The Conversion of David Mamet
American theater is a one-party town, a community of like-minded folk who are all but unanimous in their strict adherence to the left-liberal line. Though dissenters do exist, they are almost never heard from in public, and it is highly unusual for new plays that deviate from the social gospel of progressivism to reach the stage, whether in New York or anywhere else.
All this explains why David Mamet, America’s most famous and successful playwright, caused widespread consternation two years ago when he published an essay in the <em>Village Voice</em> called “Why I Am No Longer a ‘Brain-Dead Liberal’” in which he announced that he had “changed my mind” about the ideology to which he had previously subscribed. Having studied the works of “a host of conservative writers,” among them Milton Friedman, Paul Johnson, Thomas Sowell (whom he called “our greatest contemporary philosopher”), and Shelby Steele, Mamet came to the conclusion that “a free-market understanding of the world meshes more perfectly with my experience than that idealistic vision I called liberalism.”
About the Author
Terry Teachout, our chief culture critic, wrote last month about The Glass Menagerie and the month before about Robert Mitchum.