[Congressional Record: June 27, 2001 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Kennedy of Minnesota). Under the
Speaker's announced policy of January 3, 2001, the gentleman from
Colorado (Mr. Tancredo) is recognized for 60 minutes.
Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, tonight, I want to talk about a couple of
First of all, I cannot help but reflect upon some of the prior
speakers and what they have talked about, especially in terms of our
energy crisis. I will only spend a couple of minutes on that, because I
addressed it a couple of times in the past also.
It is undeniably true we have an energy crisis in the United States.
It is undeniably true that gas prices are rising, that blackouts,
rolling brownouts, all kinds of things are occurring throughout the
United States, but especially in California and on the West Coast.
We spend a great deal of time in this body debating as to exactly why
that has occurred, and, in fact, there are a number of reasons, of
course. They deal mostly with supply problems. We just do not have
enough energy. We do not produce enough.
America's Population Growing At A Rapid Rate Due to Immigration, Legal
Mr. TANCREDO. There is a basic problem and there is something below
even all of that, which we must identify and talk about from time to
time, and that is the fact that America's population is growing at a
That population growth is a result, not just of the birth rate of the
people who have lived in the United States for some period of time, it
is the result that over 50 percent of that population growth in the
last decade is a result of immigration into the United States, both
legal and illegal.
California is a prime example of the problem. It has an enormous
population. It has enormous growth in the population primarily as a
result of immigration. The United States Congress has a responsibility.
It is to establish immigration standards, immigration quotas.
We are the only body that can do that. No State can do it. California
cannot determine how many people it will let in. It has to deal with
however many people come in, and in dealing with it, it has to build
more power plants, whether they like it or not.
It has to encourage conservation, and it has to, in fact, tap the
natural resources available to it. We will be doing that throughout
this Nation as a result of the dramatic increase in population brought
about primarily by immigration both legal and illegal.
No one likes to talk about this. It is an issue that oftentimes
evokes a lot of emotion on both sides of the issue. There are people
who would suggest that even to bring it up is an indication of some
sort of ulterior motive that is akin to and always likened to racism.
I have said here on the floor many times, I will repeat it tonight.
It is not where we come from, it is the number of people who come. In
fact, we must deal with it.
We may not like having to deal with it, but we may not like the
debate that will ensue as a result of any change in our immigration
policy, but it must be done. It is for the good of the country, and it
has absolutely nothing to do, as far as I am concerned, anyway, with
racial-related issues. It is a matter of quality of life. It is a
matter of energy resources that we have been talking about here.
As I sat here and prepared my remarks, I listened to others speak.
The gentleman from Colorado (Mr. McInnis) talked for an hour about the
energy crisis. Although, he is absolutely correct in all of the things
he said in terms of why we are here, I must admit to the gentleman that
the one thing that he left out, which I think is extremely important,
is the fact that the reason we have this crisis and the reason it will
grow throughout the United States is because of the number of people we
have in the country and the number of people coming in.
A little over, I will repeat, a little over 50 percent of the growth
of this Nation in the last decade was a result of immigration, legal
and illegal; 50 percent of the cars on the road; 50 percent of the
houses that are popping up in neighborhoods all over the country and
what was at one time a pristine landscape; 50 percent of the problem
you have getting in to national parks, any of the other kinds of issues
come about as a result of population pressures are, in fact, a direct
result of this immigration issue.
Mr. Speaker, I cannot come before the House tonight without bringing
that particular issue to the attention of the Speaker and to those who
may be listening.
Limit Government Funding Relating To Art
Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, but that was not the original intent, that
was not the original purpose I asked for this time period to address
A short time ago, Mr. Speaker, in Colorado, there was a rock star,
``an artist'' of some sort, and I put the term ``artist'' in quotation
marks, by the name of Marilyn Manson.
