No longer, he declares, is he a "brain-dead liberal." Now he's a wide-awake conservative. Some time after arriving in Hollywood, of all places, and at age 60, he engaged in a conversation with his Republican rabbi (where did he find one?), who gave him the books of conservative writers, such as Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Milton Friedman and Paul Johnson.
He had a dramatic political conversion.
Mamet re-evaluated his own heroes, starting with the playwright Bertolt Brecht, whom he now describes as "a show dog of communism," who theatrically criticized capitalism even as his royalties allowed him to live comfortably on capital deposited in a Swiss bank account. Karl Marx, he discovered, never earned his money, but mooched on Friedrich Engels' family, which may account for his ideas about how wealth should be distributed.
Mamet writes of his conversion to free market economics, his discovery of the errors of multiculturalism, in a new book titled, "The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture." He sounds like a latter-day Candide marooned in postmodern America, where liberals think they have all the answers for creating the "best of all possible worlds." He renders them as absurd as Dr. Pangloss, who saw even the great Lisbon earthquake of 1755 as among "the best of all possible worlds."
"The great wickedness of Liberalism," Mamet discovered, "was that those who devise the ever-new state Utopias ... set out to bankrupt and restrict not themselves, but others."
Mamet first observes his own hypocrisy, recognizing the disconnect between how he acted and how he talked, "talking Left and living Right," which leads him to a collective indictment of himself and others in his generation of baby boomers, whose ideology has never quite been in sync with the real world they inhabit.
"As my generation did not live through the Depression, World War II and the agony of the immigrants who are our grandparents or great-grandparents; as we were raised in the greatest plenty the world has ever known and in the most just of societies," he writes, "we have grown lazy and entitled (not unlike Marx, who lived as a parasite upon Engels, and never worked a day in his life)."
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