by Mike Delaney
With the funding of the arts becoming an increasingly hot topic these days is it time for the arts community to take the matter into their own hands?
The ever elusive performance artist, actress and fashion designer Stephanie Shelly seems to think so and after hearing she’d written a manifesto setting out her radical views Mike Delaney decided to meet up with her in a West London cafe to find out more.
Author’s note: Stephanie agreed to do this interview on condition that it remained unedited and transcribed in its entirety. She does not believe in giving brief ‘pop’ interviews. I am am happy to honour her wishes and my only liberty has been to highlight what I consider to be her most lucid remarks – MD
Mike D: What made you want to write a manifesto on arts funding and would you consider it politics or art?
Stephanie S: Politics or art….. politics … or art…..hmmmm…. it’s fascinating how much art and politics actually have in common now that you mention it. They both deal with human perception of the world around us and both play with that perception with great skill. They manipulate it. They both use the stylised presentation of highly selective information to tell a story… a gesture, a feeling, a musical phrase, some mundane research data, a series of steps or a claim by some government agency or paid expert… it doesn’t matter, the results are the same in that it creates a narrative of some kind. Artists and politicians are both storytellers, and their success often relies on their ability to convincingly present their narratives to the public. Whether or not the narratives are the ‘truth’ isn’t usually what counts for most people ….. they just need to be convincing.
I remember hearing a writer once discuss the difference between writing fiction and non fiction books. He said he found fiction much harder to write because people demanded that fictional stories actually make sense and come across as plausible. In a similar way I think we are much more critical of the narratives presented in the arts than we are of the narratives presented to us by political people. And politicians have also traditionally enjoyed the luxury of a mostly compliant or even complicit mass media who help reinforce political narratives through unquestioning repetition. Still that’s all changing now with the internet… (laughs) What was the question again? Sorry, coffee does this to me…. Oh yes, my manifesto on arts funding….. more than anything else I would call it an act of philosophy, and by that I mean the artful application of reason, evidence and imagination. Call it what you will, I do not care! (laughs)
Mike D: OK. Right. So in this manifesto do you make a case for the value of the arts and the need for adequate funding, or do you go further and suggest practical strategies for actually securing arts funding?
Stephanie S: Oh I go all the way and propose the most practical of all strategies. (at this point she flashes me a devilish smile) I propose that the arts community grant itself the right to simply force the public to pay them whatever funding they need whenever they need it.
Mike D: No but seriously -
Stephanie S: Naturally you assume I am joking. I knew you would. But that’s because you’ve been brainwashed your whole life to think that using force against others to get what you want is always unacceptable. But what if it was considered acceptable? …. not always and not for everyone of course, but what if it was made acceptable for certain individuals in certain positions to just have their demands met, freeing them from the distractions of having to secure funding so they can just concentrate on getting on with the job, as it were? I mean, I’m just saying……they say rules are there to be broken and we must think outside of the box and things like that. I bet you’ve never even considered what I’m proposing before, have you?
Mike D: Well no, but it’s obviously a crazy and dangerous idea.
Stephanie S: Why?
Mike D: It just is.
Stephanie S: That’s not a good enough answer. You tell me why the arts community shouldn’t go out and just take the funding they so desperately need from the public at large. I really don’t mind you disagreeing with my proposal in the slightest, I just want to hear your argument that’s all.
Mike D: Well, for a start it’s completely immoral to take money from people by force.
Stephanie S: Ah, but what if it’s for a good cause? Doesn’t that balance it out? Isn’t the arts a good enough cause? You know as well as anyone the benefits to society of a vibrant and inclusive arts scene – lower crime, less stress and anxiety, better social cohesion, less violence and anti social behaviour, teamwork, collaboration and a happier, healthier more articulate and self confident society with a strong sense of social responsibility and belonging …. I mean the list of benefits goes on and on …. isn’t all that wholesomeness in society worth the use of force, if that’s what it takes to deliver those benefits?
Mike D: Look, it doesn’t matter what the benefits are. You can’t go around forcing the public to hand over their money!
Stephanie S: Why not?
Mike D: You just can’t, not even if you’re going to spend it on doing good. We can’t teach children that it’s wrong to steal and wrong to use force against others to get what you want, to then turn around and allow certain groups in society to do just that. Don’t you understand, the whole point of universal morality is that it’s supposed to be applied universally. You can’t be serious about this?! (she gives me a look which suggests she really is serious) And anyway, your proposal assumes the arts community would only take what they needed and only spend this money on worthy arts initiatives that really benefit society, but with a mandate to just take from the public, how would you stop them from taking more and more and spending it on plush new offices, company cars and ipads for all staff, all expenses paid conferences, ‘research’ trips abroad and bonuses all round?
Stephanie S: I can’t believe you’d suggest such an awful thing Mike. I’m shocked! You spend all your time hanging out with artists, directors, technical crew and other people in the arts world, you go around interviewing these kinds of people every week for goodness sake. Wouldn’t you say they are, on the whole, the nicest people you could ever hope meet? Don’t they work all hours of the day and night, rehearsing, auditioning, travelling, setting up scenery, lights, sound, making costumes? And didn’t many of these people start out working for free, just for the experience, while taking on second and third jobs to pay the rent? And don’t they all do it because they love what they do and because they’re literally devoted to whatever branch of the arts they’re involved in? Of all the groups in a society are they not the one group you could probably trust the most to take only what they needed and to spend it honestly in order to deliver excellence in their respective fields?
Mike D: OK I see where you’re coming from and in certain respects I don’t disagree with what you’re saying. But what you’re proposing is still theft, which is immoral and therefore totally unacceptable – end of story. But even putting that issue to one side, what you’re proposing is an idealistic and dangerous fantasy which nobody in their right mind could possibly take seriously. I can’t believe I’m even having this conversation to be honest. With all due respect Stephanie you’re deluded if you think people who have been granted the right to just take other people’s money by force and spend it as they see fit would not be corrupted by that enormous power.
Stephanie S: Do you really think so, or are you just saying that?
Mike D: Yes of course I really think so! It’s bloody obvious. I can’t believe you’re being so naive and so… so insane to propose such a crazy solution. I know times are tough but this proposal is just objectionable and absolutely mad. Not only is it immoral in the most fundamental sense, it would also kill the arts. In fact no, it would be even worse than killing the arts – it would neuter the arts and turn what should be a wild animal roaming free into an overweight, obedient, dumb pet kept permanently on a leash by its complacent owners and masters.
Stephanie S: But don’t you think if arts organisations had this power it would finally set them free from funding worries and funding limitations and who knows… with that kind of freedom they might be able to create a new cultural renaissance which would elevate all of society?
Mike D: It’s a wonderful idea, but it belongs in a fantasy comic book world full of altruistic ‘arts superheroes’ who we can all look up to and trust to always do good. In the real world it would lead to disaster, trust me.
Stephanie S: But how else can the arts world ever hope to compete with all of these dumbed down mass entertainments which are so much more cost effective – and profitable – and so much more suitable to today’s electronic media? I don’t see any other way for the arts to compete or even survive today unless they are prepared to assert themselves, even forcing their demands onto the public if necessary. OK so it may not exactly be the most ideal situation or a particularly popular strategy at first, but don’t you see that would be balanced out by the good work they would be able to achieve in society in return?
Mike D: Look, I share your frustrations, believe me, but the idea that if you allowed the arts community to forcibly extract whatever money they needed from the public and then spend it as they see fit it would somehow give them the extra freedom they need to achieve good things in society and spark some cultural renaissance is a misguided fantasy – a dark, twisted and dangerous fantasy! It’s just not how things would play out in the real world. In the real world the temptation to abuse that power would be far too great to resist. First it would lead to a little unnecessary spending here and there and then before you knew it you’d have new unnecessary departments and committees and think tanks popping up all over the place, and don’t forget with free reign to spend the public’s money it would immediately attract the worst kind of parasites and control freaks imaginable who would flood the arts world and weasel their way into all of the important positions. Anyone with any integrity or backbone who might ‘blow the whistle’ on all the wastage and corruption would soon be ousted and replaced or at least kept away from positions of power and decision making.
An entire hierarchy of dependents, of parasites, together with their obedient yes-men would develop within every arts organisation and a culture of ‘cheery complacency’ would soon prevail. They would make sure that the arts continued to function and deliver a service but only for the purpose of safeguarding their own comfortable careers and the comfortable lifestyles that went with them. And as a result they’d ensure the arts scene stagnated, yet remained forever upbeat, optimistic and self congratulatory. On the surface everyone would be ‘passionate about the arts’ but underneath they would be happy to see the arts become about as wild, unpredictable, innovative, exciting and challenging as an old overweight golden retriever with stiff legs and cataracts. Superficial innovation and novelty would of course be much encouraged and celebrated, if only to hide the underlying stagnation.
Stephanie S: Aren’t you being a bit pessimistic Mike? Surely the people who were really passionate about the arts would defend it from such corruption and stagnation?
Mike D: No I’m not being pessimistic I’m being realistic. It would quickly turn into an incestuous pit of corruption and wastage from the top down and the arts – and genuine artists – would suffer greatly as a result. It would be an unmitigated disaster. The trouble is that people who are genuinely passionate about the arts and willing to make sacrifices for it tend to not be very good at competing with a bunch of self serving parasites for positions of decision making and power – not when there’s a never ending free lunch on offer. Look, you just can’t give people free reign to take by force and then spend other people’s money – it’s immoral, it brings out the worst in everyone and it encourages nothing else but corruption, deceit and duplicity. Breaking basic moral principles is no way to go about achieving good in society. It never, ever works, for blindingly obvious reasons.
