Concerning a recent escapee from the leftist asylum, playwrite David Mamet:
...[Mamet] agreed to write an essay on the play’s politics for the Village Voice. In the essay Mamet confessed that many of his previous political beliefs now struck him as reflexive and unthinking: The country that existed in his once-fevered liberal imagination—a dystopia crippled by crises that required the immediate deployment of the federal government—bore little resemblance to the country in which he actually lived, where people interacted smoothly in the marketplace to their mutual benefit. He had come to realize that corporations were good for providing the necessities of life. The “Big Bad Military” of his youthful fancy was, he discovered, an organization built on courage and honor.Mamet is different from his former leftist asylum inmates only in his honesty and willingness to see the world from different points of view -- as if testing them for how well the POVs fit the outside world. Most dogmatists and true believers are unable to step outside their own deepest beliefs in this way, and so they are doomed to remain mired within their own dysfunctional cage of beliefs.
For the moment, he told Voice readers, he was searching for “a human understanding of the political process . . . in which I believe I may be succeeding.”
Voice editors hyped Mamet’s piece with an attention getting headline, “Why I Am No Longer a ‘Brain-Dead Liberal.’ ” The essay was much milder than its title. It was the work of a man in mid-conversion. _TWS
One of Mamet’s favorite books has been Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War, published during the First World War by the British social psychologist Wilfred Trotter, inventor of the term “herd instinct.”Clearly Mamet knows what he is talking about. The transition out of the herd is truly wrenching. And if one is compelled by one's profession to mix with the herd on a daily basis, the emotional threat one represents to the herd is often written on the faces of herd members.
“Trotter says the herd instinct in an animal is stronger even than the preservation of life,” Mamet said. “So I was watching the  debates. My liberal friends would spit at the mention of Sarah Palin’s name. Or they would literally mime the act of vomiting. We’re watching the debates and one of my friends pretends to vomit and says, ‘I have to leave the room.’ I thought, oh my god, this is Trotter! This is the reaction of the herd instinct. When a sheep discovers a wolf in the fold, it vomits to ward off the attacker. It’s a sign that their position in the herd is threatened.”
Mamet runs into the herd instinct every day.
“I’ve given galleys of The Secret Knowledge to some friends. They say, ‘I’m scared to read it.’ I say, ‘Why should you be afraid to read something?’
“What are they afraid of? They’re afraid of losing their ability to stay in the herd. That’s what I found in myself. It can be wrenching when you start to think away from the herd.”
Mamet’s disdain for consensus, for received wisdom of any kind, has been evident in nearly every aspect of his career. _TWS
Mamet's new book is called The Secret Knowledge.
Village Voice: Why I Am No Longer a Brain Dead Liberal by David Mamet
It is unfortunate that Andrew Ferguson entitled his piece on Mamet, Converting Mamet, and refers in the piece to "the conversion" of Mamet. Conversion is too often no better than escaping from one prison into another. Rather the story should be about "the escape of Mamet." Freedom is quite different from true believerhood. No two free men think exactly alike, whereas the inquisition -- or Political Correctness, if you will -- is installed to guarantee that on important issues (the ever changing talking points), correct-thinking persons will think the same thoughts.