Hugo Chavez (l) and Sean PennTwo stories in the news vividly encapsulate the astonishing gulf between left and right today. First, actor Sean Penn in Venezuela, where he applauded Marxist, America-hating President Hugo Chavez. AP reports:

Chavez met privately with the 46-year-old actor for two hours Thursday, praising him as being "brave" for urging Americans to impeach President Bush.

That’s bravery, all right. Penn languishes in prison to this very day, beaten brutally hour after hour,  for those statements, as he would in Cuba or Venezuela.

And he made it to his meeting with Chavez only after a daring escape from federal prison, assisted by a small, intrepid band of like-minded true patriots who wish to turn the United States away from its evil ways and finally persuade us to adopt Marxism, with its utopian combination of liberty, peace, and equality, which we have perversely refused to do despite the intensive efforts of philosopher-kings such as Sean Penn.

"In the name of the peoples of the world, President Bush, withdraw the troops from Iraq. Enough already with so much genocide," Chavez said before an auditorium packed with his red-clad supporters.

Penn sat near the front, at times applauding and nodding in agreement. He is the latest in a series of celebrities who have visited Caracas, including Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte.

Chavez pointed out that only government brainwashing keeps the people of the United States from embracing Marxism:

He also said Washington is "afraid that the people of the United States will learn the real truth" about the situation in Venezuela, citing his social programs for the poor.

"If the people of the United States, those millions and millions of poor people … if that nation realizes what is truly happening here, there would be a revolution in the United States," Chavez said, eliciting applause from Penn.

Gosh, I hope them retards in the red states don’t get wind of this! 

Actress Maria Conchita Alonso criticized Penn, bless her heart:

Cuban-born actress Maria Conchita Alonso, who grew up in Venezuela, said Penn is lending support to a "totalitarian" leader who wants increasing control of society — a charge Chavez denies.

In this photo provided by Netflix, actor Bruce Willis performs with his blues band during Netflix Live! On Location, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2007 at the John F. Kennedy Space Center Vistors Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP Photo/Netflix, Susan Goldman, HO)On the other side of the ideological divide, actor Bruce Willis brought his blues band to the Kennedy Space Center, where they performed for 7,000 people. The crowd also got to watch a screening of Armageddon, which features Willis in a story that includes a powerful example of self-sacrifice for the good of others.

Willis and his band , the Accelerators, appeared as part of a summer series of concerts and film showings sponsored by Netflix. AP reports:

Fans cheered as Willis sang and played the harmonica, filling the moments between songs by bantering with the crowd.

"We love playing for you," Willis said. "Even when it’s hot."

I have been unable to ascertain whether Willis and his band were paid for the performance, but it’s obvious that Willis does not need the money and this this was a labor of love on his part.

Willis’s action exemplifies a society based on voluntary, consensual action. Penn’s represents a press for central control of individuals to ensure that society conforms to a General Will.

The choice could not be more clear. If only the electoral process were doing as well as the culture in providing us with a clear choice between two explicit standard-bearers for the two contrasting political philosophies.

Could that be becuase the culture runs on a voluntary basis and the political process is increasingly based on control by elites?

Perhaps it’s time for the American people to stand up on their hind legs and force some real political changes.