Friday, August 2, 2013

Socialism and State-Sponsored Art

An inevitable consequence of socialist logic is the belief that Mammon is the answer to man’s problems. This fact can be seen in the way socialist governments seek to solve virtually every kind of social problem. If only more money were available, if only there were more economic equality, we could solve all our problems. But money does not solve man’s problems. There are more funds available to the State now than at any other period of our history (due to the success, ironically, of capitalist enterprise), and we have more economic equality than at any other time in our history (due again to the success of capitalistic enterprise), but this has not solved our problems. Socialism has palpably failed to deliver the goods it has promised; indeed it has failed even to deliver the narrow economic benefits it promised to the masses. On the material level the extent to which modern Western society has these economic advantages is due entirely to the success of capitalism, not socialism.

Furthermore, the cultural progress experienced by the Western nations since the Reformation has not been the fruit of socialism, but rather the fruit of a Christian society in which individuals have been free to use their wealth in accordance with their own consciences. Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy said that “Were it not for the right of man to do what he liked with his property little would exist in religion, art, science, social and medical work today.” It was the work of the Church, Christian charities, private donations and endowments, and voluntary giving motivated by a Christian conscience that created the educational and medical services that so revolutionised the life of ordinary people in modern Western society. The State did not create these institutions; it merely hijacked them once they had been created by the Christian society of previous centuries. And once it had taken over the secular State systematically set about stripping these institutions of the Christian values and ideals that brought them into being in the first place. For example, under the control of the British secular State’s National Health Service, hospitals originally created for the saving of life have been turned into death factories by the practice of abortion, and the grim reality of modern medical practice under the guidance of secular ideals seems likely to get only worse as a result of the constant attempts of politicians to legalise euthanasia.

Requiring the State to fulfil our responsibilities for us has not solved society’s problems. Far from solving our problems the socialist State has exacerbated them. For example, the modern State, which seeks to control so much of our lives, is one of the worst vandals history has known. It squanders vast millions of taxpayers’ money on useless and destructive projects that contribute nothing to the betterment of human society and culture, quite apart from the millions spent on unnecessary wars. Nor is this the case only with the tin-pot socialist dictatorships that seem to be endemic in the Third World and that seem only to reduce their societies to ever greater poverty in what appears to be their mission the spread human misery as widely as possible.

Western States are equally guilty of waste and vandalism at all levels, whether it is funding the above mentioned dictatorships, spending millions of taxpayers’ money on computer systems that do not work or giving grants to students to enable them to engage in idiotic performance art. I am thinking here, for example, of an arts grant given to some students in the UK a number a years ago for a performance art project in which two hard hats were yoked together on the top by a short plank of wood. The performance of the art, for which the arts grant was awarded, consisted of two students walking around the streets of the city wearing these hard hats yoked together by the plank of wood. A local TV news programme carried the story. Similar examples of idiotic activities and installations masquerading as “art” and regularly sponsored by the State with taxpayers’ money could be multiplied.

Well of course, art is a necessary element of human life. In the most desperate of conditions men have shown themselves to be artists. Art is vital to culture. Of this there is no doubt. Of course mankind is created in God’s image and therefore creativity is at the heart of what it means to be human. But does the taxpayer really have to foot the bill for this kind of thing? Where art is not funded by the State this is unlikely to happen. Stupidity is not an art form. Where people are allowed to retain responsibility for the stewardship of the resources that God has given them they can choose not to subsidise stupidity and they can subsidise excellence instead. The socialist State, ever ready to regulate society in accordance with the wishes of those lobbying groups that can gain the ear of politicians and promise votes at elections, has been a poor and wasteful sponsor of the arts, and consequently has engaged in cultural as well as economic and military vandalism. The modern State is anything but responsible in its attitude to taxpayers’ money. Its record as a steward of society’s resources is one of the worst.

The Bible gives stewardship of the economic resources of society to the family and to the individual, not to the State. To insist that the State should usurp the role of the family and abridge the liberty of the individual by calling for the socialist organisation of society is rebellion against God.

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