Ron Silver Dies: His Politics Turned Toward and Then Against the Hollywood Norm

Actor Ron Silver died Sunday after a bout with cancer. His work aside, his politics were a fairly routine case of Hollywood liberalism, but the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 moved him to embrace a more vigorous defense of America. From the February 11, 2003 Cyber Alert, Brent Baker wrote of Silver's interview on FNC's Beltway Boys program:

[Fred] Barnes segued into a discussion with Silver about anti-Americanism by recalling how last month in "Switzerland, for the International Economic Conference there, you had a run in with the head of the European parliament who accused or at least suggested that the U.S. has become an imperialist power in the world, and you responded rather aggressively to him. Tell us about that incident, and also about the level of anti-Americanism that you discovered there."

Silver recounted: "Yeah, that dinner was a culmination of events over the past several days where the subtext of almost every fora was anti-Americanism. It was very visceral, it was very intense, and to my way of thinking and some other people, it was very incoherent logically, and I’ll get to that in a moment. But at that dinner, the EU had a dinner that night about the 'new Europe,’ and they were being very self-congratulatory about their values, and implicitly they were suggesting that America was an imperial country, trying to impose their values on the rest of the world, which I don’t think is a bad idea by the way, I kind of think our values are fairy universal and might be helpful. But we got, it was a question and answer period, and I think it was with Pat Cox, who was the President of the European parliament, and I asked him a question, and it got a little heated. What the Journal article left out is after that dinner, Pat and I went out and we had a jolly time drinking the night away."

Kondracke soon pressed Silver: "I take it though that you judge from the entire experience that elite opinion in Europe is hostile to the United States. And I just wonder whether there is something that George Bush could have done coming on as President, because Bill Clinton didn’t seem to have this problem."

Silver disagreed: "No, I don’t think George Bush could have done anything. I think he’s doing exactly the right thing, and I think it’s genetic. It’s written into the genetic code, the hostility toward America. I’m not an analyst, and perhaps a therapist would be better equipped to talk about it. But it’s something going on that is so interesting, because their criticisms are logically incoherent, and they’re very self-defeating, and I think it provides some sort of psychological comfort for them. But they hold inconsistent views that we’re utterly materialistic, and then we’re insufferably religious. We’re boring conformists, and then we’re reckless individualists. We’re racists, but then we’re too politically correct. It goes on and on and on."

Michelle Malkin recalls Silver's 2004 speech to the Republican Convention.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis