Secretary of the Arts!?

Got this from a Facebook friend who will remain nameless — a Secretary of the Arts Petition:

To:  President-Elect Barack Obama

Congratulations and thank you for all you do.

Your good friend Quincy Jones said: “…next conversation I have with President Obama is to beg for a Secretary of Arts.” [November 14th 2008 WNYC interview by John Schaefer on "Soundcheck."]

We the undersigned support Quincy Jones’ plea.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Couple of questions from this antistatist freelance choir director. First, how good a friend of Obama’s is Quincy Jones — should that even matter? Second, if the National Endowment for the Arts hasn’t been destructive enough to the arts already, why add another paid bureaucrat to the Unitary Executive? Just throw more funny money at the NEA instead — it’ll subvert its stated mission sooner rather than later.

I don’t have the energy or desire to pick this apart rigorously; but suffice it to say that while I understand at some level the sentiment behind this petition, not only will I refuse to sign it, but I will forever refuse to fall in lockstep with artists who would use the coercion and thievery of the state to advance their cause “for the betterment of all.”

Is there a counterpetition? If so, I’ll sign it immediately. In any case, I hope that the president-elect ignores his “good friend.”

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3 Responses

  1. Well over 86,000 people disagree with you including myself. I lived in France as an Artist for 11 years. There was a right wing Minster of Culture and a left wing. They both advanced the cause for the arts. In France I was respected because I was an artist. Not so easy to say that here.

    I urge all of you to see the Petition and read the comments. http://www.petitiononline.com/esnyc/petition.html
    This movement is totally grassroots. There has been no major publicity… Every 3 seconds someone is signing this Petition. Please pass the Petition on and let the ARTS become important in this country.

  2. The belief that signing a petition will “let the arts become important in this country” is delusional. Far better to actually teach art to those who want to learn than to use force to rub people’s noses into someone else’s definition of art, whether it be a bureaucrat or some government-grant-leeching “artist” who uses money that was extracted from them by force (a.k.a. taxes) — those government grant funds must come from somewhere.

    If we cannot come to common ground, we will agree to disagree here. And I will continue to decry the indirect injustice of artists who steal by proxy.

    In any event, thanks for visiting. Let me know when the number reaches ten million.

  3. What this petition wants is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. It doesn’t matter if we “like” this idea of a secretary of the arts, the fact is, it has no place in a free society. Keep arts free, and out of the hands of government!!!

    Artists (musicians, dancers, actors, poets…etc.) are the biggest champions of individual expression and personal freedom I know. Yet somehow, they think it’s okay to create a cabinet position to impose their values on the rest of the country.

    This is no different from a nasty special interest group lobbying government to get some preferential treatment.

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