Monday, February 14, 2011

What's the NEA got to do with us?

image from Creative Commons/flickr/deltaMike/Mike RenlundIf you're a culture lover, liker, or follower, you may have heard that members of Congress are yet again, seeking to dismantle the NEA and the NEH via massive budget cuts.

Again? PBS/NPR/NEA/NEH to be cut, slashed, eliminated? Why does this keep coming up you may ask?

Waaaaaay back in 1998 Dr. Cynthia Koch, formerly of the Penn National Commission on Society, Culture and Community, suggested that thinking behind it goes like this:
The philosophical differences between the two sides represent varying views about human nature and its relation to government. Endowments proponents generally hold modern liberal-moderate political views: minimal intrusion on the part of the state in private life combined with confidence in an activist government to guarantee individual rights and broad access to social goods such as economic, educational, and cultural opportunity. This view is opposed by many political opponents of the endowments, but by far the strongest opposition comes from Christian conservatives who advocate elimination of the NEA (and the NEH in the heat of the 1995 funding crisis) as part of their broader social agenda. For them individual rights and free expression, fundamental values in the liberal tradition, are radically at odds with a world view from an older ideology that sees human beings as basically flawed, their capacities for good nurtured only in the strict observance of Christian dogma. A government that fails to enforce these precepts is at odds with their deepest beliefs and must be changed. - Cynthia Koch, Associate Director, Penn National Commission 1998
Here are the San Francisco Mobile Museum, we have a fundamental belief that access to uncensored education and information are a basic right of being American, and that we are all fundamentally good.

If that jives with your world view, we'd like to encourage you to participate in our free society by letting Congress know what you think.


Image: CC/flickr/
deltaMike /Mike Renlund

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