2008 April 27 Sunday
Prison Experience Ended Robert Downey Jr.'s Liberalism

Actor Robert Downey Jr. got hit too hard by reality to think like a liberal any longer. You've heard the "A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality". How about "A conservative is a liberal who got beat up inmates"?

“I have a really interesting political point of view, and it’s not always something I say too loud at dinner tables here, but you can’t go from a $2,000-a-night suite at La Mirage to a penitentiary and really understand it and come out a liberal. You can’t. I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone else, but it was very, very, very educational for me and has informed my proclivities and politics every since.”

Acting in Iron Man must have had a fantasy escapist appeal. If he'd only had Iron Man's abilities he wouldn't have gotten beat up in prison.

The unfortunate thing here is that we do not have a way for most people to get their political beliefs tested in a manner that'll let them see reality. It is a measure of just how much our technologies insulate us from the consequences of our false beliefs that holding false beliefs on political topics is so easy to do.

Here's a literal example of someone getting sense knocked into him. While in prison Downey got knocked out in fights.

“If I see somebody who is throwing their life away with both hands and is raging around and destroying their family, I can’t understand that person,” he said. “I’m not in that sphere of activity anymore, and I don’t understand it any more than I understood 10 or 20 years ago that somehow everything was going to turn out O.K. from this lousy, exotic and dark triple chapter of my life. I swear to God I don’t even really understand that planet anymore.”

Mr. Downey, who has said that he woke up in a pool of his own blood a time or two when he was in prison, is a fighter. “Probably the biggest thing that Tony Stark and I have in common is the hardware of conflict, the courage under fire,” he said, setting aside his lunch on a tray. “I don’t really fit in so good outside the military bases with my mentality.”

Our advancing technological capabilities increase the number of people who can live to varying degrees in fantasies. Virtual realms are the latest manifestation of this trend. Second Life, World of Warcraft, and other online virtual communities allow people to experience simulated worlds governed by rules more to their liking. Does that make people less realistic about the real world?

I see another manifestation of this problem with people who do not vaccinate their kids. They are able to harbor false beliefs about vaccination risks because most people still vaccinate and therefore their kids aren't likely to get exposed to the diseases that vaccines protect against. But at some point a critical mass of kids doesn't get vaccinated and then a disease can spread with harmful results. What political beliefs are likely to continue to spread until we reach a critical mass for some problem? Which problem will that be?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 April 27 09:06 AM  Human Nature

Audacious Epigone said at April 27, 2008 9:34 AM:

Does that make people less realistic about the real world?

Based on personal experience, I think it does. And it also makes people less satisfied with the world. I spent a good deal of my childhood in the virtual world, stepped out of it for almost a decade, and since I've tiptoed back in, I find it harder and harder to leave each time. The real world seems degenerate, unfair, and uninspiring by comparison.

It's an ideological escape, though I don't think the virtual world poses any kind of threat like that of the great ideologies of last century, mostly because people are so disparate in the virtual world, in addition to being drawn away from instead of into the real world as a consequence of those ideological fantasies. But as more people sit the game of real life out, it's not tough to imagine the negative consequences that might result.

Jason said at April 27, 2008 12:55 PM:

Like they say a conservative is a liberal who got mugged.

HellKaiserRyo said at April 27, 2008 2:00 PM:

I am still leftist and I do not want to be with the people in prison. I guess Randall noted how most leftists are afraid of minority groups by discussing their actions. It is hard to answer how to deal with them. I just want people who need a welfare state to live comfortably like the Hikikomori in Japan so isolate themselves and not reproduce. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hikikomori)

Bob Badour said at April 27, 2008 2:11 PM:

Around here, we have already had a recent mumps epidemic sweep through college aged kids.

Anonymous said at April 27, 2008 6:19 PM:

"I just want people who need a welfare state to live comfortably like the Hikikomori in Japan so isolate themselves and not reproduce."

Very Japanese. I wish that the blacks and hispanics in the US would withdraw and do the same. I'd love for them to live in some area, carefully seperated from the rest of the world and happily getting their food pushed under a locked door. Unfortunately, we all know that this isn't the case and unless drastic measures are taken or a miracle occurs, it isn't going to happen. They are mentally and physically unable to contribute anything, much less practice any kind of family planning. These savages our jabbering in our face, wrecking this nation and bleeding us dry, economically, spiritually and quite often literally. They have attached themselves like leeches to this nation and the white race. And our traitorous elites love it and encourage it. One wonders why they live in places like Chappaqua, Belle Meade, Museum Mile and send their kids to private schools while encouraging average whites to miscegenate(William Saletan, I'm talking to you). It is almost like they are "segregating" themselves from minorities or something. I could be wrong.
And the real world is a degenerate place. Celebrations of perversion, idiocy, stupidity, and destructive, primitive and violent non-white/non-western cultures are commonplace and encouraged in our media and communist public education system and nihilistic, communist institutions of higher education. Perhaps withdrawal like the Hikikomori is the solution for whites. Except I doubt whites will be allowed. It is all for our own good, of course.

