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David Mamet rants magnificently

I would appear to be the last to know that the playwright David Mamet is, if not a member of my political family, then perhaps a cousin. The rant I link to below, which is exquisitely well written, is not going to persuade a single person who doesn’t already agree with the content, but it is an amazingly well designed firehose of hydrofluoric acid. Critics may (with some reason) say that it is vicious and panders to my affiliation group, but if so, it is literate vicious pandering.

The topic is ostensibly gun control, but in fact, it is mostly about collectivism in general. It begins with…

Karl Marx summed up Communism as “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” This is a good, pithy saying, which, in practice, has succeeded in bringing, upon those under its sway, misery, poverty, rape, torture, slavery, and death.

…and builds spectacularly from there.

“Gun Laws and the Fools of Chelm” by David Mamet

41 comments to David Mamet rants magnificently

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Perry M.

    It is well written – I can not write for toffee, but I know good writing when I see it.

    And the time for convincing other people is long past. The sides are settled now – and it a matter of the rally of one’s own side (to stop them just staying at home in despair).

    It is like canvassing the day before the election – no one’s mind is going to be changed (no one’s mind is ever changed by canvassing anyway) one is just trying to rally the folks for election day.

    It is the same here – accept David Manmet (whether he knows it himself or not)is engaged in the rally of people for a very different sort of contest than an election.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Well, if Mamet wasn’t already reviled as the greatest apostate since Saul of Tarsus, he will be now. But I believe he already was.

  • Regional

    Were there green grocers in Commo Russia or pie shops?

  • Runcie Balspune

    What I find interesting following the debate is how it is focussing on these “powerful” weapons.

    The only practical operational difference between an semi-automatic pistol and a semi-automatic rifle is range. Pistols are relatively useless beyond 25-50 metres/yards, if you live outside a city then the a rifle is more appropriate, whereas they become impractical in enclosed areas when a non-bulky pistol will do the job just as well.

    “Power” in these terms is irrelevant, guns are designed to kill or maim people operating under specific design parameters, rifles are higher powered but smaller calibre, so they are more effective at range, as long as the weapon is operating within it’s parameters, it will kill or maim.

    The debate over certain types of weapons is misleading, this is an issue of personal liberty, essays like this one are what the anti-gun lobby are afraid to debate, so they squabble over weapon classification.

  • If Mr. Metzer is new to David Mamet’s conservative conversion, he can find many pithy quotes online in the same vein from his book The Secret Knowledge.

  • Laird

    A truly excellent essay; thanks for sharing it. However, I don’t think it’s really a “rant”. To me, that involves more fulmination, excoriation and rabid denunciation; this piece is far too temperate to qualify. Wonderful writing, though.

  • Qbert

    Must read The Secret Knowledge by Mamet. It’s a real eye-opener for anyone who ever flirted with leftist politics.

  • William O. B'Livion

    “The only practical operational difference between an semi-automatic pistol and a semi-automatic rifle is range.”

    Nonsense.

    When properly held rifles provide at least three and usually 4 points of contact between the operator and the firearm (shoulder, each hand at least, cheek on stock). A Pistol gives at most two (each hand). This makes a rifle MUCH more accurate at *any* range and allows for better control over recoil–given a pistol and rifle eating the same ammunition you will be able to accurately fire much more quickly with the rifle.

    When chambered for “real” rifle rounds, the bullets do a greater amount of damage.

    This is mostly academic and wonkish, because a pistol shot to the head results in the same sort of result as a rifle shot 90% of the time.

    “Pistols are relatively useless beyond 25-50 metres/yards,”

    Then you need to spend more time practicing.

    “if you live outside a city then the a rifle is more appropriate, whereas they become impractical in enclosed areas when a non-bulky pistol will do the job just as well.”

    There are a LOT of considerations that come into account here. Oddly enough a “high powered” rifle round like a .223/5.56 will penetrate LESS in modern building construction than a 9mm pistol–penetration through building materials is more through momentum (where weight plays a greater factor) than energy, where speed does. OTOH, a .223 used indoors can be *painfully* loud.

    A modern military rifle can be held and fired more accurately at short ranges than a pistol held with one hand (again, 3 points of contact here v.s. one.), which can be an advantage opening doors, clearing rooms and getting non-combatants out of the way.

    Also while I disagree with your statement that a pistol is limited to 25-50 meters (especially when equipped with something like a RMR), as I indicated a rifle IS more accurate at almost any distance, and in big cities you might still get a 400 meter line of sight and have to take a 50 to 150 meter shot. Unlikely in a self defense situation, but that depends on how aggressively you defend yourself and from what.

