Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Why artists should be conservative

I just doing a blogsearch when I happened on Oz Conservative from the Land Down Under, and he had some interesting thoughts on the kind of society that fosters the arts. He says that modern liberal society can't foster the arts; only a conservative one can:

Since the end of WWII artists have been overwhelmingly liberal modernists. Where has this got them?

They have become irrelevant. As a reward for their role in transgressing the traditional order, artists have been given a few state grants and then ignored.

A liberal modernist society doesn't need artists. It's run by a managerial class on a technocratic basis. There simply isn't an important social function in such a system for art.

Serious artists, therefore, have been shunted out of the public square. How many people today know or care about an important contemporary poet or painter or playwright or composer?

It wasn't always so. Traditional societies ultimately found a basis for order on the transcendent (on the recognition of a "good" existing beyond our own immediate individual preferences or desires). It wasn't functionaries who were best able to express and communicate the transcendent to the public. This was a role for high art, a role which gave artists an important place within society and culture.


Eventually there is no more tradition to set yourself against, and there is no reason for an art based on efficient, abstract function to resonate with the public (most people do their best to ignore it).

It's difficult to see how the situation for artists can improve; the further we descend into liberal modernism the more irrelevant that artists become to the processes of society.