Two Davids: Conversions on the Road to Damascus
By Michael Henry
David Horowitz and David Mamet, two powerhouse American intellectuals and brilliant writers, each had a “Saul on the Road to Damascus” moment in their enormously productive adult lives.
The result? Both dramatically rejected leftist political beliefs and embraced conservatism.
David Mamet, 70, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright for “Glengarry Glen Ross,” wrote the screenplays for these movies: “The Verdict,” “The Untouchables,” “Hoffa,” “Wag the Dog,” “The Edge,” “Ronin,” and “Hannibal.”
Born in Chicago and educated in “progressive” schools, including Goddard College in Vermont, Mamet was a liberal in his long career as a playwright and writer, but gradually rejected its tenets as illogical and destructive.
With his 2008 essay in “The Village Voice” entitled “Why I Am No Longer A ‘Brain-Dead Liberal’,” Mamet came out of the political closet. He revealed he had jettisoned political correctness and progressivism. At great risk to his writing and entertainment career, Mamet admitted he had embraced conservatism.
In 2011, he published “The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture,” which documented in greater detail his conversion, including his belief in the free market theories of Friedrich Hayek in “The Road To Serfdom,” which rejected government control of the economy and centralized planning. He also agreed with the free market theories of economist Thomas Sowell, whom Mamet considers “one of our greatest minds,” and whose definition of a racist was “a conservative winning an argument with a liberal.”
Mamet skewers the entertainment industry, where liberal groupthink is the price of admission, and deviation from the party line results in the loss of employment.
David Horowitz was born in 1939 in Queens, N.Y. to parents who were long-standing members of the American Communist Party, labor organizers and strong supporters of Joseph Stalin. David adopted his parents’ political principles, and after an undergraduate degree from Columbia and a graduate degree from U.C. Berkeley, began working in London for the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, self-identifying as a Marxist. He later became editor of the New Left publication “Ramparts,” in California, and associated with Huey Newton and the Black Panthers.
But in 1985, Horowitz published an article in “The Washington Post Magazine” titled “Lefties For Reagan,” and in 1986, wrote “Why I Am No Longer A Leftist” in “The Village Voice.”
In 1998, Horowitz published his memoir, “Radical Son,” describing his journey from being a devout Marxist to embracing conservative ideals, a transformation that has placed him in physical danger and resulted in many death threats. For the last twenty years, he has been unable to speak on college campuses without personal bodyguards, a result of what he describes as “leftist fascism” embedded in most universities.
Horowitz opines that the Democrat Party took in the “hard left” during the Clinton years, and decries the Democrats’ embrace of identity politics, which he believes is racist and anti-American, and the Party’s adoption of the Marxist paradigm of “the oppressors and the oppressed.”
He decries Democrat politicians’ support of radical, crypto-fascist groups such as Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and many of the George Soros-funded NGOs.
Mamet and Horowitz mourn the loss of freedom of speech on campus, where the heckler’s veto deprives students of another point of view, one that they do not hear from their professors and administrators on campus.
Both agree as well that hard left on campuses, in media, and in the entertainment industry is more like a religion than a political philosophy. Facts, logic, and history don’t matter—liberalism must be taken as a matter of faith.
You should go online to find the speeches, interviews, and writings of David Mamet and David Horowitz.
Prepare to be dazzled by their intellects.
Michael Henry writes in Oxford, Miss. and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.