Stephanie S: So are you saying my proposed strategy is misguided?
Mike D: With the greatest of respect, yes I think it is. And that’s putting it politely. (we both laugh)
Stephanie S: Maybe you’re right…… In fact, I admit you’re right. Arrgh! What an idiot! It just felt like the right way to solve the problem …….. but you’re absolutely right, it’s insane. (laughs) It’s a recipe for disaster as you’ve so rationally and painstakingly pointed out …
Mike D: Sorry.
Stephanie S: No it’s fine….. shit, how embarrassing!
Mike D: Well I’m glad if I’ve helped to clear up your thinking. You know, I don’t have to publish this interview if you don’t want me too.
Stephanie S: Oh no but you must.
Mike D: Alright then, if you’re sure.
Stephanie S: Of course I insist…. it’s the truth ……………
(We continue drinking our coffees in subdued silence while I wonder what to make of this smart looking but clearly misguided woman. With most of her wavy brown hair pinned up and wearing a long green vintage dress under an equally long and elegant dress coat which she keeps on she looks as if she’s on a break from shooting some BBC period drama – a look enhanced by her comfy looking sneakers which are also covered in mud, curiously, considering that we are in central London. Just as I am about to ask her if she wants to stop the interview she starts talking again).
Stephanie S: It’s just so frustrating, you know? ….. Why does something so precious and vital as the arts always get so little funding? You write about the arts all the time, Mike. What would your solution to arts funding be?
Mike D: Well…. I’m not sure I have any magic answers I’m afraid. But I do think it’s important that every sector in the arts community – be it dance, theatre, film or whatever – makes their voices heard loud and clear and aren’t afraid to really put across the very tangible benefits which they can contribute to society. I also think the arts needs to think long and hard about how it rebrands itself. Branding is so important these days. And I think people in the arts are too afraid to be seen to be begging for public funding, but they should really think of it more in terms of selling the benefits of dance or theatre or whatever and getting the public funding which they so rightly deserve.
Stephanie S: So you think arts organisations should appeal for donations from the public directly?
Mike D: No I mean public funding from the government of course, things like Arts Council subsidies.
Stephanie S: Oh I see, so you mean government funding… it’s just that you said public funding.
Mike D: Yes but it’s public money. The government just decides how it’s allocated.
Stephanie S: Hang on, I’m confused. You’re saying it’s public money, but the government decides how it’s spent. Is that right?
Mike D: Yes that’s right.
Stephanie S: Well then, don’t you think it should be called government funding, not public funding? That way everyone will be crystal clear about who’s actually doing the funding. How does the government get hold of this money anyway?
Mike D: Through taxation of course.
Stephanie S: I see. Well, suppose I want to be able to decide for myself how I spend my portion of this public funding. What I mean is, what would actually happen if I chose not to give my money to the government to spend for me, but chose instead to spend it directly on the arts, as I saw fit.
Mike D: Well, you would get a letter from the government demanding payment. After that if you still refused to hand your money over to them voluntarily they would take you to court eventually. And they would use the legal system to get the taxes from you that way.
Stephanie S: Mike.
Mike D: Yes Stephanie.
Stephanie S: Are you telling me that the government will, if necessary, use force to make us pay them money?
Mike D: Well, I guess if you put it like that they do. But most people just pay it so they don’t need to use force very often.
Stephanie S: Yes but that’s hardly the point, is it? Either the threat of force is real and present or it’s not. I mean, if a man were to give me the option of either having consensual sex with him or the alternative option of him violently assaulting me and trying to rape me, you can hardly view the first option as still being consensual sex can you?
Mike D: Yes but it’s hardly the same seeing as how most people want their hospitals, roads and theatres funded anyway.
Stephanies S: So? That’s like saying that most women enjoy having sex with men anyway, so what’s the problem with bolstering that natural desire with force, just to make sure they never back out of it? Either force is part of the equation or it is not. Maybe the man is tall, dark and handsome and he pays for us to go to Paris for a romantic weekend. Maybe I am attracted to him, maybe I am looking for a relationship anyway. But if force – not just expectation or emotional pressure – but actual force is part of the equation it changes everything.
In the same way the option of paying the government money of your own accord when the only alternative is legal action, fines and bailiffs means you can’t call the first option a voluntarily transaction – even if you genuinely do want to financially support hospitals, roads and the arts.
For the payment of taxes to be classified as voluntary there would have to be, by definition, absolutely no negative consequences inflicted on your person or your property for not paying them. Or a more modern, formalised scenario would be to have a contract drawn up and negotiated by both parties outlining the various obligations for both parties such as I agree to pay X and you agree to provide Y in return, over a period of Z. And then, assuming the terms are mutually agreeable, that contract could be entered into voluntarily, by both parties. It’s fairly standard procedure for any transaction or working relationship involving huge commitments and colossal sums of money in a modern, grown up and free society, wouldn’t you say?
Mike D: Yes it is. Absolutely.
Stephanie S: OK. But this thing called ‘taxation’ which gives birth, shall we say, to this thing called public funding is the furthest thing from a voluntary contract between two grown up, respectful and responsible parties. Don’t you find it alarming that the organisation, funding and implementation of so much in society… education, healthcare, pensions, transport, infrastructure, trade, the economy and so on … should be controlled by a group who are legally entitled to use force against the public to achieve their aims, allowing them to operate with no specific contract, no effective means of negotiation, no redress, no balance, no fairness, no guarantees, no time frame, no other alternatives available to the public and with effectively no accountability whatsoever?
Mike D: Well, I guess, if you put it like that…
Stephanie S: Yes but I only put it like that because that is the practical reality of it Mike. Even if no one ever talks about it, that is the reality of the situation we are all in at the moment. If we don’t just hand over our own money to the state of our own accord for the state to spend as they see fit they will just come and extract that money from us by force……. which means it is no different to the strategy I was proposing earlier. You know, the one which you quite rightly pointed out was completely immoral and a guaranteed recipe for disaster…… well, am I right?
Mike D: Well OK, strictly speaking you’re right. But what….. Oh I see now, it was all a trap. Your proposal about arts organisations just taking the money they need by force – you weren’t being serious at all. You were leading me on. You were making a point. That was very sneaky of you…
Stephanie S: Yes! I made all that nonsense up just to make a point. Or rather I was letting you make all the points for me and explain to me exactly why letting a select group have the right to use force to steal from the public is immoral and always a recipe for disaster. I wanted to give you the chance to make all those arguments yourself, which you did very well I must say. In fact I couldn’t have made your points any better myself. And now that we’ve switched to talking about an identical scenario – only this one involving governments collecting money from the public by force – you’ve already pointed out all the reasons why this must also be a recipe for disaster too. The question now is will you try and take back all those valid arguments now that we’re talking about the state taking what it wants by force, rather than the poor old arts community? (Laughs)
You don’t mind being set up like that do you? I’m not just playing games, in fact I’m deadly serious about the subject – it’s a serious matter. This is about more than just arts funding as I hope you are starting to realise. It goes straight to the heart of all funding, all services and the very fabric of society.
Mike D: No, no that’s OK. I should have realised I was being set up. And I’ll admit it, I’m intrigued now. I can’t refute your logic -
Stephanie S: Who’s logic?
Mike D: Yes alright then, my logic… but I’m still not sure if you’re just being clever with words….. but sure, let’s carry on…… OK so I admit that strictly speaking the government does take taxes by force. But I don’t see where you are going with this. They need the money anyway to pay for things like the national health service and roads and of course to fund the arts, so does it really matter that much how they get the money they need?
Stephanie S: But you said yourself that taking money from the public by force is theft – ‘end of story’ – and that even if they insist it’s going towards a good cause like paying for healthcare or roads or the arts it’s still stealing which makes it fundamentally immoral.
Mike D: Yes but -
Stephanie S: And you also said that even putting aside the immorality of this act of theft, the very idea of any group of people within society having the right to spend everyone else’s money is always going to be a recipe for disaster. Didn’t you just say that a few minutes ago, Mike?
Mike D: Well yes but -
Stephanie S: And didn’t you say that having a system which is entirely dependent on a group of people having saintly honesty, integrity and immunity to corruption - despite having the mandate to just take other people’s money by force - was a delusional fantasy…. and a dangerous one?
Mike D: Well yes but -
Stephanie S: And didn’t you say that breaking basic moral principles is no way to go about achieving good in society and that it never works, for obvious reasons?
Mike D: Well yes but -
Stephanie S: And didn’t you say that such a system is ‘naive’ and ‘mad’ because any organisation with the right to steal and spend other people’s money with impunity inevitably, repeat inevitably, attracts opportunists and control freaks who would feed off that endless ‘free lunch’ like parasites, ensuring the complete stagnation of any organisation and the creation of a whole hierarchy of like minded parasites all helping to safeguard each other’s comfortable careers at the expense of true innovation, integrity and progress within that organisation?
Mike D: Well yes, more or less, but -
Stephanie S: But what?
Mike D: But surely governments are different?
Stephanie S: How?
Mike D: Well…… you can’t just abolish governments, can you? Who would run the country? Who would fund the arts!?
Stephanie S: What are you talking about, Mike? …. That’s like saying “we can’t just stop men from forcing women to have sex – how would babies get made? How would we survive as a species!?”….. Your brain is just making you say stuff to avoid acknowledging the uncomfortable truth that a government’s use of force to extract money from people is theft by any reasonable definition and immoral by any reasonable standard……. not least the definitions and standards by which the rest of society lives day in, day out…… the definitions and standards we teach to our own children from the earliest age….. and the definitions and standards which are reflected by Common Law. Can you see now why I set you up earlier? Otherwise you’d never have admitted all that you did.
