Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Secret Knowledge on the Dismantling of American Culture by David Mamet

David Mamet has written a great book exploring his conversion from a liberal to a conservative. Mr. Mamet is a highly successful playwright, screen writer, film director and essayist. His films include The Untouchables, The verdict, and Wag the Dog. His plays include American Buffalo and Glengarry Glen Ross for which we won the Pulitzer prize.

Mr. Mamet's books is a story not so much of his becoming a conservative but discovering he was a conservative. He reveals that until about eight years ago at the age of sixty he never questioned the "tribal assumption" that Capitalism was bad. He never examined the things he said he believed. Coming from a liberal culture that supposedly is open-mined and values diversity he says he had never known a conservative or read a conservative author or been introduced to a conservative idea. Liberalism was the only acceptable point of view and he did not question it.

Upon examination of the things he thought he believed he discovered they did not hold up. As a liberal he says he had been living in a state of ignorance and unexamined illusion and calling it "compassion." Liberalism he says is like a religion, the tenants of which cannot be proved but its capacity for waste and destruction can be demonstrated. Central to the tenets of liberalism is the assertion that evil does not exist and that all conflict can be attributed to a lack of understanding. He describes liberals as privileged adolescents, screaming "it's not fair" but says he came to the conclusion that is not government's job to determine what is fair but to determine what is just.

In thirty-nine short essays he touches on everything from his Jewish heritage, the concepts of merit and fairness and justice, the phoniness and selective outrage of feminism, how higher education in the liberal arts and social sciences indoctrinates one in liberalism by rewarding regurgitation of liberal dogma, why liberals celebrate Che Guevara but not Charles Manson, the roll of the family, to how institutions naturally evolved. For those of us familiar with the works of Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Thomas Sowell and Whittaker Chambers it is joyful to hear from one who recently discovered them for the first time and is discovering new truths and gaining new insight.

I highly recommend this book. It will help you understand why liberals think the way they do and give you hope that they can change.

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