Why is so much of the Hollywood product, produced for both the big screen and television, so aggressively and stubbornly leftist in it themes, plot points, ideological perspective, and assumptions about American culture, values, and history? Why is there so much leftist bias, both subtle and overt, in a vast array of films across genres, from romantic comedies and action films to horror and science fiction? Why does so much of what is produced in Tinseltown appear threatening, alien, and hostile to most Americans when they reflect upon what it is actually trying to say to them?
One answer, and a disarmingly simple one, are the kinds of people who have come to populate the Dream Factory itself. Hollywood actor and producer Josh Brolin (son of actor James Brolin) has just written a small piece at the Huffington Post lionizing the memory and work of the late anti-American leftist intellectual Howard Zinn. The late Comrade Zinn, perhaps best known for his revisionist historical work A People’s History of the United States, was an inveterate fellow traveler, revisionist historian, and relentless critic of the United States.
Brolin’s remembrance of Zinn as an iconic figure among “the world of fair, conscientious people” is clearly heartfelt. Zinn was “mischievous, fun, childlike, and an appreciator of all things beautiful.” Perhaps so, but he was also a supporter and apologist for what is arguably the most malignant, destructive and dispiriting political ideology ever to appear among human beings from their humble beginnings to the present moment. That ideology was socialism, the belief system that Zinn supported against its historic arch nemesis, classical liberalism, of which contemporary conservatism and libertarianism are somewhat variant schools.
Zinn, a Marxist and long time professor of political philosophy at Boston University, was an inveterate critic of all things American, including, of course, any wars it ever fought or defensive measures it ever took against the communist world during the Cold War. Zinn was not simply a “liberal” critical of his country’s domestic and foreign policy, but a radical and fellow traveler with a philosophy wholly in opposition to the principles of the American Founding and its environment of political and cultural openness.
Brolin’s warm and fuzzy “appreciator of all things beautiful” was also an evangelist for a philosophy that desecrated and trampled the human spirit, raped economies, and debased entire societies. An active member of the Communist Party USA from 1948 until at least 1953, Zinn’s membership in communist front groups, his support of Castro, the Black Panthers, ACORN, and other leftist entities (Zinn was one of a number of “political pilgrims” who traveled to North Vietnam during the Vietnam War to support it against his own country) distinguished him as one of the most prominent “useful idiots” of the 20th century.
Zinn may indeed rival the infamous Noam Chomski as to the depths of intellectual tendentiousness he was willing to plumb as well as to the uniquely leftist blindness to both reality and human suffering. That blindness persisted, even as he claimed to have dedicated his life, with so many others on the Left, to the amelioration of that suffering.
Other Zinn sycophants in Hollywood, such as Matt Damon, (who appears in and co-produced with Brolin a promotional documentary about Zinn called The People Speak) hold Zinn and his ideas in reverence while basking in the wealth and freedom bequeathed by a free society those living in the kinds of societies favored by Zinn can only imagine. According to Zinn the historian, it is the “anti-war protesters, the socialists and anarchists” who have given America “whatever liberty and democracy we have.” That this kind of assertion can be made with a straight face at all is disturbing. That such claims can nearly dominate entire academic departments is shameful.
Brolin lauds Zinn as one who wanted to “carve a more loving life for our children and those to follow.” The reality, of course, is that for much of his life, he supported an ideology that is perhaps the most debasing and murderous in all of human history.
But Hollywood is, after all, the “dream factory.”