Sunday, November 13, 2005

The socialism of Art

Near the end of the nineteenth century, when the rest of the western world’s academics first began seeking ways to trade in the responsibility of individual freedom for bigger governments and existential despair, art was desperately struggling to resist the bureaucratic reach. Painter Edouard Manet and the poet Baudelaire resented the arbitrary and oppressive standards of official Paris Salon and started the Salon Des Refusal in protest. The uncensored Salon Des Refusal left the production of art up to the artists, and therefore open to greater innovations and competition. Napoleon III admitted that he could see “little difference between those pieces rejected, and those accepted” for the official Salon.

Traditionally the artist, the free thinker, creator always fought for their right to be the artists they chose to be, to support ideas they chose to support, and to form the types of expression that they were inclined to express, even if it wasn't mainstream or even socially accepted. These noble individualistic tenets to which nobody can form a credible argument against, based on humanity’s natural right to exist as freethinking and self-generating.

However, the artistic community no longer views the oppressive Salon as bad for art. In fact, like everyone else involved in a mixed economy they coo for its affection, believing it to be the only viable path in achieving their aims. And in following this tragic logic, the artistic community mistakenly links the lack of taxpayer support to the “inevitable demise of art”, and to their inability to freely create, even going so far as to claim the lack of funding as an implied censorship.

They’ve clearly deluded themselves into believing that the right to freely express, or more specifically the right to freedom of speech, entitles the means of that expression to be provided for. The artists right to public funding negate other citizens’ right to freedom of choice. Isn’t the negation of one group’s rights for the privilege of another group is immoral? The right to freedom of speech entails one only to the right of that expression without the threat of coercion. It doesn’t guarantee the means of developing that expression or providing the soap box on which to stand. The type of guarantee, and this is important, which provides the means to produce can only come at the expense of someone else’s natural right to exist as a free individual.The irony is that artists throughout history have always defended individualism. They were the first to know that only individuals could create, and the Salon’s approval or disapproval was inconsequential to the process. Instead the Salon was a repressive regime that only stifled art’s advancement. Artists had to be allowed to create unconditionally, but unconditional freedom can only come at the expense of unconditional responsibility.

But now artists, once again, have rejected the responsibility of being individuals, in favor of collectivist propaganda, believing that creation and production can only be achieved at the expense of someone else. It’s a creed that further erodes individual freedoms in all spheres of society, for their individual gains, a mixed economy creed that stagnates artistic development and alienates the art from the people that are forced to support it.Locally, the new Salon is the Alberta Arts Foundation. On its website it brags that “Albertans enjoy an enhanced quality of life through their opportunities to participate in the arts”, largely due to the 19 million dollars of support it receives annually from the provincial government.

It is a claim typical of all bureaucratic institutions, implying that art would not exist without their altruistic support. Whose quality of life is enhanced by the Alberta Arts Foundation? Has the life of the rejected artist that must sell more shoes, fix more engines, or wait more tables to support the government-supported artist been enhanced? Does his having to work longer hours for the purpose of supporting some arbitrarily chosen artist allow him to create unconditionally, or even enhance his chances of becoming a successful artist? Or does his coerced support rob him of the valuable time, energy and financial stability required to develop his own purposeful art? The enhancement of certain artists’ careers comes at the expense of other struggling artists, other working citizens, and art itself. The government forcing citizens to allot some per cent of their earned income towards artists that they haven’t chosen to support is intellectual tyranny.

Intellectual tyranny, or forced artistic support fosters the lethargy, ambivalence, and distrust that dominate the contemporary artistic scene and the general public’s approach to art as a whole. When support for a movie, book or painting is forced, resentment and distrust are far more likely to be the response than appreciation and excitement. Just ask any Soviet playwright.

And I know right now there are many still clinging to their collectivist doctrines crying that it’s society’s duty to expand the intellectual capacities of its citizens. In response to the immorality of altruism I’ll argue with a specific instance. Historically, the arts have mostly been the pursuits of the affluent upper classes. So why should the lower classes who have more immediate concerns, such as food, shelter, and education be required to designate any portion of their income to supporting productions enjoyed primarily by the wealthy? Is the lower income family’s consciousness expanded by their forced support of books they don’t read or by art they don’t appreciate, at the expense of their more basic needs? What type of morality is this?