You see, we all have this mental block when it comes to acknowledging the immorality and sheer stupidity of having a state built around its mandate to use force against the very people it is supposed to be serving! Whenever some other group in society attempts to grant itself the same power and behave in the same way as a government we spot it immediately and call it out for being completely unacceptable and unlawful behaviour. Yet we remain largely blind and dumb when it comes to the government itself.
This is nothing personal against all people working in government, not that I’m excusing any of them either – just as locking your door when you go to work is nothing personal against the all the people who walk past your house during the day, not that burglary can be excused either.
Here’s a riddle for you …… a criminal organisation uses force against the public in order to achieve its objectives, such as using force against the public to extract money from them. A government also uses force against the public in order to achieve its objectives, such as using force against the public to extract money from them. By what possible reasoning can one be a legitimate way to behave in society but not the other – when they are in fact both behaving in the same way?
Mike D: I don’t know…. people generally accept governments and the way they run society, I guess. Doesn’t that make it OK?
Stephanie S: I don’t know – you tell me (laughs)……. If a criminal organisation had ruled this island by force for centuries, encouraging the media, scholars, academics, industry, celebrities, charities to all get into bed with them – not least by letting them get their grubby paws on some of the money being continuously stolen from the public …. and if they’d gone as far as to take control of the education of all citizens for the first sixteen years of their lives, don’t you think we’d also have learned to accept a criminal organisation running our society? ….. Obviously they would have taught us to call them something other than a ‘criminal organisation’ (laughs)
Mike D: Fair point.
Stephanie S: But that public acceptance wouldn’t make it right or sensible would it? The fact is the terms ‘government’ and ‘criminal organisation’ are largely interchangeable in as much as they both easily fit the definition: a group in society which initiates force against the rest of society in order to achieve its objectives.
Stephanie S: OK so let’s say a criminal organisation takes over a society somewhere, starts taking half of everyone’s earnings by force, but provides some services in return. By your reasoning that would redefine them as a government, rather than just a criminal organisation…… I would say that’s just about right (laughs).
And anyway, many criminal organisations today do provide services in return for taking your money by force. They might provide your business with ‘protection’ in return for a monthly sum of money. The range of services on offer can often be quite extensive. Cheaper rates than government too. Less overheads. And criminal organisations aren’t usually that interested in telling you how to live your life or burying you in red tape or spying on your every move. Just as long as they get their money they let you get on with your life in peace. And when they fight their gang wars they don’t usually end up killing half the civilian population either, unlike governments. And they are much better at looking good in suits…
(we both laugh)
A government as we know it today is like a criminal organisation which has grown to unfathomable proportions and which has long since fought off, or incorporated, all rival criminal organisations to become the most successful criminal organisation in that area, with more guns, more fingers in pies and more stolen money than anyone else. This allows them to declare themselves legitimate and even declare their use of force against the people to be – uniquely in society – completely lawful and acceptable behaviour. And why the hell not?! They own and run the legal system. A law is by definition the will of the government backed up by the threat and use of force against you …… such as taking your property off you by force….. or locking you up inside a cage by force.
Only the most successful – and perhaps you could say the most unscrupulous – criminal organisations get to call themselves ‘The Government’. And from this point on they get to stamp out all other rival gangs and lock them all up in cages for being criminals! Quite some irony wouldn’t you say? This irony is probably why so few people can get their heads around what a government actually is. It’s like that thing with the strip of paper which is twisted so that it only has one side.
Mike D: A Möbius Strip?
Stephanie S: Yes that’s right. On one side is written the word ‘government’ and when you turn it over it says ‘criminal organisation’ on the other side. But when you actually follow it all the way round with your finger – symbolising logic here – you find that they are both written on the same side.
What makes it all so confusing is that a government uses things like its court system, laws and its police forces to catch and punish anyone else using force for their own ends. Governments help to uphold and protect people’s property rights and deter criminality… deter immoral behaviour. People like to have their property rights protected which makes them grateful for this service and they think the government is there to protect them, to keep ‘law and order’ and to act against immoral behaviour – all of which is true to some extent.
But hang on a minute! We’ve already established that governments also take money by force from everyone in society – which is immoral and a massive violation of everyone’s property rights. Do you see now why a government might want to enforce law and order, protects our property rights and stamp out any kind of organised crime?
Mike D: I’m confused.
Stephanie S: By keeping ‘law and order’ in society a government ensures no one else can compete with it in terms of gaining access to the wealth of the public. Through ‘law and order’ a government makes sure it remains the only significantly large and powerful criminal organisation of its kind in operation. If anyone other than the government tries to take money from the public by force they get thrown in jail by the state – locked up inside a cage! The public feels like they’re paying taxes to the government and getting their property rights protected in return, which is true on one level….but what is happening in the much bigger picture sense is that the government is protecting its monopoly on the right to violate the property rights of the entire population. Or you could say that by acting against immoral behaviour in society governments protect their own monopoly on the right to behave immorally.
And just as being the top criminal organisation allows you to rebrand your organisation as ‘The Government’ it also allows you to rebrand your own violation of everyone’s property rights by another special name too: ‘Taxation’. And as we know branding can make such a difference. (laughs)
If you try to extract money from the public by force it’s called theft or extortion or racketeering and you get thrown in jail – even if you’re offering the people you’re stealing from ‘protection’ and certain ‘services’ in return. But thanks to the power of rebranding when the government extracts money from you by force it’s called taxation, and when they offer you ‘protection’ and ‘services’ in return it’s called national defence, the police, public services, public spending, free healthcare, free education or whatever….. free wars …. free police state … free evil…. it’s all free thanks to the government’s kind offer to pay for it all using your stolen money….. aren’t they kind … and isn’t it a great system!?
And the more crime free – or you could say the more heavily governed – a society is, the more money is kept out of the black market economy – which just means the non government controlled and non taxed economy. The more money a government can keep flowing around in its own economy the more it can harvest in taxes- to the tune of hundreds of billions each year in the UK alone.
Mike D: But they do actually spend that money on public services and public funding of things like the arts.
Stephanie S: So what? Those are two completely different things! The first is the use of force to extract money from the public and the second is a bit of spending on public services. The first is somebody stealing your purse while you’re out shopping for shoes and the second is that person bribing you to not go to the police by buying you a pair of shoes. Does the fact that you were shopping for shoes anyway make that somehow acceptable behaviour? Of course not! And if you agree to this arrangement with the purse thief are you likely to end up with the kind of shoes you want, or even shoes that fit properly? No, of course not. Once you’ve agreed to his terms, is the purse thief going to spend as little as he can on shoes for you so he can keep the rest for himself? You bet he is!
Even though it should be perfectly obvious, most people just can’t recognise basic theft and bribery when it comes to the behaviour of the state. They lump them all together as one transaction – one arrangement – and pretend like it’s kind of OK by them. And they get so confused if you ever try and suggest the thief who steals their purse every time they go out shopping is in the wrong they think you’re trying to insist they live without shoes! (laughs)
Or in the case of the government, if you suggest taxation is immoral and a very bad idea they assume you mean having adequately funded hospitals, roads and the arts is immoral and a bad idea. But one has absolutely nothing to do with the other.
Obviously it makes sense for any government to plough a great deal of this stolen money – but by no means all of it! – back into society in the form of so called public services and public spending because as well as acting like a bribe it also enables the government to look after its human tax cows and so keep on milking them year after year. If the government didn’t plough any money back into society it would quickly start to break down, the public would get annoyed and would start withholding their taxes en masse so that they could start to re-organize society without a government at all. That would mean the government would lose their only source of income and power: our productivity….. the right to gorge themselves on the fruits of our labour ….. or to be more specific our collective consent to allow them to do so …..our acquiescence ….. our surrender to their threats and use of force.
Our relationship with the state is nothing like the fuzzy, half formed, nonsensical concept most people – especially educated people I have to say – carry around in their heads for the duration of their lives but never sit down for five minutes to actually examine. This relationship and the transactions involved can in fact be defined very precisely, but only when you stop using misleading words and phrases and start defining things using proper language instead.
The relationship is very clear. The government protects property rights within society, yet it also sits outside of the protection zone it enforces and constantly reaches in and violates those same property rights by taking money from the public by force. It uses some of that stolen money to provide us with shoddy and inefficient versions of the kinds of things we desire – such as education, healthcare, public transport, a functional economy or adequately funded arts, and for most people that seems to be enough to make them to overlook the absurdity of being robbed by force by an agency which is supposed to be serving us and promotes itself as being the epitome of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’.
It’s a triumph of propaganda and a testimony to power of group-think that most people never think to define, let alone question, the true nature of their life long relationship to governments especially considering the colossal transactions which go along with it. Most people would be outraged if a mobile phone company took money from them by force and then supplied them with a standardised phone and service plan in return…..and then started an expensive illegal war against another mobile phone company overseas and added those costs onto your next monthly bill…. and then announced it was going to have to make some ‘temporary’ cuts in everyone’s level of service because it had got into so much debt ….. and then started pepper spraying teenage girls in the face just for voicing their disapproval as unhappy customers. I mean come on!
We would all be outraged by this and would never tolerate it because we’re used to mobile phone providers not having a mandate to use force to get what they want. We’re used to being able to enter into voluntary contracts with phone providers and choose what provider, what phone, what colour and what service plan we like best and we are used to having some kind of customer service support which may involve queuing for hours on the phone but certainly doesn’t involve violence or incarceration if they don’t want to deal with your complaint.
