Wednesday, March 12, 2008

More On Mamet

Okay, so when I saw the subject line to CS's post, "Your Must Read Link of the Day" I thought to myself "cool, he found a site that took out Hagar from Hagar the Horrible cartoon and now it is an existential look at medieval society."

But it turned out to be an essay/moaning about a mid-life political crisis by David Mamet. Mamet has always been one of those people that I really don't understand who he is and why his is famous. But there is no doubt that people respect him for something...So I went and an nutshell he is basically famous for writing Alec Baldwin's f-words in this scene:

Plus, he did write Wag the hats off to that too...

But let me just address one of the greatest fallacies promoted by some conservatives [most notably Rush Limbaugh] and Mamet in this essay. It is found in this quote:

What about the role of government? Well, in the abstract, coming from my time and background, I thought it was a rather good thing, but tallying up the ledger in those things which affect me and in those things I observe, I am hard-pressed to see an instance where the intervention of the government led to much beyond sorrow.

The spark for all this kind of thought is here, with the biggest "government hater" of them all, Ronald Reagan.

Of course, this sort of government-hating conservative have the added benefit of doing everything they can to circumvent and undermine the success of governmental programs and then claim that they are shocked, SHOCKED that that that program is flawed or unpopular.

Here is a list of successful government programs that would have been impossible to have done with the "our own capacity of self-government."

1. Let's just take for granted that a national military is a good governmental program. I don't think the Alabama Air Force would have lasted very long against the Luftwaffe. Do I need to mention the Civil about federal government haters.

2. Federal-Aid Highway Act 0f 1956: I am sure Mamet drives on a highway, well thank the federal government for that.

3. Social Security, Medicare, & Medicaid: Call them entitlements but each program has helped millions of people...and as they move toward insolvency [thank your grandparents for having too many kids!] it must be remembered the plans improved the health of the elderly and the poor significantly.

4. The National School Lunch Program: cheaper school lunch for poor kids.

5. The Clean Air Act: I don't really want to waste time describing the benefits of the Clean Air Act...instead I urge you to read about Thee Great Smog of 1952 that hit London and killed over 4,000 people and started the modern environmental movement in England.

6. The FBI -- as well as investigating the X-files, the bureau also hunts down domestic terrorists, pedophiles, and some bad, bad people.

Here is one from my area of study, Health Care:

7. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act: Originally intended to allow you to transfer your health insurance history to another employer if you switch jobs, it has become famous as the federal law that attempts to protect your medical information.

8. Sherman Anti-trust Act/Clayton Act/FTC Act: Started by conservative hero Teddy Roosevelt.

I am getting bored with is almost too easy. As I think about this more, it seems to me that as David Mamet looks around the world and can't find the good things the government has done, he must be not really trying.

And really the opposite argument starts to make the case doesn't it?...the absence of federal governmental involvement often leads to the worst possible scenario:

1. Hurricane Katrina evacuation
2. Lack of oversight in mortgage home lending
3. The Savings & Loan crisis of the 1980s.
4. Lack of a federal response to AIDS.
5. Reconstruction following the Civil War