Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Should Government Fund "the Arts"?

No more than they should fund worship.

Editor's Note: This originally appeared at the website of The Economist on August 29, 2012, as part of a debate on public funding of art and culture. Read the full exchange here.

Last year, Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic Party's Senate majority leader from Nevada, attacked a self-evidently heartless budget proposed by the Republican Party which trimmed $61 billion out of annual spending of nearly $4 trillion. He complained that such "draconian" cuts would eliminate federal arts funding and mean the certain death of "an annual cowboy poetry festival" that draws "tens of thousands" of people to his home state of Nevada every year.

First they come for the cowboy poets, Reid seemed to be saying, next they'll come for, what, the San Francisco Mime Troupe (a group previously singled out by Rocco Landesman, head of the National Endowment for the Arts, as also threatened with elimination by budget cuts)? The barbarians were already past the gate, Reid seemed to warn, and the slaughter of innocent cowboy poets was upon us like the Goths upon Rome.

Now that the laughter has died down—it's taken a while and was extended by revelations that Reid grossly exaggerated the number of people attending his beloved high-plains hootenanny—at least two things should be evident even to the most diehard supporter of public funding for "the arts."

The first is that government support of specific institutions or individuals is in no way necessary or sufficient for the production of "art" (however you choose to define that gloriously nebulous term). What more do you need to know than the one point on which Alan Davey and Pete Spence agree: Britain—the very birthplace of Dr. Johnson and Dr. Who—didn't start using serious amounts of tax money to fund art until after the second world war. How did culture in Old Blighty ever survive so long? 

A second point is that governments everywhere are dead broke. Not just a little light on cash until the next payday, but up to their eyeballs in hock for generations to come. It's bad enough that future generations of Americans will be paying off today's tab that we've run up by building bridges to nowhere, waging the war on drugs and bombing Afghan villages into the Stone Age. Should they also have to pay for cowboy poetry and mime shows that they hopefully will never have to actually attend? It's well past time to ratchet down government spending on everything that is not absolutely essential to the political functioning of a country.

That doesn't mean art—or artists—will be starved. In the United States,Americans spend about $150 billion a year on movie and theatre tickets, books, MP3s and the like. Philanthropic giving by foundations and individuals adds another $13 billion a year to that already grand sum. Maybe every quilting bee, experimental opera and short story anthology won't be funded in a world without government subsidies, but out of such tragedies great art might be a-born.

There's at least a third reason to stop state funding of the arts, and it's the one I take most seriously as a literary scholar and writer. In the 17th century, a great religious dissenter, Roger Williams (educated at Cambridge, exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony), wrote the first case for total separation of church and state in the English language. Forced worship, said Williams, "stinks in God's nostrils" as an affront to individual liberty and autonomy; worse still, it subjugated theology to politics.

Something similar holds true with painting, music, writing, video and all other forms of creative expression. Forced funding of the arts—in whatever trivial amounts and indirect ways—implicates citizens in culture they might openly despise or blissfully ignore. And such mandatory tithing effectively turns creators and institutions lucky enough to win momentary favour from bureaucrats into either well-trained dogs or witting instruments of the powerful and well-connected. Independence works quite well for churches and the press. It works even more wonderfully in the arts.

Editor's Note: This originally appeared at the website of The Economist on August 29, 2012, as part of a debate on public funding of art and culture. Read the full exchange here.

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.

  • Rich||

    According to the esteemed lexicographer Ambrose Bierce:

    ART, n. This word has no definition.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Linking error.

  • Rich||

    First time I ever SugarFreed! ;-)

    Fixed.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    It's painful everytime you SF

  • juris imprudent||

    You need to use more lube.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    "I've suffered for my art. Now it's your turn."

    Any artist (or, as we referred to them in college, "Trendy Art Fuck") who needs a government subsidy isn't worth subsidizing.

  • Brutus||

    Reminds me of the episode of the "Beverly Hillbillies" where Jethro wanted to be an "artiste" and was deliberately doing things to hurt himself because he heard that artists gotta suffer. IIRC, his master work, unveiled at the episide's end, was a small possum carved from an enormous boulder.

  • Atanarjuat||

    Great show. There was also an episode where Elly's chimp painted a picture of bananas that the banker's wife unveiled to an art society as the work of some famous artist, and everyone thought it was the real thing.

  • Brutus||

    See the pic Gillespie included with this piece and you'll understand why the chimp's work was almost certainly superior to the human's.

  • ||

    i am philosophically against govt. funding of the arts, and I say that as the son and grandson of lifelong artists.

    that being said, fred rogers' testimony before congress brought tears to my eyes, and i'm just glad we had him on the air, however it was funded.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXEuEUQIP3Q

    he was a great man, a gentle man, trained as a minister and in music, and who dedicated his lives to helping kids

  • wareagle||

    had Fred Rogers sought it, he would have found a great deal of corporate sponsorships available. Or commercials as they are known in media where one's ratings determine their survival. It's like he would not have existed without PBS.