tommy said at April 27, 2008 9:16 PM:

I recall an interview with Downey Jr. on Howard Stern's program a few years ago. He stated that he had to beat up a non-white inmate for talking on the phone too long. Downey claimed he had no choice: if he didn't assault the other inmate for this minor infraction of prison etiquette, he would get dealt with by other white convicts. He didn't want to give the race of the inmate he assaulted since the inmate's fellow ethnics on the street might seek retaliation. Still, Stern guessed the inmate was Hispanic and Downey didn't exactly deny it.

Kenelm Digby said at April 28, 2008 3:59 AM:

Of course, the analogy is with ancient Rome.
In the early Republic, the average, stolid Roman citizen-soldier was a tough, hard-living, hard-fighting peasant farmer who had to fight against a hostile World to exist.
By the time of the later Empire, a huge workforce of slaves (cf Hispanics) did all the hard work, whilst the original Roman stock either stagnated in soft, effeminate degeneracy, lived off a 'corn dole' and watched gladators and chariot racing all-day (cf football)and generally became an unfit, whinging pathetic creature.
At that time the famous Roman army stopped recruiting Italians because either they simply refused to fight or were too effeninate., most of the soldiers were tough, hard, brave Germans.
In the end a German lead and staffed army made an accomodation with German invaders.

kimberlyknits said at September 20, 2008 6:05 PM:

I'm a fan of RDJ from way, way back, and was always so dismayed by his repeated arrests and jail terms and his inability to stay clean; his talent is so amazing that it was frustrating to see him constantly being torn down by drugs, unsuccessful rehab stints, and jail sentences between 1996 and 2001. But it's so good to hear that FINALLY, a celebrity brainwashed by La-La-Land's liberal lunacy was able to come to his senses and see through the lies of liberalism. Good for RDJ. I know he was working on his autobiography and put it on hold because of his staggering work rate these days (he's done at least 4 films or other projects per year since 2005), but I hope someday he finally gets around to finishing it.

PG said at January 11, 2009 7:54 PM:

Downey may have left prison no longer a liberal, but he apparently was still willing to donate to the Democratic National Committee in 2004.

(Two different "write to a celebrity" websites identify that New York address as Robert Downey Jr.'s. Possibly they have him confused with Robert Downey Sr.)

Ex-Leftist That Grew Up said at November 29, 2009 8:20 PM:

The good thing about people like HellKaiserRyo is that they'll breed themselves out of existence. Thank you, sir, for not multiplying.

Pearl said at January 11, 2010 11:16 AM:

So landing in jail, being drugged out of his gourd for the majority of his life, being arrested NUMEROUS times, passing out in gutters etc. etc. turns someone into a Republican?

I do believe this idiot is STILL on drugs.

Bob Badour said at January 11, 2010 4:07 PM:

No, landing in jail, being drugged out of his gourd for the majority of his life, being arrested numerous times, passing out in gutters etc. etc. made him into a liberal. Becoming republican was simply a sign of recovery.

Eva said at April 17, 2010 8:34 AM:

This is an interesting observation about political beliefs, but I think you've really missed the mark on vaccinations. If you really want to know why people are exercising their freedom to make their own choices concerning vaccines, you should do your research about the vaccines that were required or recommended for infants, children and teens and later taken off the market because the side effects outweighed the temporary benefit. Not to mention all the pockets that were lined in the mean time. It's not about letting other people's kids take that risk to lower the risk for your own. It's about doing your homework and making an informed decision. Some people will view the statistics, will read the handout given them at the time of the vaccinations and say "the risk is worth it." And I support their choice. Some will take a look at the info against Gardasil, the deaths claimed to be caused by it. They will see the recent FDA suspension of the use of Rotarix, which was found by an outside research facility to be contaminated with a pig virus, or the Polio vaccines of the 1950s that were contaminated and now linked, though not officially acknowledged, to brain, lung and bone cancers. They will see all this and say "the risk is not worth it." And that choice too has validity and should be supported. I would recommend this interview on the recent suspension of Rotarix

kelly said at March 13, 2014 11:34 PM:

Wow. The racist rantings I've read here are sick. Have fun looking at yourselves in the mirror.

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