Economics

David Mamet's Right Turn

Why the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright abandoned the left.

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Hollywood mocks capitalism, which seems odd because the people who make movies are such aggressive capitalists—competing hard to make money. But Hollywood's message is that capitalism is shallow and cruel.

Take the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross (based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play). It's about cutthroat real estate salesmen who work for a heartless company. It was written by the celebrated playwright David Mamet, author of American Buffalo, Spanish Prisoner, and more than 50 other plays and movies.

I assumed that Mamet was another garden-variety Hollywood lefty, but then a few years ago, I was surprised to see an article he wrote titled, "Why I'm No Longer a Brain-Dead Liberal." Now he's followed up with a book, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture.

I asked Mamet what turned a "Hollywood liberal" into a conservative.

Was he a brain-dead liberal? The newspaper, not Mamet, put that headline on his article.

"I referred to myself as one," Mamet told me. "Political decisions I made were foolish."

Foolish because he wasn't really thinking, he said. Since everybody around him was liberal, he just went along.

What changed?

"I met a couple conservatives, and I realized I never met any conservatives in my life. … (O)ne started sending me books. His books … made more sense than my books."

Mamet was suddenly exposed to ideas he had never encountered before.

"Shelby Steele's White Guilt," he said, "led me to the works of Tom Sowell and through them (F.A.) Hayek and Milton Friedman."

Two things hit him especially hard: the benefits of economic competition and the limits of leaders' ability to plan society.

"If you stop licensing taxi cabs, tomorrow you will see guys and women on every street corner saying, 'Who wants to go to XYZ address?' (The cabbie) will put five people in the car and drive them to that address. … When the guy drops them off, if he's smart, he'll say: 'Tomorrow—same thing, right? What do you guys want to drink for breakfast?' There will be cappuccino and ice tea and glass of milk. After X months, he will have three cars; after X months, he will have a fleet. And everyone will be competing to meet the needs of the commuters, which also is going to reduce traffic. Why are they allowed to compete? Because the government got the hell out of the business."

Mamet also read Hayek's last book, The Fatal Conceit.

"What Hayek is talking about is that we have to have a constrained vision of the universe. The unconstrained vision, the liberal vision, is that everything can be done, everything is accomplishable," he said. "We don't have the knowledge. … There is only so much that government can do. … It would be nice if giving all of our money to the government could cure poverty. Maybe, but giving money to the government causes slavery."

For Hayek, the "fatal conceit" is the premise that politicians and bureaucrats can make the world better—not by leaving people free to coordinate their private individual plans in the marketplace—but by overall social and economic planning.

Imagine trying to plan an economy, Mamet said, when we barely know enough to raise our kids. "(T)he guy in government can't know everything."

As you can imagine, when Mamet went public, he bewildered many of his showbiz peers. A Los Angeles Times critic called his book "a children's crusade with no understanding of real politics." The Nation called Mamet a "great playwright, (but a) moronic political observer."

Mamet said to his wife: 'Isn't it funny? … The New York Times, the supposed newspaper of record that has been reviewing my plays for 40 years, isn't even going to review this book.'

"She says: 'Dave, grow up. The purpose of all newspapers is political."

Maybe the Times thinks it's insignificant that a celebrated cultural "liberal" now questions his faith in the supposed healing power of government. But as we sit mired in this endless jobless "recovery," with the wreckage of government failure all around, we should ask ourselves which one is out of touch with reality.

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com.

COPYRIGHT 2011 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS, INC.
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  1. I’ve already made this comment before, but I guess you’ve already run this article before: Is Mamet going to write “Glencarry Glen Ross II,” in which all the real estate agents get fabulous deals for their clients, make lots of money, get married, have kids, and see all their sons become Israeli commandos?

    (If you’ve followed Mamet’s intellectual passages closely, you’ll discover that he has a galloping case of liberal Jewish guilt.)

    1. Alan, your comments, no matter how insightful, are always worth repeating.

    2. Is Mamet going to write “Glencarry Glen Ross II,” in which all the real estate agents get fabulous deals for their clients, make lots of money, get married, have kids, and see all their sons become Israeli commandos?

      in II everyone gets coffee, the clients are mandated to buy your lots but they get a voucher from the exchanges, and Mitch and Murray agree to return to their 1967 neighborhood.

      Did you ever take a Vanneman and feel like you slept 8 hours?

    3. There’s a passage from Mencken that I can’t now put a finger to — and I seem to remember him quoting George Bernard Shaw here — saying that theater is the most conservative of the art forms, because it must necessarily tickle the prejudices of the theatergoer. And I think that’s why you see so much liberalism (not the classical variety) on the stage.

  2. yeah – he’s just pissed liberals don’t love Israel enough – the rest is just decoration.

  3. As you can imagine, when Mamet went public, he bewildered many of his showbiz peers. A Los Angeles Times critic called his book “a children’s crusade with no understanding of real politics.” The Nation called Mamet a “great playwright, (but a) moronic political observer.”

    This is how politics is done and this is how we do it. Know your place Dave.

  4. JOOS. MAMET, JOOS, JOOS, JOOS. MAMET JOOS. JOOY, JOOY, JOOY, JOO.

    JOOS!!!1!!!!!!!!!11!

    1. Quit spoofing me!

  5. after reading F.A. Hayek and other free-market writers, he could no longer justify his faith in big government.

    That’s nice, and all, but if he’s really such an unobservant ignoramus he couldn’t figure this shit out without being told by credentialed experts I’m not very interested in any additional “insights” he might have.

    1. When you’re only exposed to one idea your whole life, it’s really not that easy to snap yourself out of it. It takes quite a bit of independance of thought just to be able to seek out conflicting ideas and consider them seriously. It takes a truly remarkable person to do that without any other input from any other thinkers.

