[Y]ou might claim that the museum would in fact benefit the community as a whole, since more and more people would come to enjoy art they’d previously had no exposure to, or found repugnant.
But suppose in fact people would not come to enjoy the art, and on the whole there would be a higher level of unhappiness because of the museum. Why should your vote be determined by what a bunch of philistines would think? It might seem that I could rightly vote for my own self-interest when I have good reason to think that others should share that interest, even if I know they won’t.
March 31, 2016
And after wading through the obvious examples of rich people voting for Republicans who seem to be about advancing the interests of the rich and poor people voting for Democrats who seem to be channeling benefits to the poor, Gary Gutting hits upon the example that readers of the NYT are supposed to find fascinatingly complex: funding an art museum. (He specifies a museum of contemporary art simply.) Can you morally vote for this funding solely because you'd like to enjoy it?