  • ||

    very likely true. not saying fred rogers justifies govt funding the arts. to me, it's a philosophical no no.

    just saying, a propos publically funded artists, he was a treasure.

    i'm not SURE his show would have been broadcast by a private network, though

    it was not like most network kids' stuff

    probably his closest analoguous show in the private realm was captain kangaroo

    NOWaday, it would be much easier for a show like his because of cable having way more diverse offerings.

    back then, it was just the big 3 and public teevee, pretty much

    not at all sure he would have found funding ANDa station to broadcast him

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Not familiar with the details, but the delay in implementing cable had something to do with govt regulation, IIRC.

  • ||

    That doesn't mean art—or artists—will be starved. In the United States,Americans spend about $150 billion a year on movie and theatre tickets, books, MP3s and the like

    Video game industry was 18 billion in the US in 2010

  • Russell||

    When it comes to bad art , government gets some stiff competition from free marketers

  • ||

    I like the land sculptures, at least the first one.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I don't care for the inconsistency in detail level and styling throughout the sculpture.

  • ubercynic||

    Good, bad or indifferent, the land sculptures were by far the most coherent content on that page. I know the CAGW loons are losing it, but . . . wow. Just . . . wow.

  • ||

    None of that shit made any sense to me. I lost interest after scrolling for ten seconds.

  • ubercynic||

    I spent a little longer looking at it, but that's just because I didn't notice at first that the URL is vvattsupwiththat.[whatever] (with two letter v) to make it look like a w (for wattsupwiththat.com)

  • ubercynic||

    BTW, here's some pretty good private-sector art (among other things) from the REAL wattsupwiththat.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    It's funny how today's crass, commercial media becomes tomorrow's struggling artistry.

  • wareagle||

    no, govt should not fund the arts any more than it should fund any other career field that one enters voluntarily. If enough people like cowboy poetry or mimes or whatever, they will figure out a way to pay for it. When folks are not willing to pay for something, that is the market sending something known as a clue.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Didn't George Romero go to Canada to take advantage of the film subsidies. If I had to guess, I don't think Romero is starving.

  • JeremyR||

    Isn't Romero pretty much a communist?

    And he probably isn't that wealthy, considering his most popular film is public domain...

  • ||

    romero reminds me of carlin. he started out innovative, hilarious, entertaining, etc.

    he ended up bitter, beating us over the head with the same anti-corporate anti-capitalist message about how society is just a bunch of racist fools enslaved to the corporashunz bla bla bla

    he hasn't made a decent movie in years, and he's the perfect example of somebody who should have quit loooong ago

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I liked Land of the Dead. Check that, I liked Land of the Dead more than Day of the Dead.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Fuck Harry Reid the gay ass socialist and his gay ass gay cowboy poetry about gayness gay festival. Stop spending my gay ass money, bitchass.

  • Xenocles||

    I could have used a little more gay.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    BUT private money hasn't been *purified* by the cleansing hand of government.
    Corporate money is tainted.
    /tried not to barf typing that.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    "Corporate money is tainted."

    So, what does that make Rage Against the Machine?

  • ||

    a GREAT band with a ridiculous message and iedology

    fwiw, i love pumping RATM full volume when running lights and siren to a hot call

    nothing beats driving code to the tune of "killing in the name of" (uncut version)

    file under: music to drive code to

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    How professional and not hokey.
    And respectful to the reason for the emergency.

  • ||

    troll o meter: .01

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    You demonstrated that you are a personification of a parody of cop doing hokey shit. You're not in a cop comedy, clown.

  • ||

    yawn

    troll-o-meter: (not sensitive enough to get a reading on this crap)

  • sloopyinca||

    Ever stop to think that maybe you're the troll?

  • ||

    no, because i have perfectly fine conversations with most of the people here who are pleasant and act like adults.

    there is a core group of people, you included, who feel the need to just be about personal attacks and shit like that, but day after day we engage in intellegent discourse in thread after thread.

    you, epi, et al do not run this place and i don't recall DRandS ever posting something of note

    as for my posting on duty, i was waitinf for you or one of the other of your ilk to comment on that. i am allowed 1 hr of personal time per shift, and yes PER POLICY we are allowed to use the internet thusly.

    it's well within our policy.

    now... BACK to my surveillance detail

    again, the adults will have a conversation and you and a very small group will continue to just troll me.

  • sloopyinca||

    no, because i have perfectly fine conversations with most of the people here who are pleasant and act like adults.

    You mean the ones that never disagree with you or call you on your bullshit?

    there is a core group of people, you included, who feel the need to just be about personal attacks and shit like that, but day after day we engage in intellegent discourse in thread after thread.