The Alberta Arts Foundation is comprised of a four member executive branch and an eight member board that is essentially in charge of determining which artists, art institutions, and film productions are worthy of the province’s support, and which are not. Armed with 19 million dollars, this 12 person committee is responsible for determining the cultural path of over 3.5 million people. Is this type of prediction possible? What criteria is used to determine the worthiness of each artist? Is this subjective criteria dependable enough to forgo the rights of the rejected artists, and the province’s other citizens? Is it possible that art, culture, or maybe even all types of social planning are beyond the abilities of a 12 person board? And that the board’s domination of artistic standards, combined with coerced support for these standards only destroy the artist’s credibility?Ultimately it’s art that suffers. Designating portions of our incomes for the state-chosen purchase and production of art doesn’t culturally unite Canadians; rather, it alienates art and its community from everyday citizens who just might prefer the principle of choice.



At 9:35 PM, Blogger Aaron said...

Good argument.

At 11:07 AM, Anonymous small town sally said...

You're argument against taxpayer-funded art programs is right on the mark.

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Joe Green said...

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At 12:18 PM, Blogger Joe Green said...

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At 5:59 PM, Blogger angryroughneck said...

Joe you are certainly an interesting fellow, who has a lot of know-- no wait, just interesting. But let's start from the beginning.

What are "the unspeakable evils that Rand sanctioned" Marx fought for the slavery of man and rand fought for his rational right to freedom. You need to explain this complex accusation.

Comparing Galt to a failed inventor is interesting though I am unsure of how a struggling inventer constitutes evil? So what if she used an inventor as her inspiration for the protagonist.

How is Rand responsible for the "killing of tens of millions of human beings"? This is a serious charge and one that should be backed up with evidence. For instance X is responible for the killing of 50 million people, because.... Clearly you never learned this form of debate.

Marx and rand both discuss children, but that would require reading.

What does a pampered roughneck-- obviously you've never worked in the patch (unioninized postal warehouse work is a different type of hard-- and now I believe frustrating too!)-- have to do with the squandering of alberta's wealth. What does this mean?

Unemployment is anon existant problem. There is demand in highpaying fields across the board, the highest standard of living in Canada, highest per capita spending on social programs, the best education in the country... etc. What do you want-- a giant statue?

"Only one reality eat or be eaten" Or work to produce silly illiterate!... incoherent unsubstantiated babble!

At 6:05 PM, Blogger angryroughneck said...

PS Calling my wife a hypocrite would leave petty "progressive's" nose broken if he were to have the same discussion face to face. Please keep your attack towards the "pampered Roughneck".

At 3:21 AM, Blogger Clinton P. Desveaux said...

Joe Green wrote: Men are social animals, not solitary "individualists" like Polar Bears. And in nature there really is but one "objective reality" that is, "eat or be eaten".

This is horseshit and everyone knows it, I'm not interested in being a member of your tribe, even if that means you telling me at gun point. I was born free, I shall die free. The group I have chosen is that of my friends and family, now piss off with this mumbo jumbo!

At 11:23 PM, Blogger Joe Green said...

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At 11:43 PM, Blogger Joe Green said...

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At 11:55 PM, Blogger Joe Green said...

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At 12:06 AM, Blogger Joe Green said...

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At 7:58 AM, Blogger angryroughneck said...

Your inability to understand philosophical premises, historical facts and economics leaves you incoherent and unable to debate. In fact you are arbitrary.

For example I asked you to tell me why the protection of an individual’s right to be free thinking and self generating had caused widespread mass murder and chaos and you responded by calling Rand a Babylonian whore (who cares? Say it were true, what would I care? I judge rand according to the ideas she developed, not who she did or didn’t sleep with.) Your method of reasoning is incredibly shallow.

As close to evidence as you ever get, you associate Rand with George bush. Check you facts. Rand was vehemently opposed to Reagan for being a social conservative and so would she oppose to Bush for the same reasons. Plus she opposed every type of war-- Vietnam-- unless it was in self defense. She believed America should only exist as an example of freedom and this would do more to bring about cultural change faster than the gun could.

Fascism: When one seeks to control an individuals values through the threat of force. This is no way compatible with individual rights and I am at wonder about someone that cannot understand this.

You call me a fascist for defending the honor of my lovely wife and yet you end your attack by threatening to come up to Calgary and kick my ass. This makes me laugh, picturing you spewing hate filled attack towards pagan deities and free individuals. But trust me you wouldn’t want any part of that bus ride.

Dagnar? Who is this women? Some other Wiccan or Babylonian priestess that you fight against—worship? I don’t know. You and your deities are confusing. Dagnar? You should reread that booksleave again.

