Penn Jillette: Why I

By Penn Jillette


As Seen in Fusion Magazine

I don’t speak for all Libertarians any more than Sean Penn speaks for all Democrats.  I’m not even sure my LP membership card is up to date.   I’ve voted Libertarian as long as I can remember but I don’t really remember much before the Clintons and the Bushes.  Those clans made a lot of us bugnutty.  When I go on Glenn’s show he calls me a Libertarian, I think that’s my only real credential.  

There are historical reasons and pragmatic reasons to be a Libertarian, but there are historic and pragmatic reasons to be a Democrat, a Republican or a Socialist.  I don’t know if everyone would be better off under a Libertarian government.   I don’t know what would be best for anyone.  I don’t even know what’s best for me.  What makes me Libertarian is I don’t think anyone else really knows what’s best for anyone.  My argument for Libertarianism is simple -  personal morality

I start with the Declaration of Independence: “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”  So, essentially our government does what they do with my consent. 

I know barely enough about Max Weber to type his name into Google, but it seems he’s credited with asserting the idea that the state has a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force.  I put those two ideas together (my consent and use of physical force) and figure we all give our government the right to use force.  So, the way I figure, it’s not okay for our government to use force in any situation where I personally wouldn’t use force.  

For example, if I’m not willing to kill a cute cow, I shouldn’t eat steak.  I don’t have to kill Bessy right now with my bare hands, but I have to be willing to snuff her if I want to chow down on a T-bone.  If it’s not okay for me, it’s not okay for a slaughterhouse.  Asking someone else to do something immoral is immoral.  If it’s not okay for me to break David Blaine’s hands so my magic show has less competition, it’s not okay for me to ask someone else to beat him up.  Someone else doing your dirty work is still your dirty work. 

If I had a gun, and I knew a murder was happening, (we’re speaking hypothetically here,  I’m not asking you to believe that I could accurately tell a murder from aggressive CPR), I would use that gun to stop that murder.  I might be too much of a coward to use a gun myself to stop a murder or rape or robbery, but I think the use of a gun is justified.  I’m even okay with using force to enforce voluntary contracts.    If I were a hero, I would use a gun to protect the people who choose to live under this free system and to stop another country from attacking America.  But I wouldn’t use a gun to force someone to love something like say…a library.

Look, I love libraries.  I spent a lot of time in the Greenfield Public Library when I was a child.  I would give money to build a library.  I would ask you to give money to build a library.  But, if for some reason you were crazy enough to think you had a better idea for your money than building my library, I wouldn’t pull a gun on you.  I wouldn’t use a gun to build an art museum, look at the wonders of the universe through a big telescope, or even find a cure for cancer. 

The fact that the majority wants something good does not give them the right to use force on the minority that don’t want to pay for it.   If you have to use a gun, it’s not really a very good idea.  Democracy without respect for individual rights sucks.  It’s just ganging up on the weird kid, and I’m always the weird kid. 

People try to argue that government isn’t really force.  You believe that?   Try not paying your taxes.  (This is only a thought experiment though -- suggesting someone not pay their taxes is probably a federal offense, and while I may be a nut, I’m not crazy.)  When they come to get you for not paying your taxes, try not going to court.  Guns will be drawn.  Government is force.

It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion.   Helping poor and suffering people yourself is compassion.  Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness.  People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered. If we’re compassionate, we’ll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right.  There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint. 

I’m a Libertarian nut because I don’t want my government to do anything in my name that I wouldn’t do myself. 

Penn Jillette is a celebrated magician, comedian, actor, author and producer.  He is best known as the larger, louder half of Penn & Teller, a role he has held since 1975.  With his partner Teller, Jillette has been awarded an Obie and an Emmy Award.  Their critically acclaimed stage show spent several years both on and off-Broadway, and now has a permanent home at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Jillette can be seen weekly co-hosting the 11 time Emmy-nominated Showtime series.  He also posts daily rants on his "Penn Says" VLog at Sony's www.Crackle.com site.

Time after time, Americans have taken to the streets to defend our constitutional rights, whether it was our livelihood at stake -- or our lives. But, what was the point of all the civil rights movements that came before, if we're about to let the government take our rights away now?

