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What Turned Filmmaker David Mamet From 'Brain Dead Liberal' to Conservative?


Appearing on The Glenn Beck Program Wednesday evening, award-winning author, producer and director David Mamet discussed his latest book, "The Secret Knowledge" with guest host Andrew Wilkow. The work chronicles Mamet's transition from liberal to conservative and explains the reasons for the famed writer's awakening.

Mamet solidified his place in American film and theater with such works as Glengarry Glen Ross, The Verdict, Wag the Dog, and The Untouchables and had frequently included typical liberal themes throughout his screenplays -- that is until he made the conversion.

In a now-infamous op-ed for The Village Voice in 2008, "Why I am no Longer a Brain Dead Liberal,'" Mamet revealed that essentially, he had been living a lie for most of his life, as the liberal beliefs he held fast to in his mind were not actually reflected in his day-to-day words and deeds. He wrote that after being prompted by his rabbi to engage in dialogue with those who sit on the opposite side of the ideological aisle, he recognized that he held two opposite views of America: One of a state "where everything was magically wrong and must be immediately corrected at any cost; and the other—the world in which I actually functioned day to day—was made up of people, most of whom were reasonably trying to maximize their comfort by getting along with each other (in the workplace, the marketplace, the jury room, on the freeway, even at the school-board meeting)." After this revelation, Mamet realized that the time had come to acknowledge he was in fact part of  the latter version of America.

After reading the works of economists Thomas Sowell, who he called "our greatest contemporary philosopher," and Milton Friedman among others, Mamet found that he "agreed with them."

"...a free-market understanding of the world meshes more perfectly with my experience than that idealistic vision I called liberalism."

In The Secret Knowledge, Mamet writes that when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges, people can succumb to a belief in the power of the state and those who dub themselves "experts," as means of rectifying the nation's ills. What results, according to the Pulitzer Prize-winner, is a contingent besieged by Stockholm Syndrome.

He adds that the"essence of Leftist thought" is a "devolution from reason to 'belief,' in an effort to stave off a feeling of powerlessness."

The Wall Street Journal's Bari Weiss summed up the central theme's of Mamet's "Knowledge" in the following way:

College is nothing more than "Socialist Camp." Liberalism is like roulette addiction. Toyota's Prius, he tells me, is an "anti-chick magnet" and "ugly as a dogcatcher's butt." Hollywood liberals—his former crowd—once embraced Communism "because they hadn't invented Pilates yet." Oh, and good radio isn't NPR ("National Palestinian Radio") but Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt.

During Wednesday's program, Mamet told Wilkow that celebrities notorious for their liberalism, like Jane Fonda, use their activism as a means to merely feel good about themselves. "They gave themselves an award," he quipped.

He also considers the Obama administration an "incipient totalitarian movement," and decried the fact that those who criticize the president are labeled racist, anti- feminist, anti-Muslim or other pejorative.

In terms of the Occupy movement, Mamet said they are mostly "good meaning idiots" but that their more sinister element -- like the ones who plot to blow up bridges -- are no different than the Nazi Brown Coats who perpetrated Kristallnacht -- or, the "night of broken glass."

As the conversation veered to education, Mamet had few kind words for liberal arts colleges and universities. As someone who has actually taught at some of the nation's most prestigious Ivy Leagues, Mamet said what can be found there is nothing but liberal indoctrination, anti-Semitism and "unpatriotic filth."

When asked what prompted the conversion, Mamet explained that upon examining the moral principles by which he lived, he started to investigate conservatism and is now trying to impart that wisdom to younger generations, including his daughter.

Noting that the press are "sycophants" that cannot be trusted to report the facts, Mamet cautioned the only ones who can be trusted are private citizens. .

"We have to judge according to the standards of the constitution," he said, because "the country is going down the drain.”

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