I admit I do not have any of this person's, I was going to say
gentleman, but I am really not positive what he or she or it is, I am
just saying, I do not have their particular records in my cabinet. I
had read something about this person's particular ``artistic''
I had a call one day, this was about 2 weeks ago or 3 weeks ago, I
guess, from a gentleman in Colorado who was concerned about the fact
that this person Mr. Manson, Mrs. Manson, Ms. Manson, whatever, was
coming in, and he was concerned. Because in the past, this particular
rock idol had offered to come in and do some sort of concert for the
people who were responsible for the deaths of the children at Columbine
Hear me, Marilyn Manson would come in to do a concert for the people
who killed them. There was concern about this kind of individual coming
in to Colorado again and spewing his filth. So this person called our
office here. The gentleman that called, I believe, was Jason Janz.
Mr. Janz said, look, we are trying to organize some sort of boycott.
We think that people should just avoid going to hear this particular
performer. He said, can we use your name in our, ad or whatever they
were going to do, and I cannot remember now whether it was as a person
who would support our efforts or not.
I said to Mr. Janz, well, yes, you can. I can certainly understand
why you would be concerned. I do not think people should go myself;
whether they do or not is, of course, their own decision to make.
Anyway, Mr. Janz used my name in some sort of advertising or
publication, I do not know what it was, saying that these people have
also suggested that people should not go to this particular concert.
We had a storm of reaction to that. There was a lot of protests, a
lot of people called our office here and in Colorado, in Littleton and
said, how dare you? How dare you, a Member of Congress, try to sensor
this particular performer?
I was, in a way, shocked, because, of course, censorship is a term
that can be defined. It is defined in the dictionary. It is pretty
clear what censorship is. It means someone preventing someone from
Mr. Speaker, I tried to explain to the people who called my office
that, in fact, I really was not trying to sensor this particular
``artist''; that I really could not care less what he or she or it did.
It was just that when I was asked whether people should participate in
this kind of garbage, I would say, no, they should not. That is my
Their point of view was that I should be censored; that I should not
be allowed to say such a thing; that I should not be allowed to
criticize this particular performer or anybody else, I suppose, that
they felt was a particularly important personage in the entertainment
This whole thing was a fascinating sort of phenomenon, because
eventually Manson came to Colorado. It was just last week or so, did
his or her thing. I am sure there was a large crowd and everything was,
you know, just pretty fine.
I do not know if people enjoyed it or not. I do not know, and I truly
care. But the debate surrounding this whole event was characterized, I
think, perfectly in an article that was in the Rocky Mountain News last
I am going to read it here. It is relatively short. It was written by
a friend of mine, his name is Mike Rosen. He does a daily radio show in
Colorado and writes a weekly column for the Rocky Mountain News.
And it goes as follows: ``Greet Manson with due scorn,'' that is the
title. It says ``personally, I think the rank demagoguery of Senate
Majority Leader Tom Daschle is far more dangerous to the well-being of
our republic than the sordid rantings of shock rocker Marilyn Manson.
But the thing I'd do is silence either of them.
If you're going to allow free speech, you must take the risk that
someone might listen. While incitement-to-riot, slander, and yelling
`fire' in a crowded theater are not tolerated in our society, the
expression of ideas that are merely offensive is.
If we voted on who could speak and who couldn't, Billy Graham would
probably win and Marilyn Mason probably would lose. But we don't put it
to a vote because this isn't a democracy. Our constitutional republic
protects the rights of individuals, even unpopular ones.
Actually, Manson's June 21 Denver appearance at Ozzfest is not really
a First Amendment issue. The First Amendment restricts government's
abridgement of free speech.
Announcement by the Speaker Pro Tempore
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair will remind all Members that the
rules of the House prohibit characterization of Members of the Senate
even though not their own remarks.
Mr. TANCREDO. ``The First Amendment restricts government's
abridgement of free speech. But government hasn't threatened to muzzle
Manson. He will not be barred from performing by any government
The opposition to his performance here has come from private groups
led by Baptist youth minister Jason Janz, and others, employing moral
persuasion, as is their right, to discourage and disparage Manson's
I'm no fan of Manson, or, for that matter, his inspirational namesake
Charles Manson. I don't like his music, his lyrics or his message. I've
heard and read enough of it, dutifully, to get the point. This from his
newest CD `Antichrist Superstar:' I will bury God in my warm spit. I
went to God just to see. And I was looking at me. When I'm God everyone
dies.'' Very enlightening.