    Yeah, that's my reputation and yours in a nutshell. Deluded much?

    now... BACK to my surveillance detail

    Wait, are you doing surveillance or catching people ODing on heroin?

    **shakes head**

  • ||

    we don't "catch people'. it's not a crime. i rerouted because i am one of the few officers assigned an AED. so, i responded

    and sloopy, plenty of people here and i DISagree on all kinds of shit. adults can disagree and still be respectful, pleasant and not resort to personal attacks/

    i'll leave it at that. i'm not interested in your trolling. it is pleasant discoursing with most people here, but there is no point doing so with the small minority of trolls.

    there were at least a half dozen threads in the last few weeks where the adults were allowed to have a normal conversation./ by conversing with them, who often have different pov's, i can learn, and even change my mind (something you will never do), and i enjoy that

    you are here for personal attacks

    again, we disagree on a lot of stuff, but we can discuss like adults

    you clearly cannot

  • sloopyinca||

    ^^tl/dr?^^

    Waaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!! Wwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I have to say, if Morello ever saw a cop blasting "Killing in the Name", I'm sure his head would explode.

  • ||

    that would be sweet, but i think he still has some good music in him, so maybe the scanners treatment should be held off for now

  • ||

    Morello playing a cop (head intact)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuJaStSL0xM

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Wait, he's against identification papers?!

    How does he think the secret police is going to keep track of everybody in the future Worker's Paradise?

  • ||

    I mean, they were driving on ROADZZZ!!1!!1!!, right?

  • ||

    just had my first heroin OD of the day...

    wheee!

  • SIV||

    You sound much happier than most junkies after a shot of naloxone.

  • sloopyinca||

    In a way, we're seeing public funding of the arts in person today. Dunphy's little bit of performance art is coming to you LIVE, courtesy of Washington taxpayers.

  • ||

    see my other post. within policy

  • sloopyinca||

    I don't care that you're doing it while on duty. As a matter of fact, I think it's a good thing every time a cop is fucking off on his computer instead of working. It's much safer for the "civilians" out there.

  • OldMexican||

    Forced funding of the arts—in whatever trivial amounts and indirect ways—implicates citizens in culture they might openly despise or blissfully ignore.


    Like whips up someone's asscrack, for instance...

  • John Galt||

    If Reid loves cowboy poetry so much, there's no one stopping him from from pulling out his own wallet.

    Regardless, I'd appreciate it if he keeps his sticky fingers out of mine.

  • SIV||

    NEVER FORGET! that reason recently published this piece of trash.

    On culture, I side with Hanns Johst's sentiments over Jean-Luc Godards.

  • ||

    You spelled "Picard" wrong.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Ira Stoll needs to be tied up in dunphy's car for a code run to infinity for that piece of shit article. Forever and forever the marxist screeching of zach *swoon* punishing his ears while tommy-boy belts out his aneurysm inducing guitar with a zap-pedal and a phillips head screwdriver, or whatever is called 'innovation' now.

  • sloopyinca||

    I'm for it as long as dunphy is behind the wheel.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I will continue to check that box on my 1040EZ marked "Piss Christ" no matter what you Philistines say. $3 a year is a small price to pay for Piss Christ.

  • sticks||

    I'll send you 2 piss christ a year for only 2 dollars.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Art and religion are our means for peacefully expressing and arguing about our fundamental values, and the coercive force of the state should stay out of both.

  • sloopyinca||

    By the way, what are y'alls thoughts on a cop shooting a handcuffed and ID'd suspect (with a limp) in the back because he fled out of his squad car?

    Just curious...

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    As long as it was within prescribed procedures, I'll allow it.

    Officer Safety™, doncha know.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    So if Officer Safety is so important, why are departments going to subdued and similar tactical uniforms for everyday wear instead of ANSI Class II or better hi-viz clothing? Traffic is more of a threat to the average officer than someone taking a pot shot at them.

    Same with police vehicles. They should be liberally covered with reflective striping and other visibility measures but again, trend is low viz or unmarked vehicles.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    there were at least a half dozen threads in the last few weeks where the adults were allowed to have a normal conversation.

    Maybe I'm not the only one who's just sick of reading your pidgin-English self-justifications.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    u r kidn me lol wut?!

  • sloopyinca||

    itfpapic, ^^this^^ is a funny post.

    hth

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    urine or derpfee, who ya gonn call lol!

  • DesigNate||

    needs MOAR caps

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

  • SIV||

    He was deaf in the frequencies of dolphin sonar and was severely sunburned.

    Marine mammal veterinarians considered a cochlear implant but hearing-impaired- animal activists decried this as the genocide of deaf-dolphin culture.

  • PapayaSF||

    LOL

  • Dan's brother Jeff||

    We are not yet completely run by the corporate world and the corporate world gets enough of our tax money so we don't need to fund rich private entertainment companies, ever. We need a balance that operates independently from them.

