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42


THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 42, July 27, 1998

A Letter to Vin

Courtesy of Vin Suprynowicz
vin_suprynowicz@lvrj.com

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

Mr. Suprynowicz,

         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 there.
         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 be kidding.
         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.

Regards,

Ray Evans Harrell, artistic director
The Magic Circle Chamber Opera of New York, Inc.
mcore@idt.net

--------------------------- [reply begins] ---------------------------

Greetings --

         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 York, Inc."

Best Wishes,

Vin Suprynowicz

"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 England."


Vin Suprynowicz is the assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Readers may contact him via e-mail at vin@lvrj.com. 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.


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