Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Libertarians getting their wish?

By Mitch Johnson

Thanks to Ken for letting me chime in.

I read Dan McCleary's entry, and he might be happy to know that at least one fancy opera house that he eschews in favor of his favorite rock venues could be in trouble for lack of government funding.

This past week, the foo-foo frenchy music director, Gerard Mortier, dumped his impending directorship of the New York City Opera because he didn't have enough government money to play with. At his current gig, the state-sponsored Paris National Opera, the operating budget is $160 million. The City Opera, facing a $15 million deficit, is struggling to come up with a promised $36 million operating budget for next year and meanwhile has cancelled most of it's current season. The entire 2008 budget for the National Endowment for the Arts was $145 million.

While some readers might think any federal funding of the fine arts is outrageous, it should be noted that the US is nowhere as extreme as Europe. As an opera lover myself, I hate to see this "people's opera" facing such hard times but acknowledge that cutting arts funding from the federal budget may be warranted, especially with government spending reaching sickening levels. Love opera, love Paris, hate European entitlements and the entitled. It's a hard time to be an opera fan and a libertarian.


McCleary said...

Hey Mitch,

Somewhat apocryphal, but Ludwig von Mises is credited with saying that he favored privatizing everything except the Vienna State Opera. So you are in good company.

I have nothing against opera, and I know arts funding is a drop in the bucket. But as an arts fan, I feel the need to put my money where my mouth is, and say funding for the arts should not be a federal gov't activity.

Pedro Garcia said...

The NEA provides the Arts Industry with only 1% of its revenue. Why should the taxpayers spend millions of dollars on an industry that clearly does not need it? I explain this here:

The people should decide who succeeds or fails. If a particular Opera isn't generating enough interest, why should taxpayers have to keep it up and running? People should voluntarily support them by attending, no?

It's kind of like arguing that we should have given taxpayer dollars to MySpace. The people decided MySpace wasn't good anymore so they went to a better company. That's the way it should be.