    And there was absolutely no other way in this vast universe that McCullough could have finished his project. Only the Massachusetts Historical Society could have held those Adams Papers because, otherwise, a hated private collector would have used them as toilet paper - just because non-government private individuals are all a bunch of barbarians.

    And if government made all shoes, then only government can supply shoes.

    Right?

  • wef||

    Special pleading - the very heart and soul of the American Way of Government.

  • Wes||

    This argument is why nothing ever gets cut even as the last line says "But each of those thousand programs has its own justification, too." The only argument we should have is he did not call out the other agencies he was going to cut because he probably will not cut any of them. Stupid article, you can do better Reason.

  • NL_||

    At least NEH doesn't kill or imprison people. But how can somebody justify cutting welfare to the poor like Medicaid or food stamps based on fiscal sanity when distributing welfare to elite professors? I love history but I think it will be fine fending for itself.

  • ||

    "Why not start cutting here? Well, to start with, at least for those of us on the center-right of the political spectrum, the NEH folks are our guys."

    Ok. you lost me.

  • Charm||

    If a program is worthwhile than private donors should carry it. Involving government should be a last and temporary resort.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement