The Trump administration proves what some of us long feared and suspected: the crackpot fringe of the right wants to dumb down the populace by eliminating funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

These Yahoos hate education. They want the public to be raised in ignorance of science, history, and art. They want to eliminate funding for programs that educate the public. As long as you have a Bible, what more do you need?

Arts organizations across the country are rallying to save the meager amounts of federal funds that is available to supports the arts, humanities, and culture.

“As the news spread that the White House budget office had included the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities on a list of programs it was considering trying to eliminate, arts leaders at large and small organizations around the nation reacted with alarm — and began making plans to fight for their survival.

“The federal government plays a very small role in funding the arts, especially compared with other affluent countries. Together, the three programs that may be targeted account for less than one-tenth of 1 percent of annual federal spending. But even if the arts get only crumbs, administrators said, they are crumbs worth fighting for: much-needed money that supports community projects, new works and making the arts accessible to people in different parts of the country and to those who are not wealthy.

“And after years of culture-war debates in which conservatives took aim at the programs, questioning the value of some of the art that was publicly funded, arts groups are pressing the case that the federal money they receive supports organizations — and jobs — in all 50 states, both red and blue.

“The N.E.A. has a big impact in the middle of country — even more so, I suspect, than in urban areas where funding is more diversified,” said Martin Miller, the executive director of TheatreSquared, a regional theater in Fayetteville, Ark., that bills itself as the northwest part of the state’s only year-round professional theater.

“Losing the N.E.A. would mean that many smaller, mid-American arts companies couldn’t weather a recession,” he said, noting that the endowment supports both state and regional arts councils. “Losing these companies would mean fewer jobs, a lower quality of life and less local spending in the small towns that need it most.”

“Many arts officials said they were gravely concerned that the programs were back on the chopping block.
“It’s another example of our democracy being threatened,” the actor Robert Redford, the president and founder of the Sundance Institute, which helps filmmakers, said in a telephone interview. “Arts are essential. They describe and critique our society.”

“President Trump is already facing pressure from some of his allies to preserve the programs. Daryl Roth, a prominent Broadway producer (“Kinky Boots,” “Indecent”) whose husband, Steven Roth, is a Trump adviser, said that she opposed eliminating the programs and that she had expressed her view to the Trump administration and would continue to do so.
“The concept of ending federal funding to the N.E.A. and to the many nonprofit arts organizations, artists, writers, cultural institutions, museums and all recipients that would be affected is of course of grave concern to me,” Ms. Roth wrote in an email. “Arts education in the schools, theater groups, music and dance programs help revitalize local communities, both spiritually and economically, across the country.”

“The fate of the three organizations is still far from clear: An internal memo that circulated within the Office of Management and Budget last week, which was obtained by The New York Times, noted that the list of programs targeted for elimination could still change. Officials at both of the endowments said they had not received any official word from the White House. But the programs have long been in the cross-hairs of conservatives.

“Romina Boccia, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, said Congress should eliminate federal arts grants altogether. “The minuscule portion of art funding that comes from the federal government does not support the arts in any meaningful way; rather, it distorts the art market toward what is politically acceptable,” she said. She also questioned the need for the federal government to support public broadcasting.

“But arts administrators around the nation said in interviews that culture had enjoyed bipartisan support in recent years, and that they were hopeful their elected officials could be persuaded to keep the programs. They began making plans last month to make the case for the arts to their audiences, their well-connected board members and Congress.”