``I find Manson neither thought-provoking nor profound. He offers
mostly sophomoric dribble (not that the work of Dion and the Belmonts,
from my era, was exactly Shakespeare, but it was good to dance to and
at least it wasn't destructive.) To be sure, there's demand for
Manson's kind of bilge from troubled, confused, angry, defiant,
depressed, macabre, antisocial and sociopathic adolescent and arrested-
adolescent audiences. And when you're high on drugs, gibberish can pass
``If it weren't for Manson playing this role, someone else would, and
others do. He claims to be an artist, crafting a poetic, philosophical
message. More likely, he's just another crass entertainment opportunist
capitalizing on a market niche. You might say the same of Alice Cooper,
but Cooper has always done his thing with a wink, not to be taken
seriously. It was obvious shtick. Heck, Cooper's a Republican, a big
baseball fan, and a 4-handicap golfer. Compared to Manson, Alice Cooper
is Dr. Laura. In his heyday, Cooper sold the bizarre; Manson spews the
depraved. (And I'll throw in my psychological diagnosis of Manson: he's
screwed up in the head, too.)
``Is Manson's influence on troubled and impressionable young minds
potentially destructive? I imagine it is for some. While for others,
listening to Manson may be benign, providing an outlet for emotional
venting that might substitute for acts of physical destructiveness.
Teen-agers are attracted to Manson as an act of rebellion against
conventional society precisely because he appalls their parents. I have
no remedy for this. It's one of the tradeoffs we make in a free
``It's not a question of whether Manson should be condemned or
allowed to perform. Of course, both of these things should happen.
Manson debases our values, culture and civil conventions. Jason Janz's
criticism of him is wholly appropriate. Someone needs to say that. Our
indifference would be more disturbing. To most who attend, Ozzfest will
be little more than a fun summer concert featuring a variety of
performers. The Manson acolytes there will be in the minority. And
while they snigger at the establishment's attack on their idol, it
still serves a purpose. They may understand when they grow up.''
Again, that is Mike Rosen in the Rocky Mountain News.
Now, this leads to another issue and even a much bigger issue than
this particular event in Denver Colorado in last week. This leads us to
a debate we were having on the floor of the House here last week. It
was a debate on whether or not we should be funding the National
Endowment for the Arts and Humanities.
It was fascinating from a number of standpoints. We have done this
every year. The debate occurs every single year. Much of the same
objections are heard over and over again as to whether or not
government funds should be used to support ``art''.
Now, what if this had happened in Colorado, everything that I just
described, and this particular event had been paid for entirely with
tax dollars? Would there not have been a different kind of debate?
Would we not have been able to enter into the discussion an argument
that, although, certainly, this person, Manson, should be allowed to
perform, no one, certainly I would never prohibit him from doing his
thing by law. But the question remains is whether or not someone should
be forced to pay for it through the taking away of their tax dollars,
providing it for this experience.
Certainly there would have been an outcry. Certainly people would
have said absolutely not. You know, I do not care whether this person
does its thing on the stage and spews forth its bilge, I do not care
about that. If people want to do it, want to see it, that is their
business, and I certainly agree. But making me pay for it through my
tax dollars, that is something else entirely.
Now, that would have been an interesting debate, and I wonder how it
would have come out. I wonder if the City of Denver, I wonder if the
mayor of the City of Denver had agreed to something like that, had put
tax dollars into it, I wonder whether or not the mayor would not be in
political trouble the next election.
Would not people in the City say, how could you possibly make me pay
for something like this? I think it is horrible. Or even, I do not have
an opinion on it, I just have absolutely no desire to fund this
particular expression of this particular ``artist''.
Well, I think that that would be a legitimate argument. Do my
colleagues not, Mr. Speaker? I think that, in fact, that would be a
legitimate debate had we paid for that with tax dollars. I think there
would have been significant political ramifications and repercussions
to such a decision made by the political leaders in Denver.
