As this book about culture policy goes to press in 1979, White House Conferences are being contemplated on three subjects related to its concerns-the arts, the humanities, and library services. The extensive process of collection opinions in order to propose national policies for the support of culture can involve states, local leaders, Congressional offices, thousands of official and employees of national cultural agencies, the philanthropic community institutions, and about two million Americans who artists, " scholars, and workers in hundreds of culture-related vocations. Beyond them are millions of persons who occupy their free time, leisure, holidays, and retirement with the substance of the arts and the humanities.
The cultural interests of Americans express themselves in voluntary pursuits that go beyond ordinary industrial and office activities. people must work, but they choose art. They choose to be creative. Creative talent has been of the greatest value to all leading civilizations.
One of the rudimentary lessons in understanding the arts is that they are constantly evolving, constantly engaged in a search for improvement. It was no surprise that, when asked to suggest answers, Alfred de Grazia came forward with questions. He is providing for contrasts common to the arts and is taking an artist's privilege.
One can discover few American political scientists whose writings carry as many hard answers as de Grazia's. His involvement in public affairs has been life-long and in many areas, ranging from psychological operations in three wars to innovation in modern societies. His present association with Cultural Resources is intended to bring to private support of the arts some of his cornucopia of policies, techniques, games, systems, and ideas that have gone into numerous other areas. He is a theorist who is capable and worthy of practice.
Sometimes a question can achieve more than an answer. John Dewey, the American philosopher, titled his pioneering study Logic: The Theory of Inquiry. Supporting Art and Culture: 1001 Questions on Policy is, in fact, an organized inquiry into matters deemed pertinent to the concerns of citizens who are seeking to develop a national policy for the support of culture.
An assertion is a policy prescription; a question is an invitation to thought before action.
A syllabus of assertions, no matter how tentative, may permit people who already have favorite answers to seek them out and dwell upon them indefinitely. It is likely to raise the hackles of others by a parade of highly controversial statements. Questioning, rather than answering is a way of pointing to otherwise insufferable realities and prospects. Questioning guards against leaping on the bandwagon of the conventional ideas so abundant in cultural affairs.
In this volume, Alfred de Grazia provides an instrument of thought and a method of raising awareness in cultural affairs. He avoids the advocacy of schemes but implies the need to investigate many problems and possibilities in culture support. Throughout his book runs the premise that there might be a rational method for arriving at a national policy for cultural support. Although the book does not supply the factual information required for policy-making, it does suggest the wide variety "
The absence of necessary information is deliberate and in most cases unavoidable. It expresses how little is known of what is needed. The expert will be jolted, time and time again, by a realization of his ignorance; nevertheless, on intellectual and philosophical grounds, he will do well to persevere with his reading. A collective discussion of the questions raised can lead us all to a better understanding of art and government.
Carl F. Stover
Cultural Resources, Inc.
PREFACE by Carl F. Stover
"Nor comes the Muse at the call of the savage Goth."
"I suspect, as indeed you seem to think yourself, that you are in labor-great with some conception. Come ten to me, who am a midwife's son and myself a midwife, and do your best to answer the questions which I will ask you.'
"What is the Answer?"...(silence)...
"In that case, what is the Question?"
Gertrude Stein (dying)
"One may ask a question for the purpose of obtaining an answer containing the desired content, so that the more one questions, the deeper and more meaningful becomes the answer; or one may ask a question, not in the interest of obtaining an answer but to suck out the apparent content with a question and leave only an emptiness remaining."
"Question tempt you to tell lies, particularly when there is no answer."
"Ask a stupid question and you get a stupid answer."