Yet most people still won’t question their relationship with the state even though it acts in the outrageous ways I just described. We won’t question it even as we’re being made redundant, or having to lay off staff and cancel a tour, or look for another job, or sell our pets, or stop going out socialising or walk home every day to save money….. through streets filled with under educated kids and neglected pensioners, past newsagent signs announcing another truck load of stolen public money being dumped at the feet of criminal bankers or another illegal war being fought with more stolen public money.
Of course some people are now starting to get a bit grouchy about the whole thing – but what do they do? They petition the same people who are ripping them off and ask them for help. They write their demands on cardboard and wander down the street holding them aloft, in the hope that the criminal organisation running the country will see this and take pity on them and decide to change its behaviour – behaviour which has been going on for centuries now. Some people are even demanding that the government grant itself even more power to use even more force against us, in the genuine belief that this will help improve the situation. It’s absurd. It’s pure Monty Python.
Mike D: OK so it’s crazy, it’s wrong and we’re all idiots for falling for it. But isn’t it too easy to point fingers and criticise. Maybe this is the best system human beings are capable of building. How else might we organise society that’s better? And how on earth would we manage such a task?
Stephanie S: Well, one idea would be for us to move away from this state-monopoly-of-violence mindset and start to organise society – including the arts – around the concept of full property rights and a genuine free market and voluntary behaviour, rather than the current system which is based on limited property rights and a government’s monopoly on the legal right to initiate the use of force against everyone else.
By ‘move away’ I mean for the public to start to disengage emotionally, intellectually and practically from those parts of the current system built around the use of force and immoral behaviour and to start thinking about new ways to provide funding and support without the need for any threats or use of force whatsoever …. in other words without always turning to the state for help.
I understand this is a difficult and quite abstract concept to grasp – and there really are no established procedures. It simply requires imagination, abandon, a shift in attitude and some very clear thinking to begin with. This alone is enough to throw up new possibilities. As soon as you stop relying on old models of funding and support it’s all new territory. It’s all the unknown. Carrying on as before and relying heavily on the state for funding will not be new territory. There will be no new possibilities ….. the possibilities for help coming from the state will only continue to diminish. Why wait for the puddle to dry up altogether?
In any case, a free, voluntary, non violence-based society is not really such a new or difficult concept to grasp – it’s how most of us interact and do business all the time. But what stops us from having a free society is lack of consistency, and therefore fairness. Like you said, the principles of universal morality need to be applied universally, or else they do not work. If a free society is a ship it only needs to have one hole in it to fill up with water and eventually sink. It doesn’t matter if the hole is the size of a penny or a barn door. A government’s use of force against the rest of society is just such a hole.
The government’s monopoly on the legal right to use of force to get what it wants is like a spanner thrown into the works of an otherwise perfectly operational machine. A spanner which stops the whole machine from working…. grinds up its gears and shorts its circuits causing millions of pounds’ worth of damages…. a mistake so costly it eventually puts a factory out of business….. whereupon the staff lose their jobs, go home, hit the bottle, beat their wives, become a dysfunctional family, neglect their children, raise a generation of disillusioned, traumatised kids and on and on we go….. This is how we have gotten to where we are today.
The problem is not that we don’t know how to live in a free society – or aren’t willing or able to do so. The problem is that we allow a small group to set themselves up at the very centre of social organisation and go around massively violating the rights and basic morality on which our otherwise free society is based. To put it very simply: we’ve all agreed not to point guns at each other to get what we want, and we understand that this is a preferable way to behave, but we make one exception by allowing the government to point a gun at every single person in society to get what it wants. This is actually far more disastrous than a society where everyone agreed it was OK to point guns at each other all the time. In a society where everyone is free to use a gun to get what they want, guns would be seldom drawn. But in a society where no one uses guns except the government those government guns are inevitably going to be drawn all the time and permanently shoved in everyone’s face. That’s the situation we have today.
Freedom is achieved through a balance of power, and not by giving one group masses of power over the rest so they can forcefully keep everyone else in a state of equal powerlessness underneath them. That’s still an imbalance of power, isn’t it?! Freedom simply can’t be imposed and maintained from the outside and by unfair use of force in the way that governments are supposed to work. That would be as ridiculous as bombing a population and invading their land in order to liberate them. Can you even imagine such a thing?
In a free society all of your property, your money, your earnings would belong to you. All of it – to do with as you wished. Not all of it, minus that which the government takes by force. No, I mean all of it. Imagine that! Mad isn’t it?! And anyone could compete in the free market to provide you with the best quality or least expensive services in areas like healthcare, education, insurance or whatever. Rather than voting every five years for the government to get in again – either with their blue team or their red team but always with the same basic range of statist policies – people in a free society with a free market would instead get to vote with every voluntary transaction they made. The best providers of healthcare or schools or whatever would naturally tend to get the most business pushing up standards all the time.
Mike D: So what about the arts, how might they get the funding they need in a world without government taxation and government funding? I mean specifically.
Stephanie S: Well, it’s really an impossible question to answer with specifics. Go back in time and ask someone how we might specifically communicate with each other in the future if we ever stopped using horses and carriages. No one would be able to tell you. Or imagine a teenager living at home with their parents – let’s say they are dysfunctional and abusive parents. Does that teenager have to already know all the details of how they might support themselves, where they are going to live, where exactly they will work and shop for food and eat it before they can even consider moving out? No. The first step is to realise they need to move out and that they’ll be much better off when they do. Only then will opportunities start to present themselves and they can follow them step by step.
The idea that things must remain as they are because we can’t imagine in great detail how they could be different is ludicrous. No one can predict the future in detail. No one could have predicted the things which enable us to do the things we do today like ebay, youtube, or buying your groceries online, or personal computers, or combine harvesters or email. And in a truly free market brimming with innovation and with all of that disposable income no longer being stolen from us anymore and wasted on bureaucracy, green energy scams, banking scams and war scams who knows how we would be able to organise society and fund the things we cared about and actually needed?!
Maybe without government funding ticket prices would need to double or triple what they are currently, but maybe without a government stealing our money and throwing it at wasteful, inefficient and evil things we’d all have four or six or ten times as much disposable income. Who knows what life could be like?
All sorts of voluntary collaborative enterprises to fund and enable the arts would be possible and limited only by our own collective imagination and effort. The same applies now, of course, except that the interference of government taxation followed by government funding makes most people apathetic and creates a mindset of powerlessness, dependency and cynicism. After having had half our earnings stolen by force by the state it’s understandable that most people should then feel annoyed at the thought of having to also voluntarily support and pay for the arts with their remaining disposable income. It’s such an unbelievably demoralising system!
If instead we could actively choose for ourselves what our entire earnings were spent on we would start to feel that society was what we made of it – that our own spending decisions help to created the world we want – and that would be the truth of it. Without taxation, people might actually start to ‘engage in’ and enjoy the whole process of contributing to and inventing their own society – rather than feeling like they were always ‘having to pay for stuff’ like it’s all just another burden or imposition. Taxation by force, government spending, the so called ‘work ethic’ and ‘social contract’ … these all deter innovation and enterprise and prevent us from developing a sense of responsibility and community. And they certainly kill enthusiasm. In a free market there would be no limits to positive productivity. A society directly responsible for itself becomes a responsible society – and vice versa. This is all just basic psychology….. to go with all of that basic morality and basic economics. (laughs)
The only thing people wouldn’t be able to do in a free and civilised society is act like a criminals and steal money from other people by force to fund their arts schemes. Otherwise go for your life!
Mike D: Sounds fair enough.
Stephanie S: And you wouldn’t be able to get some other third party to act on your behalf and steal money from other people to pay for your arts schemes either.
Mike D: Sure. Like I said, that sounds reasonable.
Stephanie S: Yes it does doesn’t it …. but that’s exactly what we are doing today every time we as artists accept government funding. If you petition the government for funding you are in effect asking them to use force to steal money from other people and then give it to you, after they’ve taken their cut of course.
In a free society based on full property rights you couldn’t use force to get your funding, either directly by threatening someone with a hammer or via a third party agency who might threaten them for you with fines, jail or bailiffs. You could certainly try to use force if you wanted to, but in a free society people would no longer accept force being used against them to make them pay for your arts studio or touring company or exhibition or whatever. They’d just tell you to get lost! (laughs) More than that, they’d be perfectly entitled to whack you with a shovel if you came anywhere near them brandishing a hammer trying to get your funding by force!
Mike D: But maybe they’d want to help out anyway… maybe they wouldn’t mind if you asked them nicely to help you out a bit.
Stephanie S: Well that would make it a voluntary donation then wouldn’t it! I’m talking specifically about the use of force. It’s this grey area where people really need to get their thinking straightened out. Most people today think the government’s use of force against us to fund something like the arts – AKA ‘public funding for the arts’ – is acceptable and even a nice thing because the amount of money being stolen from each person to subsidise the arts is not very much anyway, and nearly everyone appreciates the arts to some degree even if they only go to a gallery or theatre once a year. And everyone realises the overall benefits of the arts to society blah, blah, blah….. so what’s the problem?
The problem is that when a society allows one group to go around using force to get money off everyone else it is, as you so rightly pointed out earlier, a recipe for disaster. It allows them to use that force for anything else they might also want to achieve – such as funding wars, lining their own pockets, favouring certain corporations with dodgy contracts or putting pressure on certain groups such as scientific establishments which now rely on government funding … the list is endless.
