Is censorship of NEA inevitable?

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Nick Szabo

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Oct 24, 1991, 3:27:16 AM10/24/91
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In article <15...@princeton.Princeton.EDU> niep...@phoenix.Princeton.EDU (David Marc Nieporent) writes:
>In article <1991Oct20.2...@athena.cs.uga.edu> br...@castor.cs.uga.edu (DANIEL BROWN) writes:
>>I don't see why the hell I should be forced to pay for any work of art,
>>whether it is obscene or not.

>For the same reason you have to pay for schools, roads, or (for you
>libertarians who don't believe in any of those things) national defense.
>Because a majority of our elected representatives think it's worthwhile.
>It's called democracy.

By this reasoning, the censorship of NEA, schools, libraries, Usenet, etc.
is OK, if a majority of our elected representatives think it's worthwhile.
It's called democracy.

The U.S. also has something called the "Bill of Rights", see esp. the
ammendments regarding free speech and the establishment of religion.
The Constitution overrides majority rule, and we have a pretty strong
tradition of keeping the government out of endevours like art, literature,
religion, journalism, and the like. NEA is trying to break new ground,
and it is not clear that this kind of funding of a politically and morally
sensitive area can be maintained without censorship.

Here's just one example to chew on: can the NEA fund the sculpting of
a statue of the Virgin Mary? Assume it has strong artistic merit; at
least according to the authorities who decide what NEA funds. These
authorities state that the sculptor promises a stunning new twist on a
series of sculptures that have played an important role in Western art
through the centuries.

Is this a violation of the separation between Church and State? Should
a Jew or Bhuddist or atheist (or some Protestants, for that matter) be
forced to pay taxes for this sculpture? Should other religions get equal
time? Is it censorship to pass a law prohibiting the NEA from funding
religiously oriented sculpture?

What about "Piss Christ"?


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sz...@techbook.COM ...!{tektronix!nosun,uunet}techbook!szabo
Public Access UNIX at (503) 644-8135 (1200/2400) Voice: +1 503 646-8257
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Paul Campbell

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Oct 24, 1991, 9:03:34 AM10/24/91
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In article <1991Oct24.0...@techbook.com> sz...@techbook.com (Nick Szabo) writes:
>In article <15...@princeton.Princeton.EDU> niep...@phoenix.Princeton.EDU (David Marc Nieporent) writes:
>>In article <1991Oct20.2...@athena.cs.uga.edu> br...@castor.cs.uga.edu (DANIEL BROWN) writes:
>>>I don't see why the hell I should be forced to pay for any work of art,
>>>whether it is obscene or not.
>
>>For the same reason you have to pay for schools, roads, or (for you
>>libertarians who don't believe in any of those things) national defense.
>>Because a majority of our elected representatives think it's worthwhile.
>>It's called democracy.

Democracy is mob rule. If this were a democracy, we'd all be eating at
McDonalds, wearing penny loafers, driving Ford pickips and boozing ourselves
to death. You go on to recognize, I see, that the Constitution is meant to
protect minorities from the whim of the majority.


>
>By this reasoning, the censorship of NEA, schools, libraries, Usenet, etc.
>is OK, if a majority of our elected representatives think it's worthwhile.
>It's called democracy.

When I think of democracy, I think of two men and a woman on a desert island.
They take a vote to decide if the woman will get raped or not. You can guess
the outcome.


>
>The U.S. also has something called the "Bill of Rights", see esp. the
>ammendments regarding free speech and the establishment of religion.
>The Constitution overrides majority rule, and we have a pretty strong
>tradition of keeping the government out of endevours like art, literature,
>religion, journalism, and the like. NEA is trying to break new ground,
>and it is not clear that this kind of funding of a politically and morally
>sensitive area can be maintained without censorship.
>

If you were paying for something, and didn't get what you wanted, wouldn't
you be upset? What the government grants, they have the power to take away.
What they create, they have the power to destroy.
That's why here at the Frog Farm, we deal with RIGHTS that can't be taken
away without due process, as opposed to privileges that can be revoked at
any time.

>Here's just one example to chew on: can the NEA fund the sculpting of
>a statue of the Virgin Mary? Assume it has strong artistic merit; at
>least according to the authorities who decide what NEA funds. These
>authorities state that the sculptor promises a stunning new twist on a
>series of sculptures that have played an important role in Western art
>through the centuries.
>
>Is this a violation of the separation between Church and State? Should
>a Jew or Bhuddist or atheist (or some Protestants, for that matter) be
>forced to pay taxes for this sculpture? Should other religions get equal
>time? Is it censorship to pass a law prohibiting the NEA from funding
>religiously oriented sculpture?
>
>What about "Piss Christ"?
>

What about it? The government is simply using its stolen finances to throw
some bread and circuses to the masses. Do you think it's effective in
keeping discussion of our real problems out of the way?
True art is (or should be, in my humble opinion) a spontaneous expression
of the creator. I don't buy into creating great art by throwing money in
someone's lap, any more than I believe you can "establish justice" by
"leveling" everyone's income. Oh yes, try to make everyone equal and we'll
all be equal soon enough. All equally dead.


>
>--
>sz...@techbook.COM ...!{tektronix!nosun,uunet}techbook!szabo
>Public Access UNIX at (503) 644-8135 (1200/2400) Voice: +1 503 646-8257
>Public Access User --- Not affiliated with TECHbooks

--
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camp...@coyote.cs.wmich.edu V [opinionated bastard]
laissez faire, laissez passe | le monde va de lui meme
praetermitte res solum, persine bonus | mundus incendit solus
leave things alone, let goods pass through | the world goes by itself
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