    ““Power” in these terms is irrelevant, guns are designed to kill or maim people operating under specific design parameters, rifles are higher powered but smaller calibre, so they are more effective at range, as long as the weapon is operating within it’s parameters, it will kill or maim.”

    Only if you hit. Only hits count.

    I’ve spent LOTS of time and money on guns and classes.

    If I know a fight is coming, or if I’m going to the fight there’s going to be a rifle in my hands.

    The weapon is powerful because it puts choice and backbone into it’s bearer. It transfers power back to the individual from The State where these people think that power properly belongs.

  • Paul Marks

    The great advantage a pistol has over a rifle is when one is operating in a confined space – and their are a lot of confined spaces in a house (and so on).

    Out in the field the rifle has a clear advantage over the pistol – otherwise soldiers would go into battle armed with pistols.

    Now I hide my inexperienced head – because I suspect that the great debate between “battle rifles” and “assault rifles” is about to break out.

  • Simon Jester

    Appropriately given the state of gun laws in Bloomberg’s NY, the English equivalent to Chelm was Gotham.

  • Richard Thomas

    Handguns also have a significant concealment advantage, of course.

  • Antoine Clarke

    It is never too late to change someone’s mind.

    In any case it is always a good idea to make the case as well as one can, because those people who change their minds according to what they think is prevailing wisdom will note, as I did, that 84% of people who read that Newsweek article (yes, 84%, yes, NEWSWEEK) agreed with David Mamet.

    It won’t change the opinion of Senator Al Franken, but it might make him choose something better to do than vote for a gun control bill.

  • Steven

    People like Al Franken will never have their minds changed. They are too party and/or ideology driven. The only thing that trumps that is reelection. Even then, the most senior members of the party look at the junior members as expendible in order to advance the platform. The Dems knew they were going to lose the House and possibly the Senate over Obamacare, but they also knew they’d be back as the majority in a few years. Short term loses for long term gains.

    The biggest problem in convincing America about why gun ownership shouldn’t be restricted is because doing so means coming right out and reminding the common man that The People are soveriegn and the government is the hired help. When the government forgets that, We The People need the tools to remove the government and that task is impossible without the tools the Second Amendment guarantees. It’s not about hunting, it’s not even about self-defense (although no legitimate government should ever remove a citizen’s ability to defend his life). It’s about having the ability to ensure that our betters might end up hanging from lampposts if they get out of line. That’s a frightening thought to a lot of people who have never even thought about that possibility. That’s why so many who know the truth never bring it up; when they do they are marginalized or treated as insane or like one of the Sovereign Citizen morons. Soccer moms don’t want to think about the possibility of a civil war against government, so they don’t. So long as the left crouches Citizen Disarmament as being for the children, we lose. Until we have the gumption to outright say that being able to put down tyrants is also for the children, we;ll always be on the defensive.

  • AKM

    Speech by David Mamet here, also quite good:

    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/SecretK

  • Paul Marks

    I would like to agree with you Antoine – but it is a bit late in the day to change minds. Although, full disclosure, I feel even more bigoted than normal today – I have seen the Sunday Times cartoon and I am in a mood to cut throats and blow off heads, on no the man-of-Kent may use those words against me….). In the little town I visited today 29 people died of malaria in 1914, and others were captured and tortured to death not so long after – and these are the bad people, as far as “liberal” opinion is concerned.

    People risk death every day (year after year, decade after decade) against a pityless foe whose numbers are like the waves of the sea (and who dominate half of Africa and half of Asia), and yet it is the tiny group of people (in a land the size of Wales)who are evil because…. well because they have big noses (at least that appears to be the reason in the newspaper cartoons – and in the internet stuff).

    Steven – sadly I agree with every word of your (very good) comment.

  • Laird

    Steven is absolutely correct. The purpose of the Second Amendment isn’t to protect our right to shoot deer, it’s to protect our right to shoot politicians who become tyrants. The reason we prevailed* in the American Revolution was because we were all armed, and with essentially the same weapons as the British regulars.

    It may come to that again.

    * We didn’t “win” the Revoution; we wore the British down just as the Afghans did to the Soviets. The Continental Army won no major battles; all they did was keep the British troops occupied. It was the irregulars, the guerrila bands like Francis Marion’s, who ultimately raised the cost of the war too high for the British to continue (they were otherwise engaged in Europe; we were a long-distance sideshow). And the fact that nearly the whole populace was armed (not the case in their other wars) was a major factor.

  • Paul Marks

    The Swamp Fox indeed Laird.

    And the battle of King’s Mountain in North Carolina.

    And the eating of a large British force in the north.

    Even at Cowpens (a regular U.S. army victory) the militia played a very large role.

