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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 24, 2008 / 17 Adar II 5768

David Mamet, revised

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | David Mamet came out of the closet this month.


No, not that closet. In a piece for the March 11 Village Voice, the renowned playwright (American Buffalo, Glengarry Glen Ross, Speed-the-Plow) admits to something far likelier to tarnish his reputation among arts-world elites than any mere revelation about sexual orientation.


He admits to waking up from liberalism.


Mamet's 2,500-word "election-season essay" opens with John Maynard Keynes's reply to a critic who accused him of inconsistency: "When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do, sir?" He goes on to describe his latest play, November, an Oval Office comedy featuring a "self-interested, corrupt, suborned, and realistic" president and his "leftish, lesbian, utopian-socialist speechwriter."


Behind its hilarity, Mamet writes, November is a polemic between two views of human society: "the conservative (or tragic) view and the liberal (or perfectionist) view." Conservatives like the play's president assume that most people are "out to make a living, and the best way for government to facilitate that is to stay out of the way," since messes caused by state intervention are generally worse than those that ensue when free markets are left alone. In the liberal view, society is replete with ills that only government is equipped to heal.


"I took the liberal view for many decades," Mamet confesses, "but I believe I have changed my mind."


It wasn't exactly a Damascus Road conversion — more a gradual realization that conservative ideas were a better fit with real life than the liberal assumptions he used to take on faith. I remember attending the premiere of Mamet's electrifying Oleanna at the Hasty Pudding Theatre in Cambridge in 1992. The play revolves around an accusation of sexual harassment leveled by a student at her professor, and it was clear even then that Mamet was awake to the McCarthyist dangers of political correctness and leftist zealotry.


But the decision to write a play about politics and politicians led Mamet to delve more systematically into political thought. "I began reading not only the economics of Thomas Sowell (our greatest contemporary philosopher) but Milton Friedman, Paul Johnson, and Shelby Steele, and a host of conservative writers, and found that I agreed with them," he writes. As he read and reflected, he found himself shedding the liberal prejudices that had always been part of his intellectual furniture: Hostility to capitalism. Distrust of the military. Resentment over economic inequality. Above all, the "everything-is-always-wrong" gloominess of the leftist worldview.


Misery abounds in The World According To Liberals. It's a world in which climate change devastates the environment and families struggle to make ends meet, while hate crimes terrorize minorities and tobacco companies poison children. Everywhere the progressive looks, the news is bad: teachers are underpaid, innocent defendants go to prison, families lack health insurance, good jobs are outsourced, a glass ceiling keeps women down, tax cuts favor the rich, gays yearn for equality, and the Patriot Act shreds our civil liberties.


But in fact, Mamet noticed, the real world isn't so wretched. "People in general seem to get from day to day," he says, and "we in the United States get from day to day under rather wonderful and privileged circumstances." As for the beneficence of the state, does more government truly make things better? On the whole, he decides, the answer is no, and he draws on his theatrical experience to illustrate the point:


"Take away the director from the staged play and what do you get? Usually a diminution of strife, a shorter rehearsal period, and a better production.


"The director generally does not cause strife, but his or her presence impels the actors to direct (and manufacture) claims designed to appeal to Authority — that is, to . . . indulge in politics, the purpose of which may be to gain status and influence outside the ostensible goal of the endeavor." He could be talking about the congressional appropriations process.


Mamet is only the latest in a long line of notable leftists who moved rightward, among them Whittaker Chambers, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Norman Podhoretz, Michael Novak, David Horowitz — and Ronald Reagan. Like them, Mamet was mugged by reality. Like them, he adjusted his opinions to fit the facts, and will doubtless pay a social price for his apostasy. Agree or disagree with the views he now holds, his intellectual integrity deserves a round of applause.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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