On his Wednesday night special, Glenn Beck argued that Americans are tired of having our rights trampled by "tyrannical" leaders from state and local governments who are ignoring our unalienable rights during this pandemic.

"Our nanny state has gone too far. The men and women in office -- the ones closest to our communities, our towns, our cities -- are now taking advantage of our fear," Glenn said. "Like our brothers and sisters of the past, we need to start making the decisions that will put our destiny, and our children's destiny, back into our hands."

It took less than two months of the coronavirus tyranny to make America unrecognizable, but some Americans are fighting back, risking losing their jobs and businesses or even jail time, as they battle to take back our civil rights.

Here are just a few of their stories:

After New Jersey's Atilis Gym reopened in defiance of the governor's executive order, the Department of Health shut them down for "posing a threat to the public health." Co-owner Ian Smith says somebody sabotaged the gym's toilets with enire rolls of paper to create the public health "threat."

Oregon Salon owner, Lindsey Graham, was fined $14 thousand for reopening. She said she was visited by numerous government organizations, including Child Protective Services, in what she believes are bullying tactics straight from the governor's office.

77-year-old Michigan barber, Karl Manke, refused to close his shop even when facing arrest. "I couldn't go another 30 days without an income," he said. But when local police refused to arrest him, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's (D) office suspending his business license instead.

Port of Seattle police officer Greg Anderson was suspended after he spoke out against enforcing what he called "tyrannical orders" imposed amid coronavirus lockdowns.

Kentucky mother-of-seven, Mary Sabbatino, found herself under investigation for alleged child abuse after breaking social distancing rules at a bank. After a social worker from child protective services determined there was no sign of abuse, he still sought to investigate why the Sabbatino's are homeschooling, and how they can give "adequate attention to that many children."

Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther was sentenced to seven days in jail after she defied the state-mandated stay-at-home orders to reopen her business.

Watch the video clip from Glenn's special below:


Watch the full special on BlazeTV YouTube here.

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

It took less than two months of the coronavirus tyranny to make America unrecognizable. Leaders from state and local governments across the U.S. have flattened the curve of some of our most basic constitutional rights, but some Americans are fighting back — and risking jail time or losing their businesses.

On Wednesday night's GBTV special, Glenn Beck argued that we're witnessing the birth of a new civil rights movement — and it's time to build a coalition of common sense to keep America as we know it free.

Watch the full special below:

Use code GLENN to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

On the radio program Thursday, Glenn Beck sat down with chief researcher Jason Buttrill to go over two bombshell developments that have recently come to light regarding former Vice President Joe Biden's role in the 2016 dismissal of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

"Wow! Two huge stories dropped within about 24 hours of each other," Jason began. He went on to explain that a court ruling in Ukraine has just prompted an "actual criminal investigation against Joe Biden in Ukraine."

This stunning development coincided with the release of leaked phone conversations, which took place in late 2015 and early 2016, allegedly among then-Vice President Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Ukraine's former President Petro Poroshenko.

One of the audiotapes seems to confirm allegations of a quid pro quo between Biden and Poroshenko, with the later admitting that he asked Shokin to resign despite having no evidence of him "doing anything wrong" in exchange for a $1 billion loan guarantee.

"Poroshenko said, 'despite the fact that we didn't have any corruption charges on [Shokin], and we don't have any information about him doing something wrong, I asked him to resign,'" Jason explained. "But none of the Western media is pointing this out."

Watch the video below for more details:


Listen to the released audiotapes in full here.

Use code GLENN to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

A recently declassified email, written by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and sent herself on the day of President Donald Trump's inauguration, reveals the players involved in the origins of the Trump-Russia probe and "unmasking" of then-incoming National Security Adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn.

Rice's email details a meeting in the Oval Office on Jan 5, 2017, which included herself, former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former President Barack Obama. Acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, fully declassified the email recently amid President Trump's repeated references to "Obamagate" and claims that Obama "used his last weeks in office to target incoming officials and sabotage the new administration."

On Glenn Beck's Wednesday night special, Glenn broke down the details of Rice's email and discussed what they reveal about the Obama administration officials involved in the Russia investigation's origins.

Watch the video clip below: