Art

Reason.tv: 3 Reasons Not to Fund Art with Taxes (& Yes, There's a Weiner Connection!)

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A few weeks back, Hollywood movie stars and groups such as the Creative Coalition stormed Washington, D.C. to lobby for increased taxpayer funding of the arts. Most memorably, Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey told Hardball's Chris Matthew that Abraham Lincoln was a huge theater fan who "understood that he needed the arts to replenish his soul." (Not surprisingly, Spacey didn't mention where Lincoln was assassinated or the profession of his killer).

But funding the arts with taxapayer dollars is a bad idea for at least three reasons.

1. Publicly financed art is easily censored art. Last December, the National Portrait Gallery almost immediately pulled a four-minute video called "A Fire in My Belly" after complaints from the Catholic League and politicians such as Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who objected to images of ants crawling over a crucifix. It's hard to imagine a private museum so quickly and cravenly pulling an offending piece. But when the taxpayer is footing the bill, the most easily aggrieved among us yields a thug's veto. Indeed, in February, scandalized Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) even called for getting rid of a 1922 statue in New York City due to what he says is its sexist portrayal of women.

2. We're broke. Advocates of public funding for the arts routinely argue that the budget of groups such as the National Endowment for the Arts comes to just pennies per citizen and the cost of just one Pentagon bomber is comparatively huge. But government at every level is flat broke, so it's all money we don't have. Defense spending, which has jacked up by over 70 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars since 2001, should be cut drastically. But that doesn't mean smaller items should get a pass or that taxpayers should pony up for another season of Dr. Who reruns on PBS.

3. It's unnecessary. NEA head Rocco Landesman has defended grants to groups such as the San Francisco Mime Troupe on the grounds that it is a world-famous outfit that has contributed mightily to the stage. Which is another way of saying it should have little to no trouble finding private patrons to help it out. Americans give around $13 billion a year in private donations to the arts. That's a lot of money and if it's not enough to fund every request, groups such as the San Francisco Mime Troupe will just have to figure out how to better work the crowd.

About 2.45 minutes.

Produced by Meredith Bragg and Nick Gillespie, who also hosts.

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69 responses to “Reason.tv: 3 Reasons Not to Fund Art with Taxes (& Yes, There's a Weiner Connection!)

  1. “People don’t like to pay for things that insult their most cherished values.”

    Not peculiar to art. 8-(

    Nick, 2:10-2:15 is brilliant.

    1. For that matter, if the government insists on making taxpayers foot the bill for crap like that, one has to wonder why we can’t reclassify Koran-burning as art and make Muslim taxpayers pay for it.

    2. Hey now, if we’re going to be burning money on shit we don’t need, why delude ourselves with boring trivialities? I think art sounds like the perfect way to waste money.

      1. I mean, if libertarians were going to compromise on something, it might as well be on something whimsical and unlikely to disrupt the market.

  2. I can’t help but think of the Taliban blowing up the Buddha of Bamiyan statues. A society without art is male

    1. A society without art is male

      Huh?

      1. She’s evidently never seen porn, which is clearly art.

    2. Exactly what path of logic did you use to come up with this gobbledeegook?

      1. I think it’s Latin.

      2. It’s called Insane Troll Logic.

        1. Perfect.

        2. I don’t even ask for a hat tip for introducing TVTropes to H&R. See how modest I am?

      3. The Taliban can blow up all of the statues they want, as long as they don’t blow up my precious poopies.

        1. Yer smoking poopy???

    3. What?

      1. Was the male made Buddhist art crappy and was destroyed because it was crappy?

        Or do Buddhists no longer exists because without women they were unable to procreate and therefor their art was destroyed by the culture that came after them?

        ….

        What?

    4. What?

      1. LOL what X2!
        Joshua you are a sweet innocent boy that I could have so much fun playing with but then….

  3. If it’s something really popular the government needs to support it.

    But if it’s really obscure and unpopular, the government needs to support it.

    That about right ?

    (Oh and Kevin Spacey is an unctuous ass.)

