HOLLYWOOD’S DAVID MAMET: BRAIN DEAD LIBERAL NO MORE
by William Perry Pendley
August 1, 2011
David Mamet is an acclaimed playwright, screenwriter, film director, and essayist, most famous for the films The Untouchables, The Verdict, and Wag the Dog—the latter two received Academy Award nominations—and plays, such as American Buffalo and Glengarry Glen Ross, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize. A Chicago native, he lived in New York City, but, for several years has lived in California. Over the years, he made one other change; he became a free market conservative. His book about his journey, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture” (Sentinel 2011), was released in June.
Mamet’s transformation from “reformed Liberal” was years in the making; however, it began in earnest when the rabbi of his Temple, the membership of which includes Liberal film people, recommended that Mamet read the works of free-market conservatives, e.g. Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, and Thomas Sowell (and others set out in The Secret Knowledge’s bibliography). Mamet argues that Liberals never meet Conservatives, never engage them in discussions of first principles, and never question their own views; instead, they worship the “Sunday-only religion” that is Liberalism, whose strict orthodoxy does not apply to them, and they surround themselves with other members of a herd ruled by group-think.
Mamet tackles scores of Liberal plans, programs, and policies (granted, it is a “target-rich environment”); but, he has special disdain for race-based decision-making by governments. After noting that his family fled Poland and its pogroms, just escaping Hitler’s assassins, he asks: On what basis may a government undertake a plan to harm one individual to ameliorate an injury done to the long dead ancestor of another? If there were a defensible basis, he asks: when would that program end; for what facts could prove the historic wrong had been righted?
Ironically, the Supreme Court of the United States will ask Mamet’s questions in its October 2011 Term. First up for review is Justice O’Connor’s 2003 Grutter ruling allowing professional schools, specifically the University of Michigan Law School, to admit students based on race for another 25 years. In Texas, which had ensured diverse university student bodies with a race-neutral law, the University of Texas – Austin was not satisfied; it used Grutter to reinstitute quotas. Two young, non-minority coeds denied admission, sued.
A Texas federal district court, using Grutter, ruled for the University, as did a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit panel by a 2-1 vote; the dissent criticized Grutter and the University’s numerology. A request for rehearing en banc was denied 8-7, bringing another stinging dissent. A grant of certiorari is certain and only stare decisis could save Grutter, not likely since nearly a decade has passed. Just five years after the Court upheld a federal racial diversity program in 1990, it overturned that ruling in Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña.
After Adarand, which legal experts said doomed affirmative action, and Congress’s refusal to overturn Clinton’s scheme to “mend, not end” race-based decision-making, citizens took matters into their own hands. Civil rights ballot initiatives—constitutional amendments that barred any use of race—were adopted by wide margins in California (1996), Washington (1998), and Michigan (2006), over objections of politicians, business leaders, and the main-stream media. Liberals, however, were not finished; they sued.
In early July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Ohio ruled the Michigan plan unconstitutional because it disadvantages racial minorities. Not to be undone in pursuing liberal orthodoxy, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in California took up a new challenge to California’s Proposition 209. Both rulings will meet at the Supreme Court on the slam dunk question of whether States may vote to require adherence to the commands of the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee.
If the Supreme Court hears these two sets of equal protection cases the same day, the Courtroom scene will rival a screenplay written and directed by David Mamet.
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