But it did not happen that way. It was totally voluntary. People
went, paid their price at the door, and went in; and I say, of course,
that is fine. They can do what they want to do. If you ask me whether
someone should do it, I would tell you no. It does not matter. I would
never stop anyone from either going to see this person or, on the other
hand, I would never try to stop this person from actually getting on
stage and doing whatever it is it does.
So the question, then, comes as to how we can, every single year,
take money from Americans, hard-working Americans, many of whom have to
make decisions about, you know, if they are going to pay the rent this
month or if they are going to pay their gas bill.
How can we take money from them to support the, quote, artistic
endeavors of others of a similar, well no matter what. No matter if
there was absolutely no argument as to the value, quote, value of the
art. It is still absolutely wrong for any of us here to make that sort
of elitist decision for all members of society, that we would take away
their money and give it to a particular kind of art or a particular
kind of artist. How can we justify that?
I guess, to a certain extent, I am going to have to actually talk
what we have been funding over these years. I almost hate to say it,
but I wish we could put up here one of these signs that say ``be
careful, the following may not be suitable for viewing by young
people'' or whatever, because it is certainly some of the nastiest sort
of thing. I will try to avoid being too incredibly graphic, but I guess
it is pretty hard to suggest that this is not appropriate for us to
discuss here since we paid for it, since we took money from Americans,
from hard-working citizens and paid for this stuff that I am going to
tell my colleagues about.
Let us start with 1998, the National Endowment for the Arts was
criticized for funding this New York theater which staged the play
``Corpus Christi'', a blasphemous play depicting Jesus having sexual
relations with his apostles.
By the way, a great deal of what has happened here, a great deal of
what the NEA chooses support has a decidedly homo-erotic, anti-
Christian, and certainly not just anti-Christian, but a hatred of
Christianity, and the most bizarre kind of sexual connotation, not just
connotation, but aspects that you can imagine. That really a lot of
this stuff that they choose to do. Okay.
One would have thought that the NEA might refrain from funding the
Manhattan Theater Club ever again given the theater's decision to
present ``Corpus Christi''. Not so. The very next year, the theater was
awarded another grant of $37,000. This year, the theater received, not
one, but two separate grants, each for $50,000.
In 1996 and 1997, the NEA received sharp rebukes for funding this
group, the Women Make Movies, that is what it is called, by the
gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Hoekstra), chairman of the Committee on
Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Oversight and
At the time, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Hoekstra) noted that
the NEA gave over more than $100,000 over a 3-year period to Women Make
Movies, that is the name of this organization, which distributed
numerous pornographic films such as ``Sex Fish'', ``Watermelon Woman'',
and ``Blood Sisters''. These films included depictions of explicit
lesbian pornography, oral sex, and sadomasochism.
In 1997, the American Family Association distributed to most Members
of Congress clips of some of these and other pornographic films
distributed by Women Make Movies.
Criticism of the NEA for funding a group that distributes
pornographic works was dismissed by the agency which continue to fund
Women Make Movies as late as 1999, giving two grants, one for $12,000,
one for $30,000. The Women Makes Movies continues to distribute hard
Then there is the Wooly Mammoth Theater Company, a Washington, D.C.
theater, a frequent recipient of NEA money, generated controversy in
the past for NEA when it staged Tim Miller's one-man performance titled
``My Queer Body''. This play describes what it is like to have sex with
another man, climbs into the lap of a spectator. I do not even want to
Shrugging off the controversy this year, the NEA gave the theater
$28,000. Wooly Mammoth's 2000 season, this was last year actually, will
include the production ``Preaching to the Perverted'', written and
performed by Holly Hughes, who herself has been the cause of
Hughes sued the U.S. Government for refusing to fund her indecent
work and lost. The Supreme Court ruling was that NEA was not obliged to
fund pornography. Despite this Court's ruling, the NEA is still
choosing to pay for Holly Hughes' offensive work through its support of
Wooly Mammoth. In the Wooly Mammoth's Internet catalog.
``Preaching to the Perverted'' is described as follows: ``If you
loved the solo extravagances of Tim Miller'', the fellow I just
mentioned, ``you won't want to miss this unique and irreverent evening
of legal and sexual politics.''