  • jerry

    Very Good Steven.
    Obviously you have read ( or communicated in one way or another with one or some who have )the Federalists Papers.
    In those writings it is clearly stated that the keeping and bearing of arms IS NOT to put ‘meat on the table’. It is to protect against tyranny, which, surprise surprise, the framers had just fought a war over. They KNEW, fist hand, the value of an armed populace.

  • Laird

    Agreed, Paul. Although I wouldn’t call Cowpens a “major victory”, although it was important from a psychological perspective.

  • Paul Marks

    The destruction of one of the northern British forces by attrition is also very important.

    Alas – I can not write about it because my books are a thousand miles away, and I can not spell the names I would use.

  • Paul Marks

    John Stark (the Live Free or Die man) – victory at the battle of Bennington during the Saratoga campaign, before Benedict Arnold (and co) defeat Burgoyne at the battle of Saratoga itself.

    John Stark (like Rogers of the Rangers before him) was what a militia commander should be.

    If it were alive today he would be thinking deeply of how to overcome the problem of Federal air power (perhaps by surprise attacks on the airbases – or by electronic-computer ["cyber"] warfare) whilst giving every appearance of being only interested in his farm.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Laird: it is a myth that the Patriots defeated Britain by guerrilla warfare.

    The Patriots won two major “conventional” battles: Saratoga and Yorktown. In both cases, a major British army was forced to surrender. Saratoga was decisive in winning French support; Yorktown (fought with major French support) was decisive in showing that Britain would lose the conventional war.

    None of the British “conventional” victories was comparably decisive. Washington’s Continental Army retreated off the battlefields to fight another day.

    In addition, it was by “regular” warfare that the Patriots forced Britain to evacuate Boston – heavy artillery captured at Fort Ticonderoga was emplaced on Dorchester Heights, overlooking the harbor, which was thus unusable by British ships.

    “Conventional” fortresses such as West Point protected Patriot areas against British attack.

    On the irregular side, pro-British “Tory Rangers” did great damage to the Patriots, as did the Indian tribes allied to the British.

    In both categories of warfare, ultimately, the costs to Britain exceeded the political will to enforce British rule in America. It is not at all clear which category cost Britain more.

  • Paul Marks

    Rich – I have already pointed out that the the British army at Saratoga had already been worn down. And that a thousand men (and supplies) never reached it – due to John Stark militia at the battle of Bennington. Surely you are not suggeting that the conventional general formally in command of the America side in Saratoga campaign, General Gates, had anything to do with the victory?

    I agree that heavy artillery were vital for the capture of Boston – but they were using captured canons and the men had not been “regular soldiers” only a little while before (although they were regulars at the time of the Boston operations).

    Without irregular forces – the Tory (and Indian forces) would have dominated the country.

    However, I agree that French intervention was VITAL.

    The lack of gratitude shown by Thomas Jefferson (who seemed indifferent to the murder or Louis XVI – without whose Navy and Army, American victory would have been long delayed or not happened at all) shows a very nasty side to his character.

    Great men are not always good men.

  • PeterT

    “It’s about having the ability to ensure that our betters might end up hanging from lampposts if they get out of line”

    And when exactly might that happen? My prediction is that American readers will go to bed in the US one evening and wake up finding themselves living in Sweden, even if you get to keep your guns. By then it will be too late. There will be insufficient support for insurrection, peaceful or not.

    We can only hope that the Federal govt overplays its hand too soon (an attempt at mass gun confiscation might do) and there is some resistance at the State level, ultimately resulting in some scaling back of federal power. Then us non-Americans might have somewhere attractive to move to.

  • We can only hope that the Federal govt overplays its hand too soon (an attempt at mass gun confiscation might do) and there is some resistance at the State level, ultimately resulting in some scaling back of federal power. Then us non-Americans might have somewhere attractive to move to.

    Already happening. Besides, state level is where it is supposed to happen to begin with.

  • Sigivald

    PAul Marks said: And the time for convincing other people is long past. The sides are settled now – and it a matter of the rally of one’s own side (to stop them just staying at home in despair).

    Not quite.

    I’ve noticed, in seeing people prattle on about “The Gun Issue”, that a fair number of people ["naturally" all on the "other side"] literally have no idea what tehy’re talking about.

    A fair number of them really are up for convincing, if one can calmly demonstrate to them that their quaint beliefs (“Anyone in America can just go buy an automatic weapon at any time without a background check or nothin’!”) are simply false.

    It’s not that they’re delusionally clinging to beliefs they Should Really Know Are False, so much as that nobody they’ve encountered has known any better or bothered to tell them*.

    After all, the Other Side is never going to bother to tell them that “semi-automatic assault weapon” is a meaningless hodgepodge of propaganda, describing mere cosmetics with a deliberate attempt to mislead – heck, the other side mostly doesn’t even recognize that, and they depend on it.

