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Sunday morning quotes: Priorities

February 5, 2012

The political environment in the US is experiencing a measurable warming trend as the 2012 presidential election cycle heats up.  While we are not typically interested in mixing politics with the aesthetics of historical music, we have to acknowledge the unfortunate tendency of candidates to posture against funding the arts in favor of sabre-rattling.  We have mentioned before that, historically, great minds acknowledged the importance of understanding music, and deemed it an essential quality of statesmen and leaders.  But it seems our leaders, and would-be leaders, are intent upon steering us headlong down the path to barbarism by de-funding education and the arts in favor of you-know-what. The series of quotes below is from a broad sampling of news articles.  We encourage you to read the complete articles, which are linked by the highlighted text.

Federal support for arts and culture is now officially in the cross hairs of congressional Republicans…the Republican Study Committee, made up of about 165 GOP members of the House of Representatives, on Thursday announced a budget-cutting plan aimed at slashing federal spending, and it calls for the elimination of the nation’s two leading makers of government arts grants: the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Also on the chopping block is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

– LA Times, January 2011

In an op-ed piece in USA Today, [GOP Presidential candidate Willard] Romney said he would “eliminate every government program that is not absolutely essential [because] the federal government should stop doing things we don’t need or can’t afford,” then gave five examples. Four examples clearly cited programs or funding categories to be eliminated;  the fifth was “enact deep reductions in the subsidies for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Legal Services Corporation.”

– LA Times, January 2011

“Gov. Sam Brownback is working on ways to provide funding for the arts after his controversial veto last year that made Kansas the first state in the nation to stop funding the arts.”

– Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World, January 2012

Now we shift to the contents of a seemingly innocuous science-related story published last week in the Guardian, Sandia Labs engineers create ‘self-guided’ bullet

Three years in the making, the bullet prototype represents another step toward a next-generation battlefield that scientists and experts expect to be saturated with technology and information.

With most of the hard science done, Jones said the next step is for Sandia to partner with a private company to complete testing of the prototype and bring a guided bullet to the marketplace.

More than $1 million in research and development grants have taken the project this far.

Is this casual announcement meant to elicit warm-fuzzies about a cool new technology? Or is it yet another symptom of our observable shift in priorities?  We now switch to a 2007 article in the New York Times, Is ‘Do Unto Others’ Written Into Our Genes?

At first glance, natural selection and the survival of the fittest may seem to reward only the most selfish values. But for animals that live in groups, selfishness must be strictly curbed or there will be no advantage to social living. Could the behaviors evolved by social animals to make societies work be the foundation from which human morality evolved?

Moving on to quotes derived from important historical figures:

“Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.” – Confucius

“…To injure anyone is never just anywhere.” – Socrates (Plato’s Republic)

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” – Jesus (Luke 6:31)

And by no means an endorsement of any candidate but rather another example of the collective shift to barbarism in the US:

[At the] 16 January 2012 Fox News Debate in South Carolina, the audience booed Ron Paul as he suggests U.S. foreign policy might consider the universal Golden Rule — that we should treat other nations the way we would want to be treated.

Just saying…

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