Then there is the Whitney Museum of American Art. It has been a
regular recipient of NEA funds for over the years and several times
provided fodder for the critics. This in recent years included a work
by Joel-Peter Witkin titled ``Maquette for Crucifix'', a naked Jesus
surrounded by sadomasochistic obscene imagery and many grotesque
portrayals of corpses and body parts.
Another Whitney exhibit was a film by Suzie Silver titled ``A Spy''.
It depicts Jesus Christ as woman standing naked with breasts exposed.
Again, this is hard it even go through, it is certainly hard to
describe. But we paid for it. We appropriated money in this House. We
took money from citizens in this country and paid for this. So it is
only right that we should be forced to have to hear what we paid for as
grotesque as it is. It is hard for me to read it. I am sure it is hard
for many people to hear it. I do not like having to do it. But, in
fact, you paid for it, America. You might as well understand what you
Incredibly, Whitney also included ``Piss Christ'', Andres Serrano's
photograph of a crucifix in a jar of urine, the very same work which
began the NEA controversy in 1989, as well as a film by porn star Annie
Sprinkle entitled ``The Sluts and Goddesses Video Workshop or How to be
a Sex Goddess in 101 Easy Steps'', on and on and on.
Walker Art Center, a performance at this Minneapolis theater and NEA
recipient outraged Senator Byrd even, Democrat from West Virginia, and
many other Members of Congress.
To make a statement about AIDS, artist Ron Athey, who was HIV
positive pierced his body with needles, cut designs into the back of
another man, blotted the man's blood with paper towels and set the
towels over the audience on a clothes line. Then NEA chair Jane
Alexander defended the performance, and the Walker Arts Center has
continued to receive NEA funds for several years. This year's take,
this was a couple years ago, this year's take for the avant-garde
center is $70,000.
The NEA was criticized in 1997 for funding the Museum of Contemporary
Art in New York because of the work of Carollee Schneeman, an artist
credited with inspiring Miss Sprinkle whose pornographic funding have
caused a lot of problems for the NEA also. I hesitate to even go into
what that one was about.
Franklin Furnace, New York. This New York theater frequently receives
NEA funds. The theater's performance often promotes homosexuality and
blast traditional morality. Its year 2000 grant, $10,000.
The Theater for New York City, the Catholic League for Religious and
Civil Rights brought this New York's theater to national attention
recently because of its anti-Catholic bigotry. The theater staged the
play ``The Pope and the Witch'', depicting the Pope called John Paul,
II, as a heroin-addicted paranoid advocating birth control and the
legalization of drugs. The theater received a grant in 1997. The
Americans paid for this, $30,000 in 1997 and $12,000 in the year 2000.
Really, I have just pages and pages of this kind of thing. I will
enter them into the Record, but I will not go on with that in
description here audibly tonight. It is just too revolting even for me
to deal with.
But my point is this, that all of this I consider to be absolute
garbage. That is my opinion. I cannot imagine anyone wanting to see it.
I cannot certainly imagine wanting to participate in it. I certainly
cannot believe that anyone would have the audacity to suggest that we
have to take money from people who have the same feeling as I do about
this and give it to these performers in order for there to be a good
art thriving in America.
It is ridiculous. It is idiotic.
We have had an interesting discussion, as I say, over the whole issue
as it came through the Congress of the United States, and there are
many aspects of this that I think need to be discussed. Now, by the
way, I suppose I should mention, that those of us who were opposed to
funding for National Endowment for the Arts failed in our attempt to
reduce the funding of $150 million. But it is not just this kind of
pornographic trash that it funds with which I take exception. I believe
it is absolutely wrong for us to be making a decision in this body as
to what is appropriate, what is good art or what is good television
programming or radio. I refer now, of course, to National Public Radio,
National Public Television, which we again take money from everyone in
America and we fund.
