Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Beneficence: That $339 Million?

     One of the more common criticism of libertarianism, minarchism and anarchism is, "Nothing requiring public funding could ever be accomplished."

     As a counter-example, let me point to Notre Dame, where the first day's $339 million has now swelled to a billion dollars.  Even by Washington, D.C. standards, that's serious money.  No government shook them down for it; the Pope isn't handing out extra next-life goodies to the donors.

     If a big project is sufficiently important to enough people, it will be funded.

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     An interesting aside to this is, who owns that famous building?  Nope, it's not the Catholic Church -- it's the very secular French government!  But the Church occupies it rent-free and maintains and staffs the place.  This is perhaps another example of "the French do things their own way," and much like French engineering, it works for them even if it's not how you'd expect it to be set up.

     In a larger (and more figurative) sense, Notre Dame belongs to the world, in much the same way as the Taj Mahal or the Empire State Building.  And that's how "the world," everyone from business moguls to academic institutions to schoolkids, responded to the fire damage.   


Monty James said...

French prime minister announces competition to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral's iconic spire

France's prime minister has announced "an international architecture competition" to rebuild the iconic arrow-like spire atop the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which caught fire on Monday evening.

“Should we reconstruct an arrow? The same? Adapted to the techniques and challenges of our time? An international architecture competition for the reconstruction of the cathedral spire will be organized," French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

I'm getting a "Zoolander" vibe from that statement. Don't know what was wrong with the spire the way it was. The avant-garde international clownshow isn't going to help. Rebuilding the spire the way it was would be a thumb in the eye of the scumbags laughing it up on social media as the cathedral burned.

I guess I'm just not fashionable.

Roberta X said...

The spire was added in the 19th Century, by Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, replacing a smaller original which had become decrepit and had been removed nearly a hundred years earlier. His spire was made of oak, covered in lead, and weighed several hundred tons.

Viollet-le-Duc was pretty much the premier restoration architect of his time and place -- but while he was an enthusiastic Neo-Gothic designer, he maintained a keen interest in new materials. If he were alive today, I'm not so sure he might not have wanted to look into something other than wood and lead. I am sure he wouldn't want anything with an appearance out of character with the building -- and I'll be very surprised if modern-day French experts don't come to the same conclusion.

In new designs, he was one of the first architects to advocate that form must follow function. His shoes are simply enormous ones for a modern-day architect, especially a French one, to step into, in ways that the French Prime Minister has only the dimmest understanding of.