Letters to the Editor

Reality check

September 10, 2011


To the editor:

I am one of those performing artists who was sponsored by the Kansas Arts Commission until Gov. Brownback eliminated funding. This “money-saving” decision cost Kansas artists $1.3 million in grants (i.e., jobs) from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mid-America Arts Alliance.

Last week, I received a letter from the Mid-America Arts Alliance explaining that, since Kansas is now the only state in the union without an arts council, it could no longer accept applications for sponsorship from Kansas artists and existing agreements would be void as of this July. In other words, Kansas artists need not apply.

Gov. Brownback assured us that his decision would not seriously damage support for the arts because private donors would step forward. So, Governor, show us the money.  I suspect the reason he refuses to even say how much has been raised is that the amount is so paltry compared to the $1.3 million (jobs!) lost that he knows he’ll look ridiculous. Better to hunker down and avoid answering the question.

Man up, Governor. It is reality check time.


Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 6 months ago

"Kansas is now the only state in the union without an arts council"

We're also the home of the only known congregation of the Westboro Baptist Church.

And Dorothy and Toto came from here.

We are all very proud of the reputation of the state that we love, aren't we?

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

Dear Larry,

I'm one of those artists (I do have a fine arts degree) that wasn't affected by Brownback/arts defunding. I remain unaffected because I work for a fellow that doesn't like the government, but will put moderate sums of money in my bank account every other week for doing things other than art. I can use that money to support any art I wish to create and the time off to VOLUNTEER to help other artistic entities.

You are a parasite. Your host is dead. You should become a gainfully-employed asset to your species and pay for your own art.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 6 months ago

Wow. I can't tell which you loathe more-- your fellow humans, or yourself.

chootspa 6 years, 6 months ago

That poster has always demonstrated a shortage of theory of mind skills.

P Allen Macfarlane 6 years, 6 months ago


Just exactly what have you created recently, oh virtuous one? I would love to see it.

It's nice that you have a hobby, which is what your art is unless you you are doing more with it than storing in your home. If so, you are hardly an artist, only a wanna-be, jealous of those who actually pursue it with enough passion to do it full time.

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

Recently I've done a few pieces to introduce kids to abstract expressionism.

As for doing it full time, I like to do too many other things as well. Next on my agenda is building a small block 396 for my vette.

As for hardly an artist, I've had work exhibited in many shows, including one in Prague.

So mr dowser, what have you so passionately done?

P Allen Macfarlane 6 years, 6 months ago

I am one of those artists who used to be on the Touring Arts Roster of the KAC. I was and am still (when I find time) a part-time musician. At the moment it is more of a hobby than anything else. I have had a change of career; teaching is more of a full-time gig than my previous career.

I have recorded and marketed two CDs to and have done backup on one other CD recording project that also is being marketed. Passion for what I do as an artist is still there, but the time I have is limited.

You are fortunate to a wide range of talents and interests. Many of the so-called artists you label as parasites are not that fortunate. Also, performance art requires long hours of practice before a "piece" can be presented. I am fairly certain that is not the case with visual art, where you can work a little at a time on a "piece".

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

"Also, performance art requires long hours of practice before a "piece" can be presented."

I did some acting in school. Lots of rehearsal, you are right. I could never remember my lines.

You are right about visual arts. In fact, if you work with oil (and not alkoids or with driers), you have to work a little at a time or you end up with mud.

Being a musician looks pretty interesting. I have a Fender Mustang on my wishlist.

Linda Endicott 6 years, 6 months ago

So, you work for a fellow who puts moderate sums of money in your bank account every other week for doing things other than art...

We can only guess what those "other things" are, huh? No...the possibilities are far too gruesome...

You appear to have a very nice sugar daddy helping you out, but then you dare to call someone else a parasite? Pay for their own art? Are you paying for your own? (think carefully when you answer that one...)

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

"We can only guess what those "other things" are, huh?"

You can guess all you want. I'll give you two hints, It's never boring and I don't wear a uniform.

"You appear to have a very nice sugar daddy helping you out"

Sugar daddy makes more off me than I do.

"Are you paying for your own?"