Now, I happen to listen to National Public Radio. I enjoy many, many
its programs. My point is, however, the idea that my taste in either
television or radio is something that should be the standard for the
Nation. Because I happen to enjoy National Public Radio I will tax
everyone in this country to help support it. Is that not somewhat
Let me read from the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia August
18, 1787. This is incredibly amazing and profound in a way because, as
we see, the Founding Fathers dealt with all the problems that we
confront every single day and they really had an insight that bears
reflecting upon. 1787, August 18. Charles Pinckney of South Carolina
rose to urge that Congress be authorized to ``establish seminaries for
the promotion of literature and the arts and sciences.'' Modest
proposal; right? He suggested that the Congress of the United States be
authorized to establish seminaries for the promotion of literature and
the arts and of science.
Now, remember, seminaries had a different connotation in this
particular time period. We are not talking about necessarily religious
institutions. In this case he was talking about intellectual pursuits,
educational institutions solely. His proposal was immediately voted
down. In the words of one delegate, the only legitimate role for
government in promoting culture and the arts was ``the granting of
patents, i.e. protecting the rights of authors and artists to make
money from their creations.'' That, he said, was the only legitimate
role for government in promoting culture and the arts.
The framers treasured books and music, but they treasured limited
government far more. A federally approved artist was as unthinkable to
them as a federally approved church or newspaper. This is why the
Constitution does not so much as have a hint at subsidizing artists or
cultural organizations. It is why Americans have always been skeptical
about the entanglement of art and State. And it is why so many artists
have snorted at the notion that art depends upon the patronage of a
And that is a very good way of portraying what happens here. It is
incredibly elitist for us to say we know in this body, the 435 Members
of the House, the 100 Members of the Senate and the President of the
United States, we know, at least a majority of us know, what is the
best kind of art for the American citizens to observe or participate
in. Incredibly elitist. Incredibly elitist for us to suggest that the
particular television programming that we believe to be uplifting or
stimulating or whatever is appropriate enough to tax everybody to
What gives us this incredible attitude? It is the fact, of course,
that we make many decisions here all the time that tend to make us all
feel, I suppose, pretty omnipotent and omniscient, because we know
everything and we have power over everything and, naturally, we should
be able to determine what is good art; what is good television; right?
The argument for television especially is the one that confounds me.
Every year people come into my office and talk about the need to
support, publicly support, public television. We need to take tax
dollars away from people and do that. And I always suggest to them that
maybe, maybe 20 years ago they could have made an argument for some
sort of alternative television programming, because there were only
three major broadcasting systems and relatively little choice, I
suppose, among those three different broadcasting systems. They could
have perhaps made the point, well, there is just a need for a different
kind of television programming and no one is going to produce it, so,
therefore, let us go ahead and take tax dollars away from people and
They could have made that point. I would not have agreed with them,
but it would have been a much more logical position to take than coming
in here today, today, to this House, in this year of 2001, and saying
there is not enough diversity on television; we need to take money from
everybody in America to fund my brand of television because it is
better, it is better for people, it is more intellectual, more
highbrow, it is good for people to have this available to them, when
there is, what, 150, or heaven knows how many actual stations there are
out there with cable television. I certainly have lost count myself.
All I know is there is no one, I believe, no one that can argue that
there is not diversity in programming on television today. And yet our
particular brand, our particular idea of what good television is is
what we say in this body everyone is going to pay for. Again, it seems
a bit peculiar to me.
I actually did a program in Colorado on public television, a sort of
talking head show. I used to do it every Friday, and I enjoyed it. And
every year they had a period of time that the station would devote to
fund-raising, and all the participants and everybody that wanted to, I
suppose, could come on for an hour or two and stand up in front of
people and ask for money, ask for support for the station. I called it
a beg-a-thon. And I would do it. Every single year I would go on and
say, if you want to support this, if you think that we in fact are
doing something good enough in terms of television that you believe it
should be continued, then I encourage you to get out your checkbook and
send this station money. And I am more than willing to do that. I did
that, as I say, every single year, because that is exactly the way
``public television'' should be funded, by donations.
They then would come to me, the same station would come to me as a
Member of Congress and say, how could you not then vote for funding for
our station when you were on it? And I would always say, look, if the
program I was on was not worth it, if we could not get people to watch
that program and we could get them to contribute, then of course it was
not good programming and I probably should have been kicked off and you
should have found somebody else.
