Jeremy Irons, the Oscar-winning actor who was unaccountably passed over for the part of Voldemort in the Harry Potter films but has recently come back playing Rodrigo Borgia in a celebrated Showtime series, told the Huffington Post yesterday that Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s highly regulated New York brings out his libertarian instincts.
Asked by HuffPost Live host Josh Epps about Bloomberg’s efforts to ban large sodas, Irons launched into a tirade worthy of “Die Hard with a Vengeance” bad guy Simon Gruber.
“I am completely libertarian,” said Irons. “I think it’s very, very dangerous, and I really mean that. I think the smoking ban is the tip of an iceberg, of the leaders of society telling us how to be. I think it is not their business. It is their business to tell us to care for and respect each other and each other’s health and each other’s happiness. And we are responsible enough to do that.
“So if you have a bar, and you think, ‘Well in my bar I’m going to allow smoking in that room or whatever,’ that’s your choice as a bar owner. And if you’re a customer you can say, ‘I don’t want to go in that bar. It smells of cigarettes. Won’t be good for me maybe.’ But I think the leaders of our society start telling us, ‘You can’t do this; you can’t do that,’ and strangely enough cigarettes to fizzy drinks is a very interesting example. From there you’ll have the governor saying, ‘If you run a restaurant you have to make sure that all your meals are below that level of calories per person.’ It’s just the nanny state. It is terrible.
“I think we have ways of discouraging people from behavior that we feel is socially undesirable. The television is full of people spending money to persuade us to behave certain ways, to buy certain things. The government should spend that money to persuade us to behave in certain ways.”
Irons’ libertarian comments went largely unnoticed, but an international controversy has erupted over news that the star of homoerotic classic “Brideshead Revisited” expressed ambivalence about gay marriage.