Capitalism will do more to create new artists than the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) could ever do to preserve art. Having said that, the left is doing its very best to portray President Trump as cruel and heartless for proposing to nix federal funding for both the NEA and the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) altogether.
Last weekend my wife and I attended a very prestigious art festival in Winter Park, Florida (Orlando’s Beverly Hills if you ask me). I was amazed at the level of talent on full display for everyone to see. Equally impressive was the size of the crowd. The venue was packed full of people willing to shell out their hard-earned cash to purchase exquisite art. Plenty of spectators like myself lined the streets as well. Oddly enough, the only thing that seemed to be missing were NEA collection plates and donation booths. Do you know why? The reason is simple – they weren’t needed.
As the Dailywire reported, “The $13.1 billion in private funding easily dwarfed the $292 million the government spent on the NEA and NEH in 2011.” Additionally, “the NEA and NEH are guilty of spending money on ridiculous initiatives, such as $47,000 on teaching children to laugh and $10,000 for a ‘Zombie in Love’ children’s musical.”
Obviously, $292 million is a lot of money. However, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what everyday Americans spend on their art – not to mention that much of the federal funding for the NEA serves as a slush fund. According to the Heritage Foundation, “one-fifth of direct NEA grants go to multimillion-dollar arts organizations.” In other words, politicians, congressmen and women, are hooking up their districts with pork barrel spending to keep their jobs and prestige in their communities.
The talent I witnessed at the arts festival was a testimony to capitalism. One of the artists that impressed me most hand-carved industrial style furniture with working gears and all. Even the bolts that held the pieces together were wood. Yet, they were made to look like metal. As God as my witness you could barely tell the difference. It was phenomenal! I’d never seen anything like it! This particular artist had traveled all the way from Illinois to sell and introduce his art to potential new clients.
There were probably a hundred different artists at the festival, all unique in their own way and all with something different to offer consumers. Original art had to be displayed, per rules of the festival. Therefore, the prices weren’t exactly cheap, yet still reasonable for what was displayed, if you can believe it. As friendly as the environment was, they were competing against each other for our dollars. All of the artists had business cards with their websites readily available in case you wanted a print (not original) or something produced within your budget.
This is a product of capitalism we all can enjoy – competition keeps prices fair for consumers like you and me, while the free market provides the artists with the opportunity to do what they enjoy and still feed themselves and their families. Ultimately, more creativity is beneficial to a society as a whole. The more product and services people create, the more affordable those products and services become for even the poorest amongst us.
Additionally, as best explained in the book “Understanding the Times” by Summit Ministries, “The free market preserves each man’s dignity by granting the individual the opportunity to contribute to the welfare of society.” How’s that for self-esteem?!
Here’s the bottom line: Except for building up a national military, whatever government can do, we can do better.