And Yet Another

Following up on the previous post, Instapundit links to a piece about playwright David Mamet and his new book on losing his liberal outlook.  Some choice excerpts:

Higher ed, (Mamet) said, was an elaborate scheme to deprive young people of their freedom of thought. He compared four years of college to a lab experiment in which a rat is trained to pull a lever for a pellet of food. A student recites some bit of received and unexamined wisdom—”Thomas Jefferson: slave owner, adulterer, pull the lever”—and is rewarded with his pellet: a grade, a degree, and ultimately a lifelong membership in a tribe of people educated to see the world in the same way.

“If we identify every interaction as having a victim and an oppressor, and we get a pellet when we find the victims, we’re training ourselves not to see cause and effect,” he said. Wasn’t there, he went on, a “much more interesting .  .  . view of the world in which not everything can be reduced to victim and oppressor?”

This is the whole strategy of “critical theory” – the Frankfurt school’s methodology for using the education system to de-moralize (hypen used intentionally) the population. Thomas Jefferson? He can’t be a great man, he was a slave owner and adulterer! Pull the lever!  Writing an essay on economics?  The grader will be a Keynesian, so it had better slant that way!  Pull the lever!

On cognitive dissonance:

“The question occurs to me quite a lot: What do liberals do when their plans have failed? What did the writers do when their plans led to unemployment, their own and other people’s? One thing they can’t do is admit they failed. Why? To admit failure would endanger their position in the herd.”

To admit failure would require them to question their ideology, and that loses them their position in the herd.

In the beginning of Mamet’s conversion, his Rabbi sent him books:

One of the first was A Conflict of Visions, by Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institution. In it Sowell expands on the difference between the “constrained vision” of human nature—close to the tragic view that infuses Mamet’s greatest plays—and the “unconstrained vision” of man’s endless improvement that suffused Mamet’s politics and the politics of his profession and social class.

“He came back to me stunned. He said, ‘This is incredible!’ He said, ‘Who thinks like this? Who are these people?’ I said, ‘Republicans think like this.’ He said, ‘Amazing.’ ”

I didn’t have to be converted by Sowell’s magnum opus, but Conflict of Vision‘s effect on me was similar.

And, of course, the article points out the inevitable herd reaction to Mamet’s conversion:

After reading The Secret Knowledge in galleys, the Fox News host and writer Greg Gutfeld invented the David Mamet Attack Countdown Clock, which “monitors the days until a once-glorified liberal artist is dismissed as an untalented buffoon.” Tick tock.

Read the whole piece.

I think I just added another book onto my pile.

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