      1. My epiphany came late, too.

      2. When you’re only exposed to one idea your whole life, it’s because you deliberately chose to live your life that way.

        1. True enough. I just think it’s pretty silly to pretend like someone has cheated and shouldn’t get credit for their intellectual independance because they read books that they didn’t write or because they have accepted ideas they didn’t originate.

        2. I don’t think that’s a fair assessment. Often the propagators of said One Idea tend to actively vilify any other competing ideas as to purposefully hobble any rational inquiry on the part of the individual. For example, you’re far less likely to give much consideration to libertarian thought in adulthood if parents, teachers and various authority figures etched a slanderous caricature of libertarians into your brain since childhood.

          1. Ayn Rand was narcissistic so her ideas are stupid.

            Libertarians are anarchists so their ideas are stupid.

            Judge Napolitano is just a short guy with a loud mouth so his ideas are stupid.

            When you slime the source of the ideas you can avoid addressing the ideas themselves.

            1. wow, I’m all three of those things. Stupid Cubed 😉

            2. I used to think that “atheist” was exactly the same thing as “satan worshipper”.

              I am not afraid to admit that I could not have carried myself out of that kind of brainwashed state without reading books.

              1. I too was raised to have an emotional reaction to the word “atheist”.

                Now I am one.

                Go figure.

                1. Did he reach you through intellectuals or did Satan come directly to you and plead his case?

                  1. Now you sound like my mom.

            3. Ayn Rand was narcissistic so her ideas are stupid.

              I would regard that statement as accurate. Her narcissism was likely a major contributing factor as to why she had stupid ideas.

              Libertarians are anarchists so their ideas are stupid.

              As far as actual anarchists (and anarchists-by-other-names) then yeah, I think their ideas are stupid. Perhaps interesting and mildly entertaining, but those who think they will work in the real world are stupid. But such people make up a relatively small fraction of libertarianism.

              Judge Napolitano is just a short guy with a loud mouth so his ideas are stupid.

              Overdoes the hyperbole in my opinion, but not bad for a guy with a TV show.

              1. Judge Napolitano is just a short guy with a loud mouth so his ideas are stupid.

                Overdoes the hyperbole in my opinion, but not bad for a guy with a TV show.

                Napolitano can’t hold a candle to Johny Knoxville.

                And her “naked scanner pictures” really aren’t that entertaining either.

        3. I agree with F. M. I’ll be damned before I criticize someone who isn’t a politician* for being influenced by Hayek.

          * when politicians state that they admire Hayek, or Friedman, I feel like leading them into a field with a shovel in their hand’s and a gun at their backs before they get the chance to break my heart.

          1. Just cover your balls and your wallet.

        4. I grew up thinking that both Democrats (not liberal enough!) and Republicans (evil lovers of big business) were awful.

          Onward brothers to the shining path of socialism!

          Then I grew up – got a job, house and started paying taxes. So from Left to Right to uh? The last vestige of the scoundrel – Libertarianism!

          1. Having underwent a similar metamorphosis in high school (after getting a job?in retail), condemning those who didn’t start out libertarian seems odd.

            Interestingly, Stossel underwent a philosophical shift himself. Shall we dismiss anybody and everybody who’s changed their world view?

            1. No condemnation – I was speaking with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Part of living is changing one’s mind as new facts and experiences shape your view.

              1. Oops, Threading Fail.

                Meant to address the top poster with that last paragraph. I agree entirely with your experience of discovering libertarianism.

    2. I think sometimes people’s worldview is undergoing change and it takes a book (or speech or whatever) to sort of crystallize things for them. Alternatively, sometimes people can become discontent with what they believe but not necessarily move to another set of beliefs straight away.

      I read another interview with Mamet somewhere and it seemed like his “conversion” was more along the lines of my first example i.e. he had become discontent with a lot of liberal boilerplate but reading Hayek sort of brought him clarity.

  6. What Hayek is talking about is that we have to have a constrained vision of the universe. The unconstrained vision, the liberal vision…

    That’s classic Thomas Sowell right there, not Hayek, speficially from his book A Conflict of Visions

    Also, what in particular makes Mamet conservative, as opposed to libertarian? I’m assuming he’s still socially tolerant.

    1. A Conflict of Visions is a good read for it’s own sake, even if Sowell is basically a Republitarian.

      1. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_md61…..alogic.jpg

        I found this hilarious image while searching for Thomas Sowell on Google images, by the way.

        1. +5,000 lmao

        2. That is brilliant.

        3. It’s funny because it’s true.

        4. awesome

        5. What’s funny about it?

      2. Agreed. Vision of the Annointed was good also, for the most part.

      3. I don’t see what makes him a Republitarian.

        1. I’d like to know what a republitarian is.

          See also: cosmotarian, liberaltarian.

          My best guess would be that they are terms to paint apostates with without having to go through all the trouble of forming an argument.

          1. Oh, and good to see you posting, Meth.

            I turned off the cable after comcast attempted to rape me to the tune of $150 for internet/basic cable. That’s why I had to hang up my Team Stossel? uniform for a while (at least until I move and find a better cable provider, as in my area comcast has a govt enforced monopoly).

            1. Boycotting corporations?!?! Have you become a cozmoberalpinkotarian?

              Before I canceled Time Warner, I went in to trade in my DVR box and had to take a number. I looked around and realized it seemed more like a DMV than a business and figured they had secured some form of government backed monopoly. I looked online and confirmed my suspicions. There was almost a stink in the air. I’m happy with U-verse so far.

