Winning a Pulitzer Prize and nominations for Tony and Oscar awards, he is someone the Hollywood crowd approved. His movie successes include The Verdict, The Untouchables, Wag the Dog, and Glengarry Glen Ross.
But David Mamet changed. He began to read more broadly. Others noted a difference. His infamous 2008 essay in the Village Voice received the title “Why I Am No Longer a ‘Brain-Dead Liberal.’” At Stanford University, he did something unthinkable for someone representing the Hollywood elite. He gave a speech that defended capitalism, blasted high taxes, and denunciated redistribution economic policies.
In his 2011 article on Mamet, The Weekly Standard’s Andrew Ferguson writes: Mamet identified the hypocrisy of “students and faculty who reviled business and capital even as they fed off the capital that the hard work and ingenuity of businessmen had made possible.” Moreover, wealthy liberals imposed diversity requirements on private companies while living in safe monochromatic neighborhoods, fought school voucher systems while sending their children to prep school, or advocated higher tax rates while sheltering their income.
Mamet saw a problem, but was unsure of his next step. Looking back to 2004, he admitted, “I’d never met a conservative. I didn’t know what a conservative was. I didn’t know much of anything.” It was a shock when he discovered that his rabbi voted for George W. Bush. The rabbi suggested he read Thomas Sowell, Paul Johnson, Milton Friedman, and Shelby Steele. Mamet experimented, and he found this literature “amazing.” He wanted to know, “who thinks like this? Who are these people?” Conservative ideas haunted him, following him and not letting him go; it was pure intellectual catharsis.
A few days before the November 2012 election, Mamet wrote in the Jewish Journal imploring Americans not to vote for Barack Obama. He asked: “Are you prepared to explain to your children not the principles upon which your vote is cast, but its probable effects upon them?” And “Will you explain that whatever their personal beliefs, tax-funded institutions will require them to imbibe and repeat the slogans of the left, and that, should they differ, they cannot have a career in education, medicine or television unless they keep their mouths shut?”
So how did many liberals respond? They did so with an astonishing number of ad hominem attacks. Simply put, they argued that Mamet was an idiot. But perhaps the best evidence of whether Mamet is correct about the censure of conservatives is his future in Hollywood. How much attention and praise will he receive in Hollywood now that he no longer holds the proper, liberal worldview?