Actor Mark Ruffalo wants us to believe that "Capitalism today is failing us, killing us, and robbing from our children's future."
Profound hypocrisy and ignorance are behind Ruffalo’s tweet. Capitalism has lifted billions out of poverty and disease. Ruffalo has become a wealthy entertainer because of America’s economic and artistic freedom.
Author Peter Schiff exposed Ruffalo’s hypocrisy when he tweeted back:
Capitalism is failing in Hollywood. Some actors make millions while others struggle waiting tables to make ends meet. Let’s redistribute the wealth. Equal pay for all actors. All actor compensation should be paid directly to SAG. Then each member will be given their fair share.
Of course, Ruffalo won’t sign up for equal pay for all actors. No doubt, Ruffalo believes he has earned his wealth because of his superior talent. If he helps elect the socialist candidates he champions, Ruffalo will tweet from the sidelines demanding wealth be confiscated from others, not his own wealth of approximately $30 million.
In Ruffalo’s paradise, though, our rulers won’t stop with seizing our wealth. To maintain their power, they will need to control how we think.
Artists are not free to create under socialism. Under socialism, art exists for the glorification of the state. If Ruffalo still has a job in a future socialist country, he will be making propaganda films.
In his book Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il Michael Malice examines, among other things, the North Korean film industry. The book is fictional, Kim Jong Il didn’t write an autobiography; but Malice brilliantly wrote his book using Kim Jong Il’s real words and North Korean documents.
The current North Korean despot is Kim Jong Un; his father Kim Jong-Il, was obsessed with Hollywood movies. Kim Jong-Il’s personal collection of Hollywood movies numbered 30,000. There are no reports on whether any of Ruffalo’s movies were in his collection.
We know, though, that Hollywood movies have never been shown in North Korean movie theaters. Possession of a Hollywood movie could result in execution or a long sentence in a prison camp.
Education in North Korea consists mostly of studying the collected works of the Kim dynasty. North Korean propaganda insists Kim Jong-Il wrote thousands of books and papers. According to North Korean propaganda, “The Characteristics of Modern Imperialism and Its Aggressive Nature” by Kim Jong-Il is as important as “Columbus discovering the New Continent.”
In one of his books, Kim Jong-Il explained that movies are “a powerful ideological weapon for the revolution and construction." Would Ruffalo object to his socialist overlords demanding his films be ideologically pure?
The most famous North Korean movie is Sea of Blood, and almost all North Korean films echo its theme of martyrdom for the nation.
Malice puts these words in Kim Jong Il’s mouth:
I didn't view the cinema as a means of making money but as a way of creating 'visual textbooks' for revolution. From my perspective, movie producers could be regarded as vanguard soldiers who were spearheading social reform.
In North Korea, "an actor can't prove his skill unless it's supported by a high degree of political enthusiasm." Ruffalo has "political enthusiasm," but his naive enthusiasm won't buy his freedom in a future socialist America.
In North Korea, propaganda instructs that the despotic leaders are living gods. The needs of the leaders, not the needs of people, come first. Odes to the leaders have become unofficial North Korean national anthems. Today, like every day, North Koreans will sing this ode to Great Comrade Kim Jong-un:
His ideals are our dreams and hope, which will make all our flowers bloom. Great Comrade Kim Jong un we know nobody but you. … His brilliant ideals represent our goal. The Commander’s will is the victory of the people…. Even if heaven and earth change, only you will remain in our hearts.
Hollywood elites share this sickening mentality of subservience to their favorite political leaders. Gwyneth Paltrow’s fawning over Obama is an example of this: “It would be wonderful if we were able to give this man all of the power that he needs to pass the things that he needs to pass.”
Perhaps Ruffalo and other “revolutionaries” will tell us that’s not the socialism they want. Yet Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek explained clearly in his book The Road to Serfdom why it is the socialism they will get.
Author and spiritual teacher Byron Katie uses a method that she calls “turn it around” to help us fix our distorted thinking. A student of Katie’s teachings would take their troublesome thought and consider “Is the opposite as true as or truer than the original thought?”
Let’s take Ruffalo’s tweet – "Capitalism today is failing us, killing us, and robbing from our children’s future” – and “turn it around.” It might say, “My ignorance about socialism is failing us, killing us, and robbing from our children’s future.”
With that revelation, Ruffalo might fall to his knees and give thanks that he lives in a still mostly capitalist society.
[Image Credit: Flickr-Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0]
Barry Brownstein is professor emeritus of economics and leadership at the University of Baltimore. He is the author of The Inner-Work of Leadership. To receive Barry's essays subscribe at Mindset Shifts.