And before you know it they’ve used their right to initiate force not only to fund the arts and hospitals and roads but also to run up massive debts which collapse the economy, hand over trillions to their criminal banker friends, start expensive illegal wars, spend your pension several times over, expand the government into this big fat octopus interfering with every aspect of our lives, create a culture of bureaucracy, wastage, corruption, inefficiency and deceit and surround themselves with a high tech militarised police force wearing testosterone patches and armed to the teeth with all sorts of painful gizmos in preparation for the inevitable collapse of the whole immoral system and subsequent showdown when the public finally wakes up to what’s really been going on all this time while they were busy sipping white wine and enjoying their generously subsidised art exhibitions or just sitting at home watching ‘Strictly’ or ‘the News’ on one of the state run TV channels.
Mike D: Wow. I never really thought of it like that.
Stephanie S: Right. Because you’re not supposed to! …… Buckets and buckets of greasy propaganda and spin and un-think and lies have to be thrown at us constantly form birth to make the actions of the state ‘feel’ somehow legitimate and sensible… and to discourage us from thinking about the true nature of this relationship between ourselves and the government.
But all you really need to do just take a deep breath….. step back …….. and look at it again, and calmly apply a little reason and critical thinking to the known facts. The mere fact that the government doesn’t allow for any competition in what it does, doesn’t allow for a free market to act as a more sensible form of democracy than their one-party-split-into-two-teams political system AKA the ‘false left – right paradigm’ …… the fact that they must run everything through the use of force against the public … the fact that they seem completely blasé about murdering hundreds of thousands of civilians all paid for with money taken from us by force ….. these should all act as little clues that perhaps something a bit dodgy and immoral is going on and that maybe this relationship is a little unhealthy, unbalanced and out of control.
But most of the time we’re too overwhelmed by all of that propaganda …… by that relentless and never ending political narrative. Things like the ‘news’ actually keep us from ever thinking outside of this narrative. We are bombarded by this narrative, assaulted by it on the hour, every hour! There’s no escape from it. We are convinced by it only in the sense that we are overwhelmed by it. And it’s a narrative – a sales pitch if you like – where everything is set up as an over simplified or misidentified problem which can only be solved by even more government intrusion, more government power, more government force. Political debate is really just a heated discussion about which colour coded brand of force we want to be used against us. It assumes the use of force by the state is a given. It is like debating which type of blunt instrument you wish to be beaten with. People live their whole lives debating this without ever once questioning the wisdom of society being beaten by a blunt instrument. “Well of course under lead pipe in the 70′s things were much better, but then two by four got in and things started going downhill. Only baseball bat have the right policies to turn this country around…”
The power of this political narrative has nothing to do with it conforming to logic, reason, evidence, moral principals or common sense – it rarely does – it’s real power comes from the fact that we are all immersed in it 24/7 and swept along by it like fish caught in a fast flowing river. In the car we listen to that narrative, during our lunch break we read about that narrative, in the evening we sit in front of the TV with our brains slipping into an alpha state and let that narrative beam itself unchallenged directly into our subconscious. And then the next day at work or out with friends we repeat this narrative to each other, helping to reinforce it even more. We take on the mindset of this narrative as if it were our own. Even if we ‘disagree’ with what the government or the journalists or the pundits are saying we still use their terms and phrases and in doing so we all validate the narrative’s underlying premises – which are more often than not fallacies.
Our idea of reality soon becomes based on these fallacies, invalid concepts, fraudulent ideas, nonsense. And as a result we all lead each other around in circles. We all sit on the carousel ride of statist propaganda which we’ve all forgotten how to stop or get off. So we look to the government for help. But all they ever do is keep turning up the power – applying more force – which only makes it spin round even faster, causing us all to grip onto it even more tightly and be even more sick with nausea, anxiety and stress. Faster and faster it spins….. We can already see bits starting to fly off now. It’s already starting to break apart and it surely can’t last much longer…… You’ve heard of ‘preppers’ right?
Mike D: No.
Stephanie S: Oh well maybe look it up when you get home then…..
The ‘News’ is really just a form of theatre…. of storytelling. That’s all it is! The suits, the immaculately groomed presenters, the space aged TV sets, the flashy graphics and the dramatic theme music are all very domineering, assertive and authoritative. They convey the message “the narrative being presented here is very important and serious” It is one of the only forms of mainstream programming to use older presenters and keep them on for years or even decades. Perhaps this is so they become like the trusted leaders of the tribe, or like wise grandparents. We learn to trust them, to feel at ease with them. They wouldn’t lie to us would they? But all they’re doing is reading this narrative off a teleprompter anyway! They’re just being paid to tell us about all of the disastrous and evil ways our stolen money is being spent all around the world by the government - and they are paid to tell us without flinching, without laughing hysterically or bursting into tears ….. without even batting an eyelid, as if it were all perfectly normal and acceptable. Repeating the official narrative over and over without questioning it, or researching it for yourself and always with a completely straight face has been rebranded as ‘professional journalism’.
The ‘News’ is really not much different from any other sales pitch in that it’s a narrative constructed from highly selective information in order to create a subtle and persuasive justification for the product being sold – in most cases the product being sold by ‘News’ is the use of more government force against the people, either here or abroad or preferably both, usually involving the forceful extraction and redistribution of the public’s wealth and resources. Whether the problem is some tin pot dictator, criminal bankers, a flu outbreak or some underfunded provincial theatre facing the threat of closure the solution is nearly always the same – the government applying more force against the people. The only variation is the magnitude and directness of that force.
And so when a narrative which is essentially mad and totally obsessed with ‘fixing’ the world through state force and even state violence is repeated enough to become accepted as our consensus reality, we shouldn’t be that surprised when we end up with a world full of madness and violence …..a world so mad that if you ever start defining things properly using clear language and – god forbid – talk about things like humanity, property rights, evidence, rational principles, civilised behaviour, psychology and moral virtue in relation to state violence, theft, murder or war you are immediately branded a fanatical, idealistic, misguided, insane, irresponsible nutter……. maybe even dangerous.
You see, things like humanity, property rights, evidence, rational principles, civilised behaviour, psychology and universal morality are just not included in the official state narrative. How could they possibly be a part of that narrative when the state violates or disregards all of these things?! And this is why you will never, ever hear these hugely important subjects being discussed on state controlled TV programmes like the ’News’ or on ‘Question Time’ or being discussed in the classrooms of state controlled schools. Never!
Mike D: You’re making too much sense. This is all so true. They never discuss those things. No one does.
Stephanie S: Yes, I know! (laughs) This is the reality of statism – the reality of giving one group the power to use force against everyone else indefinitely in order to help ‘run things’ for us. In an immoral system like statism all intelligent discussion about morality is dropped. It has to be. Basic morality is replaced by the idea of respect for the law – in other words, obedience to the state. Another thing missing from most discussion is reason and evidence. Which make determining the truth impossible. Reason and evidence is replaced by reasonableness and propaganda – in other words conformity to the official narrative…. resulting in a society which conforms to the official media manufactured consensus world view, but couldn’t rationally tell you why, not using reason and evidence anyway. And certainly not using morality as a guide. This unthinking conformity is known as ‘group think’ … or the ‘hive mind’. This is what happens when a government can force whole populations to be subjected to their education programs. The most irrational and immoral people in society are often the most educated by government institutions… they are the most heavily indoctrinated.
In a statist society it’s perfectly possible to go through fifteen years or more of government education programmes from primary school right through to university and come out still unable to define what a government or taxation or money or the law or moral virtue actually is. I mean how to define them in terms of reason, evidence and universal principals ….to come up with true definitions. State education only teaches us to think of them in terms of the state narrative. A narrative of irrational obedience and conformity.
But you wouldn’t expect children to be taught about these things properly by the state – just as you wouldn’t expect a car salesman to teach the art of canny salesmanship to a customer while he sells him an overpriced old banger.
In the end it is our own state of mind – our own state of being – which creates all of this. Governments and all of their dodgy shenanigans are really only a symptom – or projection – of our own deranged state. Our deranged state creates the government … the government then indoctrinates our children with a load of nonsense … our children then grow up, like us, to accept and perpetuate the ridiculous statist society, only more so… Someone at some point needs to start to break free of this cycle. And I think it’s our attitudes which need to change first, if we want to try creating a more interesting and enjoyable society. That’s all it takes to get the ball rolling. You can’t stop an idea who’s time has come!
Of course, we don’t have to change ….. we can just carry on as we are if we want… keep protesting, keep moaning, keep voting, keep watching the news, keep offloading responsibility for the condition of society onto a bunch of politicians and asking them to steal our money and then spend it wisely for us… (laughs)
Just think Mike, how eloquently and rationally you yourself reasoned the ludicrousness of it all. You quite rightly tore my mad and dangerous proposal to shreds just by recognising the most fundamental moral principles that theft is wrong and initiating force against others to achieve your objectives is wrong, as well as being just about the worst way to go about trying to solve anything. But then you had difficulty, or maybe you resisted applying the same clear thinking to governments who quite clearly do all of these things as well. Namely, they use force to extract money from the public and they spend it as they see fit. But it’s only natural. There’s so much indoctrination for us all to overcome.
For example, earlier you asked “Without a government, who would run the country?” Do you see how that assumes the country is being run perfectly adequately at the moment? …. It’s a bit like travelling back in time to hear someone acknowledge that owning human beings as slaves is indeed immoral, but then going on to say that the practice of African slavery in America is somehow different and that you couldn’t ever abolish slavery in America because it would just be too impractical. The hundreds of thousands of freed slaves would suddenly have nowhere to live, no jobs and no education and most importantly if you abolished slavery in America “who would pick the cotton and build all the railroads!?”
Mike D: OK. Point taken.
