“All mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.” - Tom Paine
On March 11, 2008, a rant from David Mamet appeared in the “Village Voice.” It was entitled: “Why I am No Longer a ‘Brain-Dead’ Liberal.” In it, he confesses that he now embraces the “Free Market” theology and that the late economist, Milton Friedman, is one of his heroes. (1) Mamet is a playwright, who prides himself for his writing on “politics.” His article, however, shows he’s not really much of a political thinker. I mean, what can you say about a man, who believes that Thomas Sowell is “our greatest contemporary philosopher?” The word “shallow” comes to mind. As for Mamet’s plays, I doubt if any will be remembered beyond 2020. In any event, Mamet’s piece stirred the raving Iraq War Hawk, Jonah Goldberg, into action. (2) He heaped fulsome praise on Mamet for abandoning his supposed liberal credo. Goldberg especially liked the fact that Mamet had ripped NPR (National Public Radio) as, “National Palestinian Radio,” and that he has now rejected “the pieties of the Left.”
One thing is for sure after digesting Mamet’s essay, no matter how talented he is, he’s not in the same class as Gore Vidal, one our country’s finest literary sons. Why? Because, Mamet, unlike the brilliant Vidal, has no real understanding of America, its Republic or its history. He sees the U.S. Constitution as essentially a piece of paper--a “compact”--and America as some place for individuals to “maximize their comfort.” He understands the Separation of Powers’ Clause in the U.S. Constitution, but seems to know little else about it. It’s not a living, Spirit-driven document for him. He has no feel for it. It’s clear to me that he has never read James Madison or Alexander Hamilton. I suspect, too, that he knows little or nothing about the Revolutionary War (1775-83), a condition that the France-loathing Goldberg also suffers from. (3) The classical idea of the Republic, I suspect, doesn’t exist for Mamet either--or its noble purposes, as set out in the Preamble of the Constitution.
The Preamble needs to be cited here: “We, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, to ordain and establish this Constitution for the United State of America.”
Mamet, on the other hand, now wants government to “stay out of the way,” while he pockets his megabucks. The idea of it existing “TO PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE” is alien to his psyche. Mamet has got it made, out in glitzy LaLaLand. He claims: “I am hard-pressed to see an instance where the intervention of the government led to much beyond sorrow.” He failed to notice: Social Security, Medicare, the G.I. Bill of Rights, Workmen Compensation laws, an 8-hour day, Unemployment Compensation, Collective Bargaining Rights, a minimum wage law, OSHA, the EPA, Child Safety Laws, the FDA and a Free Public School system.
Now, consider this, too, for a moment: Mamet’s article is dated, March 11, 2008. Yet, he mentions Iraq only once when he writes: “Bush got us into Iraq.” He say nothing, however, about Bush’s accomplices, enablers and cheerleaders. The word “Neocon” doesn’t see the light of day in his spiel, nor do names, like: Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, John Bolton or William Kristol. How can you pen a piece about your politics, in the turbulent Age of Bush and Cheney, and not mention Abu Ghraib; government spying on civilians; the gutting of Habeas Corpus; the fact that the Iraq War was then nearly five years old and that 4,000 U.S. troops are dead and over 30,000 more are severely wounded; that an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis are in their graves and another 4 million are refugees from the conflict? Mamet curses NPR, but mostly ignores a bloody conflict in Iraq, that is a stain on the Republic and that may cost the taxpayers close to trillion. How can he expect us to take him seriously?
This isn’t the first time Mamet has gone off the deep end in public. On Aug. 10, 2006, he published a malice-filled tract. It was entitled: “The Catchall Solution: First Blame the Jews.” Using a drunken Mel Gibson episode as a prop, he roundly and unfairly demonized Europe, the Vatican, Russia, Christianity, Arabs, the Western Press, and even, if you can believe it--the Gospel of St. John! He cavalierly accused all of Israel’s critics of anti-Semitism. Meanwhile, during that same period of time, Palestinians and Lebanese victims of Israel’s rampages were being buried daily. Mamet charged: “The Israeli aim is not to invade Lebanon but to force Hezbollah to stop killing the Jews...There is no indictable disparity of force.” I wrote in response, on Aug. 12, 2006: “What pathetic nonsense this is from an arrogant, knee jerk apologist for Zionist Israel’s massive evildoing. Shame on David Mamet.” Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch rightly condemned Israel for “war crimes,” in Occupied Gaza and in Lebanon. (4) Israel had dropped an estimated “one million cluster bombs” on Lebanon in the summer of 2006, and had also destroyed Gaza’s only generating plant. Under the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, “collective punishment” is a “war crime.” (5)
Query: Does the self righteous Mamet really desire that government “stay out of the way?” If so, does he want the U.S. do STOP sending billions of dollars in freebees every year to his beloved Israel? According to the book, “The Israel Lobby,” the Middle East state has received over 0 billion in U.S. aid since 1948. (6) And, if Mamet is such a keen observer of what is going on, why didn’t he say anything about Sen. Joe Lieberman (IND-CT) endorsing waterboarding? (7) You would think the producer of the TV show, “The Unit,” would notice a hot item like that one. Waterboarding/Lieberman didn’t show up on his monitor, nor I’m sure, do other issues, embarrassing to Israel, like: the Lavon Affair, the USS Liberty, Rachel Corrie, Jonathan Pollard and/or all of those UN Security Council Resolutions that it has regularly ignored. (8)
Also, Mamet’s coming out of the closet as a “Free Market” advocate couldn’t have been timed more poorly. The mostly unregulated U.S. economy is tanking faster than the dollar. If any notion has been discredited, ad nauseam, it’s the dubious idea endorsed by Friedman and Sowell, [and also by that putative genius, Alan Greenspan], that “government is the problem.” And, as a corollary, that Wall Street should be mostly left alone, while predatory lending institutions run amuck exploiting the American people. (9)
Getting back to the Neocon Goldberg. He’s never heard a shot fired in anger, yet he pushed hard for the Iraq War. I wonder if he would have been so zealous on that issue if he himself, or some member of his family, was going to be placed in harm’s way? As of this writing, William Kristol, another flaming warmonger, is urging the Bush-Cheney Gang to attack Iran. (10) The reply from the selective moralizer Mamet on that matter: SILENCE!
Finally, as Mamet sprints over to the Right side of the political spectrum, he will have plenty of company there with the likes of former “liberals,” such as Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter. I say: David Mamet is now in with the ideologues that he so richly deserves and a very good riddance to him!
2. “Why Mamet Moved Stage Right,” March 22, 2008, NY Post.
9. http://blog.aflcio.org/2008/03/13/economy-tanking-b ush-says-cut-job-funds-worker-programs/ and
©2008, William Hughes, All Rights Reserved.
William Hughes is a video and print journalist. His videos can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=liamh2.
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