Holy Freudian Slip Batman! Yes, Penn revealed much with his humble-bragging. Like the article says, it pretty much sums up what motivates so many Liberals and Leftists: the never ending quest to feel good about themselves. They don’t much care about the collateral damage they cause so long as they get to feel good about themselves.
As many know, actor Sean Penn recently revived interest in his career by interviewing notorious Mexican outlaw Joaquin Guzman for Rolling Stonemagazine shortly before the murderous drug lord’s arrest. About a year before Penn’s article about Guzman, in a fawning Esquire magazine interview, Penn defended several similar “journalistic” endeavors up to that time. These had come under criticism as little more than vanity projects for a privileged Hollywood star, largely focused (like the Guzman piece) on glorifying Latin American caudillos and/or bandits who are heroes of the left. Penn’s distillation of his motivation for the projects was remarkably revealing. “I’m just another asshole trying to feel good about himself” said Penn. “And why shouldn’t I? That’s what everybody should try to do.”
Though Penn threw the line out in an obvious attempt to be both humble and funny it actually pretty succinctly describes the left/liberal attitude toward life. Penn was born into good fortune, grew up in Malibu with well-connected parents, and achieved personal success, wealth, and admiration early on his career. He’s dated a bevy of Hollywood starlets, lives large, and won a couple of Oscars. In sum, it doesn’t get much better for anybody, and Penn feels guilty about it.
Penn doesn’t feel guilty enough that he is willing to give up his wealth or actually sacrifice for the common good. Rather, to assuage his guilt, he adopts the tropes of his fellow well-placed leftists, critical of his country for its alleged wrongs, from Yankee imperialism to homophobia. He playacts at being an adventuring journalist out to right America’s wrongs, critical of conservatives and others who disagree with is lefty ideations. He does this all the while suckling on the capitalist system, living safe and protected in a stable and well-defended nationalist Western state.
The Esquire quote reveals the utter emptiness of Penn’s value system and that of the Western liberal elites as a group. While it pretends to be a frank and self-deprecating remark on his supposed accomplishments, Penn is actually admitting that all of his “good works” are just an attempt to make himself feel better. There is no intrinsic value or motivation for Penn’s various causes, progressive adventures, or caudillo social circle. If it made him feel better to dig oil wells, hang out with the brothers Koch, or hunt endangered African animals he would do that. Those latter options are likely odious to Penn only because they are not things of which media elites, and his fellow travelers in Hollywood approve. And since garnering that approval, and the wealth and adoration that goes with it makes the Penn feel good, that’s what he does.
Another example of Penn’s feel-good activism is the famous meltdown of his considerable gun collection to please his new girlfriend, the very, very hot, Charlize Theron. The guns evidently made Penn feel good for a considerable time. He managed to finagle himself a hard-to-get concealed carry permit in California. All that firepower no doubt reinforced the tough-guy image he has of himself. But Theron and the lure of doing something dramatic and politically correct was just too much, so when Penn decided that Charlize and some more Hollywood adoration would make him feel better than the guns, he decided to get rid of them. But rather than consign them to a gun shop or sell them online like the regular Joe he sometimes pretends he is, he commissioned a famous abstract artist to melt them into a lump of metal and plastic, which television “journalist” Anderson Cooper quickly scarfed up for a cool 1.4 million at a swanky Golden Globe awards party. Of course the money went to charity, so Penn also managed to turn a few thousand dollars’ worth of hardware into a six figure tax deduction.
People like Penn are reminiscent of the famous German existentialist philosopher Martin Heidegger, who has greatly influenced academia and leftist elites by philosophically underpinning their extreme moral relativism, which allows them to pick and choose causes worthy and disreputable, without any care for logic or consistency. Believing in nothing (his masterwork is Being and Nothingness) in 1930s Germany, Heidegger, like Penn, was just an asshole trying to feel good about himself. At that time in Germany, you were more likely to feel good about yourself as a Nazi, than as say a Jew, a Christian or a Communist, so Heidegger became one. I suppose if a cult of radical Hassidic matzo makers had managed to seize power in Germany Heidegger might have joined them instead -- what difference does it make?
Extrapolate Penn’s self-absorbed thinking to left/liberal policymaking in general, and you have a good idea of how selfish and corrupt it is. From global warming, to immigration policy, to healthcare, to painful breast-beating over supposed white privilege, it is all about assholes trying to make themselves feel good. In Europe the leftist desire to feel good about oneself amounts to societal suicide as the continent is quickly being overrun by millions of Muslim migrants who will never assimilate.
Penn like his leftist fellow travelers really believes in nothing but self-gratification. The left’s rejection of universal truths, religion and traditional values, makes them self-loathing (“I am an asshole”) and desperate to make that feeling go away (“I will pretend to be someone who cares.”) Like Penn, they mostly exist in a protected isolated bubble where their mutual approbation keeps the good feelings coming, and the uncomfortable knowledge that they are assholes at bay.
In Penn’s case all this mostly adds up to little more than public -- but still lucrative -- displays of stupidity. On an international scale though, as in Europe right now, and increasingly under the feel-good leftist in the White House, it is utterly disastrous.