In any list of programs that could be easily cut without much disruption -- except to a small rent-seeking elite -- is arts funding. It cannot be argued as being essential to the functioning of society as in, say, infrastructure or courts, and a large share the benefits flow to the well-off.
Now in Canada, the Conservative government of Stephen Harper has come to that conclusion. In doing so, it has unintentionally exposed another reason to not establish such programs in the first place: To keep from breeding a rent-seeking constituency so coddled that its members aren't even good at whining. Reports Canada's CTV:
While pooping puffins and sweater vests have made headlines during this year's election campaign, Canada's arts community says one important issue has been conspicuously absent: arts funding.
So, frustrated with a lack of accountability over $45 million in recent arts cuts and a low profile for the arts so far in the campaign, theatre organizer Keith Barker decided to do something.
Last week, the veteran Toronto actor started a Facebook group asking for people "who believe in arts" to leave their photos blank.
This is so sad it barely merits comment (the implication that if you "believe in arts" you must necessarily support government arts funding is beyond tired), though I have to wonder: Why would these people think that anybody would care that they can't see their mugs?
The only sensible explanaiton is that to reinforce a sense of entitlement to arts funding, it helps to view yourself (or at least your likeness) as art. Call that a lame theory, but it's no lamer than this attempt at a protest. (Thanks to Neil Hrab for CTV.ca link.)