3/14/2008

David Mamet's Brush With Sanity

David Mamet, one of the best screenwriters of the past 20 years has taken to the pages of the Village Voice to proclaim that he is no longer a "brain dead liberal." Huzzah! Many on the Left are already complaining how he has "swung to the right" proving that most on the Left have very poor reading comprehension. Mamet has hardly turned into Ronald Reagan, but he has come around in certain areas. Let me expound:

A big push for Mamet came from listening to Socialist State Radio:

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 been—rather charmingly, I thought—referring 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.

In other words, he always went with the popular Leftist notion that America and everything it stands for is evil, but the reality is we all get by despite our own greed, lust and desire and government only gets in the way.

I began reading not only the economics of Thomas Sowell (our greatest contemporary philosopher) but Milton Friedman, Paul Johnson, and Shelby Steele, and a host of conservative writers, and found that I agreed with them: a free-market understanding of the world meshes more perfectly with my experience than that idealistic vision I called liberalism.


Conservatism and libertarianism are forms or naturalism, the philosophy that man is best left to his own devices even though they may be selfish. It is folly to fight human nature. Liberalism serves to fight it every step of the way and destroy free will. Mamet understands that now and his writing can only get better with the knowledge.

Ironically, he's been conservative in his work all along. Many interpret things as they want to see them, but much like the work of Larry David, Mamet's has a conservative/libertarian flair that he didn't (and David doesn't) realize. You can say Glengarry Glen Ross is an indictment of capitalism and greed, but is it really? Listen to Ricky Roma go on and tell me he isn't speaking the truth. When Shelley "The Machine" Levine talks about the feeling of making that big sale, he's talking about heroics, the desire of all men to achieve legitimacy in the world rather than being merely a slave.

I digress, but welcome aboard David. Read his whole column here.