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In her column on the National Endowment of the Arts, Rosemary Yardley attempts to justify giving money to artists because tobacco farmers get cash and other special interests get financial assistance.

If extortion from one group of citizens through taxation in order to give it to other citizens is moral, then I will have to chastise my parents for my poor upbringing. But my parents were not incorrect. If certain people would prefer to give their money to their elderly parents or possibly educate their children better, that decision should be left to them and they should not have their money forcibly removed from their pockets in order to pay another individual in order to paint or write poetry.Please stop trying to obfuscate the NEA with censorship. The argument is whether some individuals will have the right to demand other people's money, whether it is artists, farmers, drug abusers, people who live in earthquake areas or hurricane areas by their own choice, savings and loan presidents, textile manufacturers, Shakespeare festivals or any other group.

The government may get our money, but it will never justify to me that some people have a moral right to our money. Thank you, but no thank you, I will pick my own charities. Alan Coggan Pleasant Garden

Rosemary Yardley's NEA column manifests truly inferior thinking when she justifies one wrong (taxpayers being forced to pay artists) with another wrong (taxpayer subsidy of tobacco). Both are wrong.

Taxpayers should not be bled - as we are - to support any narrow special interest. The current system that Yardley apparently condones is corrupt.

To sharpen your logic, Ms. Yardley, I suggest you start reading Joseph Sobran's columns. Will Ferrell High Point

I found Rosemary Yardley's column regarding the National Endowment of the Arts brouhaha quite persuasive, especially the part where she ``prefers offense to censorship of free expression,' despite the use of public funds.

I don't recall Yardley's position relative to nativity scenes on public property, voluntary prayer or classroom discussions of religion and traditional values. But the next time around, it will be nice to read that the liberal community and columnists such as Yardley are then as enthusiastic and persuasive in their preference for offense to the censorship of free expression. Peter J. Shadroui Salisbury


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