              1. Corporation, shit if there’s ever a Fourth Reich I’m sure it will be sponsored by Comcast.

            2. I’ve been happy with Dish Network for six years, but then you still need to find an ISP.

              1. BTW kinnath
                Thanks for the advice.
                We’re moving to “the middle” in a couple weeks.

                1. Congratulations

              2. I’ve been happy with Dish Network for six years, but then you still need to find an ISP.

                Been considering moving to some dish based service. My dad has had it for years and their customer service is great.(can’t recall which one he has though)

                Anecdote: One time the remote broke, so we called customer service and they told us it would take a week to be mailed, but that if we wanted to drive to where we bought it we could pick one up. The rep called Sears and told them what was up and when we arrived a salesman had a new remote ready for us that was taken from the box of a new system. I was impressed by this.

                —-
                Anybody have FIOS, is it fast?

                1. There as a link to a story on the 19 worst companies in one of the threads the other day. Dish was in the list — that surprised me. My interaction with customer service has been good for as long as I have had the system.

                  The downside is that extreme thunderstorms (and I mean extreme) will block the signal so when you want to see the news reports on the local severve weather the signal can drop out. And I’ve had my dish fill with snow twice (again really extreme weather). But otherwise, I’ve never had big problems with service interruptions.

                  1. Yeah, it only messes up when you should have it unplugged anyways. Like you said, the only times that I’ve witnessed interruptions at my dad’s have been during really severe thunderstorms.(snow doesn’t seem to affect it)

                    My cable and internet go out at least once a week, mostly internet for a few minutes-hour. If you’ve ever had your cable shit-out during sports it is more than infuriating. And I’ve called, put the phone on speaker, and waited over two fucking hours before giving up.

                    1. Snow isn’t a problem unless the dish itself is covered by a two-foot snow drift which has happened twice when we had 10 inch snow falls and winds from the east (I mean what the fuck, the wind blows from the north or the west during a snow storm in Iowa).

                    2. Six years and this has never happened to me. Just two freak snow storms.

                2. Anybody have FIOS, is it fast?

                  Yep. Fast and reliable and not Comcast.

            3. Dish? Only DirecTV carries the NFL Sunday Ticket.

              1. I gave up on the NFL a couple of decades ago.

                1. I’m starting to prefer the NHL and pro golf. You don’t get the “look at ME!” after every good play or shot. NFL is the look at ME! league. I’d be more impressed if most of the players weren’t paying child support to multiple women.

          2. It was the first word I thought of that applied to the concept of the “conservative/libertarian” mix that was one word. I really admire the guy, not big on “apostate/true scotsman” crap.

            1. C’mon, hazeeran, those are the best arguments. Where else do you get so much petty, nasty bickering about who gets to be on the molehill?

            2. Oh, sorry for the implication then. Usually people will throw out terms like that without defining their terms and shortcutting debate.

              1. No probz (I still have never found out what the deciding factor in making a “liberaltarian” a “liberaltarian”).

                1. There are at minimum two uses of liberaltarian. The non-inflammatory use is someone who believes in the general principles of libertarianism but and either comes down harder on the social side than the economic or someone who thinks the Democratic party is the best national party for libertarians to ally with/takeover from within (or, more likely, both of those things.)

                  The term of abuse is generally understood to mean “professed libertarian who isn’t still mostly Republican inside like I am.”

                  1. Liberaltarians are concerned with “fairness” and outcomes. They believe free market principles and increased individual liberty will lead to better social outcomes but are comfortable with jettisoning principles and using state coercion where necessary to achieve desired outcomes.Liberaltarians favor positive over negative liberty.

            3. ‘True Scotman’ arguments have the stank of SNL. Like the show, I’d like to see them put out of their misery.

              1. Scotsman arguments will always exist in any fringe movement. And rightly so as they struggle to form an identity.

                Imagine if you were a socialist dedicated to spreading socialism, a guy popped up who believed in absolute individual rights, that state-run businesses were always stupid, and that there should only be a minimal state with no social safety net whatsoever…

                It’s not a Scotsman fallacy for you to point out that he is not a socialist. And you’d be right to do it if you cared about your brand.

              2. Tony, why don’t your liberal politicians press for ending the drug war?

                Tony: They’re not real liberals/republicans made them do it!
                *provides outlier to prove interrogator wrong*

                John why don’t your conservative politicians press for cuts to medicare and social security?

                John: They’re not real conservatives/democrats made them do it!
                *provides outlier to prove interrogator wrong*

                1. Actually capitol l, I find that a good question. Of course, in defining someone as a liberal on drug policy, that would mean they have to support liberalization of drug policy… The administration doesn’t, unfortunately.

                  I think such an endeavor would both be politically popular and of course very good policy, but it’s just not on the radar because it’s more politically expedient to maintain the status quo then risk a huge fight over something rather controversial. You can bet your ass it’s not the liberals who would be the source of the problem, though.

                  1. Do what, now?

        2. Don’t get me wrong, Sowell is right on a LOT. But his writing in favor of Pawlenty and ultimately supporting McCain, and not taking note of Paul, for what little electoral politics are worth, have disappointed me.

          http://www.nationalreview.com/…..mas-sowell

          http://jewishworldreview.com/c…..62011.php3

          1. Really? That’s surprizing. I love just about every word that I’ve ever heard or read from Sowell. I guess I’ve never read or heard any of his political endorsements. That’s a bummer.

          2. Sowell is a badass. I don’t agree with everything he says. I don’t agree with everything anyone says. But that man’s writing is what brought me out of my brainwashed college-student stupor.

            1. yup. conflict of vision and ethnic america are great. sowell’s books tend to be MUCH better than his articles, btw imo

          3. “I prefer disaster to catastrophe”
            Thomas Sowell on supporting McCain over Obama.

  7. Mamet sounds like a neocon to me rather than a conservative.

  8. It’s truly remarkable what a book or two can do to a person with an open mind willing to expand his horizons.

    1. But enough about the Koran.

  9. These conversion stories are never as interesting as hearing former fans explain all the convoluted reasons why they now hate the convert. It’s like watching sports fans get bent out of shape when some player goes to another team. They always try to make it seem like their newfound hatred for the player is based on some strength of character issue.

