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HAT Forum - "Is Art Important?"

  • The 519, Rm 303 519 Church Street Toronto, ON, M4Y 2C9 Canada (map)

With the election of Doug Ford's Conservatives, it seems likely that many of the government expenditures pertaining to the arts, secondary education and libraries will be targets for his "fiscal responsibility axe". We will discuss how we feel about public support of "The Arts" and what lengths we should go to to protect them. 

Some points to consider:

  1. Is art important? If yes, why? If no, why do so many people engage in it?
  2. Is art essential to a humanist view of the world?
  3. The poet Shelley has said: “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” What do you think this means? Is it true? For an examination of this question, check out http://betterlivingthroughbeowulf.com/how-poets-are-the-legislators-of-the-world/.
  4. From Charles Darwin: “If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.”― Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809–82
  5. Even if you agree with these sentiments that art is important, does it follow that one support government funding?
  6. Not according to Robert Heinlein: “Support for the arts -- merde! A government-supported artist is an incompetent whore!” ― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
  7. On the other hand: “To encourage literature and the arts is a duty which every good citizen owes to his country.” George Washington, President. (George W. Bush, John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama would have agreed with this point of view.)