There's an interesting bit of commentary in today's Village Voice in which David Mamet, describes his conversion from a brain-dead liberal to an "independent" thinker*. It's titled: Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal.'
I learned about the piece through the American Thinker, and later, I saw the Drudge headline about it, but it was the Thinker commentary about Mamet that led me to read his account.firsthand.
And while the Thinker writer, Rick Moran, found Mamet's column to be "revelatory and uplifting," I reacted differently, as my title indicates. As Moran says, "David Mamet is one of America's finest playwrites (oh mt God SIC), film directors, and screenwriters. He has also been a doctrinaire liberal all his life."
What I find incredible is not that Mamet is all that, but how he could have reconciled the first part with the second part for so long? Sure it's great that he's seen the light, but what does it say that brilliant people can also be that stupid for so long? Is it merely a matter of not wanting to let go of the idea that the ideal is attainable?
Even if it is, why would intelligent people think that those ideals can be attained through liberal ideology and methods? By force, in other words?
Here's what David Mamet is saying now:
What about the role of government? Well, in the abstract, coming from my time and background, I thought it was a rather good thing, but tallying up the ledger in those things which affect me and in those things I observe, I am hard-pressed to see an instance where the intervention of the government led to much beyond sorrow… take away the director from the staged play and what do you get? Usually a diminution of strife, a shorter rehearsal period, and a better production.
The director, generally, does not cause strife, but his or her presence impels the actors to direct (and manufacture) claims designed to appeal to Authority—that is, to set aside the original goal (staging a play for the audience) and indulge in politics, the purpose of which may be to gain status and influence outside the ostensible goal of the endeavor.
Strand unacquainted bus travelers in the middle of the night, and what do you get…Each, instantly, adds what he or she can to the solution. Why? Each wants, and in fact needs, to contribute—to throw into the pot what gifts each has in order to achieve the overall goal, as well as status in the new-formed community. And so they work it out…
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.
His transition may be unremarkable, but relating government to the director of a play is a rather unique analogy, at least one I hadn't heard before so… Welcome to the fight, Dave.
* Be sure to check out the comments while you're there.