    1. I never liked him. Honestly.

    2. It’s very simple. It both cases, he’s a traitor to the cause.

    3. Christopher Hitchens made some trenchant comments about people who went into convolutions over his partial (?) political conversion. The only person he lauded was Alexander Cockburn who – in Hitchens’ view – was at least honest enough to claim that it meant that Hitchens had always been a sh*t.

      1. While I still believe Hitchens to be the most intellectually honest (former?…who knows) liberal around, his support of the American war in Libya has saddened me.

        1. He’s an amazing man with a tricky set of beliefs. He is a fairly consistently Trotskyite, but not completely consistent. I have a pretty intense love/hate youtube relationship with him. He’s like a husband who keeps beating me but I keep coming back to him.

      2. I disagree with a lot of Hitch’s material, but his burning passion for debating in the hopes of uncovering truth is inspiring, as well as his openness to changing his mind.

        1. And he is a hell of a good writer.

  10. Always thought that David Mamet was a smart motherfucker.

    But as someone already noted, if he really needed to read a bunch of books to come to the realization that government just fucks everything up when it gets in the way, then he is way too dumb to ever be relied upon to have an interesting original thought.

    At least cognitive dissonance or ‘wanting to belong’ was a convenient excuse when he was a fucktard liberal. A lot better than just being plain dumb.

    1. It’s pretty common, really. A lot of people mostly ignore politics because they feel they have better things to do. Like making themselves famous by writing plays.

    2. If you’re never the victim of a crime you never discover that the police don’t do anything unless it makes the papers and they have to.
      If you never get caught in a victimless crime you never discover that there is no end to the efforts they will go through to pursue a crime against The State.
      If you never seek out government services you never discover how inept and useless people in government are.

      If you go through your life never really dealing with government, it is easy to believe that government is full of helpful and well meaning folks who have all the answers.

      1. troll – o – meter : .0002

        adherence to falsities: 92%

        winz!

        1. In all cases where a crime has been committed against my person or property, the police made it very clear that it was not their problem. Crimes that have victims do not matter to them.

          In all cases where there was a citation involving a fine, the police made it very clear that they would do everything necessary to collect the money. Victimless crimes are very important to them.

          I have zero faith in the police.

          Zero.

          When a crime is committed against my person or property, I take care of it myself.

        2. “troll – o – meter : .0002

          adherence to falsities: 92%

          winz!”

          And dunphy goes out of his way to take it personal again. I’m starting to think this is a standard reaction with government employees.

    3. … if he really needed to read a bunch of books …

      It could also be he didn’t really care that much until recently.

  11. I have no particular axe to grind, either for or against Mamet. But he’s a New York Playwright, right? He lived in NYC when David Dinkins was mayor, right?

    Seriously, how much more evidence do you need of the fundamental failure of liberalism?

    1. Bringing up how awful NYC is = Drink!

      1. Wait, when did that become a rule?

      2. Q: Why do people in NYC always seem pissed off?

        A: You would be too if “the light at the end of the tunnel” is New Jersey.

        1. At least in New York I can dress how I please, kiss another man in public, etc. without fear of getting fag-bashed (although decreasingly so, to our dismay — yet another reason why I wish I could legally carry a FABULOUS pistol in my man purse). I wish I could also express support for free markets without getting conserva-bashed by all the blindly Democratic fags I used to call my friends…

      3. If I could have one glimpse into the future, I would like to see how long it will be before NYC is the new Detroit.

        1. once upon a time, detroit was the center of manufacturing the one thing the world wanted that only america made: cars.

          now, nys is at the center of manufacturing the one thing the world wants that only america makes: dollars.

          when that ends, look for nyc to become detroided.

  12. What was your “road to Damascus” moment, commentariat?

    I was a pretty unreflective Democrat-I-guess type (consistent with the rest of my circle) until ClintonCare. When Bob Dole put up that chart of the ClintonCare bureaucracy* I went all “Holy shit, that’s nuts!”. The rest is history.

    *Which was a whole lot simpler and cleaner than the chart of the ObamaCare bureaucracy.

    1. I was never into either party. I remember not being able to choose between Dukakis and Bush in a faux debate in middle school.

      I think dating a libertarian in high school put me over the top, though.

    2. Still being a young guy myself (21), I kinda feel retarded to say that I started formulating my political philosophy at around age 9. Back then, I was more in line with my parents’ beliefs which were strict, Southern conservative values.

      Around age 14, I became an atheist. Naturally, I assumed that the Democrats were the closest party to my values.

      It wasn’t until I was 15 and discovered Penn and Teller’s Bullshit that I became a libertarian. That show spoke to some fears I had about the size of government that the Democrats were advocating.

      Anyone remember how much of a dickless, prick you were to conservative and liberal people after your conversion?…Man, those were great times.

      1. Not at all. Both the liberals and conservatives in my family still love me and enjoy my company and enjoy debate.

    3. I’ve been a pox on both their houses guy since at least the 6th grade. (Pissed my very liberal do-gooder 6th grade teacher off no end, which is how I remember this.) Between that and 6 years active duty military, I was left with the idea that government is terminally fucked and broken, which leads you to libertarianism almost as a default.

    4. Heinlein’s “Red Planet,” when I was about ten.

    5. My family has a very strong anti-government republican streak, but (incoherently) supported law and order, drug prohibition, restricting immigration, capital punishment, as are team red tendencies. I guess I kind of went along and didn’t think much about it. When I left for college my roommate introduced me to libertarian thought and it clicked with me immediately.

      I’ve had a decent amount of success libertarianizing my family by explaining how policies like the drug war or restricting gay marriage are another form of government intrusion into our lives. Usually their hatred of government overcomes their discomfort with and bias against people who make different choices. I’ve yet to find a way to convince them immigrants are not tukking our jerbs, though.

