I got a big thrill out of seeing David Mamet’s byline on a piece in today’s Wall Street Journal because not too long ago the playwright was a member in good standing of the liberal elite. (Andy Ferguson did a great story on Mamet’s conversion.)
Mr. Mamet today recounts the saga of the “liberal tax dodgers and the disrespected shushi chef:”
There I was with a friend, and she was shopping for T-shirts for her daughter's Sweet Sixteen party.
We went to a store in Brooklyn, which did silk-screening. The owner had examples of his artwork on various articles of clothing in the window. These featured beautiful portraits of President Obama, and other compelling images.
My friend explained her needs, and the owner quoted her a price for the lot: shirts, artwork, silk-screening. "But," he said, "I could do better if you pay in cash."
Così fan tutti, which, as I understand it, means "So do they all."
But the man voted for higher taxes. Reminds me of the old joke that Oklahomans will vote their state dry as long as they can stagger to the polls.
What of taxes? Nobody likes 'em, everybody knows they are, in the main, waste, all try to avoid or defray the expenditure by means of varying legality, and yet 53% of thecountry voted to raise them.
Mamet recounts another anecdote in which a friend’s daughter chastises her father for the gusto with which he is eating his spring roll.
She feels he is disrespecting the artistry of the sushi chef.
Mamet wonders about the daughter's disrespecting his friend,the father who worked hard to send his daughter to a college where she picked up such hogwash.
How had the young Stalinist come to assume the mantle of Upholder of All Things Good; and how had the T-shirt maker come to vote against his own financial interests?
For, the more I think about it, the more the question of taxes is central to that of liberty in general. For the question is: Who is to run the country? Is it to be run by its citizens, free to exchange goods and services for mutual benefit, or by the government, increasing both its powers and its corruption by the ability to tax?
And who would be these Solons who would run our government, but the good-willed and otherwise unemployable, content to suck at the government tit, and spout trash for a living—e.g., that one may disrespect an absent sushi chef by an incorrect method of eating his California roll, or that a proportion of races in the workplace differing from the proportion of races in the populace at large is de facto evidence of discrimination?
Cut taxes and these intellectual wards of the state will have to find a method of support that actually fulfills a need. Cut taxes and the "special interests" will have no incentive to bribe or "support" a candidate to the tune of a fortune, for the candidate, if elected, will have no ability to repay the bribe.
Senators and presidents start poor and end up rich. Where did this money come from?
Whom did they have to please in order to reap the rewards, direct and indirect, upon which they retire?
Why did the T-shirt maker have to whisper when he made his offer of a legitimate exchange? And who did he think was going to pay the increased taxes he voted for? Certainly not himself, as he (like everyone else) was going to dodge as many as he could. Who but "the Rich," that magical invocation of a group in opposition to which we citizens have time and again impoverished ourselves?
The shirt maker voted for Obama, the purchaser of sushi voted for Obama. I did not vote for Obama.
Like many on conservative end, Mamet has come to see taxes as the issue of our day.