I pay for my own and I pay for other people's. I have some fairly collectible originals.

Linda Endicott 6 years, 6 months ago

Oh, you're an original, all right...(original WHAT is the question)...

I hope they broke the mold so there will be no more like you...

And by the way, Sugar Daddy is paying for your art...not you...

How is that any different?

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

"Sugar Daddy is paying for your art"

He's paying for something else. 40 hours of it every week.

"I hope they broke the mold so there will be no more like you..."

One is enough, eh?

chootspa 6 years, 6 months ago

That's why Libertysomenumbers works full time as an artist, right? Because there's plenty of private support for the arts.

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

"What sucks is that there really are good arguments out there against my positions."

Art documents the mood of society.

voevoda 6 years, 6 months ago

Liberty_One and Liberty275, Why do you persist in labeling everybody who receives pay for their labors from government sources "parasites"? Most of them are doing valuable work from which at least a significant segment of the population benefits, directly or indirectly. If Mr. Carter is a performing artist, that means that his art benefited the members of his audiences. That makes him a person like any other who performs a service, and thus no more a "parasite" than a person who works for a private business.
Marxist philosophers similarly labels a whole swathe of the working population to be "parasites," except they apply that label to private business owners and their white-collar employees. Maybe people like you, Liberty_One and Liberty275. I'm sure that you don't want to be labeled that way, or to be forced to defend your worth to somebody who starts out from an antagonistic ideological position. "Do unto others as you would have done unto you."

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

Refuse to pay your taxes (which is the money that pays Larry) and you'll find out about the guns when they are shoved in your face.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 6 months ago

Oh, come on, Liberty. Intelligent people know how to draw the line between the effective use of hyberbole...and foolishly making gross exaggerations that completely distract from any point (even legitimate ones) they were trying to make.

Frankly, while certainly not agreeing with everything they've done, I've long admired the masterful skills that conservative planners have used to change entire conversations over the past 30+ years.

And it's very clear that they would have had absolutely no use for you or your approach because they would have known how incredibly counterproductive it is.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 6 months ago

Nothing to do with sand. Everything to do with effective communication.

For some bizarre reason, you opted for silliness rather than an attempt at effectively getting your message across.

Now, of course...you are certainly free to choose any approach you want...including a really lousy approach.

But you had darned well also better be willing to take responsibility for the results of that decision. And, quite frankly, it doesn't sound like you want to take that responsibility.

After all, you've convinced yourself that, at your job (forget your art), you get paid with no threats of "violence" involved at any point along the line.

You aren't really that naive, are you???

Ken Lassman 6 years, 6 months ago

Your right to fiscal reimbursement, Liberty, is the same as the government. If you provide a service to an individual and then that individual refuses to pay you, what do you do? You escalate your demand for reimbursement until you call in the legal system, which is virtually the same system that is called in if you refuse to pay your taxes.

In other words, the threat of violence you abhor from the government is the very same violence you turn to when someone violates the economic contract you depend on for your livelihood.

Stop being a hypocrite.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 6 months ago

You are the one who has a logic breakdown. Many transactions are paid for after the service/goods are provided, and if recompense is not provided, you count on the legal system to back up your demand for monetary payment of the debt. Who provides that force to make sure that you get your money when someone steals? The legal system, which is enforced by the threat of incarceration or forcible extraction of said debt. This is violence, and the source of that violence is--you guessed it--your government. Same local, state and federal laws, same law enforcement officers, same institutions of incarceration as would be used if you didn't pay your taxes.

Why can't you opt out of paying your taxes? Because you benefit greatly from many of them. How can I be sure that you won't be using the publicly financed sewer system, roads, foods and drugs that are regulated for public safety and on and on?

And you go from ridiculous to sublime when you say that the government will go into you wilderness resort that is financed by collecting nuts. Pretty funny, guy.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 6 months ago

You complain against sophistry below and yet up here you try to distract the argument away from your logical shortcomings with emotional sophistry of the first order. Nice try, but it misses the point by a mile.

