Tuesday 20 April 2010

Is it the US State Department that "Takes Trust in Government to New Lows"?

In a post sent to Museum Security Network and cross-posted on several artefact collecting forums where no doubt it was received enthusiastically by the resident sociopaths, Californicoindealer Dave Welsh draws attention to the latest anti-gubn'mint outburst of coin hugging lawyer Peter Tompa. Tompa claims ludicrously that "the U.S. State Department Bureau of Educational andCulturalAffairs has been doing its part to help take these numbers to newlows". The "numbers" to which he refers are the poll results of how much the US people "trust" their own gubn'mint. Well, not a lot it appears these days. But then the American people are by no means alone in their distrust of the American government.

But then is popular opinion at home anything to do with the State Department and its allegedly nefarious behind-the-scenes doings which Peter Tompa dreams up on his Cultural Property Conspiracy Blog? A look at the graph of how "trust" has developed in time (expressed as the answer to the question: "How much of the time do you think you can trust the government in Washington to do what is right?") suggests that other factors are involved, there are steep drops in public trust in the period of office of Nixon, Bush Senior and Bush Junior. No surprises there, and when Naughty Bill Clinton was not-doing-it in the Oval Office with you-know-who, trust in government was rising. Basically though the "trust" of US citizens in their own government has generally been below the 50% mark since the 1970s.

In reality the State Department's processing of MOU requests has made no contribution to public dissatisfaction about the doings of the government so gleefully trumpeted by the media of the right in the US. The advocates of nineteenth century modes of indiscriminate artefact collecting which mainly benefits culture-criminals may, however, be able to count on anti-gubn'mint sentiments in the country at the moment, but they should be aware that in doing so they are themselves contributing to anti-American feeling outside the country, but I guess that never occurred to these "patriots".

True to the imperialist ideology of the "Cultural property Internationalists", Tompa proclaims that "the larger mission of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is to promote the virtues of American Democracy abroad," while the Department's own website proclaims it to be something else:

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries to promote friendly, and peaceful relations, as mandated by the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961.
Which seems to me is precisely what extending the MOU on the control of the import of illegally exported italian cultural property would achieve.

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