John Thacker — Good questions. There are a whole lot of issues packed in here. Very briefly —

We need both government and civil society institutions, can’t do without either

Your argument is strong with regard to government expenditures on arts, I would leave them in private sector exclusively. Environment is different — it is matter of protecting property and public health against externalities. I don’t see the externalities in art.

Yes, some people will oppose anything — a given war, a given bridge, a given statue. That is what democracy is for. But don’t use it where it can be avoided.

As for rationale for government action for poor (although opposed by some) see

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Economist, Senior Fellow at Niskanen Center, Yale Ph.D. Interests include environment, health care policy, social safety net, economic freedom.

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