Calling your toilet hookup to the sewer system or your use of public roads the same as mafia protection money is as big of a logical sleight of hand as I've seen in a long time, guy. You benefit from the government's spending big bucks to create infrastructure in all kinds of obvious ways that you seem to be blind to, including transportation networks, uniform codes that provide a rational playing field for entrepreneurs of all kinds to provide safe services and goods to others, a financial playing field that certainly has flaws but by and large protects your local assets, maintains the legal system that would provide you with legal recourse for getting your fair share if someone tries to rip you off, and on and on. I never equated the criminal justice system that addresses protections against violent crime with governnment enforcement of tax collection and you know it. I said that that your right to economic redress is protected by the same legal system as the government's system of enforcing tax collection, as part of the social contract.

Apparently you don't believe in the social contract and believe that the threat of violence used to maintain your agreements with others should be provided by individuals. In that case, I suggest you buy an island off the coast of Alaska and start arming yourself to protect your "freedom" and leave the rest of us alone. And don't expect anyone to come and provide you with any kind of ponzi schemed safety net if you get sick, disabled, hungry or otherwise in need of outside assistance.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 6 months ago

Whoah, buddy. Where do you live? Do you live in town? You really think the street you live on wasn't built without tax money, and isn't maintained and cleared of snow without tax money? Do you live in the country? Do you honestly think that THAT road was built without tax money or maintained without tax money?

Let's go to your sewer line or your water line. No taxes used there? You really must be living in la la land if you think they would be there without taxes. I dare you to give me one community in the US that hasn't used taxes for infrastructure development and maintenance.

Sorry you still can't connect the closely placed dots that connect your economic rights with the legal responsibilities that come with being a tax paying citizen. As they say, you can lead a horse to water....

As far as leaving you alone, why shouldn't we other tax paying citizens require you to pay your share? You are, like it or not, part of the community and should pull your share of the load and if you don't like it, put some effort into lightening that load by becoming a responsible citizen and participate in the political process to make changes you prefer.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 6 months ago

Sorry guy, the straw man doesn't work as a legitimate rebuttal in these situations--I took logic and debate, so you can't pull the wool over my eyes so easily. Your "straw man" responses are "straw men." I must take your responses as throwing in the towel for want of an adequate response--so be it.

If asking you to give me a single example of a tax-free road/sewer system is an appeal to tradition, then give me a clear and reasonable plan that shows how either a sewer system or road system would be built without levying a tax on the users. If tradition is so bereft of such an example, please chart the path on how to get a community to successfully adopt your utopian ideal.

And demanding that you pay your share has nothing to do with appealing to tradition and everything to do with ethics. If you choose to have an ethic where you take advantage of the social contract without assuming the responsibilities, and there is no way to remove you from accruing those benefits, then you are a thief and should be treated accordingly.

And you have given me no reason not to assume the truth of that conclusion.

thebigspoon 6 years, 6 months ago

Logic fail, as you are so fond of pointing out. You answered none of the question put to you and went off on a tangent designed to let others know how smart you are. Try answering the questions put to you with arguments germain to reality instead of your view of governmental and social perfection. You are an intelligent person who has a lot to say, but you, even you, have to live in this society and there are some realities that even you can not excape.

Now, tell us just exactly how you do not benefit from government services, and don't go off on us because we don't understand your Utopian libertarian ideas. You use roads that are NOT paid for by individuals, you use sewers that are NOT paid for by private companies, etc., etc., etc. Perhaps it would have been different if your ideals had been adopted by our founding fathers, but that's not how it went, and you, my very intelligent but very recalcitrant friend, have benefitted greatly from the American system as it is. Can it be better? Yes. But do you still benefit from the system? Not a sliver of doubt, Liberty, not one.

It's OK to bemoan what you perceive as inequities in the system, to rail about the slackers who take more than they give, but, Liberty, there isn't a society in the known universe that doesn't have those and they either thrive or die based on how they govern themsselves and handle the slackers.