  • Brutus||

    Failure of imagination, in a nutshell.

  • Sevo||

    Dan's brother Jeff| 9.9.12 @ 9:00PM |#
    "We are not yet completely run by the corporate world and the corporate world gets enough of our tax money so we don't need to fund rich private entertainment companies, ever. We need a balance that operates independently from them."

    WIH does that mean?

  • Brutus||

    It means that if we defund Harry Reid's cowboy poetry festivals, the next one will feature poems highlighting Johnson and Johnson's saddle sore cream and Purina's Horse Chow.

    That private people would fund the arts voluntarily is an utterly baffling concept to Jeffy.

  • sloopyinca||

    That private people would fund the arts voluntarily is an utterly baffling concept to Jeffy.

    Only because he's retarded.

  • Brutus||

    Like I said, failure of imagination.

    Oh well, off to the trakter pullz!

  • Dan's brother Jeff||

    Art _is_ part of government's mandate to ensure that _more than business interests shape our culture_. That's why art is important: it keeps us human. It redeems our baser instincts. It makes us more than commodities. And it needs support BECAUSE it is not a commodity. More now than ever.

  • sloopyinca||

    See people, ^^this^^ is the way to troll. Hell, I'll bite.

    Hey Jeffy, did it ever occur to you that our government is fucking broke? Not to mention, it's wrong to steal from somebody and give it to somebody else for no real reason whatsoever.

  • Dan's brother Jeff||

    The old Taxes are theft canard.
    YAWN

  • sloopyinca||

    I think you took a wrong turn on your way to balloon juice and ended up here by mistake.

    And even if you don't think taxes are theft for basic and essential services like national defense and building infrastructure, taking money from taxpayers to fund idiotic shit like Piss Christ or the Maplethorpe Pederasty Series is as wrong as you can get.

  • Dan's brother Jeff||

    Art is a way for society to reflect back on the time we live in. It is a narrow-minded point of view to think that because an artist works with a challenging subject they are glorifying it. They may be challenging it. They may be transforming it. They may be giving us new insights. They should be provoking dialogue and what is more healthy than that?

  • sloopyinca||

    They may be challenging it. They may be transforming it. They may be giving us new insights. They should be provoking dialogue and what is more healthy than that?

    And what, exactly, is keeping them from doing this without me paying for it?

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    THE KOCH BROTHERSZZZZ!!!!!11111won!

  • Brutus||

    Jeffy is obviously ignorant of the Kochs' donations - to the tune of tens of millions of dollars - to the arts. We have some friends that are wealthy conservatives that donated so much to the local, well-established and -regarded repertory theater that they named the theater after the wife. They do some tradition and also some very edgy stuff.

    To suggest that private money is philistine is idiotic.

  • Dan's brother Jeff||

    The culture we produce in this country gives our image to the rest of the world. If you think we should just be a mechanical society with no heart and soul to invest in you are entitled. But a society that promotes and invests in freedom of thought and creativity will be a healthier one.

  • sloopyinca||

    But a society that promotes and invests in freedom of thought and creativity will be a healthier one.

    Yep. And nothing says "freedom of thought" more than putting a gun in somebody's back and making them pay for your hobbies.

  • Sevo||

    Dan's brother Jeff| 9.9.12 @ 9:38PM |#
    "The culture we produce in this country gives our image to the rest of the world."

    And, if you had any education at all, you'd know that US movies had to be outlawed in Europe to force Euro audiences to watch Euro-crap.
    You're an idiot.

  • Sevo||

    Dan's brother Jeff| 9.9.12 @ 9:25PM |#
    Art is a way for society to reflect back on the time we live in....."

    Yep, and the government has no business deciding which art should be supported.

  • Xenocles||

    Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or some other site ought to be able to fulfill your art funding desires free of tax money.

  • Brutus||

    If taking money from Able to give to Baker isn't theft, Jeffy, then you really don't have a bitch when the government takes your money and gives it to GE, ADM or anyone else.

  • Sevo||

    Dan's brother Jeff| 9.9.12 @ 9:12PM |#
    "The old Taxes are theft canard.
    YAWN"

    The old "I'll ignore reality" lefty claim.

  • Brutus||

    Government-sponsored art is known more commonly as "propaganda" and is there to support the interests of the State.

  • sloopyinca||

    Could you rewrite that using shorter words? Poor Jeffy lacks the imagination to picture a world without a government gun at his back funding shit he opposes. I sincerely doubt he understands what the word "propaganda" means.

  • Brutus||

    The boy needs to read "The Law." It ain't but a few dozen pages.

  • Dan's brother Jeff||

    Bastiat presumes natural rights from god, a simple fallacy of reification. Individuals don't have rights to protect their lives, liberty and property: they have minuscule powers to attempt to create such rights. Law is an attempt to benefit those within society by creating rights through conventions that reduce in-society conflict and utilize combined powers efficiently.

