Gwyneth Paltrow and the romance of power
Normally I don’t like to dwell overlong on the nattering of celebrities, but actress Gwyneth Paltrow made herself exceptionally useful for gushing in the most embarrassing terms over President Obama during a fundraiser she hosted at her house on Thursday. I use the word “house” very loosely to describe Chez Paltrow, but she seems to regard herself as a “working mother” just like any other middle-class woman struggling to raise a child, so I’m sure that’s probably how she refers to her estate.
The Washington Examiner provides a concise summary of “the three most embarrassing things that Paltrow actually said in front of other grown adults.”
1. Working Girl
Paltrow praised the president for his recent efforts to ensure that women are paid the same as men who work the same job, telling the audience that the issue is “very important to me as a working mother.”
Paltrow makes roughly $16 million per movie.
2. Separation of powers is for suckers
Paltrow is apparently upset that the power of the executive branch is balanced by the judicial and legislative branches of the U.S. government.
“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,” she said.
3. Star struck
Before turning over the floor to the president, Paltrow did her best Beatlemania impersonation, giddily telling the president, “you’re so handsome that I can’t speak properly.”
Sure, it’s embarrassing and childish, but it’s also nothing new. For example, for as long as Obama has been in office, his celebrity supporters were openly wishing he could rule as a dictator. The most notable previous example was Woody Allen, who said: “I am pleased with Obama. I think he’s brilliant. The Republican Party should get out of his way and stop trying to hurt him. It would be good if he could be a dictator for a few years, because he could do a lot of good things quickly.”
It’s not just Obama, either. The allure of totalitarian power is incredibly strong for people on the Left. What Allen and Paltrow are saying is the ultimate expression of the degenerate philosophy widely, but inaccurately, described as “liberalism.” Smart, wise, all-powerful rulers can “fix” the human race by compelling us to behave in virtuous ways. These virtuous behaviors are contrary to the selfish and destructive urges of the common man. People who consider themselves far above the common man are very receptive to this philosophy; they love talking about the inferiority of the Little People, because it makes them feel better about their exalted selves.
And because they wish to think of themselves as high-minded and compassionate, they naturally gravitate to the idea that the exalted ones should fix the Little People. They embrace politically-correct victim groups because they love seeing themselves as mighty heroes who can protect the downtrodden from predators. They also want to absorb the moral stature of the victim through osmosis, which can lead to such absurd spectacles as a woman who makes $16 million per job describing herself as a “working mother” deeply concerned about the phantasmal issue of “pay equality” for the women employed as her attendants and servants.
The obsession with Dear Leader’s physical attributes is also common to the Left, which has a long history of portraying its designated titans as both intellectual and physical supermen. They were even doing that in North Korea, before their rotund dictator abruptly vanished due to health complications, one of which might be the complete absence of health. Every leftist strongman, from Mussolini through Castro, has been revered by the Left for his physical qualities. It’s part of the worship mechanism that supports the power structure of leftists: they view themselves as superior people, so their leaders must be demigods. In fact, their ideology demands it.
They don’t necessarily think power is inherently virtuous, which puts them a bit south of Rousseau’s ideal of a General Will that literally cannot be wrong, because the masters of the State are the avatars of the people. The Left will scream bloody murder if someone they don’t like takes the reins of power; Gwyneth Paltrow will be among the first in line to savage a Republican who invokes any of the powers Barack Obama has seized – much less the ones she wants him to seize – and uses those powers for ends she disapproves of. No, these people must organize themselves into cults of personality, because they believe power can be misused. They hold themselves as the infallible judges of how it should be used wisely. Which is amusing, because they tend to be easily manipulated with code words and fashionable political posturing, and they believe it’s impertinent to ask too many questions of the Enlightened Ones… such as whether women really are making 77 cents on the dollar for performing the same work as men, anywhere outside of President Obama’s staff.
If you worship power, you will inevitably come to worship those who wield it. This is particularly true for those who need to reassure themselves they are not totalitarians, or foolish dupes of the powerful. They wish to cling to some vestige of democracy to prove they’re not fascists – note that Woody Allen was careful to say the Obama dictatorship should be temporary, which is something the accessories to just about every permanent dictatorship told themselves at some point. Paltrow might not say that she thinks the 2016 presidential election should be canceled, either. The temporary nature of individual power is how these people reassure themselves that they still partake of America’s intellectual tradition; they’re explicitly sour on representative government and the Constitutional separation of powers, but most of them would eagerly assure you they love “democracy.”
They don’t even mean that in the mob-rule tyranny-of-the-majority sense – Paltrow specifically thinks people of the United States and their representative should be no obstacle to the enlightened despotism of Barack Obama. What they mean by “democracy” is that people have the theoretical ability to vote a Maximum Leader who goes off the rails out of office. It’s the only check on the power of an Enlightened One they believe is necessary – the one corrective for abuse that guarantees a nation will remain “free” in some sense, even as the wise despot has “all the power he needs to pass the things he needs to pass.” If he passes something really awful, he’ll lose the next election, and the next enlightened despot will be duly chastened by his fate.
I cannot overstate how dangerous this line of thinking is. Especially when it comes from people who can pour millions of dollars into political campaigns, or leverage the power of their celebrity over large audiences. If Gwyneth Paltrow really wants to live in a place where the rulers have all the power they need to pass whatever they want to pass, I suggest she consider relocating to the Syrian city of Kobani, which is about to fall under the sway of such a system, thanks to the brilliant leadership of the beautiful man she wants to raise money for.