Posted by Rojas @ 10:22 pm on January 18th 2014

Reality Check

The most insane political post of recent weeks must surely be Jed Perl’s in The New Republic, in which he decries the Phillistines who would refuse to keep the Detroit Art Institute open:

Itís heartbreaking to live in a country where art is expendable. I couldnít shake that thought the other day, after spending a long afternoon at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of this countryís greatest museums. Detroit, as everybody knows, is bankrupt, and the treasures in the DIA are by some peopleís reckonings assets that can be sold to satisfy Detroitís creditors.

The heartless “creditors” to whom he refers are, of course, the many thousands of retired or near-retirement public employees, whose pensions cannot and will not otherwise be paid.

Here is a city which cannot afford to keep its street lights operational and which has an emergency services response time of nearly an hour in certain jurisdictions. And this guy feels that the crisis of the moment is that the works collected in the local art gallery may have to be sold to other institutions and viewed publicly by people in other jurisdictions.

I wonder if it will come to this at the national level: if, as we descend into a situation in which medicare reimbursement ceases, care is routinely denied to the indigent, and social security checks go unpaid, there will be a class of progressive whose greatest concern will be threats to the federal NEA subsidy.

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