Ben Affleck: Portrait of Liberal Groupthink

The 'Gone Girl' star mixes it up, badly, on HBO's 'Real Time with Bill Maher'

There’s a reason stars often stumble when challenged.

They’re rarely asked to defend their views. Ben Affleck offers a prime example of just that.

The Oscar winner, promoting “Gone Girl” on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” got into a feisty debate over Islam with the show’s host Friday.

Maher, who on the vast majority of issues falls in lockstep with liberal orthodoxy, breaks ranks when it comes to radical Islam. The comedian understands the grave threat it represents, and how it isn’t just a few extremists whose views dramatically clash with those of the western world. Many of the religion’s tenets should be anathema to liberals, such as how women and gays are treated in some Islamic countries.

Liberals too often stay silent on that matter, Maher argues.

That set the conversation in motion. Affleck quickly played the race card, something that happens with regularity on the Left. He later doubled down on it after being pummeled by facts from panelist author Sam Adams. It’s a crash course in celebrity liberalism, and must viewing for anyone who thinks an actor’s views on a given issue should be taken at face value.

First, Affleck calls his opponents racist:

“You are saying that Islamophobia is not a real thing?” he said. “It’s gross, it’s racist. It’s like saying ‘that shifty Jew’.”

Then he attacks America as if his own country were equally to blame in recent world events.

“What is your solution? That we condemn Islam?” Ben retorted. “We’ve killed more Muslims than they’ve killed us by an awful lot, and we’ve invaded more Islamic nations. But we’re exempted from these things?”

Affleck doesn’t routinely smear conservatives like Sean Penn. He’s a brilliant director whose acting skills are … improving. It’s still instructive to see him in a free-spirited debate, not the fawning celebrity interviews he normally does.

Actors are rarely challenged about their beliefs, and it would appear many never take the time to consider the other side. “Sons of Anarchy” standout Ron Perlman admitted as much recently while appearing on “Morning Joe,” saying he gets all his news from MSNBC.

Conservatives are confronted with biased mainstream reporting on a daily basis, and then they seek out conservative voices for a fuller understanding of the world at large. At the very least, they’ve heard the liberal arguments on a given issue and can respond accordingly.

Affleck didn’t win a Best Director Oscar for “Argo,” a genuine oversight. He should win some sort of award for capturing how too many liberals approach the open exchange of ideas.

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