Stephanie S: You also asked “Without a government, who would fund the arts?” Again, that also implies the government is currently coping well with the task of funding them. But I thought the whole point was that they are not! They never have if we are honest. A significant amount of arts funding now comes from the National Lottery which is just another form of unofficial taxation…. or government theft of prize money. They’ll be taking away half our christmas presents and selling them on ebay soon to help pay for this wonderful ‘public funding’ service they provide for us! And now they’re set to make more huge cuts for many years to come which will have devastating consequences for individuals, organisations, the arts and society as a whole. And if you believe the current cuts will be as bad as they get, think again. Remember government narrative about “green shoots of recovery” back in 2010? Nice convincing image, but pure fantasy. The truth is that the whole system is collapsing……. as all systems which are built around fundamentally immoral behaviour such as theft and violence are prone to do.
In reality the taxes that are taken from everyone these days probably don’t even cover the loan repayments to all the private banks the government has borrowed from – by force and in our names. And the new loans being taken out today are really just a way for the government to force future generations to pay them tax right now in this moment. It’s future generations who haven’t even been born yet who are going to be forced to eventually pay off the loans being taken out by the government right now. Do you see how giving the government the right to use force against the public to achieve its objectives even allows them to steal from the unborn?! BUT THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LEGITIMISE THE USE OF FORCE AGAINST THE PUBLIC BY A SINGLE GROUP SUCH AS A GOVERNMENT. THEY TAKE THE BALL AND THEY RUN WITH IT!
Now…. while the system continues on its accelerated slide into oblivion one strategy available to arts organisations is to do all that self promotion and rebranding crap (laughs) – sorry! – while continuing to tug on the government’s sleeve in the hope that they will throw a few more crumbs from their giant banqueting table your way. This strategy might work up to a point and they might only cut your crumb allowance by 17% instead of cutting it by 22%. But it’s all a bit desperate and tragic if you ask me, especially when you take a step back, take a deep breath and consider where a government’s priorities really lie and just how far down the government’s list of priorities things like funding of the arts really is.
Mike D: How far down are we?
Stephanie S: Let’s just say it’s not a good position Mike. Not good at all. (laughs) For example banks have been bailed out to the tune of tens of trillions. For them getting funding is not a problem. They don’t need to brand themselves nicely, they don’t even need to ask nicely or prove how they are benefitting society. The fact is they should all be in jail! But governments are so loyal to the banks they don’t just give them money, they also choose to borrow money from them – on our behalf of course – at interest when they could just as easily create it themselves interest free. That little favour ends up costing the public billions in interest – the equivalent of all arts funding many times over no doubt.
Another example….. the UK’s basic membership of the EU cost’s about £50,000,000 a day. The EU serves no purpose except as a vehicle for centralising even more power in the hands of a few and consolidating nations to create an even more efficient and easy to manage human tax farm. Kind of like those mega farms where the cows just stand on giant indoor conveyer belts instead of hanging out in open fields. And guess where the money comes from to pay for this upgrade of the human farm? Without the government’s ability to use force to extract our money and spend it as they wish there would be no EU sucking £50,000,000 a day from our bank accounts. We’d choose to spend it on something else.
Another example …. Fighting an illegal war in Iraq – a war proven to have been based on the government telling lies, or rather, creating a convincing narrative in partnership with a compliant and complicit mass media. This war is estimated to cost about about $3000 a second. That war has been going for nearly a decade now. You do the maths. And that’s not to mention the incalculable human and environmental costs of a war like that which will be felt for many generations to come. And once again, without the power to take money by force, print money out of thin air and borrow money from private banks on our behalf Blair and Bush, acting as chief sales reps of the government, would have had to have done what everyone else in the real world does and ask us for funding. That’s right ask .. not take! Like everybody else in a grown up, free, law abiding and civilised society they would have had to present their respective cases to the people they wanted to provide them with funding back in 2003 – namely us, the public. Can you imagine if we had actually had the power to deny them that funding – which is our money after all? Can you start to feel just how civilised and sane the world would become if people actually took back their full property rights so that nobody – not even the government – could steal anyone else’s earnings by force?
People make such a big deal over having the right to protest against their government or the right to free speech, but all we really need is the right to NOT have our money taken from us by force by the government to be spent by them as they see fit. After all it’s our money! Without the automatic right to steal our money by force a government would have to come to us and make their case for us to provide the money they want to spend. As happens in the rest of society, negotiation could take place at this stage and a voluntary contract be entered into assuming an agreement is reached. No need for any placards or tear gas…..
I mean, can you just imagine the conversation?
“Me and George think Saddam has WMD’s and we think it would be a good idea for you guys to start a war with his nation – so we’d like to present our case to you”
“M’kay…. just out of interest, would you be coming too?”
“Nah, I’m gonna stay here actually. I was really hoping to send mostly teenagers and young men and women to be honest. But I would like to drop by from time to time with a film crew whenever it’s safe to do so”
“And who’d be paying for this war, Tony?”
“You would be silly”
“Well, how much would a war like that cost?”
“Oh not much”
“Well how much?”
“Oh about $3000 aharemr”
“$3000 a seh ahem”
“What was that last bit again?”
“$3000 a second. Look, before you say anyth- “
“A second! $3000 a second!? A you fucking crazy?! Do you have any idea what else we could spend that kind of money on? Do you have any idea how hard people work to get that kind of money together?”
“Yes but it’s split between everyone – America’s in so they’ll pay most of it – anyway think of it as an investment”
“Well what would the public get out of such a huge investment?”
“Well…. a million dead civilians including dead children and women, a shattered nation, hundreds of thousands of dead soldiers, a global reputation for being a war mongering empire building bunch of bullies, a bunch of returning vets, many of whom will have PTSD, depleted uranium poisoning and be missing limbs so they might require expensive medical and psychiatric care for the rest of their lives and they might not be able to work full time, or at all, ever again, an environmental catastrophe on an unimaginable scale from all of the depleted uranium weapons which will last for hundreds if not thousands of years causing endless birth defects in the native population and the children of returning vets and other stuff like that”
“I’ll be honest, it’s not sounding like a particularly attractive investment”
“Yes but we think he’s posing a credible threat to the west”
“Well can’t we talk to him, find out what the matter is and sort it out peacefully? Maybe he needs help of some kind”
“No. He’s a tyrant and the only way for peaceful, civilised, developed nations like ours to deal with tyrants like him is to invade in the middle of the night, smash up his country, kill everyone and then kill him and then built loads of military bases there and refuse to leave”
“Are you sure, that’s the right way to go about it?”
“Yes hurry up and give us the funding we need, if he attacks us we’ll only have 45 minutes to run for cover”
“I see. Do you have any hard evidence to back up these claims?”
“We’re confident that we’ll find it -”
“DO YOU HAVE ANY HARD EVIDENCE TO BACK UP YOUR CLAIMS, LIKE NOW?”
“Well, not right now but -”
You see, people say that war is inevitable. But war is inevitable only for as long the governments are allowed to continue to steal our money by force and spend it on whatever they want – such as going to war. If governments had to justify going to war to the people and if the people had to make the decision to literally transfer the money from their own bank accounts and take out the loans for themselves, and for their own children to pay back, then there would be no war. And people would say that peace was inevitable, if for no other reason than that war was too damned expensive and that no one was wiling to stump up that amount of cash……..and they’d be right!
War as we know it today is just a by-product of fiat currency and bank loans taken out in our name and paid back by this thing known as taxation, which are in themselves all a by-product of a government’s right to use force against the population to achieve its objectives. The cost of war is hidden through debt and inflation and spread out over generations. It is felt by the public as a general lack of prosperity and lowering of living standards rather than an actual bill landing on everyone’s doorsteps with ‘war costs’ written at the top.
Mike D: I’m getting confused. What has all this got to do with arts funding again?
Stephanie S: Because not only does this right to use force against the public end up destroying the economy, demoralising society, causing perpetual wars which slaughter millions and destroy the environment, it also means there’s never enough money left over to fund the flipping arts!!! It means the standard of living is always being lowered, offsetting any natural rise due to new innovations, new technology and more efficient means of production. And whenever a statist society’s prosperity does increase, the government – with its right to take the fruits of all that prosperity by force - just keeps on growing and growing and growing as a result. Why wouldn’t it?
This is why for centuries, as we continue to make technological and social advances, the majority of us remain just about able to keep our heads above water and pay our taxes – but not much more. This in turn means the public always ends up relying on the state to fund everything, which of course only justifies more force being used by the state against the population. And round and round it goes….
Without all the unnecessary wars of the last century – and they were all unnecessary if you actually research it, by which I mean they were all provoked and manipulated into happening - and without all of the other insane government policies which destroy society and suck it dry, we’d probably all be working two day weeks by now in a highly cultured and prosperous society and no doubt we’d be all going to the theatre every night – and we’d have probably evolved society beyond having governments at all.
But instead of that, because we allow half our wealth to be stolen by force every week, we are still being impoverished and traumatised by wars…. generation after generation the trauma continues. This collective trauma helps to keep society as a whole exhausted, meek, depressed, angry, violent and generally dysfunctional as well as economically devastated and therefore unable to rise above the continued slap in the face and knee in the stomach of government rule through force.
Given that these people with the right to use force against the public AKA the government, and all the invited guests who get to sit at their big banqueting table AKA the banks and corporations … given that none of them show any care or respect for human life, for the lives of children …… the lives of babies! ….. for the life of this planet ….why on earth do we assume they care a stuff about the arts? And why do we keep turning to them for support?
Mike D: But at least the government does fund the arts to some extent, they must care a bit or they’d give no money at all.