  • sloopyinca||

    Ooh! Somebody's enrolled in a 200-level philosophy class this semester.

    I'm impressed!

  • Brutus||

    Not the part of the book I was thinking of, but thanks for that quick refutation ala CnP.

  • Sevo||

    Dan's brother Jeff| 9.9.12 @ 9:48PM |#
    "Bastiat presumes natural rights from god, a simple fallacy of reification."

    You claim it to be reification; you are also an idiot.
    ------------
    "Individuals don't have rights to protect their lives, liberty and property"

    You claim so; you are also an idiot
    -------------
    "Law is an attempt to benefit those within society by creating rights through conventions that reduce in-society conflict and utilize combined powers efficiently."

    You are an idiot.

  • Sevo||

    A bit more"
    Dan's brother Jeff| 9.9.12 @ 9:48PM |#
    "Bastiat presumes natural rights from god, a simple fallacy of reification. Individuals don't have rights to protect their lives, liberty and property: they have minuscule powers to attempt to create such rights."

    Natural rights require no reification through the the authority of a deity. As is obvious on the face of it, an infant has only the limitations of physical ability and environment to limit 'rights' (more properly, "freedoms"). The freedoms are inherent in human life.
    -----------------
    "Law is an attempt to benefit those within society by creating rights through conventions that reduce in-society conflict and utilize combined powers efficiently."

    Any reification is evident here; the specious claim that laws somehow grant rights.
    Laws do nothing of the sort; properly constructed, they limit activity in the interest of the general welfare. You are limited to not take my life; you are limited to not take my property, etc.
    You're an idiot.

  • Sevo||

    Dan's brother Jeff| 9.9.12 @ 9:02PM |#
    "Art _is_ part of government's mandate to ensure that _more than business interests shape our culture_."

    Jeff's_claim_is_nothing_ other_ than_lefty_hogwash.

  • sloopyinca||

    Dare I put Jeffy on dunphy's troll-o-meter? Or is he one of the "adults"?

  • Sevo||

    I'm betting that Jeff thinks he's presenting 'new arguments!' Sufficient to demolish the philosophy of libertarianism! He imagines himself a pioneer, breaking new theoretic ground!
    And, instead, delivering the same worn-out crap discredited to any reasonable observer by 1989 at the latest.
    Suffice to say, Jeff didn't get the memo.

  • sloopyinca||

    In his defense, he wasn't even exposed to politics until he enrolled at (insert state name) State University last fall. He learned so much, he decided to take a 200-level poli-"sci" course this fall as well as a modern philosophy class taught by the resident marxist professor.

    Don't worry, once he gets out of school and gets a real job (probably in no less than 6 years from now, but eventually), he'll understand what taxation really is and what it really accomplishes.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Didn't we do this a couple of week ago? It's University of (insert state here).

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Phoenix?

  • sloopyinca||

    I thought we had agreed that ________ State University was the way to go over University of __________.

    Did I miss the memo?

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Jeffy strikes me as a University of (State) type of student.

  • ||

    Huh? Where does that leave someone like me? I enrolled at Memphis State University, but ended up graduating from the University of Memphis.

    Why?

    Because good old Memphis State wanted to appear more prestigious like (I'm not shitting you) the University of Houston.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    we have private funded art - it's called advertising.

  • Sevo||

    And we have 'publicly-funded' art - it's called propaganda.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Yes, but don't you see, it's terrible...terrible to have a museum named after a private individual or a corporation.

    Things should only be named after politicians or have the word "Federal" or "National" in their titles.

  • SIV||

    we have private funded art - it's called advertising

    Illustration is demonstrably superior to art. If art was any good why wouldn't they make more than one?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    By the way, who the fuck is Dan, and why should I care about his brother?

  • Banjos||

    Dan used to be a regular troll on here. My money is on this guy being a regular getting his jollies off.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Fuck, that's like some Inception-type shit right there.

  • sloopyinca||

    See everybody? I did marry her for her brainz.

  • Banjos||

    I assumed it was for my ability to kick the shit out of you in Pick 'Em's.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • PM||

    government's mandate to ensure that _more than business interests shape our culture_.

    That's Article XVII, Clause 26 of the US constitution, right? I think Adams wrote about that in Federalist 68. Coercively extracting money from the collective in order to support artists being so important to the founders. God bless them for their foresight!

    Also, fuck off slaver.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    [x] Piss Christ

  • sloopyinca||

    Because the government has funded works of art like Piss Christ in the past, to not do so in the future would be promotion of Christianity over other religions, which would violate the First Amendment rights of the artists.

    /NEA

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Better to be pissed off than to be pissed on, amirite?

  • sloopyinca||

    Only because you have to pay double for the latter.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Don't have to pay a thing to be pissed off.

