David Mamet’s The Secret Knowledge: The Dismantling of American Culture came up in my queue at the library. It’s good to have a talented writer on the side of freedom and recognize deeply that is the side he is on, now.
Early, on page 8, Mamet explains the primary motivation of the U.S. Constitution:
As I began reading and thinking about politics, I saw, to my horror, how easily people could also assemble themselves into a mob, which would either attract or be called into being by those who profited from the surrender of reason and liberty–and that these people are called politicians. My question, then, was, as we cannot live without Government, how must we deal with those who will be inclined to abuse it–the politicians and their manipulators? The answer to that question, I realized, was attempted in the U.S. Constitution–a document based not upon the philosophic assumption that people are basically good, but on the tragic confession of the opposite view.
It took some time after learning about the Constitution in my publicly provided education for me to understand its true purpose. I crossed the border to Mexico once early in my life and wondered why the standard of living–separated only by a few hundred feet–could be so different.
I eventually came to realize that the answer was deeply embedded in American culture and embodied in the purpose of the Constitution–to prevent a person, or groups of people, from gaining too much political power over the rest of us. It was an insurance policy against tyranny.
Too bad we forgot that (though we seem to be relearning it as groups of people use government to extend their reach into our lives).