“The State shall take, the State shall give.”

By Tom Quiner

Liberal-turned-conservative, David Mamet

Liberal-turned-conservative, David Mamet

Karl Marx famously and mellifluously described the wonders of communism:

“from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

David Mamet, the great playwright and liberal-turned-conservative, punctured Marx’s deceit with this great quote:

For the saying implies but does not name the effective agency of its supposed utopia. The agency is called “The State,” and the motto, fleshed out, for the benefit of the easily confused must read “The State will take from each according to his ability: the State will give to each according to his needs.” “Needs and abilities” are, of course, subjective. So the operative statement may be reduced to “the State shall take, the State shall give.”

What happens when the state determines needs? As Marx states, first they have to determine “abilities,” with predictable consequences, says Mamet:

As rules by the Government are one-size-fits-all, any governmental determination of an individual’s abilities must be based on a bureaucratic assessment of the lowest possible denominator. The government, for example, has determined that black people (somehow) have fewer abilities than white people, and, so, must be given certain preferences. Anyone acquainted with both black and white people knows this assessment is not only absurd but monstrous. And yet it is the law.

Monstrous. That pretty much describes the bureaucratic nightmare known as our federal government.

David Mamet has written a string of amazing plays and movies, including Glengarry Glen Ross, House of Games, The Spanish Prisoner.

His film, Homicide, was a startling take on anti-semitism (Mr. Mamet is Jewish).

Love him or hate him, he will never, ever bore you. Take a few minutes and read his take on the gun control issue in his essay (“Gun laws and the fools of Chelm”) in Newsweek. Suffice it to say, he is not on the same page as our president.



  1. Shawn Pavlik on January 29, 2013 at 7:37 am

    Wow! : “He has obstructed the administration of Justice … he has made Judges dependant on his will alone … He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws … He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass out people and to eat out their substance … imposed taxes upon us without our consent… [He has] fundamentally altered the forms of our government.”

    Does that sound familiar? That is eerie….

    • quinersdiner on January 29, 2013 at 8:25 am

      Yes, it sounds familiar.

  2. […] Conservatism is built on a foundation of logic and common sense, he learned. Liberalism is built on a house of cards and is precariously propped up with feelings, mush, and other people’s money. I wrote about Mr. Mamet last year as he discussed the nature of socialism. […]