Saturday, November 9, 2013

David Mamet: Just Another Brain-Dead Conservative

While the play write David Mamet has shifted his political perspective from liberal to conservative, his article, “Why I Am No Longer a Brain Dead Liberal” shows that he is redoubling his efforts to remain as "brain dead" as he ever was. Rather than explaining his recent conversion to the cult of Conservatism, Mamet's article only demonstrates that he understood Liberalism about as much as a Christmas Tree understands Christmas.

In his article, Mamet writes about his latest play in which a "conservative president... 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." Mamet should share his recent epiphany about economics with the former employees of Enron, the families of the BP  rig explosion in 2005,  or the survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide disaster. In the latter case, an explosion at a pesticide plant in Bhopal killed thousands and exposed over half a million people to dangerous chemicals. I'm sure the survivors would all love to hear how a play write became such a fountain of free market wisdom.

As part of the "privileged class," of course, Mamet had his head so far up his own play that he apparently failed to notice how the "inevitable abuses and failures of "free market economics” contributed not only to the destruction of ecosystems around the world, but how it nearly destroyed an entire global economic system in 2008. That crisis threatened to destroy the world's free market economies at the very moment Mamet was singing his praises to "free market economics." In fact, the "abuses and failures" of the financial sector were so great, that the only thing that could have saved them and the world from complete economic collapse was the very thing Mamet derides as the harbinger of so much sorrow: government intervention.

 According to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which was appointed to investigate the causes of the crisis, the "disaster" was "caused by widespread... corporate mismanagement and heedless risk-taking by Wall Street." The commission, which released its findings in January of 2011, also concluded that government, by heeding Mamet's wisdom of staying "out of the way," contributed to making an “avoidable disaster” far worse by failing to regulate the very financial institutions that caused the disaster. Luckily for the world, however, governments are not actors in one of Mamet's economic plays. By providing hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out the very system Mamet has so recently fallen in love with, “government intervention” avoided "much ... sorrow" both on Main Street and Wall Street. The White Knight of Mamet's free market system, in other words, came in the form of socialism.

Regardless of the billions spent by government to save the "free-market system," Mamet insists he is “hard-pressed to see an instance where the intervention of the government led to much beyond sorrow.” Somehow, the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Social Security and Civil Rights, the $40 billion given by the federal government for research and development to universities across the country each year, and far too many other examples, all escape the economic acumen of Mr.  Mamet. No wonder he became a Conservative.

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