There is plenty of room for debate about whether and to what extent government should be directly involved in funding culture. But there can be no argument that if we are going have public support of the arts, it should be done in an enlightened and life-affirming way. This is the George Bush approach to cultural reinvigoration. Conservatives — by which term I mean people who are interested in conserving what is best from the past — should applaud his efforts. After years in the wilderness, the NEA has finally come home.I'll grant that 18 million clams is a rounding error in the budgets of most departments of the federal government. Still, Kimball, full enough of truth serum, will admit that he doesn't really care that the money is spent, so long as it is spent on what he likes. That's not conservative, folks. That's opinionism. I'm all for Shakespeare in the communities, but ticket sales and volunteers could cover that, if people really want it. Let's take the right lesson from the past excesses of the NEA, rather than simply changing the tenor of what gets funding.
Thursday, January 29, 2004
Speaking of Culture: Here's Roger Kimball, in National Review, declaring that the appointment of Dana Gioia to head the NEA means that Bush's latest budget bomb is really good news for conservatives: