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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mugged by Stupidity

I have long suspected there was a conservative lurking inside David Mamet, thus am pleased he has just outed it, via (oh irony of ironies!) the Village Voice. Written in colorful Mametese, it is well worth reading in its entirety but here are a few choice elements.

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."

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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.

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And I realized that the time had come for me to avow my participation in that America in which I chose to live, and that that country was not a schoolroom teaching values, but a marketplace.

"Aha," you will say, and you are right. 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.

Well ain't that grand? For a real chuckle, after you have read Mamet's piece, stroll through the combox and note the outraged reactions from liberals who use the same shopworn and stale arguments Mamet has just demolished. You have to wonder: as the Democratic party's arteries harden ever further, as their candidates' grow increasingly shrill over over which one is the more racist, which one can propose higher taxes, which one despises our military more, will we not see more liberals of Mamet's intellectual caliber pausing to take a good hard look at their life-long and cherished ideologies and find them wanting? Let us hope. In any event, welcome to our shores, Mr. Mamet, delighted to have you (but fuck off, just the same).

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