Jeremy Irons pulled a Claus von Bulow this week and reversed the way many folks think of the British-born, Academy Award-winning actor. Not well known for taking public stances on socio-political issues, Irons was on the set of Huff Post Live this week and, when asked about Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s smoking ban (and on-going War on Our Nerves), the British-born Hollywood star emphatically staked his libertarian claim.
“I’m a complete libertarian. I think it’s very, very dangerous. I really mean that. I think the smoking ban is a tip of an iceberg of society — the leaders of society telling us how to be.”
“I think it’s not [the government’s] business. I think it is their business to tell us to care for and respect each other and each other’s happiness and each other’s health, and we are responsible enough to do that … It’s an attitude, it’s an attitude where the governors think ‘we know what’s best for people, and they’re so stupid that they would only not do it if we ban it.’”
Where in the world have you been all my life, guy who voiced Scar in The Lion King?
Putting aside how anyone feels about the specifics of what he had to say about Bloomberg’s “Nanny State” or the always-controversial Same-Sex Marriage debate, I want to point out how preposterous it is that what he said is not the standard position of artists, actors, and entertainers of all stripes?
The artistic community and entertainment industry – namely, Hollywood – seem to be unable to ever get their fill of telling stories or writing songs about freedom of speech/thought, individuality, and the dangers of “the man’s” powers. And yet they then proceed to vote and publicly support in any way possible the most oppressive “man” of all: philosopher-kings running an ever-expanding, centralized, bureaucratic government from far-off capital cities.
Of course, millions of Americans already agree with Jeremy Irons. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that his is the quintessential American position (and attitude). I think of guys like Adam Carolla and Jon Lovitz who have voiced complaints in recent years over stuff like class warfare, levels of taxation, government waste and hyper-regulation and are applauded by most Americans for their common-sense approach to subjects that shouldn’t be so intensely partisan. Meanwhile, all dudes like Ace Man and Lovitz receive from the liberal media and Hollywood establishment are jabs in the press (or worse still, silence).
There is a totalitarian instinct on the Left. As Irons put it, “It’s an attitude.” Just because you’re a bohemian, hipster or brooding artist doesn’t exclude you from this. If you’re a public figure, the proof is in the pudding. It’s exhibited by the way you live and way you vote, not just the chest-thumping you do when someone asks you a softball question about “the rights of artists to express themselves.”
Certainly, famous people are more than welcome to keep their views on such matters to themselves. But if you’re going to speak up, why not try some intellectual honesty for a chance? Admitting you don’t like some progressive Nanny State policy won’t turn you into a Michele Bachmann acolyte. Let people hear that it’s okay to disagree with your own side.
If you cherish freedom, you agree with Jeremy Irons. If you don’t, you’re probably Alec Baldwin.