      1. This mirrors my own experience, I think. I’ve made a lot of headway on drug war issues in my immediate family, but immigration is definitely a mixed bag.

      2. Same here (except my law-and-order father is against drug prohibition). I took at face value all the talk about freedom and liberty in the U.S., and then as I went through high school and onto college, paid attention to how much both sides want to pay lip service to personal freedom while making excuses for restricting it. Reading “Parliament of Whores” by PJ O’Rourke helped solidify it.

    6. I was a born and raised ragin’ Cambridge liberal growing up, and then I spent the 90’s touring with a band in a haze of rock and roll and various conscious altering substances. When I came to in the aughts and sobered up (a little) I realized that neither party had anything for me. I voted for Gore and then watched the Democrats act like whiny children after 9/11, so I voted for Bush in 2004.

      My mom still wonders what happened to the good little obedient liberal she raised. I tell her I woke the fuck up.

      1. My mom still wonders what happened to the good little obedient liberal she raised. I tell her I woke the fuck up.

        So coal in your stocking again this year?!

      2. My mom still wonders what happened to the good little obedient liberal she raised. I tell her I woke the fuck up.

        No offense to your mother, but I really hate it when parents try to “train” their kids to think the exact same way they do, politically or otherwise. My child will certainly be aware of libertarian ideas, but will hopefully be allowed to think independently.

        1. It wasn’t just my Mom, although she definitely raised me as a liberal. Cambridge, MA is basically about as liberal as you can get and it’s sort of impossible to get that much exposure to anything non-liberal. I have no qualms that I was raised that way because she still taught me to think for myself, thus why I eventually woke up once I realized how full of shit liberals are for the most part.

          But when/if I do have kids they will decide for themselves, and will be exposed to everything.

        2. Well, technically, how could you prevent your child from thinking independently? Brain wave zapping device?

    7. I’m an immature pervert with authority issues.

      1. To be more serious about it, I guess I have always leaned towards the anarchic side, but I have never been into throwing bricks at shop windows. My views as they are now developed largely as a result of my political activism while I campaigned for the Pirate Party during the European Parliament election circus of 2009. Okay, I was probably libertarian before that, too. Let’s just say I was born this way.

        1. Pirate Party, huh … so no respect for intellectual property rights, then?

          1. As I’m not a retarded statist I fail to see any reason to support government-sponsored artificial monopolies.

          2. Fuck IP.

            And I say this as someone who’s job has at least a modicum of security cause of IP.

        2. Damaging private property in an attempt to make a political message is in line with terrorism, not anarchism. Stupid kid with lighters and bricks, do not an anarchist make.

    8. I think I’ve always been a classic liberal.

      I remember seeing a magazine come out that was touted as being for people who were socially liberal but fiscally conservative. I thought, “hey, that’s me!” It died very quickly, of course.

      1. i think it needs ot be clarified that being libertarian has nothing to do with being socially liberal. iow, one can be very socially conservative and be libertarian.

        libertarians just believe that generally such policies shouldn’t be state forced/enforced

        1. one can be very socially conservative and be libertarian

          Where can one find such people? Are they in an isolated village in Montana somewhere?

          1. my buddy in vegas of all places fits that definition. i know that a lot of the stuff he is strongly opposed to, he is ALSO strongly opposed to govt. intervention in.

            i just think it is entirely different to say “socially liberal” is a necessary (but not sufficient) component of libertarianism

            what is necessary is a nonGOVERNMENTinterventionist approach to what some perceive as “social ills” e.g. drug use, prostitution, pornography, obesity etc.

            a libertarian (imo) could be all for (for example) various means of reducing the above, without thinking the participants should be subject to justice system sanctions or govt. assmunchery.

            i, for example, think the obesity problem is a fucking travesty but that happy meal bans etc. (iow limiting choice and increasing govt. power) are the solution (as a libertarian)

            1. ugh should be happy meal BANS are ***not*** the solution

    9. Started my adult political awareness as a republican. But the more they sold out to the religious right is what started me down what the libertarian path. Stumbling on Hit & Run has helped seal the deal.

    10. Re: R C Dean,

      What was your “road to Damascus” moment, commentariat?

      I became libertarian the moment I received my first paycheck and found out how much was taken in taxes. I worked as a maintenance tech right after finishing college (yeah, there were no jobs for freshly-minted computer control engineers.)

      Just to put things in perspective: payroll, social security, income and value-added taxes make up like 30-35% of a person’s retentions in Mexico, at least from 1994-2005. It explains why a lot of people work in the underground economy, which thrives down there. Or, as a subcontractor.

    11. As mentioned above-thread, I’ve swung hard Left (early years) to Hard Right (later years). The needle had to settle down somewhere.

      I’ve also always had a mouthy, contrarian streak that still gets me into trouble. I basically don’t like authority in any form or shape and it sickens me when people give in so easily.

      I found Reason through Instapundit and liked what I saw.

    12. I read the editorial page as early as freshman year of high school, where I was exposed to libertarian ideas because the newspaper in my hometown is owned by Freedom Communications (which I believe is loosely related to Reason somehow). Being somewhat anti-authoritarian in disposition anyway, I was receptive (especially to the anti-drug war stuff), did some internet searches and found out more about it. I’ve considered myself libertarian my entire adult life, though I was unconcerned with politics and only discovered Reason via their Ron Paul coverage during the 2008 election.

    13. Four things for me.

      1) First realization (around age 14) was the complete failure of the “small government” Gingrich army in 95-96 to even cut the speed of government growth, let alone the government themselves. And understanding it was not because they couldnt do it, its because they didnt care.

      2) Basic economic tenets were set by my free market-oriented family, with frameworks put to it during my classes under DiLorenzo at Loyola MD (as well as the rest of the Econ department which were mostly all Austrians or Chicagoites).