Stephanie S: I actually disagree. Throwing some of the money it steals from the public back in the direction of the arts – and it really is just crumbs from the table – is a visible gesture which helps support this narrative about governments being there to help. It helps to convince most people that the theft of their own money by force does good in society and is therefore acceptable and legitimate. If the government didn’t throw some money at the arts or healthcare or the roads they would just be this really annoying group in society who went around stealing everyone’s money by force to spend on guns or pass around among their banker friends.
Also government funding of the arts enables the government to control the arts to a certain extent. If you’re a theatre or gallery or youth project relying of government subsidy you’re hardly likely to bite the hand that feeds you.
Governments have to steal their money from the people – it’s their only source of income. And in order to maintain this source of income it’s essential that they justify in the minds of the people the continued taking of that money from them by force. The working class gets welfare and the middle class gets arts funding. But when you think about it, governments don’t really provide any of these services or funding anyway.
Mike D: Don’t they?
Stephanie S: No silly. We provide it. We pay for hospitals and theatres and infrastructure and signposts, and we staff the hospitals and theatres and factories and drive the busses. It all comes from us anyway. Governments don’t actually make any of the money which they spend do they? They just act as the middle men. The only people who actually make money or make things or have proper jobs or do anything worthwhile and productive is the public.
When we look to the government for funding what we are actually doing is validating, justifying and perpetuating a fundamentally immoral and ridiculous system whereby in order for the public to spend their own money on the things which benefit and enrich their own lives a group of people called a government must first steal that money from the public by force and then spend it as it sees fit, apparently by second guessing how the public would have spent it themselves, had it not been stolen from them in the first place by the government.
(we both laugh at this for quite some time)
Mike D: It does sound a bit mad when you put it like that.
Stephanie S: But even that mad scenario is the very best case scenario, the ideal scenario. That’s how the system is supposed to work, it’s how we are taught it works in school – although not in such plain terms of course. This is the deluded fantasy scenario we all naively believe in.
Mike D: Fantasy scenario?
Stephanie S: Yes the fantasy where the people in government who have access to half of everyone’s income forever and ever and ever are so nice and kind they only ever want spend it in ways which benefit all of society and never to just benefit themselves or their friends. That is the absurd assumption inherent in statism. That is the trust we must, by definition, place in governments every time we allow them to steal half our wages by force and spend it how they see fit. It is no less deluded and naive than setting up a bank account and putting £1000 of your own money into it and then giving some random person in the street the card and PIN number and saying “Take this card and spend the money in this account in ways which benefits all of society. Spend it in ways I would approve of! Only take for yourself a fair amount for your own expenses. I trust you completely, now off you go!”
Except of course a random stranger is far more likely to be morally virtuous and socially responsible than some Bullingdon Club old Etonian who’s been brought up through the ranks to sit in a position of power in a government to be told what to say and do by his puppet masters and criminal associates.
Stephanie S: I’m just saying how it is Mike. Just think….. all of that mayhem, murder, corruption, theft, misery and bullshit just to save us from what? ….the inconvenience of ‘having to decide’ how we spend the fruits of our own labours and to save us from ‘having to organise society’ according to our own values, tastes and desires! Call me crazy but the thought of actually being able to collaborate with others to run your own society the way you’d like it to be sounds like an awful lot of fun to me…..(sighs) ….. But we’re all taught in schools that without governments to act like mommy and daddy we’d spend all of our pocket money on crisps and scratch cards, get into fights all the time and end up with dirty hospitals, overflowing bins and no running water.
Mike D: But seriously, wouldn’t that be a danger?
Stephanie S: Sure if governments disappeared overnight. But only because governments teach societies to live as dependent children – in fact they insist on it! – they absolutely rely on us being irresponsible, dependent, helpless, demoralised and confused. Only in this debilitated state do we accept having our lives run by an authority who use force against us.
Or you could turn it around and say that it is our immature and irresponsible mindset which has created this authoritarian parental statist society. When people act like naive, helpless, irresponsible dependents usually someone comes along, sees the opportunity and takes advantage, don’t they?
The more helpless and dependent we become, the more government can justify using force to run our lives and if we don’t properly understand the government’s exploitative and parasitic nature, and the situation as a whole, the more likely we will just accept it …. this in turn makes us even more helpless and dependent and round and round it goes….
For example it’s really not in a government’s interests to actually help the poor actually escape poverty or help to eradicate the causes of violent street crime … but it certainly is in their interests to help the poor remain poor, help society to function despite violent street crime and to generally throw lots of stolen money at these ‘problems’ in ineffectual or even counter productive ways. Doing so helps to create a permanent underclass living on state welfare programs which in turn justifies the state existing and stealing money from everyone by force and redistributing it. Street crime justifies more police and CCTV. It also keeps everyone indoors every evening out of fear where they are more likely to spend all evening dumbing themselves down watching TV…. watching the ‘news’ or some political debate where we see a broad range of people – who happen to all be statists – argue about how the state should best spend our stolen money – but never whether or not they should steal it from us in the first place! (laughs)
An ideal society would, by definition, require no government to force them to pay for stuff and respect each other’s property rights and generally get along with each other. Is it any wonder that governments seem incapable of ‘fixing society’ and only seem to make matters worse ….. resulting in the justification of greater expansion of government, greater use of force and greater theft of money. It’s called Problem – Reaction – Solution. The government needs social and economic problems in order to justify its existence. It’s not in a government’s interests to really solve any of these problems, only to offer perpetually ineffective ‘solutions’. That’s a massive conflict of interest.
Wherever government interferes and ‘helps’ the most, that is usually where society is most dysfunctional, unhappy and trapped. That is because the only ‘help’ a government can really offer is using force against everyone – which never solves anything and only makes things worse! ….. As you said yourself.
I’m sure there are many well meaning people working for the government and for government funded initiatives, some of which might achieve some positive result in isolation. But overall, a government as an agency relies on society being largely helpless, divided, in fear, in ignorance and thoroughly dependent on the state … It’s no different to how organised religion used to operate before scientific advancements made religion too unworkable as a system of rule, a criminal business enterprise and a convincing narrative for the people …. so statism took over. Now we practice consumerism and worship celebrities. Same taste different flavour. Sure, if governments disappeared overnight there would be chaos. Absolutely! But that says more about the disastrous effects of statism on society – about our unhealthy relationship with the state, with ourselves and with each other – than it does the about our true potential to live as a free society.
If someone dares to suggest moving away from a government run society most people immediately gasp with shock and say “But who would run the country? – it would be chaos!” But it’s worth pointing out that even if we got rid of governments overnight and then got so drunk on our new found freedom we irresponsibly gambled half our money away until the economy collapsed and then took out massive loans we can’t afford to ever pay back and spent the money on tanks and land mines and stealth aircraft to fight each other with …. and then if we kidnapped each other and tortured each other in special torture camps we’d also made secretly …… and if we proved to be absolutely rubbish at providing a decent education for our own children or healthcare to the elderly or funding for our own arts …. and if people were being stabbed in the streets and we all lived in a perpetual state of fear and anxiety to the point where half the population was on brain medication to stop them from throwing themselves in front of trains or having panic attacks or cutting themselves ……… even if all of that happened and more ……. we’d still be no worse off that we are currently with governments running society.
(lots of hysterical laughter from us both)
Mike D: Oh Stephanie that’s brilliant. I’ve got coffee up my nose.
Stephanie S: It’s true though! …… But seriously, what would YOU prefer – running water, excellent healthcare, a vibrant arts scene, a decent bin collection service and clean and cheap public transport system ….. or having to live in squalor with permenant toothache, drinking water from puddles and sitting around a camping stove for warmth in the evening playing a broken guitar for entertainment?
Mike D: The first one obviously.
Stephanie S: Right! So, given the choice, if there was no government – which would also mean you’d have a LOT more money at your disposal – wouldn’t you choose to spend your untaxed disposable income in ways that made sure those things you valued still existed? And wouldn’t everyone else do the same? And might we all be able to do it a lot more efficiently, wisely and imaginatively than a bunch of crooked, or at best hapless, politicians sitting in a parliament and completely under the thumb of even more crocked big business and other elite interests ever could?
Or think of it this way. How much time living in squalor with no amenities, no power, no internet and no healthcare and no decent arts would it take before a population got so bored they started to organise, collaborate peacefully and productively and provide themselves with all of these things? A month? A week? A day? Five minutes? It’s just a hypothetical example, but you see my point?
Or think of it this way… Would you rather spend X amount of money funding expensive illegal wars that kill innocent children or spend it funding the arts or a new youth centre or anything else that’s nice?
Mike D: I’d prefer to spend it on one of the nice things of course.
Stephanie S: Well I’m sorry to have to tell you but at the moment (she speaks through gritted teeth) because the government steals your money by force you have no choice in the matter.
You see, that X amount of money – your tax money – is right this second being spent to help blow the arms and legs off some child in Iraq, or Afghanistan or Libya or maybe helping to blow up her mother instead…..
That is the reality of statism. If you support or justify government taxation by force you are, by definition, supporting that kind of behaviour. You may not like it – but you are. If you pay taxes to the state you are enabling that kind of behaviour – you’re literally paying for those things to actually happen in real life! What counts to the children trying to survive in those illegal war zones is not what you say your political, moral or spiritual views are, but how your money is actually being spent.
The government does not pay to kill hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq or Afghanistan or Libya … YOU pay for that to happen. Tomorrow while you are busy at work the government will place your hand onto the barrel of a machine gun, which you paid for, and help you to squeezes the trigger, so that you end up firing bullets, which you also paid for, into a crowd of civilians in some market somewhere.
