Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

U.S. Should End Subsidies for Elite Counterculture

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

U.S. Should End Subsidies for Elite Counterculture

Article excerpt

When two former heads of a government agency say that their old agency should be abolished, that's news. Both Bill Bennett and Lynne Cheney have headed the National Endowment for the Humanities, and both are now calling for its abolition.

Others are saying that the National Endowment for the Arts should also be terminated, along with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which subsidizes so-called public television and radio.

If welfare is going to be abolished for the poor, then it should certainly be abolished for the affluent - and especially for the ungrateful and spoiled, affluent intelligentsia, who see their roles as insulting the public that pays them and trashing the society that protects their freedom. Subsidizing such pictures as a crucifix in urine or photos of gay sex in progress cannot be one of the most urgent uses of tax money, at a time of federal deficits and cutbacks in national defense.

"Public broadcasting" is another place where the counterculture has found a home. Now that they are under attack, the countercultural heroes are using Barney and Sesame Street as shields.

Hysterical cries that Barney and Sesame Street will disappear without government subsidies ignore the fact that Barney brings in a billion dollars a year in merchandise sales and Sesame Street $800 million. Somehow, those programs are likely to stay on the air, with or without the taxpayers' money. These sales revenues go to the programs' producers, rather than to the Public Broadcasting System, but that is because of sweetheart contracts.

The financial case for abolishing the twin National Endowments and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is secondary, however, for many of their activities are not merely wasteful but counterproductive and corrupting. What has been most corrupting is the attitude among intellectuals and artists that they are entitled to what other people have earned, not only in the absence of any public demand for what is being offered but even when there is public repugnance toward the "art" or "culture" that is being presented.

Leaving aside such deliberately insulting "art" as depictions of raw sex and placing the American flag on museum floors for people to walk on, virtually every city has its "modern" sculpture displays that were clearly never intended to please those who pass by but to express the artist's ego. …

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