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That art museums should be financed by the state

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2 points
JackSpratJackSprat (PRO)
The role of the government is to defend its borders and citizens from invasion, oppression, and harm. That purpose is to maintain the integrity of the republic/monarchy, its language, culture, and heritage. The citizens identify themselves as part of their State in the form of nationalism. The history of a nation, it's customs, and values are very important in developing national identity, and historically that identity is a core ingredient for conscription and propaganda during times of war. From a modern perspective, that identity is exemplified internationally in sport and other non-war competitions.

State currency often depicts people, places, or things of national interest in an artistic form. Those people places and things usually fall under the definition of "national treasure". A National Treasure (OED) "an artifact, institution, or public figure regarded as being emblematic of a nation's cultural heritage or identity." Artifacts are usually expressions of creativity, such as paintings, jewelry, paintings, carvings statutes, buildings etc, and are therefore art.

Many countries have legislation in place to protect national treasures. (National Treasure Act (UK), Treasure Trove Act (Canada), National Monuments Act (Ireland), The Antiquity Act (US) which gives the State default ownership of any qualifying treasure. As the government is the legal owner of the property, that makes the people all co-owners. The people have a right to benefit from the property which would include learning about and viewing the treasures.

One of the most predominant cases of a national treasure act that applies to art is the Egyptian law on the Protection of Antiquities, established in 1983. This law strictly governs the identification, ownership, and trade of any object that falls under its definitions, predominantly Egyptian artifacts.  This concept is not unique to a handful of countries.  

National Treasures are of global interest. Internationally national treasures are protected by the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects This treaty has been used to recover treasures, as we see in this case with Egyptian artifacts on sale in London UK

Domestically and Internationally a measurable level of effort, agreement, and enforcement go into identifying and securing items of National Treasure. As those treasures are actually the property of the people collectively, the State certainly holds the responsibility of securing and making those treasures reasonably accessible to the public.

To secure and study treasures, and present to the public, a government must spend money. The most efficient way is to do that is to invest in Museums and Galleries. This helps teach about the history and identity of their country and builds a certain level of nationalism as seen in this 1995 paper about the role the Museums play in Nationalism. 

State funding does not need to be absolute.  Private-public partnerships are often used to provide access to the treasures at a reasonable cost the public.  25% of the funding for the Smithsonian Institute in the US is private funds.  Governments often use their current property, like city halls/libraries,  to also showcase art, and create mini gallery/museums, at their expense.  In effect anywhere the government owns the property and displays its art, is de facto a museum.

While some would argue that the involvement of the government in culture is a conduit to a propaganda machine,  there is very little evidence to support this.  Some may point to the questions around the claims of how the Great Pyramid of Giza was built. And that claim is not explored because the Egyptian government uses its deity with national treasures as a propaganda machine. Even if there is truth to that theory, it does not take away from the concept of nationalism, the national treasure, and the people's rights, (i.e. Governments responsibility) to explore and benefit from those artifacts.

Resolution Affirmed.

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-05-02 12:38:59
| Speak Round
Bugsy460Bugsy460 (CON)

Thank you for joining this debate. First I will go over some flaws in my opponents case, then I will go over mine.

Opponent's Arguments

1. My opponent ends his case by saying that there is little evidence to support that the state financing art would lead to a propaganda machine, but he started his case by claiming that national identity created from artifacts "is a core ingredient for conscription and propaganda during times of war". He doesn't get it both ways. He can't claim that state financed art allows for national identity through propaganda, but it doesn't create propaganda. He is trying to gain the benefits of propaganda without having to answer the question of slipping into authoritarianism.

2. He claims that it is the states goal to maintain the integrity of the state through it's culture. He talks about how it allows for war propaganda and drafting, but he doesn't give you a reason why this is good. He goes on a pro-state thought without giving you the real benefits. Drafts killed over three million people1 in Vietnam. While all the deaths can't be attributed to a draft, the number was largely increased by the "benefits" by opponent talks about. Looking past the specifics of the draft however, he defends nationalism as a whole. A system that caused WWII2 and has either caused or helped fuel every war since. If this is the best he can hope to offer by financing art museums, then it would be better to not finance them.