I enjoy your comments, for the most part, and find much you say instructive. Unfortunately, your instructions lean more toward idealistic, unworkable solutions than to making the nation stronger for all rather than to making a few stronger than the many. Not a very nice picture. And, by the way, it doesn't make your idealism any less strong to occasionally say, "Nice thought". It kind of makes it easier to listen to your meaning rather than your words.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 6 months ago

Your complaint about opportunity costs is merely an existential complaint about the nature of the social contract. By virtue of not living in a place where there are no other people, you complain of lost opportunities of what you could be doing besides learning to live with a neighbor. Sorry, doesn't cut the mustard, as this is an existential given, just as killing other life in order to eat and survive is a given. You can agree or disagree with all kinds of positions around this, but the existential reality of opoportunity costs will simply not go away due to the fact that you live on the planet with 7 billion other "yous."

There is no inherent cost benefit advantage to your system of adaptation simply because it does not change the fundamental existential relationship. Furthermore, I fail to see how your system will change the relationship between the government and the well connected in any significant way in terms of access to resources by those who are currently powerless.

And regarding referring to how all of these things, when tried, worked: this is interesting for two reasons: 1) you give no concrete examples of them, and previously you dismissed others historical examples as mere "appeals to tradition." So you must be a very lucky man to not feel you have to give cogent, concrete examples of your ideas in action, as they would merely be appeals to tradition anyway. How conveniently convenient. Sounds like a very well insulated and comfortable cocoon to live in.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 6 months ago

Oh, so you are talking about privately funded public projects? Well why didn't you so? You might entertain the possibility that someone is not "getting it" due to you poor communication skills rather than their lack of skills in understanding what you are trying to say. If you are into reshaping the world with your ideas, you might spend a little more time polishing both your expressive language skills and your bedside manner, both of which are overly condensed at best, abrasive at worst.

Now back to the issue at hand: group private endeavors is no panacea for meeting community-wide needs any more than individuals trying to snub their noses at their neighbors. The early history of Lawrence includes a privately built toll bridge across the Kaw, and so many people were pissed off about it that they eventually built a public one. The public pool in Lawrence was built as a response to the racists who owned the Jayhawk Plunge, the major pool in town which didn't allow African Americans to swim there. These are just two examples of how privatized endeavors to serve the public can fall way short of serving the public at large and prevent access for many to a needed common service. I am not impressed at all by the gated community approach to building developments with privately funded roads and access, and Lawrence has had all kinds of headaches when it grew and annexed some private neighborhoods that grew outside the city limits, part of which was the city at large having to pay for upgrades to the substandard sewer system, roads, etc.

So, as you can see, if the government steals, capitalism excludes, and both require an engaged citizenship that prevents the excesses of predatory taxation and privatized exclusion.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 6 months ago

Intelligence fail on your part, I'm afraid. I've become bored with your little game of bait and switch, set up and knock down. Have a nice day.

roadwarrior 6 years, 6 months ago

wow, after reading that I immediately thought to myself, "which do you want to swallow ? the blue pill ? or the red pill ?" some people really love the security of the matrix without question.

voevoda 6 years, 6 months ago

Liberty_One, It's clear that you consider all taxation to be the equivalent of robbery and any government that collects taxes to be illegitimate. That makes you an anarchist.

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

"I'm sure that you don't want to be labeled that way, or to be forced to defend your worth to somebody who starts out from an antagonistic ideological position."

I ran a 90 day gauntlet I've seen others fail to work where I do. The fellow that regularly puts money in my bank account would have been foolish to not look for every reason to fire me during the first 90 days. Years later he still pays me and never has an unkind word for me.

Every job in the public sector starts off with an antagonist breathing down your back. He will stop when he realizes your value to him.

The government is usually too dumb to know the difference and wouldn't care anyway. OTOH, you will never have any value to the government, so it will never care if you are rich, poor, dead or alive.

Mike Ford 6 years, 6 months ago

like conservatives know what art is...aren't they the prudes who covered classic roman nudes in government buildings and probably hate American Gothic because it paints them as the soulless people they are?

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

How far would you go before covering the artwork? My guess is you would cover up anything worse than hardcore bondage. What's it going to be then, eh?

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

Try this, google "internet hate machine" and go to the website at it's center (protip, it starts with "4"). Hit F5 every 30 seconds for an hour and tell us if you would leave uncovered every image you see there.