  • ubercynic||

    Piss Christ . . . Presidential Election Campaign Fund . . . Piss Christ . . . Presidential Election Campaign Fund . . . Piss Christ . . . damn, dude, that's a tough call.

  • Rich||

    Ima go with ... Piss Campaign Fund.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Elect President Christ!

  • sloopyinca||

    Why vote for the Son of God when you can vote for four more years of Obama?

    /Debbie Wasserman-Shithead

  • ubercynic||

    Promise free fuzzy toilet lid covers for all, and he can't lose.

  • sloopyinca||

    fuzzy toilet lid covers

    I'd assasinate any politician that even advocated mandating those damn things. They make the lid fall down every time I try to take a piss standing up.*

    *I've since gone to sit-n-piss.

  • ubercynic||

    True dat, but for every guy like you with a functioning brain, there's at least ten broads who buy shit like faucets with those stupid faux-crystal knobs, and you can bet every one of them votes. Like I said: can't lose.

  • Atanarjuat||

    I've since gone to sit-n-piss.

    I guess I'm not a libertarian after all, because the feds should come into your home and put a stop to this immediately!

  • Xenocles||

    If I could check a box to pay someone three dollars to piss on a politician, I would.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    it needs support BECAUSE it is not a commodity.

    You should tell Sotheby's that.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Art is a way for society to reflect back on the time we live in.

    SOCIETY IS PEOPLE, MAN!

  • sloopyinca||

    So wait, society is Soylent Green?

  • Brutus||

    Your syllogisms are obviously Koch-funded.

  • sloopyinca||

    Aren't the Koch brothers majority owners in both the Soylent Corporation and the Umbrella Corporation? That's what MSNBC told me.

  • DesigNate||

    Not just that, but I have it on good authority that Charles is the one that invented the zombie virus and released it on Raccoon City after the peasants tried to revolt.

  • sloopyinca||

    In his defense, the peasants were revolting.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Peasants smell bad and have zero fashion sense.

  • sloopyinca||

    Peasants smell bad and have zero fashion sense.

    If you're gonna use Anna Wintour's words, at least give her a citation.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I'm betting that Jeff thinks he's presenting 'new arguments!'

    His "Appeal to SOCIETY" always works at those sorority organic cupcake bake-offs.

    What's wrong with you? Don't you comprehend the principle of the Greater Good? Just sign the contract like a good little Americanski.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    ps-

    PUT THE GLASSES ON

  • sloopyinca||

    Not this year.

    /Jeffy

  • sloopyinca||

    Also, who wins a death match: Keith David or David Keith?

  • sticks||

    The one that can determine a room's acoustic properties by humming loudly.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I am (sort of) watching Butch Cassidy right now.

    They just got to the part where Butch/Newman says, "If he'd pay me what he's spending to keep me from robbing him, I'd stop robbing him!"

    Pigou. or Coase?

  • Dan's brother Jeff||

    We can't raise taxes on the rich to continue paying for these kinds of things things, because then they wouldn't be able to create jobs. But if we keep their taxes low, they will voluntarily pay for the things their taxes would have gone to support.

  • sloopyinca||

    Did you get hit in the head with a brick today? There is so much waste in government that politicians just laugh off losses in the billions.

    If you think for a second the government does anything better than the private sector (I'll even give you national defense, but that's still unlikely), then you truly are a fucking retard.

    Name me three things government does better than the private sector and please cite examples to support your claim. Three things, that's it. Out o the myriad things the government gets their fingers in, I bet you can't come up with three fucking things, Jeffy.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Don't make me sic Joe Theisman on his dumb ass....

  • sloopyinca||

  • Dan's brother Jeff||

    Police
    Sewage
    Parks

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Police
    Sewage
    Parks

    You're a doubleplusgood duckspeaker, Jeff.

  • sloopyinca||

    I'll give you police*, but I shouldn't. But parks and sewage? Are you serious? Why do you think municipalities are doing everything they can to privatize waste collection and water treatment all over the nation? The only thing holding them back are the pubsec unions that have their hooks into Team Blue pols.

    Nowhere in America is it more efficient for the consumers or the taxpayers to have publicly-managed sanitation and/or sewage.

    As far as parks go, wherever they have been privatized, HOA's make a point to build and maintain parks to attract homeowners. And the maintenance of those parks is done at a considerable savings.

    Are you taking about those, or privately-maintained parks? Because the locales that are opening up their maintenance to private companies are seeing the work done at a considerable savings to those that employ parks departments to maintain them. Either way you cut it, parks are cheaper on the taxpayer and offer up a better product when they are either run, maintained or owned by private entities.

    *Unfortunately, there is nothing to compare here since the police have a monopoly on force they will not relinquish.

  • PM||

    The irony of the Occutards camping out in the "privately owned public space" of Zuccotti park, owned and operated by teh ebil Brookfield Properties and calling for an end to private property was so far beyond comical you couldn't have scripted it.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    But if we keep their taxes low, they will voluntarily pay for the things their taxes would have gone to support.