  4. Publicly financed art is easily censored art.

    Not sure I buy that line of reasoning. I mean, the premise of publicly financed art is that the art would not even get made if it was not financed. Getting pulled from the show hardly stops the artist from displaying it elsewhere. Publicly financed art has a long history of challenging societal standards successfully. An anecdote here and there doesn’t really identify a general problem with the concept.

    1. Can you name some of these publicly financed pieces that have challenged societal standards successfully?

      1. That one in the video at 1:24, front and center. Piss Christ.

    2. here’s a piece of non-publically financed art that has a much, much higher chance of changing societal standards:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzTg7YXuy34

  5. Doctor Who is always a justified expense.

    1. Whom are you kidding?

    2. Damn right it is.

  6. Indeed, in February, scandalized Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) even called for getting rid of a 1922 statue in New York City due to what he says is its sexist portrayal of women.

    It’s not sexist, it’s sexy.

    1. How else would you portray a woman?

    2. Mime is money!

  7. The San Francisco Mime Troupe are also socialists whose goal is to promote socialism in their shows. I definitely do not want my money spent on that.

    1. I do, because most people hate mimes, and they will associate mimes with socialism and the hate will carry over.

      1. They aren’t that type of mime, lol.

        1. They will be if they’re using my tax money. Mime, bitches! Mime!

  8. Advocates of public funding for the arts routinely argue that the budget of groups such as the National Endowment for the Arts comes to just pennies per citizen

    In that case, finding any alternate funding which may be needed from willing individuals should be quite easy.

  9. the premise of publicly financed art is that the art would not even get made if it was not financed.

    But if it wouldn’t be produced without payment, is it really AAAAHT?

  10. There’s a 4th HUGE reason — when art is funded by the State, art ends up *serving* the State.

    As Brietbart revealed in 2009, the NEA has been coordinating with the White House to promote “art” that support’s the Obama Admin and agendas:

    http://bighollywood.breitbart……an-agenda/

    When art Serves the state it’s called propaganda, and it has no place in a free society. There are already enough lunatic Leftists in Hollywood spending their own money making paeans to Obama (remember this creepy “Kids Sing for The Dear Leader Obama video produced in the Fall of 2008 by Hollywood execs??: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54tjbgJmLFg) — we don’t need them getting millions in our tax dollars to do more!!

  11. 1. Publicly financed art is easily censored art.

    Then controversial artists can seek out all the wonderful private funds you claim are available.

    2. We’re broke.

    The Bush tax cuts increase the deficit by far more than NEA funding, yet you support extending those.

    3. It’s unnecessary.

    This I agree with.

    1. 1. Publicly financed art is easily censored art.

      Here, as Hot Air helpfully points out, Gillespie has the argument exactly backwards. The parasitic artists and the parasitic government bureaucracies funding them are the real “thugs” for going around extorting money from those of us who don’t want to fund those parasitic perverts and their hateful left-wing anti-Christian and anti-conservative propaganda. Freedom of speech should never depend on government funding; don’t be a commie!

      2. We’re broke.

      Again, the argument’s backward. The very fact that government funds anything outside of its Constitutional duties is what’s bankrupting us. Art funding is but a tiny example of this. As for Tulpa’s crap about the Bush tax cuts, that’s more socialist thug claptrap; Bush’s tax cuts grew the economy and raised revenue. It’s just too bad Congress raised spending a whole lot faster, and overrode Bush the one time he vetoed it.

      3. It’s unnecessary.

      Accurate, but hardly impressive. In fact, public art funding is downright corrosive to society. Not only should taxpayers not fund art, but we should be allowed to tax the artists for a full refund of any funding they’ve received. If anyone deserves a SWAT team invasion, it’s the “performance artists” who go rubbing the tax dollars they’ve extorted out of us on their hairy naked carcasses while denouncing us.

      1. You just made me want to make anti-Christian, anti-conservative propaganda…

      2. anti-Christian…propaganda

        There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. The trouble is that leftwing artists are too adolescent and too ignorant to conceive of incisive criticism of Christianity. Of course, even if they were adultlike, they ought not to be subsidized (and would, by definition of adultlike, reject subsidization anyway).

        anti-conservative propaganda

        Puh-lease. Leftists are nothing if not conservatives. In fact, they are the worst conservatives that there have ever been. Your quarrel with them is about the scale and scope of collectivism, police and military socialism, parentalism, governmental intervention in commerce, etc. It’s not even about relativism; rightwing conservatives, too, are ardent fans of relativism when it suits their interests. Anticonservatism, on the other hand, calls for trampling these.

