GMAT : Analysis of An Issue

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An Issue

22. Clearly, government has a responsibility to support the arts. However, if that support is going to produce anything of value, government must place no restrictions on the art that is produced.


To what extent do you agree or disagree with the opinion expressed above? Develop your position by giving specific reasons and / or examples from your own experience, observations or reading.


The speaker here argues that government must support the arts but at the same time impose no control over what art is produced. The implicit rationale government intervention in the arts is that, without it, cultural decline in our social fabric will result. However, I find no empirical evidence to support this argument which in any event is unconvincing in light of more persuasive that government should play no part in either supporting or restricting the arts.

First, subsidizing the arts is neither a proper nor necessary job for government. Although public health is generally viewed as critical to a society's very survival and therefore an appropriate concern of government, this concern should be used tenuously to our cultural health or well-being. A lack of private funding might justify an exception. In my observation, however, philanthropy is alive and we especially among the new technology and media moguls.

Second, government cannot possibly play an even-handed role as arts inadequate resources call for restrictions, priorities and choices. It is unconscionable to relegate normative decisions as to which art has value to a few legislators and jurists who may be unenlightened in their notions about art. Also, legislators are all too likely to make choices in favor of the cultural agendas of those lobbyists with the most money and influence.

Third, restricting artistic expression may in some cases encroach upon constitutional right of free expression. In any case, governmental restrictions chill creativity, thereby defeating the very purpose of subsidizing the arts.

In the final analysis, government cannot philosophically or economically involve in the arts either by subsidy or sanction. Responsibility lies with individuals to determine what art has value and to support that art.

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