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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Reading List: The Secret Knowledge

Mamet, David. The Secret Knowledge. New York: Sentinel, 2011. ISBN 978-1-59523-097-3.
From time to time I am asked to recommend a book for those who, immersed in the consensus culture and mass media, have imbibed the collectivist nostrums of those around them without thinking about them very much, have, confronted with personal experiences of the consequences of these policies, begun to doubt their wisdom. I have usually recommended the classics: Bastiat, Hayek, and Rothbard, but these works can be challenging to those marinated in the statist paradigm and unfamiliar with history before the age of the omnipresent state. Further, these works, while they speak to eternal truths, do not address the “wedge issues” of modern discourse, which are championed by soi-disant “progressives” and “liberals”, distancing themselves from “traditional values”.

Well, now I have just the book to recommend. This book will not persuade committed ideologues of the left, who will not be satisfied until all individualism has been hammered into a uniform terrain of equality on the North Korean model (see Agenda 21 [November 2012]), but rather the much larger portion of the population who vote for the enemies of prosperity and freedom because they've been indoctrinated in government schools and infiltrated higher education, then fed propaganda by occupied legacy media. In Western societies which are on the razor edge between liberty and enslavement, shifting just 10% of the unengaged electorate who vote unknowingly for serfdom can tip the balance toward an entirely different future.

It is difficult to imagine an author better qualified to write such a work. David Mamet was born into the Jewish intellectual community in Chicago and educated in a progressive school and college. Embarking upon a career in literature, theatre, and film, he won a Pulitzer prize, two Tony nominations, and two Oscar nominations. He has written and directed numerous films, and written screenplays for others. For most of his life he was immersed in the liberal consensus of the intellectual/media milieu he inhabited and no more aware of it than a fish is of water. Then, after reaching the big six-zero milestone in his life, he increasingly became aware that all of the things that he and his colleagues accepted at face value without critical evaluation just didn't make any sense. As one with the rare talent of seeing things as they are, unfiltered by an inherited ideology, he wrote a 2008 essay titled “Why I Am No Longer a ‘Brain-Dead Liberal’ ”, of which this book is a much extended elaboration. (Read the comments on this article to see just how “liberal” those with whom he has come to dissent actually are.)

Mamet surveys culture, economics, and politics with a wide-angle perspective, taking a ruthlessly empirical approach born of his life experience. To those who came early to these views, there's a temptation to say, “Well, finally you've got it”, but at the same time Mamet's enlightenment provides hope that confrontation with reality may awake others swimming in the collectivist consensus to the common sense and heritage of humankind so readily accessible by reading a book like this.

In the Kindle edition the end-notes are properly bi-directionally linked to the text, but the index is just a useless list of terms, without links to references in the text.

Posted at September 5, 2013 23:35