The Republican Party right now is being told they have to move more to the left in order to be successful going forward. Americans are being told that the furthest right political spectrum people can go is a Newt Gingrich type: a Republican who still sees big government as the answer. Glenn disagrees. There is a whole section of people who believe in small government, the Constitution, and libertarianism. At first glance, there are areas where people on this side of the spectrum would disagree on issues like drug legalization, gay marriage, etc. But the future of the movement who believe in freedom is dependent on people uniting on the common ideas of limited government outlined by the Founders in the Constitution. On Thursday night, Glenn had illusionist, comedian, and author Penn Jillette onto his show to discuss these issues.
While the interview covered a range of issues, the one Glenn’s critics would find most shocking would probably be his stance on gay marriage. While discussing the common ground that can be found among the people who truly value the ideas of freedom outlined in the Constitution, Jillette explained that if the “dope people” could be convinced the “gun people” were OK and vice versa, the whole country would be libertarian. This prompted Glenn to use gay marriage as an example of how libertarians can unite on principles.
“The question is not whether gay people should be married or not, the question is why is the government involved in our marriage, Glenn said.
“That’s the huge insult to churches, it’s a huge insult to gays, it’s a huge insult to love,” Penn said. He explained that he was against all marriage because he did not want the state involved in his relationship and his family. He was married at a drive-through in Vegas for $300 only to make sure that he could maintain custody of his children if something tragic were to happen to his wife.
Glenn agreed with Penn, noting that gay marriage does not “pick my pocket nor break my leg” and he doesn’t feel like the government needed to be involved. He said that as long as the government doesn’t come into his church and say he or his church (or any church) need to change their belief system and their practices, he doesn’t care. But right now, people of faith who may not want gay marriage in their church are being shut out of the conversation by activists and progressives.
“The agenda is to shut down my freedom of speech and my belief in – what you don’t believe in but I do deeply – The Bible. So I’m going to live my life the way I believe. That’s freedom of conscience,” Glenn said.
Earlier in the show, Glenn laid out on his chalkboard of the political spectrum that exists between totalitarianism and anarchy. On the chalkboard, Glenn put Occupy Wall Street with anarchy, but Penn disagreed.
“Their argument is not ‘no government whatsoever’, their argument is using government to redistribute money,” Penn explained. “They want to have huge amounts of regulation, a huge amount of stomping down on Wall Street and moving that money back.”
Penn also pointed out they are all in the one percent of the world, and that for them to be in the one percent you would have to ignore the whole world.
“Every single one of them pays a cell phone bill once a month that is a yearly income for a family in the rest of the world,” Penn said.
“Your whole line here is to me how much freedom do you want. The way I sum up the Constitution is that we do the minimum amount of government we can have that assures individual liberties,” he said.
Penn also brought up his issues with the concept of tribalism. “Pride in a group of people is one of the most negative things we have,” Penn said.
“The fact that we disagree so much on religion is the reason we should be talking,” he said.
The one point they didn’t agree on was the Westboro Baptist Church protesting at a funeral, with Penn saying he didn’t believe the government should be involved with Glenn saying that he felt that did cross a line of harm.
Glenn hoped the conversation would be an example to people who believe in limited government and individual freedom to expand their horizons and find ways to find coalitions with people they may not have thought to unite with in the past.
“What we need to do, I think, as people who believe in the Constitution is start looking for allies who believe in the Constitution and expand our horizons,” Glenn said. “We would have the ultimate big tent.”
The two also discussed atheism and religion, as well as the role religion played in the founding of America. You can watch a highlight from that portion of the interview below: