Ian Collins is Leading Britain's Conversation.
26 January 2017, 13:51
"You can't have fascism in a world where everyone understand the universality of the human condition," says James O'Brien, as he reflects on Donald Trump cutting funding for the arts.
Reports from Washington DC suggest that Trump's intention is to slash the budgets for a number of leading American arts organisations, with some losing all of their funding.
James wants you to know why he's doing it and why it's so dangerous.
"Removing funding from arts and culture organisations is the 21st [Century], post-internet equivalent of burning books.
"What do Islamic State and Daesh do? They tear down Palmyra, they pull down statues, they bomb libraries.
"Why do they hate culture? Easy. Culture reminds us of what we have in common," said James.
"You can't have fascism in a world where everyone understands the universality of the human condition.
"You have to introduce a hierarchy. The way that you that is by tossing gay people off buildings or suggesting that they need electro-shock therapy. Removing pictures. Tearing down statues. Taking away government funding from culture and art because culture and art feed the imagination.
"Fascism can only triumph in worlds, populations with no imagination."