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Supporting Art & Culture
by Alfred de Grazia


Who Does (and Should) Decide Culture Policy and by What Methods?

Would it be worth while to have a research team examine the millions of lines of procedures, rules, and other agency actions contained in the Federal Register to assess their culture relevance and impact? (755)

Considering the different possible responses to our questions so far, does it seem possible to formulate national policy for culture support? (756) A policy that does not go in all directions at once? (757)

Are not the insistent pressures forcing themselves through at various points really the only method by which public policies are established? (758)

If agreed, what is the use of elaborating a "rational" logical national support-policy? (758)

Would it be best to give as little as possible to culture support, expecting that the pressures will break through at some point and more support will go there, and then repeat, and repeat? (759)

Could one list a single interest group whose opposition to a proposed national culture-policy would effectively veto its passage in Congress? (760) What major interests would be likely to be concerned (depending, of course, upon the scope and gravity of the proposed policy)? (761)

Are general biases evident in the questions of this syllabus? (762) If so, what are they? (763) How might they have been avoided? (764) Have these biases thwarted the development of your culture-support policy thinking? (765)

For what time period should a national policy for arts and culture plan: one year; five years; a decade; a generation; the new world of the year 2000; a scaling of all of these; a generation, with continual revisionary mechanisms; or what? (766)

Are we too far along to begin a national policy with a statement of ideals? (767) That is, would it be useful to begin by setting down what the ideal condition of American cultural activity would be, and then to shape the ideal according to the possible, which means the predispositions, abilities, and energies of the participating creators, the producers, and the consumers? (768)

What social elements-politicians, artists, businessmen, officials, etc. are bound to have some voice in the general formulation of a national culture-support policy? (768) Do you think any voice will be left out completely? (769)

Is it advisable to go to the entire nation in the first place, taking a representative sample and applying the interview-in-depth method to obtain personal cultural-behavior profiles and preferences? (770)

Might Congress consider or approve a general policy shaped by using only the (assuredly rich ) materials that a national representative sample survey of the people would provide? (771) What kinds of questions would such a limitation of materials keep form being answered satisfactorily? (772)

Would going to the leading social elements mentioned above answer the unanswered questions of the survey? (773) How would you go to them: by mail, by interview, by congressional hearing by administrative hearing, by seminars around the country? (774) How else? (775)

If these intermediate consultative, expert, and representative formation were to be employed, who should summarize and present their views to Congress: a special commission, generally resembling the intermediate formations and appointed by the President? (776) The Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities? (777) A special staff of the Federal Council? (778) A special staff of the Arts and Humanities Endowments? (779) The staff of appropriate committees of Congress? (780) Otherwise who? (781)

Since cultural policies involve billions of dollars of the GNP, of which a couple of billions are stimulated by government, and three hundred million dollars actually spent by government, is there any type of policy research that would be too expensive to undertake? (782) Is$1 million to little, being about three one-hundredths of one per cent (the nation as a whole spending several per cent of the GNP for research and development)? (783)

The 1001 questions in this syllabus (some of which should, no doubt, have been omitted and others added) are fairly evenly divided between questions of fact and questions of preference: what proportion of the factual questions do you feel cannot be answered in the present state of science? (784)

Are any of the questions of preference seemingly impossible to answer and, if so, is it (check one or more):

-- "Because I can't make up my mind?" (785)

-- "Because they appear to involve impossible contradictions with other questions?" (786)

-- "Because I should not answer them but should let others answer them?" (Like who?)


-- "Because if I say what I think, I will cause a furor?" (788)

-- (Any other reasons?) (789)

Suppose that the factual questions can be answered by well-established scientific methods, including a sample survey, do you think that having these answers would be worth half a million dollars, viewed in the light of an overall present government cultural budget of $300 million? (790)

Suppose that the questions of preference are answered in the following manner:

Half are answered plainly enough in a national public opinion survey (most answers have a statistical distribution profile, with form2 ("yes" or "on") to perhaps 12 breakdowns of meaningful responses); half are "unanswered";

a. Would you agree to putting the unanswered ones to numerous panels set up around the country, containing experts on certain topics and, on every panel, noted generalists as well? (791)

b. If these panels answered half of that number, might the remaining half be put to congressional committees? (792)

c. And if, of these, one-half are answered, would it be agreeable to turn over the balance to be answered by a panel of concerned administrators in the Federal government? (793)

d. Leaving some few finally to be answered by the legislative leaders? (794)

e. And by the presidency? (795)

Would then be the proper time to put the entire package through the formal legislative process? (796)

Remembering that on occasion an answer may constitute an avoidance of answers or may go off in a direction contrary to the other answers, do you think that the whole neat scheme might well be fractured somewhere along the line (797) and, if so, where is the trouble likely to arise:

1. From a struggle for partisan advantage? (798)

2. From elements of the press? (799)

3. From the television/advertising industry owners and managers? (800)

4. From political bargaining and pressures by local interests? (801)

5. From educators? (802)

6. From creative workers? (803)

7. From "slighted" coproducers of culture? (804)

8. From an entrenched culture-bureaucracy? (805)

9. From a constitutional incapacity of the government process to bring forth policy in this fashion? (806)

When all this is done, would you accept the policy as legitimate (807):

a. If you regard it as substantially right? (808)

b. If you regard it as substantially wrong and intend to oppose it? (809)

(By "legitimate" is meant that it has to be accepted and obeyed if properly legislated.)

Is there, in your estimation, some preferable way of arriving at a public policy for culture support? (810)

Who should jockey the whole process-administer it, time the pace, pull it in, stretch it out, edge to the rail, etc.: an informal committee of Congress (811), agencies (812), the presidency? (813) One committee of Congress (814), one agency (815) hired hands (816), an ad hoc commission (817)?

In the first place, who should determine the process to be followed, the "jockey," the composition of the intermediate elements, and the actual naming of the individuals to be discussants and respondents? (818) (Analogy or non-analogy: Who authorized and selected the framers of the policy known as the U.S. Constitution?)

Should the informal policy process team be made into a formal commission in order to submit its policy statement to Congress and the President? (819) Is it sufficient if the policy process simply evolves into the congressional legislative process? (820) Should the group submit a report or a bill, or both, or should it submit a report to the President and a bill to Congress? (821)

Whoever determines the weight of the elements of, and selects the individuals composing, the informal jockey group or commission will probably be the same persons who define the scope of the commission, still, what do you believe should be the scope of the informal group or commission-its purview of substance, persons, future time; its procedural methods, its calendar, its financing for members, staff, and research? (822)

Should it be a working commission, a publicizing commission, or both? (823)

In order of preference, from 1 to 6, whom would you most trust to determine (voting by preferential ballot) what art and culture forms from the Appendix are to be priority fields (if all cannot be equally supported:

1. A commission of active creators form every listed area? (824)

2. A group randomly chosen form among two dozen college and university presidents? (825)

3. A representative sample of all the people of the country over 16? (826)

4. A group composed of the producer association (or, in its absence, of the largest producer) in every area listed in the Appendix? (827)

5. All members of the House of Representatives (also voting by preferential ballot)? (828)

6. The appropriate committee of the Congress deciding in normal ways, without necessarily using any special method of rating such as the preferential ballot? (829)

7. A random sample of all persons in Who's Who in America that designate themselves as being active in one of the field of culture listed in the Appendix? (830)

Is there any program area of national activity with what you believe to be a reasonable (rational) policy; if so, what criteria have you used for your opinion? (831)

What would you advise if it can be shown, after four years of experience with the Comprehensive Employment Training Act (CETA), that the quality of the culture work and art that has come form the simple support of the unemployed is superior to that emerging form the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, etc? (832)

If a consensus (that is, near-unanimity among all involved) exists regarding the worthwhileness of a part of the policy, should that part be accepted without regard to its rationality? (833)

How many of your answers to the questions in this syllabus would raise the amount of governmental dollar support given to culture, and how many lower it, and by what amounts (very roughly)? (834)

Does the total suggest:

a. Overambition? (835)

b. Liberality? (836)

c. Over-reliance on money to get things done? (837)

d. Their opposites, (838) or

e. An approximation to even-handed, balanced judgment? (839)


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