Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet argues for the conservative vision of society and denounces liberal hypocrisy in an editorial about silk-screening and sushi on Wednesday.
In a difficult-to-decipher piece featured on WSJ editorial page, Mamet uses the examples of two individuals in society - a liberal silk-screener and a conservative father - to illustrate his preference for lower taxes and smaller government.
Mamet points to an incident where he accompanies a friend to a Brooklyn silk-screener’s store. The owner features portraits of President Barack Obama in the window - which Mamet suggests makes him a Democrat - and says he can offer them a better price if they pay in cash.
Mamet asserts that this offer is evidence of Democratic hypocrisy - the silk-screener, he implies, is accepting cash for the purpose of tax evasion, and yet still admires Obama and probably supports the raising of taxes.
“Why did the T-shirt maker have to whisper when he made his offer of a legitimate exchange? And who did he think was going to pay the increased taxes he voted for? Certainly not himself, as he (like everyone else) was going to dodge as many as he could. Who but ‘the Rich,’ that magical invocation of a group in opposition to which we citizens have time and again impoverished ourselves?” Mamet writes.
Mamet contrasts the case of the store owner with that of a father eating sushi with his young daughter, just home from college.
“The father was deconstructing his California roll to eat it, retail, and the newly enlightened freshman explained to him that to do so was to disrespect the sushi chef who had labored to make the roll just so, and was his work worth nothing?” Mamet writes.
Mamet continues to say that the “young Stalinist” is wrong to factor “respect” into the equation at all. The father earned the money - the fruit of his labors - and should be able to do whatever he pleases with it.
Mamet, known in his early career for anti-capitalistic views, has turned rather more conservative in recent years.
In his editorial, he argues that cutting taxes - and the size of government - will force those dependent on the state to find jobs that address social needs, and also marginalize the influence of lobbying.
“Cut taxes and these intellectual wards of the state will have to find a method of support that actually fulfills a need. Cut taxes and the “special interests” will have no incentive to bribe or “support” a candidate to the tune of a fortune, for the candidate, if elected, will have no ability to repay the bribe,” he writes.
The difference between the shirt maker and the father is that the hypocritical shirt maker wants to raise taxes but not pay them, while the more-consistent father just wants to be alone to eat his sushi in the way he pleases.
“The shirt maker voted for Obama, the purchaser of sushi voted for Obama. I did not vote for Obama,” Mamet concludes.
Mamet won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play, “Glengarry Glen Ross.”
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