    Yes. And there are a million and one examples to prove this.

    Just because you're a sociopath who would never voluntarily help someone without being coerced doesn't mean everyone else is the same as you.

  • OldMexican||

    Re:Dan brother Jeff,

    We can't raise taxes on the rich

    Thou shall not steal.

    But if we keep their taxes low, they will voluntarily pay for the things their taxes would have gone to support.

    Because edification through art paid with stolen money is better than through art paid voluntarily. Uh, somehow.

  • Dan's brother Jeff||

    Supporting science and art = low.
    Supporting the right of the wealthy to enjoy every advantage of advanced western society while contributing little or nothing to = high.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Do whatever you want with your money, Son of Choney.

  • sloopyinca||

    Supporting the right of the wealthy to enjoy every advantage of advanced western society while contributing little or nothing to = high.

    Yeah, those factories they own, those banks they park their money in and the places they spend their wealth don't contribute a thing, do they?

  • ubercynic||

    Supporting Krugman wannabees = business as usual.

  • Sevo||

    Dan's brother Jeff| 9.9.12 @ 10:08PM |#
    "Supporting science and art = low."
    Not low; stupid.

    "Supporting the right of the wealthy to enjoy every advantage of advanced western society while contributing little or nothing to = high."
    OK, I want 100% of what you own and earn to contribute to 'society'.
    You are rich, you know. Where can I pick up the money?

  • PM||

    A cutting argument, undermined only slightly by the fact that the top 10% of income earners pay over 70% of federal income taxes, and also contribute an outsized share of consumption taxes since they, you know, spend a lot of money. On top of which they contribute massively disproportionately to private art and science initiatives.

    Regurgitating unsupported bullshit = high.

    Recognizing that it's wrong to force people to pay for something as ridiculously subjective as art at the point of a gun because your opinion is the only one that matters = high.

    Also, fuck off slaver.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Police
    Sewage
    Parks

    Show your work.

  • sloopyinca||

    Too late. I already shredded his argument.

  • General Butt Naked||

    If you've made a painting with shit smeared on the virgin mary, you didn't do that!

    Ha! Finally the meme is true. Whee

    ---------------------------------

    On a side note, does it seem as though election season really brings out the 'tards of both sides 'round here? Jeeze we got tards on the right trying to make mittens out to be the great libertarian hope. We've got really special tards, like jeff up there, that can only reword elizabeth warren's talking points ad nauseum. Dang man you sound like a fucking parrot. "Squawk! Fair share! Squawk! Fair share!"

    Fuck jeff, why not throw in a ROADZ! or a SOMOLIA! here and there so that we know for sure that we're not dealing with a sentient being. You're nearly failing the goddamn turing test, jeff. Fuckin' philistine.

  • SIV||

    Y'all ain't gonna feed that troll to death.

  • sloopyinca||

    Is that a bad thing? Are we not supposed to do that?

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Do what you feel like!

  • sloopyinca||

    ^^libertarianism down to its essence^^

    /Jeffy

  • SIV||

    So much for voluntary mutual assistance. Can't say I didn't try.

  • sloopyinca||

    But didn't you see SE7EN, with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman? Kevin Spacey fed that fat guy to death.

    It can be done, dammit. It. Can. Be. Done!

  • sloopyinca||

    Is The New Normal art? And if so, would even Jeff support it being taxpayer-funded?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Dan brother Jeff,

    Bastiat presumes natural rights from god, a simple fallacy of reification.

    Which tells me you do not understand the concept behind the fallacy. Rights are not like physical laws. They're solutions to moral problems, derived from reason. However, we DO have the freedom to act, and that is a reality, and we can thus act according and within these sets of rights - or we act differently, and suffer the consequences of it.

    Individuals don't have rights to protect their lives, liberty and property

    Which is why you just stand in front of the bus barreling towards you. Why bother? You don't have the right to protect your life.

    Law is an attempt to benefit those within society by creating rights through conventions that reduce in-society conflict and utilize combined powers efficiently.

    Which is like saying that people are not smart until they collectively get together to invent intelligence.

    Idiot.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    I hate subwoofers on cars that idle in front of my home.
    Does that mean I have to hand in my decoder ring?

  • ||

    Here's a fun gag. When the douchebag with the subwoofer is out there making his racket, go out to your lawn and dance to it with your very best white-guy-head-bobbing-with-no-rhythm moves. If he says anything to you at all, tell him you just moved in from Iowa and that band is all the rage at your mom's retirement home.

  • Brutus||

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Dan brother Jeff,

    Art is part of government's mandate to ensure that more than business interests shape our culture.


    You're begging the question. You're saying art should be managed by government because it shouldn't be managed by business.

    That's why art is important: it keeps us human.