But the idea that I would come here to the Congress and vote for
money to make sure that that particular station stayed on the air is
crazy, any more than I would vote for money for any other particular
station to stay on the air. Again, it is certainly not because I am
particularly opposed to the kind of programming they have. It is maybe
fine. Some of it is fine, some of it is lousy from my point of view.
But that does not matter. It is just my opinion. But it is absolutely
wrong for me to come to this body and vote to force everyone in this
country to support my brand of programming.
Dr. Robert Samuelson said some time ago that the funding of cultural
agencies by the Federal Government is highbrow pork barrel, and I
certainly agree. We are taking from the poor to subsidize the rich. It
is the reverse Robin Hood theory here. In fact, most of the programming
on these stations, even a lot of the ``art'' of the NEA has absolutely
no appeal whatsoever to the bulk of America, the majority of Americans,
certainly Americans of low income. They are not really interested by
and large in that kind of entertainment. Again, if they are, that is
fine. They can make their own decisions about it, but it is incredible
to me that we can do this; that we can take money from them and provide
support for materials and for programming that is only really enjoyed,
I say only, but primarily enjoyed by a different group of people, and
most of the time people more well off.
There is also the issue of the corruption of the artists and scholars
that we fund. It is I think absolutely true, no one I think who has
been around here for any length of time disagrees with the fact that
government funding of anything involves government control. That
insight of course is part of our folk wisdom. He who pays the piper
calls the tune, as they say. And it is quite true. We never give out a
dollar here in this body without also saying how it should be spent.
Those are the strings we attach to it. And when we do that for the
``arts,'' it has a corrupting influence on it. Artists and want-to-be
artists begin to gravitate toward what they think the government is
going to fund and find themselves sort of chasing the government
The influence of government funding of the arts is a negative one and
a corrupting one. The politicization of whatever the Federal cultural
agencies touch was driven home by Richard Goldstein, a supporter of the
National Endowment for the Humanities himself. But he pointed out that
``the NEH has a ripple effect on university hiring and tenure, and on
the kinds of research undertaken by scholars seeking
support. Its chairman shapes the bounds of that support. In a broad
sense he sets standards that affect the tenor of textbooks and the
content of curriculum. Though no chairman of the NEH can single-
handedly direct the course of American education, he can nurture the
nascent trends and take advantage of informal opportunities to signal
department heads and deans. He can `persuade' with the cudgel of
Federal funding out of sight but hardly out of mind.''
Then, finally, every time we debate this issue we are confronted by
people who will say that we must do this, we must in fact provide money
for the arts community, the National Endowment for the Arts and
Humanities, because of the effect that the arts have on our spirit, the
soul, the uplifting nature of the arts; that to provide public funding
for this is a good because of the way it in fact changes the culture,
and they would suggest, for the positive. Well, what if, Mr. Speaker, I
came before the body and suggested that there was another kind of
experience that does exactly that; that provides a tremendous amount of
benefit to the Nation; that does amazing things for the soul, uplifting
in nature; that it can change a person's attitude about life; that it
can motivate you to do great things, all these things I have heard on
the floor as to the reason why we have to fund the arts?
Mr. Speaker, I suggest that there is another argument I could make
using exactly the same logic. What if I were to come before the body
and say, I know something that we should be doing that does all of the
things I have just said, is an incredible influence on our lives, that
provides an outlet for emotional needs of millions of people, and it is
called religion and I am going to ask this body to appropriate $150
million this year for religion.
Now, the first thing that someone would say is we cannot do this
because there is this wall of separation that exists in the minds of
many, but nowhere in the Constitution, by the way, that separates
church and State. But the real reason why we cannot do it and the
reason I would never suggest it because the minute we decide to fund
religion in this body, we will then begin to decide whose religion,
what brand of religion. What about this particular denomination? Why
should they not be funded as opposed to that denomination?
Someone somewhere would have to make a decision. So we would
establish an Endowment for Religion, and we would appoint some people
to it. We would say we will give them the money because Congress does
not want to get into the battle about which religion to fund. We will
give $150 million to the National Endowment for Religion, and they will
make the decision because they are the experts. They know what is best.
