To the editor:
Mike Hoeflich’s column (Journal-World, Jan. 30) on the relation of state power and individuals as human questions is correct. Justice for negatively affected citizens has broadly been seen as not just questions of equality but more importantly protecting the weak from the strong. The ancient practice of using taxes to reward supporters and fund your agendas while defunding your critic’s organizations is one example of the misuse of justice. The “Arts failure” editorial (Jan. 31) is another example of the application of this baleful practice.
Our intellectual and cultural life, our institutions which make political, social and cultural life possible, have past efforts deeply embedded in them. Discarding these institutions because you believe the state shouldn’t fund them and only support economic activities was thoroughly discredited by the conservative thinker Edmund Burke, who wrote, “the state ought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnership in a trade of pepper and coffee, calico or tobacco, or some other such low concern … because it is not a partnership in things subservient only to a gross animal existence …. It is a partnership in all science, all art, …in every virtue.”
The current Legislature’s “conservative” majority’s pietistic enthusiasm for lower taxes has become obstinate spitefulness. The current swift-boating of public sector union members while claiming to protect them from their organizations is one disingenuous example. This majority rewards their supporters with state socialism (tax breaks) and punishes the critics and the public with diminished opportunities (fewer educational opportunities being particularly malicious). This isn’t conservative thought. It is reactionary cronyism.