Richard Dreyfuss has long been regarded by the Hollywood Left as one of their own. But Dreyfuss is far too independent and has too strong a background in history to toe any party line. At times, he has emerged as a decided foe of political correctness.
Certainly, his background was leftist. Born in Queens in 1947, Dreyfuss, a Jew, called himself “a red diaper baby.” His parents were leftists and his neighbors were Communists who fought against Franco and admired the Soviet Union. Although he eventually saw this admiration as “misguided,” he still called them “American patriots.” He also attributed such patriotism to the sixties anti-war movement he was a member of; and lauded them for being the last generation who questioned authority and upheld civic virtue. In the early 70s, he was a fervent lobbyist for the government to pardon draft dodges who fled to Canada (this was finally done under Jimmy Carter).
But that was then. Today, Dreyfuss suffers from free thinking, and is not afraid to buck the liberal tide. No longer calling himself a “Democrat,” Dreyfuss doesn’t recoil from siding with conservatives on key issues. While Hollywood routinely puts out politically correct films, Dreyfuss denounces it as “stifling honest debate,” and harmful to the Socratic method. He once startled the anti-Second Amendment Piers Morgan by calling the NRA “heroes” rather than “villains.” Far from being reactionary gun nuts, he lauded the organization for teaching “responsible gun-ownership.” While those on the Left denigrate the Tea Party advocating a return to the Constitution as a “fetish,” he champions it. Promoting American exceptionalism, he has stated about the Constitution:
“We were responsible for the greatest revolution in the history of civilization. We gave to 98% of the human race freedoms that they have been lashed for, lost fingers for or had their heads chopped off for and we gave it to them for free and we are the most revolutionary nation that has ever been and ever will be and we don’t know enough about our constitution or our history to know why we should be proud of it.”
Moreover, he has sounded a libertarian note, asserting that individual rights are being encroached upon by Washington. Echoing Ronald Reagan who stated that the education of the American public about its founding documents is the best means in halting unwarranted political power in Washington, he has started the Dreyfuss Iniative; the purpose of which is to teach the Constitution to young people. He laments that people “overseas know more about our Constitution than Americans do.” But he doesn’t regard such ignorance as peculair to the young, but also residing in Washington. Politicians are more interested in power, and should instead read, sign, and adhere to the Preamble to the Constitution. To make the politicians aware that the people are “out there,” and hold the real power, he has called for a general civics strike in which all activities engaged in by citizens–emailing, talking on the phone–come to a halt.
Dreyfuss is an oddity in the age of Obama (whom he no longer supports because he has followed the wiretapping policies of Dreyfuss’s hated foe George W. Bush). While others (such as Steven Spielberg) donate scores of money to Obama and see the end times occurring if the Republicans get into power, Dreyfuss is refreshingly non-partisan. He sees such demonization by one side for the other as stifling much needed civic debate.
Like Glenn Beck, Dreyfuss sees no difference between the political parties and refuses to choose up sides; instead he calls himself an “American.”
Quite a rarity in today’s culture wars.