The crux of Jacob Neusner’s (Cultural Revolutions, September 1990) frustration lies in the fact that he is desperately trying to find a “middle position” solution to the NEA funding crisis. There is no middle position to take with NEA, simply because the very nature of its being violates free market principles. Art is a business just like any other business and should not be exempt from the dictates of the consumer.

Censorship is an issue in NEA funding—however, not in the same context currently used by supporters of the NEA. It is ironic to think that the ones who distribute and the ones who receive NEA funding are the first to cry censorship when their taste in “art” is questioned. Is it not censorship to the many who do not receive funds? Is it not censorship for the state to decide what is and is not art?

The fact is censorship is not such a bad word, so long as there are objective rather than subjective standards in place. And the only possible way for objective censorship to take place is to return the arts to the free market where the consumer will decide what is and is not “art.” This will be the only solution to saying “yes to the arts, no to pornography, and no to censorship.”

        —Barbara Ranch
Houston, TX