The interconnectedness of all things

I was amusingly monitoring a debate in the letters page of the Edmonton Journal this past week (and also in the "Culture Venting" section) about money to the arts. The Journal cleverly hides its letters, so I can't go and post links to them, but it all centres around an article by that worthless tool Todd Babiak about increasing funding to the arts.

A letter in response said something along the lines of why the Tories should continue to fund artists who every election organize to defeat the Tories, and yesterday a slew of responses criticizing any notion of restricting funds to the arts as tantamount to government censorship.

So read mudcrutch79's post about funding for a new stadium (an issue I've discussed before at the Battle of Alberta):

On a certain level, the argument that hockey teams shouldn't need funding for arenas because they can afford to build themselves is absurd, unless the government makes the simultaneous decision to stop funding things that can't support themselves like, say for example, the Edmonton Folk Festival. I mean, Alberta apparently spends $20MM annually on the arts. Presumably they spend this money because not enough people in Alberta give a shit about the arts to support the events that take place. Why should Alberta's hockey teams be subject to whatever support they can find in the marketplace while other events, which can't find that support in the marketplace, get a helping hand from government? The demonstrably more popular choice of entertainment gets punished. How does that make sense?

If I lived in Alberta and was offered the choice of a) the Flames and Oilers each having $10MM in additional revenue, with certain guarantees as to it's use or b) the Flames and Oilers each getting whatever they could get from the market and $20MM being pissed away on guys playing the flute or some such nonsense, I know what I'd choose. If the options were presented like that as opposed to being presented as "Should we give money to millionaire hockey players and billionaire owners?", I'm pretty sure I know what most Albertans would choose as well. My point here is pretty simple: so long as governments are willing to hand out free money for things that don't fall within the purview of the essential services we've agreed governments need to provide, certain entities shouldn't be disqualified because they're too popular. If the responsibilities of government extend to supporting the entertainment choices of Canadians, there shouldn't be means testing.

In an interesting twist turning the tables on these arts supporters, he concludes
If, like most Canadian governments apparently do, you accept that the role of government extends to subsidizing entertainment, the governments of Alberta, Edmonton and Calgary should give serious consideration to providing the Flames and Oilers with funds for a new arena.
I don't agree with his reasoning per se, but it should give a pause to any Third Edge of the Sword readers who are half-finished penning an angry letter to the Journal about supporting the arts.