Monday, June 30, 2008

Mamet Goes Conservative

This is kind of old news, but I need a post today. So here goes. I used to know David Mamet from his time helping to get the St. Nicholas Theater on Halsted Street in Chicago going. I was actually living in the theater at the time and helped them set up their sound system. I got to watch the play "American Buffalo" from the windows in our 2nd floor "apartment". I have heard rumors that I was the inspiration for the radio engineer in his play "The Water Engine". I knew Bill Macy rather well at the time. In any case, back in the day he and I were liberals. However, it looks like his outlook has changed. As has mine. David is discussing a play he wrote, "November", where the two main characters in it are a conservative and a liberal:

The conservative president in the piece holds that people are each out to make a living, and the best way for government to facilitate that is to stay out of the way, as the inevitable abuses and failures of this system (free-market economics) are less than those of government intervention.

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 been—rather charmingly, I thought—referring to myself for years as "a brain-dead liberal," and to NPR as "National Palestinian Radio."
Yes. We were all children of the 60s back then (1975). What changed my mind? I could see that liberalism (and its core socialism) didn't work. I'm not going to go into detail on all the events that shattered my illusions (the Vietnamese Boat People played a big part), but let me just say that my contact with the real world of business changed my mind about a lot of things. And, if you want to find out what changed Mamet's mind, read the whole thing.

H/T Instapundit

1 comment:

Neil said...

Hah! I keep mentally referring back to William H. Macy's "Water Engine" character as a rudder in my current career incarnation as consultant/inventor/alternative-energy-mad-scientist (for lack of a better description). How very amusing that I should wind up commenting on the blog of the "real" inventor of the "water engine".