Politically speaking, Hollywood has begun venturing into dangerous waters. While support for brutal dictators might not be a new phenomenon in a Hollywood, that support no longer seems to be limited to a handful of stars flirting with radical politics and causes. There now appears to be a clear pattern of Hollywood acceptance of Totalitarianism as a legitimate brand of governance.
The case of the popularity of Hugo Chavez is a clear example of Hollywood’s veneration of leaders who wield nearly dictatorial power over the governed. Despite the fact that Chavez makes a habit of trampling on individual rights, A-list Hollywood stars continue to cheerlead him, going so far as to repeat talking points upon their return from Venezuela. Not even Chavez’ contempt for free speech, something you would think might be a sore point with Hollywood, can budge them from their belief that Chavez is a wonderful leader. To suggest otherwise, as Sean Penn famously suggested, should be reason enough to be jailed.
Perhaps Hollywood celebrities should be forgiven for their political transgression in the case of Hugo Chavez. After all, Chavez has at least maintained the façade of a democratic process in Venezuela, and perhaps the gullible glitterati are just being made suckers of. While this might explain away their idolization of Chavez, the same explanation would not apply to their love for his fellow Marxist dictator, Fidel Castro. Up until recently, Castro could not be called anything but the genuine article when it came to the wielding of absolute authority in Cuba. His ruthless persecution of political dissidents is well known, as is his use of secret police, the institutional racism of afro-Cubans, and his repression of religious freedom. But even this fails to penetrate the Hollywood mythology of the noble revolutionary Fidel.
There can be only one explanation of for such hard headed support of such leaders in the face of overwhelming evidence that they engage in the excesses of dictatorship; Hollywood approves.
While Hollywood might elevate totalitarian style of leadership in other nations and approve of their methods overseas, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that Hollywood desires to see it on American soil; at least it wouldn’t if some had not explicitly called for it. Director Woody Allen recently suggested that "it would be good…if [President Barack Obama] could be a dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly." Allen’s statement is a good example of how the Hollywood political culture is completely lacking in principle, as those words could only be uttered by an individual who has no appreciation for or grounding in the classical liberal political tradition. Allen’s apparent comfort in saying such a thing leaves little doubt that this kind of ignorance now permeates Hollywood.
Recent news that Oliver Stone will be releasing a film in which two of history’s greatest monsters, Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin, will be presented “in context” should be a cause for concern for Americans. While placing historical figures in proper context should be something that we all welcome, Stone’s insistence that Hitler is misunderstood because of a Jewish conspiracy to keep history foggy sounds more like propaganda than anything Hollywood has ever produced. Indeed, Stone’s comments sound more like something from the pages of The Protocols of the Enders of Zion, a long debunked anti-Semitic forgery, than they do the words of someone who’s genuinely interested in uncovering historical truth. Fittingly, Stone follows in the footsteps of Hitler, Stalin, and numerous other dictators who conveniently blame shadowy Jewish Cabals for anything and everything.
All this raises the question: what would be the motivation to soften American attitudes toward totalitarians? Is Hollywood preparing to mount a campaign to invest dictatorial powers in the president? While some of them might secretly fantasize about such a thing, it is highly unlikely. There is something to be said, however, for the idea that Hollywood’s amorous relationship with dictatorship emerges from the fact that they have and continues to support the centralization of political power into fewer and fewer hands. To the detriment of such an agenda Americans are rightfully, and perhaps even uniquely, covetous of their rights. Being so, they are very wary of politicians who sell paradise in return for, say, a small portion of their freedoms. If the Hollywood left can affect even a slight softening of views toward genuine totalitarianism, the surrendering of certain rights, including the economic rights that tend to evaporate under the progressive agenda, might begin to appear trivial in comparison.
Whether or not the Tinseltown elite are making a concerted and coordinated effort to rehabilitate the totalitarian is debatable, what isn't is that Hollywood has clearly lost its political bearings. They are out of touch with the majority of Americans, and indeed take for granted the principles of liberty on which the nation is founded.