        Bush’s tax cuts…raised revenue

        Bush’s tax cuts put more money into the hands of politicians? Jolly good show. Your explanation reads like an argument against more tax cuts. Still, bearing in mind your argument would free up some attention for eradicating privileges and corruptions that were adopted constitutionally and legislatively. To begin correcting these problems, delete the borrowing clause, the commerce clause, the coinage clause, the post office clause, and the intellectual monopoly clause. And, oh yes, don’t forget to read Article VII, too, very carefully. There’s a problem there that’s ignored by people who pray the Constitution.

        Btw, Gillespie’s reason #2 is weak, indeed; it disappears if the rulers are again able to borrow on taxpayers’ credit. Too much black libertarianism and not enough effort developing his thinking, as by studying logic, I suspect. Note his black uniform, this time without the black leather jacket.

        If anyone deserves a SWAT team invasion, it’s the “performance artists”

        If anyone deserves a SWAT team invasion, it’s SWAT. But the invasion team would need to be privately organized and financed, not a SWAT team of taxfeeders, see? And it would best if the members weren’t equiped by businesspeople who are taxfeeders. (TASER International, Inc., comes to mind, for some reason.)

        1. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. The trouble is that leftwing artists are too adolescent and too ignorant to conceive of incisive criticism of Christianity. Of course, even if they were adultlike, they ought not to be subsidized (and would, by definition of adultlike, reject subsidization anyway).

          There’s everything inherently wrong with that. Statism and the demand for government funding is a feature of Anti-Christianity and not a bug.

          Your appeal to maturity (being “adultlike”) merely serves to discredit your claims further as it is blatant sophistry: the statist parasites can simply reply that being “adultlike” means knowing you need to accept government handouts, while I could just as easily contend being mature means accepting Christianity is the one true religion and all others are false. In this context, being “adultlike” and “mature” can mean anything anyone wants it to mean, and therefore is meaningless.

          Government subsidies for art are wrong because they’re imposing a particular set of religious and ideological views on taxpayers with their own money, not because they’re ineffective at imposing your favorite supposedly “adultlike” viewpoint or any other.

          Puh-lease. Leftists are nothing if not conservatives. In fact, they are the worst conservatives that there have ever been. Your quarrel with them is about the scale and scope of collectivism, police and military socialism, parentalism, governmental intervention in commerce, etc. It’s not even about relativism; rightwing conservatives, too, are ardent fans of relativism when it suits their interests. Anticonservatism, on the other hand, calls for trampling these.

          How very blatantly you do set up your strawmen! In fact, as a conservative, I’m a lot more “libertarian” than many of my fellow conservatives, and as a libertarian, I’m a lot more “conservative” than many people here.

          As to what’s conservative by your (deliberately vague) definition, that depends on what one intends to conserve. I’m very in favor of conserving Christianity, the traditional family, liberty, and justice. I’m quite opposed to conserving subsidies, entitlements, bureaucracies, public schools, and the income tax (to name just a few); in fact, I yearn for their destruction. That makes me “anti-conservative” according to your special definition, but I suspect just about everybody else would say that makes me “far right” in comparison to most other self-identified conservatives.

          As to relativism, your abuse of the language demonstrates that you’re a pretty big fan of relativism yourself when it suits your interest. If I were you, I wouldn’t go throwing stones from that glass house where you’re living.

          Bush’s tax cuts put more money into the hands of politicians? Jolly good show. Your explanation reads like an argument against more tax cuts.

          So the one guy complains that Bush’s tax cuts increased the budget deficit, and you’re complaining because Bush’s tax cuts gave politicians more money to spend. Can’t win with you tax-cut haters, can I?

