arts and
sciences
Do the arts and sciences depend on the *state? There
is no good evidence that there would be insufficient investment in the arts and
sciences if they were left to the *free market and *charity. Indeed, the arts
and sciences both began and flourished long before state involvement. And many
of the greatest scientists and artists in history did some of their greatest works
without state ‘help’, and even in the face of state *persecution.
The state often tries to jump on a bandwagon and take some of the credit, but
it inevitably crowds out the competing alternatives and so people cannot see
what best alternative would otherwise have existed (the *opportunity
cost). Thus even any occasional state-funded ‘successes’ will on balance be at
the expense of greater lost opportunities.

In
the unlikely event that the market and charity left the arts and sciences
languishing, there is nothing sacred about these activities such that they
axiomatically deserve to be funded by *tax-*extorting *money from people who patently do not find them worth
paying for in their current forms. In reality, state involvement results in *political
bias and *aggressive *monopoly replacing diverse and efficient free *competition
among would-be supporters and would-be practitioners. One cannot seriously
maintain, for instance, that new art has wonderfully improved since the Arts
Council of Great Britain (now of England) was formed (1946). A lot of it seems deliberately
to insult the public’s intelligence or values at the public’s *proactively
imposed expense. Contrast this with design, which has flourished almost
entirely on the free market.

At the *statist extreme, we see an atrophy of art and science
as they are perverted into little more than state *propaganda
and other purposes, as seen in the worst excesses of the old *totalitarian
*regimes
of China
and the USSR.
Art and science might sometimes have given the appearance of thriving under
political patronage such as in the Renaissance, though a lot of this was really
private or semi-private. But that cannot defend any extortion that paid for
this. And there is no reason to doubt that the richer people and richer
businesses that would have existed without taxation would have spent even more
on, and on a greater variety of, art and sciences.

A Dictionary of Libertarianism