Supporting True Diversity in Public Education and Culture

December 15, 2002

by Bruce Walker

We conservatives complain bitterly about the abuse of public funds to support leftist ideology. Public universities are notoriously monolithic in perspective (they make CNN look positively open-minded). National Public Radio routinely tilts to the left, though coated with globs of ornate and pretended cultural icing. The National Endowment for the Arts seems to believe creativity only exists in offensive nihilism.

This is an old story. Franklin Roosevelt provided jobs to leftist and in those positions within the federal government in which creative license was important. FDR had the “Federal writers project” which allowed thousands of leftist and Marxist writers to get books published by taxpayers. The Federal Theater Project in the 1930s presented plays written by American communists. As actor Robert Vaughn wrote: “The curiosity is not that there were undoubtedly many Reds that made government their vocation, but that the entire Communist Party was not on the federal payroll.”

Huge private foundations, large and frightened corporations or government funds control nearly all the films, documentaries, college theater, music and arts courses, and most of the media. This public support for radical leftists, combined with huge private wealth used to buy off the left with entertainment calculated to outrage decent, pious and patriotic Americans has resulted in the almost total dearth of conservative film producers, documentary makers, photographers, and composers.

Conservative complaints about public funding of culture, art and education are simply unpersuasive to most Americans. Governments have historically funded public sculpture, theater, poetry, music and education. The real problem for us conservatives is that liberals have skewed the rules of government so that any conservative cultural projects are considered “violating the wall between church and state” or “imposing values on others” or other such rot.

While Republicans have majorities in federal and state governments, conservatives should demand equal treatment. We should insist that at least as many tax dollars be spent on art, education and culture that supports our values as are spent desecrating our beliefs. Free market instincts keep us from making this quite reasonable demand. “End public funding for the arts!” is too often our demand, when we should instead be insisting that government programs be split into two divisions, comparable to the ideological divide.

Let our agency - how about calling it “The American Culture Agency”- spend tax dollars to produce documentaries describing the depth of Soviet penetration of the Roosevelt Administration, or produce films that expose the anti-male bias in modern society, paintings that celebrate the Blessed Creator of the Universe, public television programs that explore the costs of environmental and other social regulation, and books that expose the judicial destruction of the constitutional rights of Americans.  

The amount of money required to genuinely revolutionize American understanding on a wide variety of issues is trivial compared with the oceans of dollars poured into “public” universities, national and state arts projects, PBS, NPR and the rest of this apparatus of propaganda. But we must be absolutely firm and resolute in our demands: equal distribution of these funds, with control of the “conservative” projects firmly in the hands of conservatives. No “balanced board,” which we all know will not be balanced at all. Give us, instead, all of our half a loaf and not a “compromised” part of a greater loaf.

We should do this not just at the federal level, but also at the state and local level. What could be done, for example, if the Great State of Texas (now controlled by the Republican Party) began producing these films and documentaries? What if the government of Texas nurtured and cultivated conservative homespun equivalents of Garrison Keilor?

The Government of Texas spent $55 Billion last year, with forty percent of that on “Education.”   If one half of one percent of the Texas State Budget were used to produce films, music, programming, and documentaries that counterbalance the hopelessly left-wing tilt of modern culture, America would reap a million fold benefit from this investment. Give leftists the same amount, so that they can crank out the same old tired junk. Just give us on the right a chance to make our case with art, culture and entertainment.

Suppose that the leftists balk? Suppose that in the federal government and in each of the several big states with complete Republican control of state government - like Texas, Florida and Ohio -Democrat leftists say “No! Not one penny for you! We will not subsidize your values!” Then we can say, “Then not one penny for you, either! We will support funding the arts, education, public television, public radio - we will even support a bit more spending - but only if conservatives do not operate under Jim Crow segregation and discrimination. You, not us, are afraid of art and of new ideas!”     


Bruce Walker has been a dyed in the wool conservative since, as a sixth grader, he campaigned door to door for Barry Goldwater. Bruce has had almost two hundred published articles have appeared in the Oklahoma Bar Journal, Law & Order, Legal Secretary Today, The Single Parent, Enter Stage Right, Citizen's View, The American Partisan, Port of Call, and several other professional and political periodicals.

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For more of Bruce's articles, visit his archives.

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