          So, what, you hate politicians so much you don’t mind killing the whole economy (and millions–maybe tens of millions–of jobs) just to hurt them? You’d tax the whole country to death just to keep politicians from getting their hands on more money? Wow. Seems to me you’ve combined all the worst traits of Ayn Rand and Joe Stalin in yourself. Are you still wondering why anyone doesn’t like you?

          Too much black libertarianism and not enough effort developing his thinking, as by studying logic, I suspect. Note his black uniform, this time without the black leather jacket.

          Speaking of why anyone doesn’t like you, what the hell is this? Am I right in guessing your name isn’t really “Paul” just as it wasn’t “rather” in your trolling about the Taliban, Buddha statues, and societal masculinity above?

          If anyone deserves a SWAT team invasion, it’s SWAT. But the invasion team would need to be privately organized and financed, not a SWAT team of taxfeeders, see? And it would best if the members weren’t equiped by businesspeople who are taxfeeders. (TASER International, Inc., comes to mind, for some reason.)

          Yeah. You’re definitely engaged in Insane Troll Logic there. You really had me going there for a minute. Well, you’ve got your lulz there, troll. Happy now?

  12. Kevin Spacey only likes Lincoln because he thinks Lincoln was gay.

  13. There’s always a Weiner connection. And there’s always room for Jello. Weiner/Biafra in 2012!

    1. Shouldn’t it be a Weiner “link?”

      Just sayin.

  14. The “arts” should never be supported by tax money!

  15. On the first point in the written article, this is an interesting and important point.

    It’s also important to point out that churches don’t pay taxes and shouldn’t have any say in tax-supported businesses like museums and galleries anyway.

    1. Dude, half of the *country* doesn’t pay federal tax. Does that rule apply to them, too?

      1. I wish

    2. “churches don’t pay taxes and shouldn’t have any say in tax-supported businesses”

      the parishioners do pay taxes

    3. Or, rather than going further down the rabbit hole of tyranny, we could just force churches (and, so as not to be a general-purpose bigot, all non-profits) to pay taxes on their profits?

      1. If you do, expect a suicide bomber in your future, infidel!

  16. Wait, where exactly are you seeing Dr Who reruns on public television? I thought that was a thing of the past.

    1. Especially since the Beeb taped over the originals of the early episodes in the seventies.

      1. Spurred on by a trade union, of course.

        Equity had actively fought against the introduction of TV recording since it originally became a practical proposition in the 1950s. Although Equity could not prevent recording altogether, it set the fees for re-clearing rights-expired recordings so high that broadcasters would consider it unjustifiable to spend so much money repeating an old programme rather than making a new one. They were considered to be of no further economic use to the broadcasters.

        1. What does an American union have to do with the management of the British Broadcasting Corporation?

        2. Never mind. I read too quickly.

  17. You can’t make your neighbor buy you a new patio just because you want one. You can’t make your brother buy you a new grill for that new patio. You can’t make your sister buy you statue for that new patio. All settled law. Somehow, we lose sense of that when Washington gets involved. Suddenly, we see people happily forcing others to buy stuff for them (or from them).

    The fed has to live by the laws that regulate all of us. You can’t make me buy you a statue. Should be settled law.

    +1 for the article and the 4th reason that it just ends up serving the state.

  18. Whiney fuckin’ bastards.

    Let the mods and sophistos find real work to fund their pseudo-bohemian lifestyles.

    Real artists are fuckin’ broke ‘cos we don’t do it for the money, bitch.

  19. Censorship is preventing the publication, expression, or display of an idea. Declining to PAY for same is not Censorship. That’s called Thrift.

    The argument that failure to facilitate the dissemination of their “art” constitutes Censorship, is all the proof I have ever needed that the “Artists” in question are self-important twits whose work cannot possibly be the least bit important.

    1. Can I get an “Amen!” for Schofield here?

  20. John Wilkes Booth didn’t shoot Lincoln in the soul. Presumably it was unharmed in the assassination attempt.

  21. The argument that failure to facilitate the dissemination of their “art” constitutes Censorship, is all the proof I have ever needed that the “Artists” in question are self-important twits whose work cannot possibly be the least bit important.

  22. I am an aspiring architect and I am appalled

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