Saturday, January 5, 2019

Wait, you mean we don't actually need the National Endowment for the Arts?

When asked how things could possibly ever get done if the government weren't there to do them many libertarians (myself included) are often stumped for a good answer.  If we answer with specifics then our debate opponent can find flaws in our proposal.  If we hedge around the question we are then accused of being evasive (and therefore wrong).  The correct answer, of course, is "I don't know".  The free market can come up with solutions to various problems.  Some of those solutions won't work, some will.  That's how the market works.  Had someone asked me two hundred years ago what the best way to make toast, absent a government program, I doubt that I would have answered with "the toaster".  Instead someone came up with the idea of the toaster and started marketing it.

Some models are no longer available because they weren't efficient:

Toast-o-Lator Model J In Action Antique Toaster 1939 - YouTube

 Hamilton Beach Brushed Stainless Steel 2-Slice Toaster ...People free to choose from various options and alternatives eventually settled on what we all know today as "the toaster".

I think you'd be hard pressed to find a toaster for sale that doesn't work exactly like the one shown at right.  Top loading slots with a lever to start the bread toasting.

One of the arguments for the National Endowment for the Arts has always been that it was necessary to ensure that the arts were funded in the United States.  They even have a 38 page strategic plan with both Mission and Vision Statements:

To strengthen the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation.

A nation in which every American benefits from arts engagement, and every community recognizes and celebrates its aspirations and achievements through the arts.

 Apparently Americans can't participate in the arts without a program funded by the federal government and communities can't celebrate their achievements using art without same.

Turns out, however, that there has been a private alternative to this bureaucratic, taxpayer funded nightmare for almost two hundred years.  Yup.  The National Academy of Design which is, thanks to the efforts of its board, doing quite well, thank you very much.  And, apparently, without using a single penny of resources seized from hard working Americans at the point of a gun.  (Hyperbole?  Maybe.  Try not paying your taxes for a few years and see what happens.)

You can make a donation here.  Unfortunately the donation is tax deductible.  I only mention it because it mildly contradicts my statement that they aren't using a single penny of public resources.   Perhaps that's a post for another day.

No comments: