This post originally appeared on RLC.org and was written by Aaron Alghawi
As you may have heard, last week actor Sean Penn visited his buddy Hugo Chavez in Venezuela once again. Associated Press reported his comments on the 2012 presidential election as
“It’s never predictable what can happen in an American election, but we certainly believe at this point that it’s becoming increasingly clear to the American people that the policies of the far right are the policies of the rich, and that they are to the exclusion of the middle class and the poor, and that no society has a future on that basis.”
This is far from the most outrageous comments attributed to Sean Penn during visits to the socialist police state that is Venezuela. Furthermore, these are exactly the kind of statements conservatives and libertarians should expect to hear from Hollywood liberals during President Obama’s reelection campaign. Being unable to run on a record of great success, the president will have no choice but to turn to this divisive rhetoric to get reelected. Unless his opponent is Rick Santorum, whose rigid social conservatism will hurt him greatly in swing states like Ohio and Florida, and whose record on big spending is most outstanding when compared to his three competitors–an ex-Governor who balanced budgets, a former house speaker who oversaw a government shutdown shortly followed by nearly-balanced budgets (national debt went up during the Clinton “surpluses”), and a Texas Congressman who has never voted for an unbalanced budget or a tax increase–the President will have to actually debate the merits of his economic policy. And it is a debate he will likely lose.
Organizing for America, the Democratic National Committee under the offensive demagogue of a new chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and various mainstream media personalities have been attempting to capitalize on the greed and anger of the Occutards and have been running on a “Republicans are the party of the rich!” message–in spite of President Obama’s backing of and expansion of the bailout and stimulus policies of his predecessor George W. Bush.
No doubt at the front of Mr. Obama’s campaign will be the entertainment industry that helped him get elected in the 2008 primary and general election against seemingly impossible odds. This will include Sean Penn.
It baffles me how Sean Penn and his ilk have any credibility with the American people. I’ll admit that I even find a personal degree of disappointment in myself when I share articles on Facebook about celebrities endorsing my choice for 2012–Ron Paul. I do it because sadly enough, Americans care more about what these people think than say, what the veterans and members of the military think, or what the people out of work think, or what the successful small-to-medium sized business owners think. I don’t like the idea about taking advice from celebrities on anything. Most of them have zero understanding of individual liberty, economics or how the business sector operates, a minimal understanding of international affairs, and a hypocritical view on the fair share the 1% which they are a part of is allegedly not paying. Sean Penn is one such actor.
What I am also baffled by is that those of us on the other side of the political spectrum rarely fight back against these celebutards. We often take a “who cares what Hollywood thinks mentality”, failing to understand the power they have over influencing everything the average American says and does. Middle America doesn’t understand the lack of credibility these people have and we fail miserably to expose them for their hypocrisy. Reason is on our side, and we need to prove it, and we can do show by exposing the words of these people for their inaccuracies and logical inconsistencies. Will everyone listen? Of course not. But we don’t need every American to listen to us, we just need to get a few people at a time to wake up. Eventually, enough will do so that Hollyweird loses is significance in election cycles.
In 2010 I was working on a satirical book, entitled Mass Media Mindnumb, on what I had perceived to be the denigration of American pop culture. I have since lost interest in the subject and focused on more important things in my professional and personal life, but I kept the unfinished manuscript and sometimes reference it if I need some ammunition to fight back against Hollywood hypocrisy. My generation has proven to be the strongest victim of the cult of celebrity. I fear greatly what subsequent generations will look like as they come of age. America today faces a dichotomy. We will go down one of two roads. A road of European style socialism all the way to bankruptcy, or a restoration of the long forgotten free-market principles that made America great in the first place. There will be a generational shift that will soon show up in the political spectrum. My generation will either choose this European socialism, or adopt a libertarian-leaning conservatism. The dominionist [religious] right stands in the way of them adopting the latter, while the entertainment industry beckons them to the former.
I’ve spent enough time recently demagoguing the dominionists, so I’m gonna go after Hollywood, and I’ll start with Sean Penn.
In Mass Media Mindnumb I had written a scathing rant about Sean Penn’s hypocrisy. I’m going to release the contents of that rant in this article, while making some minor editorial revisions to reflect current events. Here is what I had written:
I Am Sean
Sean Penn is one of several celebrities who has made enough an ass of himself that he gets his own subsection in this chapter. You probably think he’s a good actor. Really I can’t remember him outside of any movies other than Fast Times at Ridgemont High—where he played a disruptive stoner and I Am Sam—where he played the mentally challenged title character. Both decent movies; the actor is a different story.
Deceitful, left-wing, but most importantly the ultimate hypocrite—Sean Penn routinely criticized George W. Bush for taking away civil liberties during the beginning of the war on terror, but recently came out suggesting that people lose their right to free speech!
Let me break it down for you.
In 2002, he placed a $56,000 ad in The Washington Post out of concern for the upcoming war in Iraq and the PATRIOT Act. This letter was surprisingly eloquent, making some interesting analogies. He particularly wanted Bush to reconsider invading Iraq and the expansion of his federal power, to not “[diminish U.S. citizens] through loss of civil liberties [or] dangerously heightened presidential autonomy through acts of Congress.” His criticism of Bush would soon turn into anger, going so far as to call for Bush’s impeachment.
The criticisms—well, the early ones at least–were not entirely unfair, but what completely destroys Penn’s credibility as a political voice (pay attention here) is his ultimate hypocrisy. Some time in spring 2010, Sean Penn appeared on Bill Maher’s show Real Time. On the show, Penn made comments that completely destroyed his credibility for all his criticisms of George W. Bush’s infringements on our civil liberties.