This is my favorite “[I Prefer Satanism to the bill of rights]”. You moderates are so progressive.

At 12:10 PM, Blogger Joe Green said...

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At 4:11 PM, Blogger angryroughneck said...

It is enlightening to hear your many rambling view points about polar bears, cubs, atheistic whores, babylonian priestesses, mammon gods, fraud inventors,bears with bad breath being shot by hunters but I am confused about what you are saying. You are obviously an articulate level 58 elf with witchcraft powers and am happy for your acheivement, but your Dungeon and Dragon prowess has rendered you functionally retarded in philosophy, history and economics.

Individualist philosophy is based on the tenent of "banning the initiation of force." The initiationof force-- is the fundamntal evil that exists in the world-- and capitalism is the economic system that makes the initiation of foece illegalas all contracts are voluntary.

Classic bait switch.. you have to be kidding me. people are free to read this and judge my attempts at intellectual manipulation, and they will see your hatred exposed for what it is.

A man that believes in nothing will fall for anything... and clearly you are falling, poor empty headed nilhist.

At 7:22 PM, Blogger Joe Green said...

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At 9:25 PM, Blogger angryroughneck said...

Don't keep me in suspense. What is the Grande Fraud? That you need fraud to acheive Utopia. I don't get it? How so? Why does my happiness depend on deception?

What are the circular arguments that make the grand deception possible. trace it out for me.Explain. Any idiot can call someone names, but here's your chance to prove your intellectual worth. Spell it out for me.

What is the circular set of arguments used to camaflauge the "grand deception" (that you can acheive "utopia" without fraud (the implication on your part being that fraud is a nesesarry for Utopia).

A clever cynic would look at your argument and laugh that this nesesarry fraud you need to acheive Utopia is God. How else is one to understand your argument.

You clearly state that fraud is needed to create Utopia (which Objectivism would denounce) and claim it as nesesarry for Utopia to exist.

Are you a doctor or do you just tend to speak for them?

Why do you assume I'm pampered and from Cowtown? You come off as border line insane with your nonsensical crusading intolerant medevil rants. I hope the rest of your church isn't this progressive and moderate.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Joe Green said...

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At 1:27 PM, Blogger angryroughneck said...

Joe, you sorry man. everyone can read this exchange and see how intellectually shallow and petty you are. Your lack of honesty and integrity is amazing.

I gave you a week to do one thing. You constanly rant about this circular argument based on a "grand deception" and I asked you to spell it out. Trace out the circular argument... demonstrate-- as opposed to the name calling. And you after a week of deliberation respond with "The Fraud of Ayn Rand is the same precise Fraud of Alan Greenspan, her mentor" ??????????????????

What is it? Don't you get it? What is the Grand deception you nitwwit.
You say Ayn rand is based on a circular argument. Do you even understand this accusation? Would a circular argument perhaps be saying Rand is based on Greenspan who is based on X who is based on Y who is based on Rand. Do you even read what you write. I feel sorry for your situation. Trapped by your limited abilities to think.

I am open to valid critisisms. I have read Brayden and have my own problems with certain objectivist aspects but you should be ashamed with the way you handle yourself through the mediums of slander and circular arguments. Joe you are the Grand deception

At 10:42 PM, Blogger Joe Green said...

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At 8:58 AM, Blogger angryroughneck said...

The Grand deception is that you acheive happiness without deception. That you need deception to acheive harmony. So in your mind deception is necessarry?

It makes little sense. Then why do you even care what the lie is if that's your logic. And why does my happiness depend on decieving someone? What is Bill Gates Deception?

As for living in the real world... I am not sure if you understand that Galt's perpetual motion was allegorical-- that she is not claiming it actually exists. In the same sense when swift was making his comments about the world in Gulliver's travels-- we never debated after the fact whether lilliputions existed or not. What about the Babylonian whores and high priestesses and the Goda of Mammon? Where is this fantastic real world you live in?

At 9:12 AM, Blogger angryroughneck said...

And Joe "Fuck off". This isn't very moderate. You are a man engulfed in contradiction and the results are extreme unhappines and frustration. I bet you cry after you beat your wife explaining why it was partly her fault that ithappened. "If you just wouldn't have disagreed with me then I wouldn't have got so mad. You know I cant think rationally when i'm mad" Poor ignorant violent Joe

At 11:05 AM, Blogger Joe Green said...

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