My Points

1. There is a better solution. Instead of the government financing art museums directly in anyway, they should make private, charitable contributions tax deductible. This is important for two reasons.
A. This makes sure lower income households aren't burdened, at least by American standards. In the United States, lower income families pay more in taxes3 when you consider state and local levels. These taxes would go to finance art museums across their state or locality, when that money could be better used buying an individual their next gas tank. To ensure that lower income households aren't having to pay for art museums they simply can't afford, we should create tax deductible donations. It already creates over 1/3 of revenue for museums4. By eliminating government funding and pushing for more donations, we can ensure that the struggling masses of New York aren't paying for the Smithsonian, but the elite, willing to donate to not pay taxes.
B. The other reason to prefer donations is it avoids nationalism. I've gone over why nationalism is dangerous, so I won't repeat, but I just wanted to point out that donations avoid all that, while also not creating a financial burden on the lower income households.

2. Art is what makes life worth living, but art is different to every person. Video games, cinema, painting, pornography, and tractor design can all be considered art. Art, as defined before round, is anything that expresses human creativity. The problem is that any system that has to decide what should and shouldn't get funded will cut things that aren't viewed as "creative" by the state. My opponent talked about how it would protect things that create national identity, but why draw the line there. The government either can't fund everything artistic and would bankrupt itself, or would have to cut some things from the budget. This means that the government would then be deciding what counts as art and what doesn't.

To summarize, vote con to oppose the propaganda fueled war machine my opponents nationalism creates, as well as support lower income households and the creative integrity of art.

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-05-02 16:36:33
| Speak Round
Bugsy460: What are the benefits of nationalism?
JackSprat: Can we just end the cross exam?
JackSprat: Re Nationalism, it is the preservation of language and culture. Thats why I said governments are responsible for defending those elements. Without protection of language and culture you have inherent racism and discrimination
JackSprat: My argument was that there are hundreds of micro museums when the government displays artifacts in its buildings. You are saying this should be outlawed? Therefore you disagree with the concept of a national treasure?
JackSprat: Confirm you believe that the government has no role in antiquities?
Bugsy460: I believe these micro museums are fostering feelings of nationalism, which leads to wars across the world and therefore should be illegal. These artifacts would be preserved by private entities and wouldn't be lost to history, but they also wouldn't be used to as propaganda material. I believe the government has no role in holding on to art. The government has no role in showing off antiquities. They can sell them to private museums or keep them locked away. They don't get to use them as a propaganda tool. We can end cross examination after I ask one more question.
Bugsy460: How do you rectify the fact that you say we need artifacts to create nationalist propaganda, but it won't be used for propaganda?
JackSprat: Not all propaganda is bad. Propaganda is information used to propagate an idea, thought, position etc. Therein I feel your use of the term is unnecessarily inflammatory. Artifacts are history, and history is an important subject the government should be well informed about and teach its citizens about. Education is a form of propaganda. So by your definition the government should not be involved in educating or setting curriculum.
Bugsy460: How do we end the cross examination early?
JackSprat: I have no idea What a waste of 4 days
Bugsy460: Oh well. Do you have any other questions since we're mandated the time?
JackSprat: Nahhh. I asked Admin about it and he does not have a way to terminate it. So we gotta wait this out.
JackSprat: Hows the weather where you are?
Bugsy460: It's already getting hot. Texas heat doesn't allow for a long spring. What about you?
JackSprat: Just not enough sun. Makes this whole COVID shit harder when there be no sun!!!
Bugsy460: 100% Tbh, COVID has allowed me to get in touch with a lot of old hobbies and led me to this website, so as long as it lets up soon, it'll have been worth it to me personally.
JackSprat: Making lemons out of lemonade for sure.
Bugsy460: Any hobbies, besides debating?
JackSprat: Yeah I do lots of reading, I build electronics, and renewable energy systems for houses, custom powerwalls, wood gassifiers etc. You?
Bugsy460: I like to read to. I'm a big gamer. Nothing too special.
JackSprat: I am not a gamer but I do like the DEUS Ex series
JackSprat: and I liked Skyrim and sim sports
Bugsy460: I've wanted to play Deus Ex, but just never got around to it. I mostly play Skyrim-esque games on console or RTS on computer.

Return To Top | Speak Round
JackSpratJackSprat (PRO)

If the government has no role in art museums, it by nature should not own the art, because it would not be allowed to display it. While some. owners may loan or donate items,  the vast majority would not.  As in this article the problem during the Egyptian uprising.    When given a chance, people will horde items and destroy future learning opportunities off the land, for immediate gain.

Showing art is education, and yes a form of propaganda to encourage pride in the nation.  It also is an important history lesson.  The US Government should display artifacts and history.  Things like the horrible atrocities against Natives, slaves, Mexicans, etc.  All of the clothing and manually created items are a form of art.  They are creative expressions.