I mentioned briefly the socialist leader of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, a man who has partially usurped control of the media in his country, all but guaranteeing political insuperability. Well, Penn is chummy with this guy and doesn’t exactly like people who bash him. The mainstream media, according to Penn, constantly lies about Hugo Chavez.
In reality, the mainstream media tells a lot of lies and skews many of their stories. But portrayal of Hugo Chavez as a socialist dictator isn’t one of their misleading notions—its cold hard fact. Penn’s allegations of this as a lie aren’t what make him a hypocrite. What makes him a hypocrite is the fact that he suggested a law which would outright violate the First Amendment—both violating freedom of the press and of speech.
“Every day, this elected leader [Chavez] is called a dictator here, and we just accept it, and accept it. And this is mainstream media. There should be a bar by which one goes to prison for these kinds of lies.” — Sean Penn in 2010 on Real Time with Bill Maher
Excuse me? You want a bar that would send people to prison for speaking their mind? Even if they were lying about Chavez’s oppression and socialist policies, and they certainly are not, the media has a constitutionally protected freedom to say whatever they want and it is the responsibility of ‘we the people’ to do our homework and find out the truth. As a matter of fact, two of the earliest media outlets in this country were created for campaigning purposes when John Adams and Thomas Jefferson battled each other for the presidency. They each had their own outlet to demagogue each other, and it was up to the citizens to separate fact from fallacy.
If anyone is going to be locked up for false allegations by this bar that Penn wants to create, consider this scenario where the law becomes international and then subsequently be used to lock up Chavez.
According to a Feb 2006 piece from Reuters, Chavez was quoted as saying the following of then-President Bush:
“The imperialist, genocidal, fascist attitude of the U.S. president has no limits. I think Hitler would be like a suckling baby next to George W. Bush.”
Hugo Chavez compared a man who removed an oppressive dictator and kept his country safe, despite wasting lots of money and using questionable policing tactics in the process, to a man who systematically murdered 6 million Jews and invaded multiple countries not with the goal of liberating them but with the goal of ethnically cleansing and then occupying them. Under Penn’s proposed law, Chavez would be behind bars.
See what I did there, Seanny? Apparently free speech is okay for Sean Penn only if you agree with him. When George W. Bush tapped phone and email communications in an attempt to secure our country—albeit with potential to violate our 4th amendment rights—it’s oppressive and fascist; but a man who controls his country’s media to consolidate his own power is a democratically elected and transparent leader, and anyone who disagrees with that should be locked up!?
Pot-calling-the-kettle-black much? You can’t yell about someone infringing on the First Amendment, then subsequently suggest people lose their First Amendment rights because they disagree with you, and expect to have any credibility left can you? I would hope not. And I would hope you the reader make note of this and don’t take political advice from this guy. Ironic enough that his own proposed law of course would probably ensure his buddies Chavez and Ahmedinejad be locked up for their lies—Ahmedinejad especially for calling the Holocaust a myth. But what’s even more ironic is that Sean Penn wants to make laws that oppress people who disagree with him politically, when his own father suffered the same oppression.
Sean must have forgotten that his father, the late actor Leo Penn, was an actor during the Red Scare. He was a communist sympathizer, a supporter of Hollywood trade unions and refused to accuse his communist friends to the House Un-American Activities Committee and as a result was blacklisted—i.e. nobody would hire him because of his political leanings! But in Sean Penn’s hypocrisy, he suggests people should be jailed for their opinions (or FACTS) that Hugo Chavez is a power hungry socialist tyrant.
Sean Penn is a true celebutard; a politically inept hypocrite who should just stick to acting and stay out of politics! But as much as I detest him, I would never suggest he be locked up for his lies. I would most likely never suggest he be blacklisted. But I will suggest a boycott of him. I don’t think I’ll be watching his upcoming films.
My views on Sean Penn’s hypocrisy remain the same to this day. I hope the readers of this article take these facts to heart and share them with others, particularly the ones regarding Leo Penn. The Hollywood left is losing its credibility but I can only hope it will lose it in time stop my generation from accepting this entitlement mentality present among Occupy Wall Street. The last thing I want is to wake up in 10 years to a repeat of the recent London riots: a bunch of spoiled 14 year olds throwing rocks and molotov cocktails at shops because mommy and daddy didn’t buy them that iPad they are “entitled” to. And if you believe for one second this hypothetical will never happen, I’ll refer you to the even more recent riots in malls all across the country over the new Nike Air Jordans. I don’t think you get a more accurate example than that of combining the “entitlement” mentality with the peer-pressure driven cult of celebrity, not to mention the general wussification of the American male when a bunch of guys in their teens and early-to-mid twenties are fighting over shoes as if they were the Sex and the City girls.
Its not too late to stop this from happening. Just as we managed to do with the temporary stoppage of the so-called Stop Online Piracy Act, libertarians and libertarian-leaning conservatives will have to take up arms against Big Hollyweird once again; this time over their lies, distortions, and political influence. Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra time attacking their hypocrisy and their logical fallicies and eventually they’ll lose credibility with some of the electorate.
As for Sean Penn, the characters of Spicoli—the dumb stoner, and Sam—the mentally challenged man—may actually be smarter than their portrayer, Sean Penn. Sean PWNED!
Aaron Alghawi is finishing his B.S. in Economics at Texas A&M University; he is a board member and Director of Student Outreach for the Republican Liberty Caucus.