I'm not telling you the name of the site because if you aren't intelligent enough to find it, you have no business going there.

In that case, just go on judging the souls of people you don't even know. At least then you are rendered harmless by the altogether non-existence of souls.

Darrell Lea 6 years, 6 months ago

Larry Carter is a good man who, in addition to being a performing artist, works forty hours a week at a job that has nothing to do with the arts. Most artists have to do that in Kansas to survive.

Anyone who would say derogatory about someone who works that much, i.e. "You are a parasite. Your host is dead. You should become a gainfully-employed asset to your species and pay for your own art." is openly expressing pathetic hatred of their fellow human and prejudicial ignorance to a high degree.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 6 months ago

Isn't eating taking a life? Isn't maintaining your life an act of violence?

Ken Lassman 6 years, 6 months ago

The social contract is an informed relinquishing of individual rights for the benefit of the collective good, exactly analogous to the sacrifices of individual liberties that your Mom took to raise you from dependent infancy to young adulthood.

To call the government enforcing collecting taxes from individuals a type of reprehensible violence is analogous to complaining about how your Mom put you in time out or whipped you for not taking out the trash on trash day. Not only does taking out the trash teach you responsibility, part of that trash is your trash and it's not fair for others to take your trash out all of the time. Just because part of that trash is from someone else than you doesn't mean that you shouldn't take out that bag. Your Mom is right, kiddo.

jafs 6 years, 6 months ago

Actually, I'd say that a parent who "whips" their child for a failure to take out the trash is acting rather violently and reprehensibly.

And, forced chores for children because they happened to be born is questionable as well, in my view.

It is the parents' responsibility to take care of their children - if they don't want that responsibility, then they can choose not to have them.

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

"To call the government enforcing collecting taxes from individuals a type of reprehensible violence is analogous"

It doesn't matter what it is analogous to. Just because a mother killing her son because he complained is analogous to Stalin killing millions to preserve harmony in the Soviet Union doesn't make communism acceptable.

"to complaining about how your Mom put you in time out or whipped you for not taking out the trash on trash day."

The government shouldn't presume to be anyone's mother. We are not children of the state, we are The Sovereign of the state. The left are too quick to forget that and the right aren't bright enough to understand it.

Darrell Lea 6 years, 6 months ago

Dear Liberty_One - I believe the comment I quoted was attached to the ID "Liberty275," yet you responded to my post in the first person singular tense, i.e. "I express hatred towards the initiation of violence."

I don't believe I quoted you, unless you are posting to this thread under multiple IDs and aren't keeping track of who said what.

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

You can't confuse me and L1. He is thoughtful and insightful yet unafraid to speak his mind. I'm a brutish loudmouth that has a little soapbox to stand on.

Don't mix us up again, OK?

Richard Heckler 6 years, 6 months ago

I want my tax dollars coming home to support Larry Carter. At least Larry Carter did not play a part in the 1st or 2nd home loan scams that brought the nations economy to its' knees.

Look how many worthless politicians our tax dollars support such as the entire Kansas delegation. They are all RINO's.

In fact it is my belief that my tax dollars should come home in the form of Single Payer Medicare Insurance for all of us. Face it $2500 a year for 24/7 coverage is far better than $13,000-$18,000 a year for the same coverage.

It is stunning how many worship RINO's and the BS they put out as facts.

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

"I want my tax dollars"

You should have stopped there.

mr_right_wing 6 years, 6 months ago

So are you saying that we'll soon be seeing you downtown, with hat in hand?

When you see me, remind me and I'll put a buck in.

Larry Carter 6 years, 6 months ago

Carter, I read your bowel movement 'Reality check'.....So you lost your money grabbing scam! I for one do not want to pay for your and your like to play your stupid music and draw your stupid so called art or weld old iron together and have it set purchased and set on the street by the idiotic city leaders. You could get a job and make your own spending money. I'm already having to spend money to the school district and they have art classes for grades 1-12. That is enough!! Or hell just join the military and do something important for this country!! Semper Fi!! GySgt. G. Johns USMC (Ret.)

