19 May 2010

Benefits of the non-worker

Said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi recently:

If you want to be creative, and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations, because you will have healthcare. You don't have to be job locked.
Seems to me a most unwise model and way of thinking.

I am very much in favor of promoting the arts and of fostering the return to truly noble music, poetry, painting, statuary, etc., but I am also in favor of people working for a living.

Many of the great works of art were made by truly skillful artists who found patrons - both ecclesial and secular - to commission them. These patrons provided for the cost of the materials, the labor and the needs of the artist (food, housing, etc.). This seems to me a better model than simply handing things out to people.

It was the Apostle himself who said to Timothy, "And whoever does not provide for relatives and especially family members has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (I Timothy 5:8). Saint Paul also wrote to the Church at Thessalonika, "In fact, when we were with you, we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat" (II Thessalonians 3:10).

Capello tip to the Creative Minority Report:


  1. Nothing like encouraging people to pursue their passions while collecting public assistance.

  2. Like we need a whole bunch more government-subsidized street musicians.

    "Go ahead. Quit your day job. We'll pick up the tab."

    By that same token, we "stay at home moms" should also qualify for government subsidy. Oh, but that would imply that we do something of value by giving life to children and caring for them at home.

  3. Many "starving artists" do this anyway. As well as "professional students" including many, many post graduate Catholic theology students who would rather not work nights at McDonald's to subsidize their stipends. They do not see the difficulty with accepting taxpayer dollars to fund their career choices. Which is what the artists are doing. Welfare should be for those who *cannot* support themselves not for those who *do not* because they have a career preference. Even if the career choice is a seemingly noble one.

    Great comments, Father. Your thoughts about the role of artists (and artisans) in our culture are beautiful. I suspect you might find yourself at odds with Pelosi's artistic vision!