If they give it all to the Baptists, that is fine. If they split it up
with the Jews, the Catholics, the Presbyterians, whatever, it is their
decision to make. It is their $150 million. They will make the
decision. How many Members in this body would agree with such a thing?
No one. I suggest that we would not get very many votes for such a
proposal. And rightly so.
It is not our place because the minute that we start doing that, we
are automatically discriminating if we pick one over another, which
must be done. There is absolutely no difference, Mr. Speaker, none
whatsoever, in the funding of the arts and the funding of religion.
Each one of those things has its particular brand. It appeals to
certain individuals and not others. Somebody has to make a decision
about which one of these things gets funded, and then we will come to
the House and hold up a list of things that has been funded by that
organization and some people will be outraged by it, as I imagine there
were some tonight as I was reading through the list of things that we
have funded that the government has paid for. Some people will listen
and say that is great stuff. I wish a billion dollars was put into it.
What happens is there is discrimination in this because every time
somebody gets one, every one artist gets funded, some artist does not,
and that means somebody is making a decision about which is better. I
suggest that is an impossible decision to make for everyone. It is
absolutely appropriate for me to do it for myself; it is not
appropriate for me to do it for all of my constituents.
Mr. Speaker, the hypocrisy that rears its head here, certainly daily,
but on this particular occasion when we debate the NEA, the National
Endowment for the Arts, public broadcasting and all of the rest, this
hypocrisy is overwhelming. It is so stark.
Mr. Speaker, I suggest that we are undeniably in the middle of a
culture war. We have heard that term many times. It is a war of
competing ideas and world views. On one side we have people who believe
in living by a set of divinely moral absolutes; or the very least, they
believe that following such a moral code represents the best way to
avoid chaos and instability.
On the other side, we have people who insist that morality is a moral
decision and any attempt to enforce it is viewed as oppression. That
war is a real one which is carried out every single day in the halls of
our schools, around the watercooler of our businesses, in the
newspapers of the Nation, on television. In every form of
communication, the culture war is ongoing. There is a battle for the
soul, for the mind, for the actual personality, if you will, of the
Mr. Speaker, I think that is pretty much accepted as being true. We
know that there are these competing sets of values out there trying to
grab us and get us on their side, whatever that might be.
Now, I happen to believe completely that there is such a thing as
good art, good music. I believe that it can be all of the things that
people say. I believe we can be inspired by it. We can be motivated by
art to do wonderful things. But I also suggest, Mr. Speaker, that if
there is such a thing as good art, good music, good literature, then
there is such a thing as bad art, bad music and bad literature. And it
has the opposite effect of the good art. I believe that is true. That
is my personal observation, my personal belief.
I choose not to impose that belief on anyone by law, but I will make
the case when I am allowed here on the House floor, allowed to debate
this issue in any public forum, I will talk about the fact that I
believe we are in the midst of a culture war and there are competing
sides in that war that are actually grappling for the soul of the
Nation. I will try my best to defend what I believe to be the good side
as opposed to the bad side, but that is my decision to make. And it
rests on my ability to convince my friends or relatives, as well as it
does with any one of us here as to who is right and who is wrong.
Even as a Member of the Congress of the United States, it is not in
my authority to force anyone out there to agree with it by the power
that is vested in me as a Member of this House to vote for a tax to
enforce my particular view of who should be helped in those culture
wars. We have to do it through the power of persuasion.
This place, Mr. Speaker, is the place in which the battle occurs
oftentimes, maybe even daily. Because this is the place in which we
have determined that a great debate should go on about the nature of
our society, about the kind of people we are. It is the place of ideas.
It is certainly the free marketplace of ideas. And we are allowed to
come before the body as I have tonight to express our opinions. I hope
that we have to a certain extent, anyway, even a small extent tonight,
made a case for allowing that debate to occur without the influence of
the power of government to tax and help one side in it as opposed to
Let us simply talk about it here, but, Mr. Speaker, I suggest to you
that there again is no more hypocritical thing that we do here in the
Congress of the United States than to take money away from people in
support of a particular brand of art or music and then argue about
whether or not that should happen with regard to religion.
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