The government owns many buildings and pieces of land.  By this resolution, the government would not show any art, or display any information about the country, or its history.  In fact, any building it owns that is a historical treasure would have to be sold.  The government cannot drop everything art-related.  It is not practical.  A building like the Whitehouse, are art museums.  All that would have to be sold.  It is not practical.

There is an important education element to ensure understanding of history for such atrocities as the Holocaust, as seen in this US-funded museum.  (HERE)

Reports show there are fantastic economic, social and cultural benefits from museums, as seen, HERE, and HERE, and HERE.


Propaganda is not always negative. The definition of propaganda from MWD is

"the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person"

Everything spoken by the church is propaganda, a government is propaganda.  Having a persuasive method of communication is a cornerstone of any institution.


My opponent believes tax breaks will be significant enough incentive to supplement the government's removal of all participation. As we see in the Egypt example above, the objectives for artifacts owners are not centered around public display and education.

My opponent states that spending money on the arts is misplaced, and the money should go to those in need. Investing in an educated workforce has substantial positive benefits. The removal of funding does not equate to an individual benefit to citizens.  as we have seen in the last 3 Trump budgets, he has attempted to remove all funding from museums, to increase tax cuts, military spending, and decrease EPA regulations and Medicaid. Ultimately is was reject each of  All three years .  Saved money from one program does not equal a tank of gas for a citizen.

My opponent also suggests that because you can't get funding for all art forms, you should get none. That is preposterous.  Funding for art forms like video games, and independent movies, and sculptures are available through many different programs.  The job of the applicant is to convince the endowment committee that their project has merit for the fund they are applying to.  

Finally, nationalism is not always negative.    If you believe in a passport and immigration, you believe in nationalism.  Without nationalism, you have no need for a border or passport, you have the genocide of culture, faith, and language. Whilst to some this is a good model, to others, it is not.  I do not think it is an effective argument to say art promotes nationalism, and we do not want any nationalism unless you are prepared to say, we do not want passports or any sort of international control.  

Where does my opponent stand on that?

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-05-07 22:36:57
| Speak Round
Bugsy460Bugsy460 (CON)
Opponent's Case

1. The government can sell off artifacts and historical buildings under the assumption that they will be maintained and shown to the public. Some countries, such as Italy 1 , have given away castles under the condition inhabitants will do their best to build up the castle and open it to the public. The entire argument that it wouldn't be available, even through tax benefits, is simply false. The debate is about if art museums should be financed by the state. Financing is different than regulation, and regulation can ensure that all of the artifacts in history can still be shown to the public. Since they'll still be shown when they aren't financed by the state, the educational, economic, social, and cultural benefit is  a benefit to both sides.

2. My opponent simply states that propaganda isn't always bad, but that wasn't my point. My point was that at the beginning of their first speech, they said "identity is a core ingredient for conscription and propaganda" but at the end said, "While some would argue that the involvement of the government in culture is a conduit to a propaganda machine, there is very little evidence to support this." I'm saying that if he advocates for the good of propaganda and the nationalism it creates, he shouldn't access any of those benefits in this debate because he claimed there is little evidence to support that. I'm going to 100% agree that nationalism and propaganda are necessary. I'm changing from my original stance on nationalism. I would like to add that there is little evidence that museums cause any of that, so there is no benefit museums add to nationalism or propaganda, as originally stated by my opponent.

My Case

1. Taxation comes from all citizens of the state. My claim is that if we eliminated spending on art museums, there is a couple of different options. Either, tax rates go down, ensuring that lower income citizens get to keep more of their money, in which case it directly leads to a tank of gas for citizens, or money is sent to other programs, such as welfare, which then indirectly leads to a tank of gas for citizens who need it. Either costs go down, and citizens get to save money, or money is sent to programs that could better help citizens. He tries to use a failed political deal to say it would never happen, but that creates an unfair burden on me. The definition of should according to Merriam Webster 2 is "used in auxiliary function to express obligation, propriety, or expediency". I have to prove that not financing museums is the best option, not the most probable, otherwise my opponent would automatically win since we finance art museums in the status quo.

2. Art is too subjective to be defined by the state. Is Netflix a digital art museum because cinema is art? Is PornHub a digital art museum because pornography is art? If the answer is yes, then the state has to finance it or they're picking and choosing art that is "acceptable" for the government to fund. That is simply to expensive, hoping to fund every single artistic endeavor in the nation. If the answer is no, then my opponent shows that the state would be selective on what art is, leading to the government having to much control over the artistic integrity of the nation.


