Luxury the city shouldn't provide | Letters | Dec. 18
December 18, 2009 · 10:17 AM
Alan Simcoe’s letter (“Art’s worth is priceless compared to commerce,” Dec. 11) responding to ours in the Review, calls for a response.
Art is unquestionably an economic product, meeting the two criteria for such: a demand for it and a limited supply. Millions are occupationally engaged in creating and providing art. It certainly is traded in commerce and commands a price, whether it be a Rembrandt or Bruce Springsteen performance.
Moreover, contrary to Mr. Simcoe’s assertion, it is a luxury, as defined in the traditional way of products consumed beyond food, clothing and shelter.
Yes, art has existed since the dawn of civilization. But, if anything, that proves our point that government isn’t needed to provide art. And yes, many governments, but not all, have and do subsidize art. But that doesn’t mean subsidization of art is a proper government function in a free society that recognizes each individual’s right to her or his own property.
The vast majority of art (including that contributed by us) is provided without government help beyond its essential role of generally providing security for person and property.
None of Mr. Simcoe’s points negates our point that government isn’t needed to provide art and that it is unjust for government to take the property of some to provide for the pleasure of others.
We’re glad Mr. Simcoe values art, as do we. But in our appreciation, we should not ignore art’s realities.