Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Are presidential libraries a waste of money?

I believe they are.

The article itself is a lengthy discussion of foreign contributions to the Clinton library, many of them from unsavory characters. The same holds true of other presidential libraries in large measure. According to one of the commentors:

I am less disgusted by where the money came from, than what the money bought. Presidential libraries are a waste and a boondogle. The money would be better spent on REAL libraries, or on a work that benefits real people.

Presidential libraries are enormous PR machines, dedicated not to the pursuit of truth but to the preservation of said president's "legacy." It reminds me uncomfortably of the Roman custom of making gods of emperors, even while they are still alive. Material critical of the holy one's career is supressed or de-emphasized. How can you objectively criticize a god, which is apparently what these ex-presidents think they are? (Exhibit A: Jimmy Carter) You can't--it would be heresy.

Better to have the national archives preserve presidential papers--isn't that what they are for?

Ht to Roger L Simon.


dick stanley said...

It took the LBJ Library in Austin years to present programs critical of his presidency, but they do it now. Not often, however.

miriam said...

They ought to rent the building as office space.