A Letter to Vin
Courtesy of Vin Suprynowicz
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
Your article on the NEA is paternalistic and doesn't understand
the character of the Arts and their relationship to the minorities and
poor of this country. Often the arts have been the only way out of
the ghetto for minorities of every persuasion and monetary class.
America's greatest artists and performing artists have found this door
regularly when the other doors have been closed due to prejudice and
simple class bigotry.
Who are your people? How long have you been in this country? How
many generations? Why do you not know this history? You seem like
the ultra-liberals who cut out the competitive sports programs in
NYCity because they were supposed to foster aggression when in reality
they were the only way out for many of the most abused folks in the
Ghetto. In their secondary reasoning they closed the door on both
Sports and the Arts because the approved way was through Math and
Science. They didn't deserve these extra-curriculars because they
hadn't taken their 3Rs medicine.
The NEA has more than paid for itself in rural America as a
business opportunity and has served many of the poorest folks in ways
that neither government, with the possible exception of the GI bill,
or private business has been capable or willing to do.
Before you go shooting off your mouth and supporting a community
college historian who lies about American History, I would suggest
that you not embarrass yourself or your family by shooting from the
hip. Study, and learn. I am from that group that you spoke of, I
have lived in a trailer, and my wife is from Knoxville, Tenn. I am
from the Quapaw Indian Land in Oklahoma as is America's premier Native
American Composer Louis Ballard. Without the outside help, many of
those who have excelled wouldn't have. Proof of that is how few have
gotten out since the oil and lead and zinc has been depleted. The
kids are just as smart, the NEA money is just a trickle trying to
serve the needs of too many and the rest of the country doesn't care.
There is no profit in it for the market and so nothing will happen
So I would suggest that you consider the people who had the first
prima ballerinas in America. They proved that Americans could compete
as a culture with the rest of the world. I would also suggest that
you consider the people who have given America its only genuine new
musical art form (Jazz) and are now poised to rescue the poetry
connection in the country in the eyes of the rest of the world as
well. The former were Ballenchine's and Diagliev's Prima Ballarinas
who were American Indian and in the latter case I'm speaking of course
of the Black community. The community that filled the opera stages of
Europe after WWII while America still wouldn't go to the Bathroom with
them or allow them to sit on their sofas.
I would also suggest that you remember that extreme wealth has
not rescued the Arab Oil Potentates from their provincial and
barbarous reputation (whether deserved or not) and neither will
America's dominant society's wealth rescue them from their lack of
artistic productivity in the eyes of the world. To the Europeans you
seem like a good place to get movies and military hardware but nothing
serious. I know the Japanese feel the same (because I've done
business with them) and the Taiwanese as well with the Communists not
far behind on this cultural game. You give two pennies a day to this
situation and you complain as if you are hurting because of it. You
wouldn't give two cents for the American identity.
You're right about the sucking but it is not by the artists at the
government, but people like you at the artist's poor sagging dugs.
No number of pretty blonds chortling sweetly on the TV, from the Cato
Institute, about individualism, will change that. Come to the
reservation and learn about the individualism of poverty and no exit.
You would close another door? And for two pennies? Thanks a lot.
That is typical! Did I hear gambling mentioned? In Republican
Libertarian Party State Oklahoma? How about New York? You've got to
First defeat the Christians then the local businesses, then the
State governments and in some cases you would have a point, but you
guys cheat and you always have and probably will as long as the grass
grows and the water flows.
Ray Evans Harrell, artistic director
The Magic Circle Chamber Opera of New York, Inc.
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What the central government subsidizes, it will quickly politicize
and control. If you want to see where government subsidies for (and
thus, control of) the arts lead, look at painting, architecture, and
yes, even dance, under Stalin.
(No, I don't "give" two pennies to the NEA. Since money is
fungible, we could just as well say that every penny of income tax I
and 50 of my closest neighbors have paid in the past decade, has gone
entirely to fund the NEA ... and all against our will.)
Stalin poured lots of money into dance. So why did his dancers
keep defecting? Because they could only do it his way. Without the
freedom of expression, what is "art" but the decaying flowers in a
sealed and airless crypt? And once the politicians fund something,
why wouldn't they censor it to gain political points with various
loudmouth constituencies? They do it every time.
Members of any minority should be free to pursue any art they wish
... in the free market. Of course many have escaped the ghettos via
art. Hollywood is a classic case in point. True, blacks were kept
out for decades (which is pathetic), and virtually everyone except the
music composers was expected to adopt an anglo name. But in
Hollywood, talent could win out. Hollywood is a great example to the
world of the triumph of capitalist opportunity ... without
government "arts" subsidies.
On the other hand, the tax moneys used to fund the NEA are looted
from the paychecks of working men and women without their permission.
While that taxpayer might prefer to use that money to subsidize a
local blues or jazz club -- and the artists who seek to make a living
there -- his "pennies" will instead be used to fund some symphony or
ballet whose professional grant writers have managed to monopolize the
attention of the politicized grant-issuers in Washington, a
"government-approved" artistic endeavor that said involuntary
"contributor" may never get to see, or even want to see.
As to "how many generations my people" have lived in this country,
suppose you tell me how many it takes before an American citizen has a
right to express a political opinion on these matters. I didn't know
we had second-class citizenship for those whose grandparents came here
less than 50 years ago, or less than 100 years ago. Please do
explain: how exactly does this work? Shouldn't we tell people about
it, before they immigrate?
I gather your "Chamber Opera" is a recipient of some of the stolen
funds in question. Here is my advice for you: be more honest about
your chosen profession, and how it is funded. The next time you need
some more money for one of your worthy undertakings, don't enlist
anonymous bureaucrats in Washington to steal the money you need from
my paycheck and those of millions like me. Get a gun, come here,
stick it in my ribs, and try to steal what you want personally,
while telling me what a wonderful favor you're doing me.
I will then have a bit more respect for you, and that clearing
house for stolen funds you call "The Magic Circle Chamber Opera of New
"The right of self-defense is the first law of nature; in most
governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right
within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are
kept up, and when the right of the people to keep and bear arms is,
under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not
already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction." -- Henry St.
George Tucker, in Blackstone's 1768 "Commentaries on the Laws of
Vin Suprynowicz is the assistant editorial page editor of the Las
Vegas Review-Journal. Readers may contact him via e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org. The web site for the Suprynowicz column is at
http://www.nguworld.com/vindex/. The column is syndicated in the
United States and Canada via Mountain Media Syndications, P.O. Box
4422, Las Vegas Nev. 89127.