[ok, probably more than you want to know]
Any artist/business operating in the political and economic climate of the day has a duty nearly as broad as its freedom. If it is to be viewed as something more than the plaything of its owner, it must stand for and abide to certain principles. These are mine:
I believe in truth, facts, and objectivity
In the 20th century some fashionable philosophers took a turn toward incoherence — contending that objective truth and reality, if they even exist, are always relative and ultimately unknowable [or ultimately different for different people]. We reject this. Facts are stubborn things, rebuking the elaborate wordplay of sophists with their palpable solidity. No one who ever swung a hammer thought it a mere logical construct at the moment he smashed his thumb.
I believe in right reason
Reason is a razor — cleaving truth from falsehood and fact from fiction. Reason has given to mankind the blessings of science and medicine, engineering, technology and the arts. It is the foundation upon which civilization is built.
I believe in moral absolutes
Just as there are physical laws that cannot be ignored without grievous consequence, there are universal moral laws as well. Among them: Every individual is born with intrinsic moral worth and dignity no greater or no less than another’s. Nothing can change that except an individual’s own behavior. Each individual is an end in himself — never a mere means to an end for others.
I believe in freedom
— in liberty, the ultimate cause
As the Founders stated in the Declaration of Independence, all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights — among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Individuals have the right to self-determination: to do as they wish, up to the point at which they infringe on the rights of another. Government’s primary purpose is to protect individual rights against aggression; that is why individuals cede to government a monopoly on the legitimate initiation of force, though they always retain the right to use force in self-defense.
I believe in the right to property
Individuals are granted a limited time on Earth, and they spend much of that time in arduous toil. They offer their labor in consensual exchange for money, which they then offer in consensual exchange for goods. To divest them of their money and property without profound justification is to rob them of their labor — and hence a portion of their lives. Science-fiction writer Frank Herbert may have put it best:
“Between depriving a man of one hour from his life and depriving him of his life there exists only a difference of degree. You have done violence to him, consumed his energy. Elaborate euphemisms may conceal your intent to kill, but behind any use of power over another the ultimate assumption remains: ‘I feed on your energy.”
I believe in free enterprise
There is no such thing as the capitalist “system” — capitalism is but the sum of the economic interactions occurring naturally among individuals who are free to pursue their own prosperity. A system of laws and regulations is necessary to safeguard the innocent from the depredations of the wicked, but government should not interfere in the free and honest exchange of goods and services.
I believe in man’s fallen nature
As the German philosopher Immanuel Kant said: “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, nothing straight was ever made.”
Any institution of man will be fallible; great plans always entail unintended consequences. For that reason, governments ought to undertake major endeavors rarely, and then only with exquisite care. The history of the 20th century has demonstrated that Utopian schemes, usually undertaken in the name of collectivities, lead inevitably to jackboots grinding the human face. Because all persons are equally free and emphatically are not merely the means to another’s end, each individual bears the responsibility for the choices he or she freely makes.
I believe in limited government
Because it relies at bottom on the threat of coercion, government should perform only those functions society cannot perform through any other means.
I believe in a strong national defense
Before a people can set the course of their country, they must secure its autonomy from outside predation. That is the chief purpose of the national government.
I believe in fiscal conservatism
Because taxes confiscate the labor of the people, public officials have a solemn responsibility not to waste the proceeds on frivolous or foolish programs or projects. Taxation itself is not theft, but incontinent prodigality with the proceeds of the taxpayers’ labor is.
I believe in integrity
Integrity consists of two essential elements:
The honest acknowledgment of the objective realities of the self
The world unswerving devotion to ethical principles
I believe in innovation and progress
Innovation — the wellspring of progress — and sustained effort can produce lasting improvement in the lives of men and nations.
I believe in tradition
At its best, tradition is not a blind adherence to ritual and cant, but a clear-eyed recognition that history’s mistakes offer useful lessons. Practices of long standing have passed a test of time, and should not be lightly cast aside.
I believe in beauty
The rules of aesthetics may be less apprehensible by reason than the laws of physics, but they are no less true. Some might have roots in evolutionary psychology — e.g., a preference for smooth surfaces that reflects an aversion to pockmarks indicating disease.
Harmony, grace, and order contribute to aesthetic appeal: abiding works of music, art, and architecture incorporate them.
I believe in community
Individuals have the right to self-determination, but they can find self-fulfillment only through the deep connections of relationships with family, friends, neighborhoods, social groups, and fellowships.
These are the things I believe in, the things I trust in and the things that drive me every morning to open my studio and conduct it with the utmost fairness and respect to my collectors and the appreciation of my chosen medium.It is with these principles in mind that I honor youand will attempt to exceed your needs in every way possible.