      Becoming an adult and dealing with the absurdities of the tax codes, bureaucracies, seeing one’s FICA submissions on paychecks, etc.

      Finally, and what really has pushed me all the way into the camp has been reading about the underreported cruelties enacted by government on citizens on the pages/blogs of Reason and its writers. Murders of innocents by SWAT teams, economic cartels keeping people from pursuing their independent dreams, public union thugs retiring at 50 off our taxes, etc.

    14. I used to be somewhat of a “Democrat-I-Guess” as well for a long time. Probably mostly because I was foolish enough to believe that they were actually better on civil liberties and drug policy. But I also have always had a strong dislike of being told what to do and a strong anarchistic streak. What really put me over the edge was getting deeper into drug policy stuff and realizing that the “unintended” negative consequences of most supposedly well meaning programs outweigh any positive benefit.

    15. I voted for Ed Clark in 1980 after seeing the Nolan Chart for the first time. I have never voted for an R or D for president.

      I was 23 at the time. After growing up with Vietnam and Richard Nixon, I pretty much hated both major political parties. The Nolan Chart appealed to my math/science background, and so I became a libertarian.

      And even though I never saw “Fuck Off Slaver” in writing until recently, that was pretty much my core belief from very early on.

    16. Raised by Reagan Republicans. Disillusioned by Bush II about the time he (a)signed off on NLCB (b)failed on SS reform and (c)went into Iraq. (I realize this is about a 2 year span, but I fell out with Bush first then the party.) I’ve always been pro-small government, but at some point decided that I wasn’t going to play Charlie Brown to the R’s Lucy holding the football on that issue. So I guess I haven’t changed, I’ve just grown more discriminating about believing pols bullshit.

    17. My family was moderately Democrat, but gung ho Southern Baptists. I did a right turn at around 20 years of age to join up with the Moral Majority, the “correct” Christian thing to do. This led me to a university affiliated with the Southern Baptists, and into circles of conservative political thought which I found intellectually stimulating.

      However, it was the WOD that led me to libertarianism. I couldn’t reconcile the hypocrisy of the WOD versus the legal status of alcohol. So I went from Dem to Socon Repub to libertarian. It’s been a very liberating journey.

    18. I was raised in a fairly conservative household, and when I was 13 I even started listening to Sean Hannity. I loved arguing with people on the internet about my opinions, and once when I was 14, I got into a debate with a libertarian about gay marriage or weed legalization or some shit like that and realized that my views on certain matters were completely at odds with my supported of limited government. Didn’t ditch the Catholicism until I hit 17, though.

      Compared to a lot of other libertarians, I arrived here at a fairly young age, but in retrospect, I still wish my intellectual growth had started earlier, particularly on my route to non-religiousness. I feel a little dumb for not seeing the inconsistencies sooner; on the other hand, I view my 16-year-old self of three years ago as an utter fucking moron, and I’ll likely think the same of myself now once I graduate college. Such is life.

    19. Boy, this sure is one big TEAM RED commentariat, isn’t it!!

      1. *secret handshake*

    20. I attended a liberal arts college in the early to mid-90s. I would say I arrived mildly liberal, became radically liberal by my sophomore year, and graduated barely liberal, with a strong distaste for all things feminist and PC. It was probably porn that did it. As many stupid ideas as I bought into at the time, no one could ever convince me that I was morally inferior for liking girl on girl action. I think at that point I was more apathetic to politics than anything else. If pressed I would have probably said I was “basically liberal”. It was a slow, 15 year process from “basically liberal” to “libertarian”, gradually changing my ideas on affirmative action, environmentalism (that was a big one), unions, etc… I don’t remember the exact moment it dawned on me that I was a libertarian.

    21. I was lucky enough to have parents that let their children think for themselves, no being forced into any belief systems. It allowed me to come to the conclusion that if left alone I could find a way to work out my problems on my own. From that point I figured if I could do it then why can’t everyone else. I became an atheist in my mid-teens just because I couldn’t think of a good reason to believe in a god and I found most religious people to be full of shit. I don’t know that I’d necessarily consider myself a full libertarian but after shopping around parties I think it is the one that is closest to my views. My father is a pretty strong libertarian so I guess I have him to thank for starting me down the right path.

    22. I used to talk politics with my grandfather, a pretty hard core Republican but more from the capitalist side (the kind who goes, “Now, I don’t have a problem with fags, I had a lot of friends who were fags. I just don’t want ’em to get married, is all”) and was fairly Republican for a while, becoming a Fox News junkie for a year or two after 9/11 (shit… I musta been 13, 14ish news junkie). But when I read the great Lord North line, at probably about 10 or 12, it clicked for me.

      Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That’s what started me down the road, but what cemented it was my slow realization that drugs should be legalized, after I started to see through the propaganda, read the arguments of both sides, and conclude that drugs were an over hyped scare tactic.

    23. Army buddies. For some reason, Libertarianism is pretty damn popular Army Veterans(as opposed to active duty). So that’s how I discovered it. But nobody in the Coast Guard was one(I was in both branches).

      Actually, I know the reason for the difference.

      1. Oh, and yes, I guess you could say I came from the Left. But I didn’t know a whole lot back then. And once I started actually reading, listening and thinking, I “converted.”

    24. I’d say my transition to libertarinism is fairly rote. In high school I was always politically aware, but the Gore vs. Bush 2: Bush Like you Mean It! debacle drove me so far into the hardcore liberal deep end I’m surprised I couldidn’t drown in the dissonance. Numerous arguments with a more conservative friend on the subject of why Gore should beat Bush 2 usually devolved into stalemates that left me feeling empty and full of shit. Eventually, this friend handed me a copy of Atlas Shrugged and the basic thesis of that monstrosity beat me into submission. I flirted with Objectivism, but the overt support of Israel(couldn’t care either way honestly) and the cultish vibe given off by Ayn Rand’s corpse really turned me off that. But I held onto the core of that belief set, discovered Ron Paul, mises, reason.com, and Midget Lesbian Orgy porn so the rest is history.

