Ashley Herzog

It looks as if the media will have to find another pretentious intellectual to refer to as “the conscience of the American theater” (according to The Boston Globe), “the moralist of the American theater” (The New York Times), and, most gratuitously, “the moralist of the past American century” (The Denver Post). In fact, given their track record, elitist intellectuals should probably refrain from using the word “moralist” altogether.

Those words were written about Arthur Miller, the playwright who became famous by penning dreary plays about America’s alleged failures. Miller’s pompous liberalism has been forced upon high school and college students ever since he wrote Death of a Salesman in 1949. Although most people immediately find his writing to be both pretentious and mind-numbingly boring, Miller spent most of his career denigrating capitalism and defending communists at home and abroad. So, naturally, Miller’s plays are always prefaced by fawning praise for his courage and moral insight. According to fellow playwright Edward Albee, Miller “held up a mirror to society and said, ‘This is how you behave.’”

But now it appears that communist sympathizer Miller wasn’t quite the humanitarian the cultural elites claim he was. This month’s issue of Vanity Fair includes an investigative piece on Miller’s “secret son” – a boy born with Down’s syndrome whom Miller “deleted from his life.” According to the article, Miller hid his son Daniel’s existence for forty years, did not mention him in his memoirs, and didn’t even bother to leave him a piece of his immense fortune when he died in 2005.

In fact, Miller’s friends say he had no contact with Daniel since he dumped him in an overcrowded mental institution at birth (the facility was later sued over its poor conditions). He allegedly referred to his son as a “mongoloid.” Miller’s wife wanted to keep the baby, but he refused. As Thomas Lifson wrote in the American Thinker, “[Miller] ripped apart a child and mother…all because he must have been embarrassed that his son wasn't capable of being the intellectual he wanted to pretend to be himself.”

I don’t understand why everyone is so shocked. Miller belongs to a long tradition of left-wing “humanitarians” who have wagged their fingers at the unenlightened common people, scolding them for their support of capitalism and their lack of concern for the downtrodden – and yet couldn’t manage to stop using and abusing everyone around them.

Ashley Herzog

Ashley Herzog can be reached at