    (* Mostly, that is. Some, of course, are.)

  • The difficulty here is that the “fair people on the other side who have no idea what they are talking about” are a pretty good description of the opposition seen from both sides.

    Those on the so called ‘liberal’ side of the debate cannot understand why those who bare arms do so and where this ‘tyranny’ is that they are so afraid of.

    The ‘freedom’ side of the debate point at growing government tyranny and shout ‘Sic semper tyrannis’ at the Senate building or the White House and the ‘liberals’ think they are stark staring mad.

    This is the sort of classical disconnect from which civil war is born.

  • Paul Marks

    Civil War is problematic – as the military (in spite of their oath to uphold the CONSTITUTION) are conditioned (quite undertandably) to obey the elected government.

    The government elected by the majority – i.e. the people who believe what their school teachers taught themn(all nice things come from government…. all bad things come from evil businessmen….), and nod at the evening news (and the latest adoring interview with Hillary and Barack – in the celebrity culture).

    And all I have to offer you is two things…..

    My fat belly (and least two riflemen could use me for soft cover).

    And some adivse…

    WAIT.

    The economic collapse (which is comming) will change the situation – and not in the way the left expect.

    It is their economy now.

  • Paul Marks

    Sigivald – good points!

    I tend to be too much of a gloomy-guts.

    One can still achieve something by talking to the ordinary people on the other side.

  • Paul Marks

    Alisa – it is a difficult one (deliberartly so – it is a trap).

    Registration of firearms is nornally a preperation for later confiscation.

    Yet to deny the statute makes gun owners “criminals” and “extremists” – and gives an excuse for a crack down.

    Those who can should leave New York State – thus avoiding the trap.

    Then NATIONAL registration will be demanded…..

    Yes I know.

  • Paul Marks

    “Wake up in Sweden”?

    That is not the objective of Comrade Barack and co.

    “Wake up in Venezuela” would be closer to what they have in mind – as part of a whole planet like that.

    Sweden has very high government spending – but in many other ways it is lot less socialist than people think it is.

  • John K

    You are right Paul, I read that other day that Venezuela has just banned the civilian ownership of firearms outright. Now the likes of Diane Feinstein will see how a benevolent and all-giving state treats its unarmed peons. Sad to say, she’ll probably like what she sees.

  • Paul Marks

    The blatent left (Sean Penn, Oliver Stone and so on) admit they support the regime in Venezuela) the clever left lie about their position.

    Perhaps even lie to themsleves (“it will be differt with educated enlightned people in charge”).

  • Laird

    Paul, regarding New York’s new gun registration law, it seems that a whole lot of people are planning to decline to participate. http://reason.com/blog/2013/01/25/new-york-gun-owners-flip-the-bird-to-ass Perhaps even New Yorkers are growing spines!

  • Paul Marks

    Perhaps Laird – let us hope so.

    As for the Governor of New York – he is a pig and the son of a pig.

    Almost needless to say he has long been supported by Economist magazine.

  • Steven

    Those who can should leave New York State…

    That’s a fine idea except that the gun issue aside, a great many people from NY, Mass., Hawaii, Ill. Maryland, and the like get fed up with the current state of their home state (taxes, crime, business climate) and move, but as soon as they find their new home they complain how much it isn’t like the place they moved from and vote those same kinds of folks they just escaped from into office. Miami is a prime example of that mentality.

  • Laird

    Florida is New York South. True southerners don’t consider it one of ours!

    And Paul, you’re exactly right about the Cuomos. Scum through and through.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    If global warming does happen, one beneficial side-effect here in australia will be that crocodiles will extend their territory southwards, and even sydneysiders will have good excuses for needing guns and weapons!

  • Paul Marks

    Lots of flooding in Queensland at the moment “globel warming to blame”, of course they also blame fire and drought on globel warming….

    Laird – perhaps the idea is to drive out ever conservative person in New York State, so that even with economic collapse Cuomo junior manages to win reelection in November 2014.

    The utter corrpution of the Cuomos is actually their LEAST nasty feature.

  • mose jefferson

    There is much too much arguement about the definition of an assault rifle and not enough arguement in support of it. In the event that citizens must repel enemies both foreign and domestic, true assault rifles will be precisely what the good people need. Rather than avoiding the assault rifle label, it should be stressed that the assault rifle is precisely what the 2nd Amendment was designed to protect. My AR15 is not an assault rifle…but sure wish it was!

  • staghounds

    It’s not good at all, it’s confusing and disorganised. Just because he can write brilliantly and we agree with him doesn’t make it good writing.