    25. This is going to sound funny, but the seeds had already been planted by my early teens thanks to a multitude of different science fiction/fantasy books, especially King Arthur.

      Something about the round table and not standing for the idea of “Might makes Right”.

  13. The wonderful writers that converted David Mamet were not typical conservatives, Sowell, Hayek and Friedman are conservatives only when you lump libertarians as conservative. Although many libertarians find their home in the GOP as the best vehicle to make government small and out of their lives, let’s not fool ourselves that the GOP as a party is a libertarian, or even “classically liberal” (as Hayek was called years ago) party. Nor should we kid ourselves that most of those that label themselves conservative are libertarian or “classically liberal” either.

    1. Theoretically speaking the Republitards are for less government. Except for when they’re not and except for when they do the exact opposite (as do most politicians) of what they said.

  14. I don’t think there was a single “light bulb” moment, but the 55mph speed limit, as silly as that may sound, did a lot to crystallize my inchoate recognition of the inherent dishonesty of big government “solutions”.

    And I started reading Mencken.

    1. Oh yeah. Mencken started me on the path too. I didn’t run into any Libertarian writing (i.e. Nozick) until I was already on my way (excepting Heinlein books which I read purely as stories for the most part).

      And I hasten to add that I’m not “a Libertarian,” just libertarian.

    2. No single one for me either. I was set on the path reading “Somebody’s Gotta Say It” by Neal Boortz, which is probably why back when I was still sipping GOP juice I didn’t drink the whole cup. Boortz is annoying but I owe him big time.

    1. That’s right buddy! How many fartriloquists does your team have?

      1. Which team is his? I’m the only self-identified fartriloquist I know.

        And I’m proud of that.

  15. The New York Times DID review his book.

    Hitchens tore him a new a**hole, then tore him another new a**hole, then tore him a third new a**hole, and then left his carcass to rot in the sun:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06…..mamet.html

    Not pretty but, unfortunately, necessary.

    1. Re: Danny,

      The New York Times DID review his book.

      That’s the NYT online, Danny, not the tree-killing version.

      1. “A version of this review appeared in print on June 19, 2011, on page BR11 of the Sunday Book Review with the headline: The Antagonist.”

        Old Mexican: still on an unbroken streak.

        1. Re: Danny,

          Old Mexican: still on an unbroken streak.

          And you’re still an asshole, Danny. You could have simply asked for an apology.

          1. You, sevo, Epi and the rest of the gang-up crew should all take a nice long nap on the Long Island commuter railroad tracks.

            1. “You, sevo, Epi and the rest of the gang-up crew should all take a nice long nap on the Long Island commuter railroad tracks.”

              Wouldn’t want to disturb you, dipshit.

    2. Re: Danny,
      Even though Chris Hitchens does make a few valid points about Mamet’s conversion from cliched-socialist to cliched-conservative, he does on a few passages show just how much of an asshole he (Chris) is, like here:

      Eschewing irony, Mamet prefers his precepts to be literal and traditional. In case by any chance we haven’t read it before, he twice offers Rabbi Hillel’s definition of the golden rule and the essence of Torah: “What is hateful to thee, do not do to thy neighbor.” […] [T]he apparent obviousness of this does not entirely redeem it from contradiction. To Colonel Qaddafi and Charles Manson and Bernard Madoff, I want things to happen that would be hateful to me. Of what use is a principle that is only as good as the person uttering it?

      Because, Chris, nobody cares what YOU think. That’s the beauty of principles: They are not limited to your jackassness.

      I do not wish on Qaddafi, Manson or Madoff anything that I would not like happen to me. That’s the difference between a criminally-minded individual like you, Chris, and a voluntaryst person like me: I take principles seriously; you instead eschew them when it’s convenient, when it’s expedient. That’s the evidence of moral failing.

      1. If you wouldn’t take the shot with Qaddaffi in your cross-hairs, you are beneath contempt.

        1. Re: Danny,

          If you wouldn’t take the shot with Qaddaffi in your cross-hairs, you are beneath contempt.

          He has done no harm to me. I am not as bloodthirsty as you.

          1. Pathetic. He’s murdered Americans, other NATO-member civilians, other innocent members of the human race.

            He sponsored Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh.

            And you interpose your narrow conception of your own self-interest as an “argument-ender.” And then you throw the label of “bloodthirsty” at the forces that have, by their courage and resolve, averted untold bloodshed.

            Here’s bloodthirsty: you need to drop dead right now to make the world a better place.

            1. Re: Danny,

              Pathetic. He’s murdered Americans, other NATO-member civilians, other innocent members of the human race.

              I am not an American, I am not a NATO-member, and the other members of the human race can always take him to court. How many other members of the human race has Obama sent to their early graves through drone attacks and “collateral damage”?

              He sponsored Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh.

              And?

              And you interpose your narrow conception of your own self-interest as an “argument-ender.”

              Are you serious? Because if you’re jesting, then at least I won’t think you’re such an idiot.

              And then you throw the label of “bloodthirsty” at the forces that have, by their courage and resolve, averted untold bloodshed.

              Oh, don’t give me that tear-jerker shit, Danny. You sound just like a Neo-con.

              Here’s bloodthirsty: you need to drop dead right now to make the world a better place.

              And you’re still an asshole, Danny. You can’t fix that.

              1. “I am not an American”

                That’s the best news I’ve heard in a while.

                1. what about respect for other cultures?

                2. “That’s the best news I’ve heard in a while.”

                  If you are, that’s the worst news so far today.

        2. If you wouldn’t take the shot with Qaddaffi in your cross-hairs, you are beneath contempt.

          Putting aside the golden rule stuff, would assassinating Qaddaffi result in a better world? Actions have consequences.