    What keeps us human is our capacity to reason. Art is nothing more than another productive activity of man. What is art is in the eye of the beholder.

    It makes us more than commodities.


    You do not understand the concept of "commodity."

    And it needs support BECAUSE it is not a commodity.


    ANYTHING subject to the law of scarcity IS a commodity.

    Idiot.

  • sloopyinca||

    What the fuck is up with Assassin's Creed III: Kill The Limeys?

    Are they resigned to never sell a copy in "Great" Britain ever again?

  • DesigNate||

    I don't know, but I want to buy it. Revolutionary War FTW.

  • sloopyinca||

    I'd like to see a Lego: American Revolution game for the Wii.*

    *The Lego games work best with the Wii because of the superior motion controller and the poorer graphic quality somehow feeling OK on that platform.

  • DesigNate||

    I totally agree. I'm looking forward to the new Lego Batman game.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    The dude's part Mohawk.
    Not sure how it fits the timeline with 1 2.
    But I bet AC 4 be some WW2 conspiracy.

  • sloopyinca||

    Wait a second. Doesn't Koch Industries own a majority share in Abstergo Industries?

    They have been behind every assassination in the history of mankind. Those. Fucking. Monsters.

  • SugarFree||

    The only people playing video games in Great Britain are shoplifters and ASBOs who would buy the game with stolen money and delight in killing their fellow historic countrymen.

  • Sevo||

    Dan's brother Jeff| 9.9.12 @ 10:15PM |#
    Police
    Sewage
    Parks"

    Jeff, I'll bet you think this is some new and different argument than folks here have heard.
    It isn't. It's worn-out tired recycling of the lefty dogma that any rational person would have seen as trash in 1989 at the latest.
    I have a hint: Quit making an ass of yourself and actually do some reading. Yes, even that horrid book Atlas Shrugged. You might learn that the received wisdom you're currently spouting has some real holes in it.
    As does some of the stuff in Atlas Shrugged. And if you read that and came back and argued the points, why you might show yourself to be other than one more BRAIN-DEAD LEFTY IGNORAMUS that you are now.
    Got that?

  • snorkeldogg||

    FYI, interesting new Obama video on youtube - 360,000 views in 6 days. Folks may find interesting and want to share with friends. See at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8R5GvwUFU8

  • DesigNate||

    Do I dare?

  • sloopyinca||

    Meh. It beats having to watch FoxNews for an entire hour.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

  • ||

    Gotta love Sam Donaldson's answer.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    He learned from Reagan

  • Brutus||

    Martin's answer reflects a certain aspecificatiousness within the contextualization of the modalious reasoning, no? In other words, he deconstrueafied the requestification of the interviewal unit such that the interrogalative questification was defractified.

    I think you will agree.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

  • ||

    Hey Hey Hey all you girls in these
    Industrial towns
    I know you're prob'ly gettin' tired
    Of all the local clowns
    They never give you no respect
    They never treat you nice
    So perhaps you oughta try
    A little friendly advice
    And be a CREW SLUT

  • ubercynic||

    It looks just like a Telefunken U47... you'll love it.

  • Brutus||

    Aren't you the girl stuck to seat Fido-3?

  • bonjing||

    Wanna know it's password immediately?. .
    Send your yahoo id victim to zilchex@gmx.com

  • GLindquist||

    Sure, arts are funded by the 1% of the very wealthy (who are a group of maybe say 100 collectors), but, interestingly, they also tend to synch their money into a group of say 100-250 artists, catapulting their careers, auction prices, and lifestyles, to ironically or not, be more like the artists' supporters. Of course, this writer chooses some weird, hokey festivals and "cowboy poets" and includes a photo of Manzoni's shit in a can (a piece from an ITALIAN artist from the 1960s!) to hammer his point home, but what really is frightening about removing funding-- and here I am talking about NYFA grants and abolishing the NEA-- is that artists create culture with or without support from the government, it just not only good for the economy but also morally right (to paraphrase Bill Clinton's address) to pay artists for what they do SOMEHOW, even it's merit based (as these foundations give out stipends and grants). I prefer the days of the WPA where artists were put to work making murals and also even given a stipend for delivering the govt paintings each week! (Some of those artists' work are worth much more today). Who knows, many of my friends are predicting the collapse of art bubble although that may have already happened.

  • PM||

    Artists don't create culture - they exist in it just like the rest of us do. And their contribution is no more worthy of public support than anyone else's. Using that rubric, Steve Jobs should have been entitled to a grant - for better or worse, he contributed a fuck load more to "the culture" than some queer studies gender feminist in the village make murals out of feces and hypodermic needles.

    If artists create culture with or without government, then there's no reason for the government to be involved, is there?

    Also, aren't artists supposed to be concerned about artistic integrity and independence from outside influence? Isn't painting murals to our government overlords kind of, you know, like fascist?

    Fuck. Off. Slaver.

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