Statism uses violence against you to convert your productivity - through taxation – into violence and bloodshed somewhere else in the world… and if it carries on no doubt that violence and bloodshed will come back home to us before too long. It usually does. Perhaps you will care about it then, when it is too late to do anything about it. Meanwhile, your taxes continue to convert your labour into duck houses, into luxury flats overlooking the Thames for inept, corrupt and morally bankrupt politicians, into private jets and security for war criminals, into ipads for the members of the House of Lords, into seven course meals for unelected Eurocrats during conferences, into homeless families being forced to live under tarpaulins in Afghanistan, into pure evil, into death, into dismembered body parts and pools of human blood in the streets.
War is very, very expensive. Without access to your money governments would have no means to pay for such evil. They could ask you nicely for the money, but of course if they asked you for the money they’d have to tell you what it was for and if they did that you’d refuse to give it to them…. as would 99.999% of the rest of the world’s population. So instead they take it from you by force. They take out loans in your children’s names. They suck it out of every transaction we make. And we allow it to happen.
Mike D: That’s horrific when you put it like that.
Stephanie S: Yes it is monstrous. Statism is absolutely monstrous. Once you really see it for what it is it should make you physically sick. I mean it! Government’s are monstrous by design. It’s nothing personal, you could fill governments with fluffy bunny rabbits and it would still be a monstrous system. One day funding and supporting governments will be regarded in the same way that supporting slave ownership or the KKK is regarded now – something to be thoroughly ashamed of. My question is: why wait?
Not that long ago, slave ownership was seen as socially acceptable … can you imagine that? It’s hard to comprehend isn’t it? And one day in the not too distant future people will look back at 2012 and they will find it just as hard to comprehend how on earth we ever came to regard the government’s use of force against the population as justified, acceptable or legitimate ….. or even the cornerstone of a free society. They will wonder how we could actually bring ourselves to vote for these people and wave flags for them and cheer and treat them like celebrities – or at worst, hilariously mock them in satirical TV shows like it was all a big joke. And they will wonder how we were able to do all of these things even as the dead bodies piled up all around the world and the lies and crimes and corruption of political people was being exposed to us in virtual real time.
Some people ask how we can get political leaders more involved in promoting and sponsoring the arts….. but shouldn’t we be asking how we can keep them further away? Are we, as artists or arts organisations, that morally bankrupt that we see nothing wrong with seeking the patronage of thieves, cheats, liars and war criminals? Are we really that desperate for funding?
Or is it that we are now so compartmentalised in our thinking, perhaps thanks to the mainstream media, that we can no longer make the connection between things going on in the world and things happening in our little comfortable spheres of existence? Have we really lost the ability to see beyond the surface of things… to abstract… to think critically… to use our own imaginations… to judge morality for ourselves? Are we now totally OK with letting the corporate mass media and a bunch of political people set our moral and intellectual standards for us?
Is all funding good no matter where it comes from and how it was obtained? Is anyone or any group who offers us money our friend by definition, to be supported unconditionally and without any thought? If we can’t see something in front of our faces – if it’s not on the TV – then it does it cease to exist or cease mattering?
If no one else around us is thinking then should we stop thinking too?
Mike D: I don’t know what to say Stephanie…….. I am moved to tears…. (I noticed she was crying too) … I …. Do you have hope for the future yourself, or do you see society as lost?
Stephanie S: Of course I have hope! (big smile) You see just as giving governments the right to act immorally against the rest of society with impunity is always going to be a recipe for disaster, the opposite is also true….. in a world where no one affords any person or group the right to use force against another person or group, and in a world where universal morality is understood, respected and defended universally by everyone – in other words a world where people who go after others looking for money while wielding a hammer get whacked with a shovel! …. in that kind of world a cultural, social and even spiritual renaissance does not seem that far fetched at all. In fact it actually starts to look equally inevitable. Good and bad, success and failure, misery and joy, war and peace… all of these are equally inevitable… it’s just a matter of choosing the formula which produces the inevitable outcome you want. It’s about chemistry as much as it’s about philosophy ….. and far more than it’s ever about politics.
Either we all have the potential to be responsible grown ups capable of collaborating with each other for the mutual goal of a pleasant and enjoyable life – which I think we can safely say is the goal of most people ….. or else we’re not capable of living like responsible and free grown ups and we will always need to have our lives run by an all powerful parental state with all the disastrous consequences that that entails. It’s completely and utterly in our hands. In that sense governments can be seen as no more, and no less, than a product of our own immature and demented state of mind. They are a symptom of our own sickness. Getting angry or upset at the symptoms won’t do much good, but curing our own sickness might help.
Remember the times are always a’changin. Attitudes change. People grow up and leave home. People get bored and leave abusive relationships when they’ve really had enough. Flowers blossom. People get off heroin. Slavery is abolished. The sun comes out.
Mike D: So is that what you are really proposing then, that we stop thinking in terms of government intervention and that we learn to fund the arts ourselves – the public I mean?
Stephanie S: Yes exactly. Not just the arts but everything in society. There is no other way is there? The only money available in the world to fund the arts, or anything else for that matter, is public money…. and by public money I mean the public’s own money. The public’s disposable income if you like.
Forget about all the money stolen by the state. It’s been stolen, don’t you get it!? It’s gone! (laughs) We need to let go of it, if only intellectually and philosophically to begin with. If they choose to spend some of the money they steal from us on the arts, well, that’s their business really, not ours, because it’s their money now.
Just admitting it no longer belongs to us – no matter how much the government tries to convince us it’s still ours – is a profound step. It’s like admitting the man who controls your life and beats you every night but says he loves you, doesn’t actually love you at all….. and he won’t ever change …. and nor is it your job to try to change him … or to justify his violence …….. or to try and excuse his behaviour…. or to feel guilty about walking away. These kinds of realisations can be a huge step for people involved in abusive relationships like that. Statism is also an abusive relationship. And in the same way most people in a statist society, living under a constant barrage of propaganda, will still insist the government is a good thing which is there to help them even when they are presented with all the evidence showing how the government uses violence, murder, torture, lies, deceit and theft against people to get what it wants. People will say it is just the government’s special way of caring about us and looking after us. People will make any excuses they can, or more likely they will choose to shut down their minds and not think about it at all. This is all classic victim mentality and a well known coping strategy for anyone suffering abuse in an unbalanced power relationship. And what do we always say to people in abusive relationships? ……. We say “WAKE UP! ….. you must leave! … Just get out!”
The bottom line is that if we remain obsessed with demanding to have everything funded by some authority using our own stolen money, all we’re doing is encouraging that theft to continue for yet another generation, and perpetuating this abusive relationship, and teaching the next generation to also surrender to it.
I’m not trying to propose anything new or revolutionary. In fact I’m not trying to propose anything at all (laughs) I’m just trying my best to help clarify what the current situation is, how human behaviour works and what other possibilities might be open to us.
It’s up to us to fund the arts, or fund anything else in society. It’s up to us to create the reality we want for ourselves. And if some organisation comes up to us and offers to relieve us of that responsibility – of that pleasure – for the extreme price of us giving them a monopolistic legal right to use force against us, it’s up to us to either accept or reject that offer.
If you want to fund something and the only money available in the world to fund it is your own money then is it better to allow someone else to steal your money and then to run after that person shouting how you’d like that money to be spent, or is it better to not have that person steal your money in the first place so you are free to just choose how you spend it yourself?
And the same is true of will. The only will in the world is our will. If we try and outsource our own will power and the responsibility to get things done in society onto other people by giving them power over us we’ll just end up getting shafted in return. It’s just how the universe works. We need to stop doing it, if we don’t want to be treated like the livestock, that is. Like tax cows.
You see as I can’t stress enough times, not only have all governments proved themselves to be not in the least bit interested in the arts and therefore the last people on earth we should be turning to and asking for help in funding it, but that very act of asking for funding perpetuates the idea in everyone’s minds – theirs and ours – that it’s OK, or even necessary and desirable, for the government to steal from the public by force. And accepting what we already know to be fundamentally immoral and disastrous behaviour is will never help society, it will only keep the world in its current diabolical state.
A government is by definition a group within a geographical area who have been granted the monopolistic legal right to initiate force against the rest of the population in order to achieve its objectives.
That’s what a government is, both in essence and in practice. Now if you build a society around the initiation of force against the public by a small group who go around stealing all the money and spending it how they please it’s always inevitably going to end up like… well exactly like the disastrous world we see around us right now right?
Rocket science, as Yoda would say, this is not.
The more society permits itself to break free from the violent statist relationship and mindset, even if that just means properly understanding what’s really going on at an intellectual level to start with, then the sooner we’ll all start to ONE feel the desire and TWO reclaim the proper means to support and fund the arts – and everything else we enjoy in life – for ourselves, rather than the disastrous alternative of asking some authority to sort it all out on our behalf …. through the use of force against us.
There may even come a time soon when we decide to turn down an offer of government arts funding even if it means cancelling an exhibition or tour because we regard it as fundamentally immoral and don’t wish to support and perpetuate any more murder, theft and violence in the world.
And there may come a time when then the public – feeling the same way – decide to support these artists ‘going it alone’ by funding them directly, voluntarily and passionately.
Now that would be art.
And who knows what effects a bit of joyous and virtuous behaviour for once might have on the rest of the arts scene… and on the rest of the world?
Mike D: Stephanie.
Stephanie S: Yes Mike.
Mike D: You’ve just completely blown my mind.
Stephanie S: It’s great isn’t it? trying to evolve to a higher place. It’s what life is all about!… Mike, it’s been an absolute delight.
Mike D: Likewise. Thank you.
Stephanie S: You’re welcome. Thank you for listening.