          1. …would assassinating Qaddaffi result in a better world?

            Doesn’t that kind of depend on who or what replaces him? It wouldn’t be the first time a bad situation was made worse because of someone’s self-righteous faith in their own infallibility.

      2. It does sound like Mamet is more of a conservative from the Hitchen’s quotes. And he does seem to make a lot of silly statements.

        1. Re: Bill,
          I agree that Mamet simply changed from liberaloid platitudes to conservatoid platitudes.

        2. I’m reading Mamet’s book and I think it’s quite good. He seems to want to explain things clearly enough that even liberals can understand them, so he does say things in very basic ways and he says them more than once. But much of the writing is quite good. I was very surprised by the Hitchens review, he really seems to have been trying to make Mamet look bad. He quotes all of the dumbest stuff and none of the good stuff.

    3. Well, he’s certainly one to talk about a “pointlessly aggressive style”

    4. Aren’t you just a ray of fucking sunshine, eh, Danny.

  16. That was in college, even as I was being indoctrinated (with some success) into the Cult of Wilsonian Enlightenment.

    1. Would you knock it off? Brooks ain’t no bug. He’s just…just institutionalized.

  17. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06…..mamet.html

    Article was written in July, mentions a conversation between Mamet and wife about the NY Times not reviewing his book, when they actually did on June 19, 2011. Was this a miss for Stossel?

    1. Re: Jim,
      Well, Mamet and his wife were wrong. Stossel is simply reporting what he said his wife and he talked about.

  18. *Which was a whole lot simpler and cleaner than the chart of the ObamaCare bureaucracy.

    What could be simpler or cleaner than one man with a halo at the top of the pyramid?

  19. Would not put too much into it, Shrike says he is a follower of Hayek, then supports central banking, public schooling, government healthcare, government money, welfare etc.

    1. You could be a libertarian-leaning person in most cases and still support some of these. Friedman supported monetary policy and public vouchers for schooling and a negative income tax and Hayek supported a minimal welfare system. You could want to pick your battles and be a minimalist in several ways, not only favoring a minimalist government but wanting to try small changes such as de-criminalizing drugs as a first step and vouchers as being better than what we have now, etc. It’s called being practical and wanting to actually win an election.

      Most of the time I just see shriek spouting stupidity and being inconsistent and acting like everyone here is a Republican and a christ-fag.

      1. Amen, brother!

  20. Dude jsut doesnt make any sense at all.

    http://www.anonymous-tools.tk

  21. For me, I’ve always been a ‘conservative’, even though from England, both my parents were Labour supporters even though their principles and beliefs were more in line with conservatives. My parents having a business on a council estate and watching all the welfare collecting layabouts partying up 24/7 will do that to you, or a council that doubles its rates with the promises of big benefits that never materialize.

    In reality, while I tend to class myself as Republican, its just the closest major party. I am more of a right leaning libertarian. There are too few small government conservatives to even make it part of the platform anymore. I think Libertarians are closer to how real Republicans should be without the so-con stuff.

    That said, I still have a streak of paleo-con in me as well as a bit of a nationalist streak in terms of immigration/trade protection. I’m also a minimalist government as I do think government should provide a bit of a safety net and not a hammock.

    I don’t do drugs so I don’t give a crap about the WOD, but we should really end it. At the very least I’d like to see some experiments in one or two states to show that things won’t go to hell in a handbasket.

    I’d really like to see the Republicans lose the So-con side, firm up on being actual fiscal conservatives and be something libertarians can easily vote for. I’d also like to see Ron Paul win the GOP nomination.

  22. Dave, grow up. The purpose of all newspapers is political

    Refreshing honesty from a liberal

  23. It appears tonight’s show is about…

  24. Free advertising at last, free advertising at last.

  25. Pillsbury transferred Cain to Burger King?

  26. NHS taking it on the chin.

  27. Walls and engines. Stop mixing your metaphors, Herman.

  28. Businessmen have no sense of humor about statists’ inability to grasp basic market concepts.

  29. Herman’s looking forward to a certain corn state.

  30. “We got an Acorn Stairlift, and now our house is unsellable.”

  31. Stossel has a Crist lookalike opening up for the Obama lookalike.

  32. Cain saw Stossel snorting cocaine in the green room?

  33. Oh, Herman, you were doing so well, but now you appear to be a moron. Government should make the decision about drugs but not about abortion?

  34. Gary Bettman called Cain an ignoramus?

  35. At least Cain’s analysis of Obama’s reason to stay in Afghanistan was correct.

  36. As president, Cain might want to lead on defining what winning in Afghanistan means.

    1. …Experts…

  37. Ha, mixed reaction from the audience about the Muslim/terrorist connection.

  38. Fake Obama getting real boos.

  39. Whoa, blacked out there for a few minutes.

  40. Speaking of blacking out, the Republicans called the Obama impersonator a racist?

  41. Mastercard is about to sue Herman Cain.

  42. John Stossel wants to get rid of air traffic controllers now? Reagan with a mustache, I say!

  43. “Good afternoon”?????? You mean this isn’t a live broadcast?

  44. Stamps.com? They’ve found a way to replace the Post Office now?

  45. Why isn’t the audience booing all those politicians???

  46. Hitting below the belt, John.

  47. Tell these Manhattanites the businessman you’re talking about is pro-life (I think) and see what they say.

  48. Imagine the hate mail and threats he’s gotten.

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  54. I had no idea what kind of scumbag rag “Reason” was (it was purported to be libertarian) until I read a couple of your articles. Get real, schmucks – guys like Hayek and Friedman are part of the problem Your editors ought to read Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine – but you probably won’t…you’ll just go grinding out the same old garbage until a day – hope it’s soon – that you run out of production money. RW

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