GySgt Guy Johns,

We obviously disagree on the value of art. You might want to know that I appreciate your service to our country and that, although I'm not with the military, I already work a full-time government service job.

Since you are so vocal with your criticism, I assume you won't mind if I post this exchange online. Those of us who support the arts should know the vehemence of the opposition.

Larry Carter

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

Also, did it ever occur to you that if we weren't taxed so badly (at lower middle class we are taxed 30% when the taxation is added up) we might pay you to teach our kids to play the piano or dance or sing. If I had kids, I love to pay you cash money to teach them everything you know. Even without kids, we would come and pay money to watch your creations.

But sorry, we have other things to pay for right now, like a mortgage, utilities and dog food. If we could afford it, we'd come. If I had twenty extra dollars for every hundred I earn, we'd give part of it to you. Right after I get my PS3.

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

"I already work a full-time government service job."

You already work for the government full time AND you want them to give you more money to pursue an artistic career? You know that money comes out of the pockets of people that are scratching and scraping to keep what they have right now, don't you?

Larry Carter 6 years, 6 months ago

I'm at the high school. It's called working two jobs to make ends meet and is typical of those in the education field. In case you are interested, check my website - www.LCarter.com. I have for 7 years produced a weekly concert series now at the Lawrence Arts Center (volunteer), produced Lawrence Scottish Fest for the last 10 years (volunteer), was Executive Producer of a great concert video "Scots on the Kaw" (volunteer) and, other than occasional weddings, usually play for whatever is in a tip jar. The Lawrence Arts Commission sponsored me to go into towns where there were few arts resources, do an afternoon Children's Theater Workshop, then do an evening all-ages concert of original music where the workshop kids joined me onstage. I'm a 4-time Kansas Folk Instrument Champion and play more instruments than you have fingers. How dare you say my art isn't worth anything! Why are you so mean and nasty?

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

So your real job is somewhere in the education field, and then you beg for more money so you can volunteer? How much of my money do you realistically need to do something people won't pay enough in admission to fund and that you volunteer to do?

"How dare you say my art isn't worth anything!"

You tell me what it's worth.

"Why are you so mean and nasty?"

Because people like you are wasting the money I work for.

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

I'm going to reword that because I don't like what I said. I don't necessarily think you are wasting my money. From your description, you may be helping youth and I can live with that.

Instead, I'm going to change it so:

"Why are you so mean and nasty?"

Because people like you think you are entitled to the money I work for 40 hours each week. The utter audacity of thinking you should be given money worked for and taxed from other people to pursue a calling, be it playing eleven instruments or "volunteering" to teach children to play an instrument, or sing, or dance or whatever is foul and disgusting. I'd rather have no dreams than take money from unwilling people to make them happen.

"Why are you so mean and nasty?"

Because I don't see how you live with yourself. It is alien to me getting anything I didn't work and earn money to pay for.

"Why are you so mean and nasty?"

I do without things I want because I refuse to beg for them. I expect that of everyone.

Darrell Lea 6 years, 6 months ago

"People" like Liberty_One, 275 and their ilk are mean and nasty here at LJWorld.com because they can lurk behind anonymous identities and spew their ignorant hatred all day and night without accepting any real responsibility for the garbage they type.

It's sad that most of the rest of us have to do the same thing just so we can play in the sewer with these trolls every now and then. Sadder still that the world we live in is in many respects becoming meaner and nastier because of this anonymous trolling mentality that pervades so much of the public discussion.

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

I'm pretty much the same in real life. Maybe a little worse because I can use more words.

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

And really, buy a clue. Just because you phrase things in a confrontational manner doesn't mean you hate somebody. I don't hate anyone here, but if I did do you think I wouldn't tell them?

chootspa 6 years, 6 months ago

They wouldn't be struggling so hard if we had a progressive tax scheme and better government programs in place. HTH.

devobrun 6 years, 6 months ago

I have no opinion regarding art. Life is so much better that way.
You don't have to defend your opinion. You don't have to defend art. It changes nothing in your life either way. You can like, or not, and just go about your path in life.

But if you think that art is to be supported by me......through some public taxation.......go to he double hockey sticks.

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