Acton Institute Powerblog

Why Robert Sirico Moved to the Right—and Jane Fonda Didn’t

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RealClearReligion’s Nicholas G. Hahn III recently talked to Acton President Fr. Robert Sirico about Obama, Marx, and Jane Fonda:

RCR: Why didn’t Jane Fonda and others in your generation follow you to the Right?

Robert Sirico: There are a lot of them that are not Leftist anymore. I know a lot of people in my generation who were at those things and are much more conservative today — not quite philosophically, but certainly wouldn’t identify with the Left. Now, why are some of them still stuck? When you’re in that ethos and the whole culture moves and if you didn’t have a fixed point, you move with it. When you’re formed in your ideas, it’s a whole hermeneutic. It’s a whole way that you approach the world. And when, for instance, you approach the world with a zero-sum presumption, I think it’s very explanatory. Marx gives you a view of the world that is plausible. It’s not completely absurd to think that the person who owns the means of production is wealthy because of another’s poverty. It’s plausible. It sounds right. It’s only when you understand the broader context, then it becomes more complex. Traditional, classical, free market ideas are far more complex — and counterintuitive.

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Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).


  • It’s interesting to read a bit of this history and the connection with the Hollywood Left, so to speak, along with this review in Books & Culture, which includes this bit:

    ‘The more of these interviews I read, the more I got an unshakeable sense that all of the artists are motivated by something beyond the box office, beyond even personal ambition. Let’s say they’re drawn, not driven. All of them have a great reverence for the mystery that brings works of art alive. They know it has something to do with courage and excellence. They know it’s a serious endeavor to tell—or, better, discover—the truth. “Truth,” says Morgan Freeman, “is the default position for all of us.”‘

    Or as Father Sirico says in this interview, “It’s coherence that we desire — not just the assembly of facts, but the meaning behind the facts. We’re beings that look to an objective reality to make sense of things.”

    What we seem to have, really, is a disagreement over “what is truth.” But if we can agree that human beings are oriented toward truth in an objective sense, then there is basis for some hope.