This weekend is the annual Art Fair in East Lansing, a delightful time when the downtown streets are blocked off and given over to music, food and a staggering variety of art.
I'd bet that the exhibitors range from left to far left on the ideological spectrum, and yet here they are, competing for sales and offering their wares to the public. Many of them forbid photography - which seems rather greedy, doesn't it?
No doubt they'd rather have a grant, but I think that they derive greater pleasure from having people actually seek out and praise their work.
I suspect one of the reason public art grants produce such miserable art is that the creators are pissed off that they can't get anyone to buy it of their own free will. A guaranteed income is nice if you're doing drudge work, but for creativity, nothing beats actual fans of your creation.
Anyhow, as is usual in such situations, the crowds were well-behaved and the place was peaceful. This is because the people who show up share a common set of values, foremost among them a sense of order, respect for property and a desire to get along with others. There was obviously a fair degree of affluence, but given that the event takes place on public streets with no admission fee, a truer statement would be that people who tend to enjoy art fairs tend to be people whose other traits lead them to become affluent.
This dovetails with my esteemed co-blogger's previous post, which notes that the feds want to cram more public assistance housing into affluent neighborhoods. The stated reason is for equality, the likely reason is resentment but the theoretical underpinning is based on the notion that if disadvantaged people are dumped into an affluent area, they will take on the social traits of those around them and magically become affluent themselves.
This is long been an obsession of the left - confusing the signs of success with the success itself. For example, years ago a college degree was a pretty consistent indicator of future income and prosperity. The reason for this wasn't the degree, but rather the self-discipline required to earn it.
The left refused to accept that and instead proceeded to try to give everyone a degree - often encouraging unqualified people to take on ruinous debt in the the process.
The number of degree holder has increased, but now the degree is worth a great deal less. The days when "any old bachelor's will do" are gone - thanks in large part to the left's trying to ensure everyone get one.
An even clearer example of this is the participation trophy. Champions earn trophies because they posses the traits necessary to achieve excellence. Somewhere along the line, the left figured that it wasn't fair that only the best got them, so they began handing out trophies to everyone. "We're all champions now! Hooray!"
Of course no one bought into it, and it only cheapened the fact of the trophy. In fact, I'd argue that at least part of the increase in obesity is the notion that since everyone's a winner, no one needs to actually exert themselves. Time was that one fat kid who came in last place got a lot of abuse. Now he gets the same trophy as everyone else. Yay! Progress!
The left is working overtime to level us all, but the art fair shows the one place where they cannot succeed. There's no denying that some artists are making good money with their wares and others aren't. Among the artistic community, there may be support for welfare and every other leftist policy preference (lots of rainbow flags, natch) but when it comes to their work, it is jealously guarded.
Everyone knows who is popular and who isn't. The unsuccessful ones may resent their betters, but their real dream is to switch places. It's an essential part of human nature and I find it comforting that even in one of the most liberal venues one can find, the market and free choice is flourishing.