Ethics Dunces: The Hugo Chavez Fan Club (Michael Moore, Sean Penn, Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), Oliver Stone and Joe Kennedy III

"We love you Hugo, we really do-oo! There isn't anyone, we love like you-oo! When you're not with us, we're blue! Oh, Hugo, we love you!"---From the new musical, "Bye-Bye Chavez," written by Oliver Stone, starring Sean Penn!

“We love you Hugo, we really do-oo! There isn’t anyone, we love like you-oo! When you’re not with us, we’re blue! Oh, Hugo, we love you!”—From the new musical, “Bye-Bye Chavez,” written by Oliver Stone, starring Sean Penn!

What do we learn from those who mourn the passing of Venezuelan autocrat Hugo Chavez and praise his leadership? Chavez leaves his nation with a corrupted judiciary, an intimidated and manipulated press, a soaring violent crime rate, massive debt, crumbling infrastructure, galloping inflation, government-sanctioned anti-Semitism, and the prospect of political instability for the foreseeable future. When we hear an American praise Chavez, we learn that he or she neither trusts or values the institutions of democracy, like a free press and independent judiciary. We learn that such an individual believes that indeed the ends justify the means; that lies, repression, manipulation of news and public opinion, cultism, divisiveness and class warfare are all forgivable and even laudable in pursuit of “social justice,” roughly defined in the manner of Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Castro, murderers all.

We learn that such people are akin to those who enabled Stalin’s reign of terror, the “useful idiots” who Marxists openly mock while exploiting their naive support. We learn that their own values, not to mention their knowledge of history and grasp of logic, are so thoroughly warped as to render them permanently untrustworthy as allies or authorities in any public policy debate. Beyond that, interpretations are subject to debate.

I tend to believe that praising a dictator like Chavez proves that such individuals are just not very bright. Reading the fatuous salutes from Rep. Serrano (“he understood the needs of the poor”), former Rep. Kennedy ( he “made a difference for poor people”), and actor Penn ( “poor people around the world lost a champion”) among others, one is forced to wonder if these people have any concept of what national leadership means, what responsible government is, and that just giving the wealth of one’s nation to “people who need it” while taking it from–Kennedy again—“some of the wealthiest people on our planet have more money than they can ever reasonably expect to spend” is neither a wise nor sustainable policy, but one that has been shown to guarantee long-term misery for all. “Hypocrites” also usually defines such fans of leaders like Chavez, who was in many ways just a Venezuelan Huey Long. Chavez and Long both acquired vast personal wealth in the course of buying the support of the poor to form the foundation of their power. Stone, Moore, Penn and Kennedy have no trouble justifying their own considerable wealth and how they choose to spend it; they just believe they should be among those who can dictate how everyone else should spend the money they earn, and how much the rest of us “need.”

The best description of the charter members of the U.S. chapter of the Hugo Chavez Fan Club is “dangerous.” These people reject core American values like autonomy, personal responsibility, independent judgment and process, and employ ethical tunnel-vision, focusing on a single objective while devaluing all others. Because they have celebrity, visibility and presumed (though illusory) credibility, they have the ability to influence and corrupt others who are  less successful, educated, articulate, thoughtful and intelligent than they are. Societies that have lost their liberties and descended into slavery, persecution and forceful suppression of dissent have been ruined by the kind of people who find the methods of Hugo Chavez, and others like him on every continent on the globe, appealing because they “work.” They don’t work, of course. They never have…not for long. And to the limited extent that they do work, the price paid in cultural corruption is far too great.

To be fair, I think that characters like Moore, Penn, Stone and the rest perform a great service when they proclaim the “virtues” of a dictatorial thug like Hugo Chavez. Such a revelation of foolishness and anti-democratic, anti-capitalist, anti-American bias is like voluntarily donning a scarlet letter, a dunce cap, a KKK hood or a swastika. They may be stupid, naive and irresponsible, but at least they are transparent.

We can be thankful for that.


Sources: ABC1,  Washington Post, ABC2, Boston Herald, Mlive

17 thoughts on “Ethics Dunces: The Hugo Chavez Fan Club (Michael Moore, Sean Penn, Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), Oliver Stone and Joe Kennedy III

  1. I once looked Micheal Moore up after hearing one of his speeches about how awful the rich are and how wealth needs to be redistributed. He owns an incredibly large house, I was shocked at the level of cognitive dissonance needed to shake his fist at the rich while being one of them.