My opponent has admitted that nationalism isn't relevant to art museums, so he gains no benefits from his support of nationalism. Also, his claim that this is the only way to support artifacts is simply false. Other nations have shown how they can use contractual agreements to ensure that artifacts are shown to the public while being privately financed. Now, public funding hurts lower income families and artistic integrity. Not financing art museums through the state is the best option for the nation state.

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-05-09 04:35:57
| Speak Round
Bugsy460Bugsy460 (CON)
Opponents Case

1. Financing and regulation are two separate actions that can be taken by the state. Financing is payment while regulation is rules to be followed. This debate is about the funding of art museums, not regulating them. We can ensure art will be fully displayed through regulation and tax breaks. Italy has done it with castles. Since we can ensure that they will be fully on display under a more privatized setting, we have to look at the benefits of state or private financing.

2. The only benefit my opponent has is that nationalism, which is necessary to create "a core ingredient for conscription and propaganda during times of war", as my opponent stated. He then goes on to say, "some would argue that the involvement of the government in culture is a conduit to a propaganda machine, there is very little evidence to support this". It's very important to understand that the one benefit he cites for government financing of art museums doesn't even exist according to his own case. Even if it did hypothetically exist, this benefit is based on the existence of the artifacts and their availability. Since I previously proved that artifacts will be on display, any benefit he hopes to achieve through his self-disproven nationalism would also exist in a privately financed sector. The only question left is what benefits would a privately funded art museum industry bring.

My Case

1. Public funds are taken from all levels of income. As I previously showed, at a state and local level, lower income families may actually pay more in taxes because of sales tax. This means my opponent advocates for funds from these families to go towards art museums when they could go to tax breaks, education, or welfare programs that would better help lower income families than art museums that they may never choose to set foot in. The problem with using public funds for things that only affect certain people that are choosing to partake in these actions is you're forcing the lower income families to help fund these programs. Someone working multiple jobs to stay afloat has to pay a higher sales tax rate on necessities so their state government could host a art museum in their capital city they'll never be able to afford to go see. This isn't a fair system of paying for art museums, especially when we can use tax breaks and regulation to ensure only those who choose to pay and can afford to pay have to pay.

2. Art is as diverse as humanity itself. The problem with trying to finance art museums is that art can't fit any bureaucratic definition the government tries to assign to it. We find ourselves in a Catch-22 when we try to finance art museums. Either the government definition is too wide and it bankrupts itself trying to fund all the art of the state, or its definition is to narrow and it doesn't legally define art as art. This forces artists to be unable to fully pursue artistic careers because the government doesn't try to procure or show off their art. Any definition of art will either be too encompassing for the state's purse or too exclusionary for artistic integrity to survive. We kill the value of art from an artistic perspective by trying to support it. The bureaucratic maze of government will strip all artistic value from art if we try to get it to define art. Even the museums my opponent claims exist are all based on artifacts. The government protects those for its historic value, but not it's artistic value. His whole case is about nationalism and the identity of the state, but he pays no attention to artistic value. This is how the government would value art, based on it's value to the state, not value to art.


I have to prove that art should not be financed by the state. I've proven there is no advantage to state funding because nationalism isn't affected by museums and art would still be accessible. Privately financing ensures lower income families are better treated and art still has integrity. Vote con.

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-05-15 04:27:29
| Speak Round

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Thanks mate. I appreciate your accommodation and good nature in our "chats". :)
Posted 2020-05-19 22:15:07
No problem, my guy.
Posted 2020-05-19 13:16:27
I got super busy. Can you give me an extension please
Posted 2020-05-19 11:40:12
Yeah, my computer glitched when I refreshed this page. I'm sorry.
Posted 2020-05-02 07:18:22
asked and answered
Posted 2020-05-02 05:02:55
Does "be financed" include grants, or just direct funding? Also, does "art museums" include historical museums?
Posted 2020-05-02 03:13:18
Financed includes any form of support that has a monetary value. Art is anything that deals with the expression of human creativity.
Posted 2020-05-01 19:27:57
Does "be financed" include grants, or just direct funding? Also, does "art museums" include historical museums?
Posted 2020-05-01 17:35:38
Sure To "be financed" does not mean exclusive, i.e. all funding.

Posted 2020-05-01 17:30:17
Is there any definitions or clarifications you want to make before hand?
Posted 2020-05-01 10:55:10
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2020-06-08 23:07:49
KushJudge: Kush
Win awarded to: Bugsy460
2020-06-13 07:40:24
dpowell3543Judge: dpowell3543    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: Bugsy460
The debate was going good and strong, but then Pro forfeited.
0 comments on this judgement

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