By Evan Mantyk

Gov. Mitt Romney was absolutely correct when he declared that government subsidies to PBS should be cut. But he wasn’t right because he was paying lip service to some small-government ideology espoused by Republicans.

First, to be fair, here is exactly what Romney had the gall to say at a debate hosted by PBS: “I’m sorry, Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually, I like you, too. But I’m not going to … keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.”

After his statement, social media had a deluge of funny expressions and pictures about protecting Big Bird. In fact, PBS’s programming is generally, like Big Bird, more wholesome and in many ways higher quality than most programming you will find on TV today.

But therein lies the root of our country’s underlying problem, not a monetary one, but a deficit in aesthetics. Why should the government need to pay for wholesome, good-quality programming?

What sort of art, entertainment, and culture that we value as a people is more fundamental than balance sheets and economic forecasts. PBS should have sponsors lined up, and the government should be raking in tax money from PBS. And if sponsors don’t work, then PBS should have supporters donating to it, perhaps instead of donating to both parties’ vacuous political campaigns.

One factor impeding that kind of support is that PBS itself, while relatively above the cultural fray, is actually not significantly better.

The problem began around 100 years ago, when the world began a major cultural decline, led by the emergence of the atheistic Communist Party. Communism essentially said, throw out your belief in anything spiritual and, along with it, throw out the morals and traditions that your belief fostered.

This had a devastating effect on the arts. At the end of the Romantic period, a warped, inhuman perspective emerged embodied by modern art, modern music, modern literature, and modern aesthetics in general.

Many Americans want a more efficient and less intrusive government. At least in a fiscal sense, they want to overthrow the tyranny of the economic policies bred by atheism, communism, and communism’s more likeable offspring, socialism. But, a better government is only going to happen if we throw out atheism and communism in a cultural sense.

There is a great need to return to the superior aesthetics passed on by millennia of great artists, musicians, singers, performers, dancers, and poets. We must cherish and build upon the forms left to us before the great decline, including realist art, traditional folk art, premodern composers, traditional folk music, ballet, opera, traditional ethnic dances, and metered poetry—to name a few.

This movement begins where taxes and subsidies end; it begins in our hearts. If our hearts aren’t big enough to fund Big Bird, then, sooner or later, he’s toast, I’m afraid.



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