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March 12, 2008

David Mamet Sees the Light

For those of you not familiar with playwright David Mamet, two of his more well-known plays are Glengarry Glen Ross and Speed-the-Plow. He also, until recently, was a flaming brain-dead liberal, but he's apparently had a change of heart. He writes about it in the Village Voice. I don't usually read the Voice, but a friend sent me the link.

Here's a sample; but be sure to read the entire piece:

I took the liberal view for many decades, but I believe I have changed my mind.

As a child of the '60s, I accepted as an article of faith that government is corrupt, that business is exploitative, and that people are generally good at heart.

These cherished precepts had, over the years, become ingrained as increasingly impracticable prejudices. Why do I say impracticable? Because although I still held these beliefs, I no longer applied them in my life. How do I know? My wife informed me. We were riding along and listening to NPR. I felt my facial muscles tightening, and the words beginning to form in my mind: Shut the fuck up. "?" she prompted. And her terse, elegant summation, as always, awakened me to a deeper truth: I had been listening to NPR and reading various organs of national opinion for years, wonder and rage contending for pride of place. Further: I found I had beenrather charmingly, I thoughtreferring to myself for years as "a brain-dead liberal," and to NPR as "National Palestinian Radio."

This is, to me, the synthesis of this worldview with which I now found myself disenchanted: that everything is always wrong.

But in my life, a brief review revealed, everything was not always wrong, and neither was nor is always wrong in the community in which I live, or in my country. Further, it was not always wrong in previous communities in which I lived, and among the various and mobile classes of which I was at various times a part.

And, I wondered, how could I have spent decades thinking that I thought everything was always wrong at the same time that I thought I thought that people were basically good at heart? Which was it? I began to question what I actually thought and found that I do not think that people are basically good at heart; indeed, that view of human nature has both prompted and informed my writing for the last 40 years. I think that people, in circumstances of stress, can behave like swine, and that this, indeed, is not only a fit subject, but the only subject, of drama.

As a former liberal who also saw the light, I applaud Mamet for putting his thoughts into print -- and so enchantingly. (He is, after all, a man who makes his living with his pen.)

To emphasize one of the points he touches on: People are not inherently good, but most of us all strive daily to do the right thing. Sometimes we fail, but we pick ourselves up and keep going as best we can. And I think most of us can agree that some people are not good at all -- they are evil. Sorry, but someone like Hitler simply does not deserve sympathy in the vein of, "Poor guy, he must have had a difficult childhood." I know a lot of people whose childhoods were less than golden, but they didn't become wannabe world dictators who began one of the biggest wars of modern history and killed millions because they didn't fit into a particular idea of a "perfect society."

Liberals believe that if we all just get in line with their ideals, we will have that utopia, that perfect society where everyone is happy and no one wants for anything. But that will never happen for one reason: we are humans, not robots. Everyone has different wants, needs, desires, and abilities. No matter how "fair" you try to make things, there is always going to be someone who wants more than his "fair share." That someone can either be someone who works his butt off to get it, or someone who sits back and waits for someone to hand it to him at the expense of others.

I know who I'd rather be.

Think of the Soviets. They were all supposed to be equals with an equal share in everything, but some were more equal than others. Party elites had access to the finest food, accommodations, cars and other luxury items while the everyday "comrade" had to stand in line for hours to buy a stale loaf of bread or a rough roll of toilet paper.

Some of the things Mamet said in comparing President Bush to JFK were way off the mark (he said Bush outed a CIA agent, lied about his military service, stole the 2000 election, etc.), but as one commenter said, perhaps he's "just spouting the former party line for effect." Considering the general tone of his piece, I'll give him the beneift of the doubt.

Mamet said he has read books by conservatives including Thomas Sowell, a man I consider to be an American treasure. If you haven't read him, you should. Start with Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy. It's written for the layman, and I believe should be required reading for every American.

David Mamet may have just gotten himself blackballed by many of the liberal elites with whom he socializes, but obviously that is less important to him than being true to his newfound ideals. Welcome to the club, Mr. Mamet.

Show Comments

Posted by Pam Meister at 10:28 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Good News


Well stated Pam.

I imagine a number of Democrats are questioning themselves, after watching Bill and Hillary's egotism Campaigning for personal gain again.

Waiting for Liberals to burn Mr. Mamet's work in bonfires all across the Country...

Posted by: hnav at March 12, 2008 10:56 AM

Good post.

Mamet gives proof to the saying (attributed to Churchill), "If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain."

The more I see them and hear their views, the more most liberals (even many well-educated "progressives") sound like spoiled, ignorant children.

Posted by: Reverse_Vampyr at March 12, 2008 11:32 AM

I'm wondering if I should send this story to my friends from the theater. They are probably all holding a bonfire in his honor as I write this.

Posted by: Pam at March 12, 2008 11:39 AM

Holy flying pigs!

It's as if Chomsky changed his mind, pretty close.

Posted by: husband-dude at March 12, 2008 01:07 PM

So when you lose faith in the heart and soul of mankind, you become Republican? Maybe that's my problem...I just need to get really depressed and then I'll see the light.

Posted by: Ro at March 13, 2008 03:25 PM

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