    • There are so many games one can play with the HCFC. Rank the members according to hypocrisy! Dishonesty! Stupidity! Arrogance! Contempt for America! I don’t know much about Sarrano, though his eulogy for Chavez is enough for me. My dumb ranking, from dumbest to least: 1) Joe III 2) Penn 3) Moore 4) Stone. But Stone is crazier than Moore, so they really should be tied.

  2. Don’t forget Cindy Sheehan, who had several photo-ops with him while bashing the United States, though I think her sanity was precarious.

  3. Oops, my mistake – as I read the beginning of this article I thought Obama and company were being referred to. I had to go back and insert Chavez as the subject. Can’t imagine how I made such a mistake; ‘manipulation of news’, ‘massive debt, crumbling infrastructure’, ‘ends justify the means’. As the saying goes . . . birds of a feather . . . I can see why Obama’s biggest supporters (literally and figuratively – Michael Moore I’m looking straight at you!) would hold the likes of Chavez in such high esteem. I thought Sean Penn and gang promised to move out of the county if Bush won his last
    election. Promises, promises . . .

    • The difference between democratic leaders and autocratic ones has always been less a matter of methodology than degree. Our journalistic establishment has allowed itself to be manipulated—nobody’s been shut down. Can’t lay off the infrastructure on Obama—every POTUS since Nixon ducked his responsibility on that score. The debt, however…

  4. I have been searching for a way to get a message directly to Sean Penn. I want him to know that he has been unwelcome in my home for some time.

  5. This is just more of the same. I remember all of the liberal Hollywood types and members of Congress who supported the Sandanistas. Bring on the violent, corrupt dictator-hero du jour.

  6. I cannot understand why anyone listens to any actor speak on any subject. Alfred Hitchcock had it right when he said they were nothing but “Cattle.” This attitude is admittedly a little unfair, because I know there are a few exceptions among their ranks, just as in all walks of life, but generally I think actors are about the dumbest people alive. If you do just a little research on the politically vocal ones, you will find that almost all are seriously under-educated, with heavy mental and emotional issues. Many had a tough time just getting through High School. Often they have seriously complicated personal lives, and spend most of their adult lives in psychoanalysis. Personally, I can’t even stand to listen to them talk on a program like Jay Leno or the Today Show. Idiots.

    The Kennedys just boggle the mind. They are Dynastic Proof of the PTBarnum addage: “There’s one born every minute” (aka, “a Sucker”). If they’ve cared so much all these years about “Those In Need,” why do you suppose one of them has yet to die POOR? Ted Kennedy was a “Champion of the Poor,” but he knew he was dying, and he chose to die RICH. And he made damn sure all his Ivy League-educated kids, who are well-equipt and can well afford to take care of themselves, had Trust Funds to tide them over. Meanwhile the Bleeding Hearts blindly go on believing in, following, and emptying their pockets to these people. . . .

    For most Celebrities this sort of behavior is just a pose they strike in order to grab the Attention which they so desperately crave. They don’t really care for Chavez, or the Poor, or the Planet. They just want you to spell their names right, so that influential people will remember them, and invite them to their parties and pat them on their backs, and tell them how ‘Special” they are. Too bad they didn’t get that message from Mr Rogers when they were 4 yrs old.

    • No, there are many very intelligent and well educated actors. Tommie Lee Jones was Al Gore’s roomie at Harvard; Jon Lithgow is also a Harvard grad. Jodie Foster did well at Yale; Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton. Shirley Temple was smart as hell, as is Kirk Douglas. John Cleese. Many more. There are lots who come from very smart and accomplished families. The smart ones largely keep their mouths shut, however, so you understandably get a skewed sample. The dumbest ones talk the most, have the most uninformed opinions, and are the most arrogant and deluded.

      They do tend to be on the left side of the political spectrum, but artists always have tended that way, for myriad reasons.

      • I deliberately began by saying there are exceptions, and that I was mainly referring to those who feel compelled to use their Celebrity to speak out politically. I did not mean to accuse all actors of stupidity– just most of them.

        I would still prefer Charlie Rose interviewing a potted plant to Cher telling ANYONE about ANYTHING.

  7. LOL! Just for that, I’ll tell you a secret– I was going to say “David Susskind,” but I didn’t think anyone would know who I was talking about.

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