On Monday, actor Seth Rogen tweeted out his rage over the success of the patriotic Clint Eastwood flick American Sniper, based on the life of Chris Kyle. “American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds,” he wrote.
He later backtracked, saying, “I just said something ‘kinda reminded’ me of something else. I actually liked American Sniper. It just reminded me of the Tarantino scene.” Then, one more: “I wasn’t comparing the two. Big difference between comparing and reminding. Apples remind me of oranges. Can’t compare them, though.”
Well, then. That being the case, Seth Rogen now reminds Americans of an old-school, anti-military leftist. That’s not a comparison. Just a reminder.
But Rogen’s tweet let the mask slip. While much of Hollywood pretended to be pro-military even as they undercut the Iraq War so as to avoid charges of general 1960s-style pacifism, their true feelings are less positive. That’s why during the Iraq War, it wasn’t enough to make films blaming politicians for mistakes over intelligence. Soldiers were routinely portrayed as human rights violators, barbarians with uniforms.
That belief about America’s finest, in turn, represents a deeper moral relativism. An enormous number of blockbuster Hollywood flicks feature the same scene: a scene in which the hero considers taking harsh actions against a brutal enemy, only to be stopped by a friend, who tells the hero that if the hero takes that harsh action, he will become “the same” as his enemy. If you fight the enemy, you become the enemy, so the old chestnut goes.
Except that’s bull. Were that the case, American soldiers during World War II would have had no moral right to fight the Nazis – by shooting them, they would become Nazis. But in the view of the Hollywood left, that’s exactly what American military power represents: evil violence in the name of jingoism. And so Michael Moore tweeted, “My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse.”
All snipers are cowards – even those who take out terrorists who murder children. All invaders are evil – even those who invade Germany during World War II, presumably.
That view has infused the Democratic left more broadly. President Obama says that if we waterboard Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the 9/11 mastermind, in order to stop future terror attacks, we become our enemy:
What makes the United States special, and what makes you special, is precisely the fact that we are willing to uphold our values and our ideals even when it’s hard, not just when it’s easy; even when we are afraid and under threat, not just when it’s expedient to do so. That’s what makes us different.
If we waterboard KSM, then, we are no longer different. We’re just the same as everybody else.
Of course, America does attempt to minimize the use of enhanced interrogation techniques; we attempt to separate out civilians; we try to avoid unnecessary death. But when it comes to war, it turns out that killing the enemy is an unavoidable strategy. No matter how much we’d like to win wars with bad movies about Kim Jung Un, it takes men like Chris Kyle standing on the front lines to protect Seth Rogen’s rights to make terrible pot-ridden films in which he bares his lard-barreled torso. And hell yes, we should cheer them on.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.