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.

'Lord, we are SORRY it has taken us this long': BlazeTV hosts react to historic Roe v. Wade decision

Photo by Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Supreme Court of the United States officially overturned Roe V. Wade, and the debate over abortion rights has been given back to the states. On this historic day, BlazeTV hosts celebrate the Supreme Court's incredible decision and take a look at some of the insane reactions as the left comes completely undone.

Jason Whitlock: Today will forever stand as a pivotal moment in our nation’s history

The Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v. Wade. The decision and the reaction to it have already revealed a lot about our people and politics. Pro-life groups celebrate, pro-choice groups call for “a night of rage,” and Nancy Pelosi just seems completely confused by the United States Constitution.

Glenn Beck reacts LIVE to Roe v. Wade ruling: 'Lord, we are SORRY it has taken us this long'

I never thought that in my lifetime, I would see Roe v. Wade be overturned. But today, that day has come. The Supreme Court has voted 6 to 3 to return decisions about abortion to the states. But this fight isn't over. We are about to see good versus evil side by side. Many states will stand with the unborn. But others will become abortion mills. It's your turn to choose now, America!

Allie Beth Stuckey: 'Praise God, Roe v. Wade is overturned!'

I don't know about you, but I just had the most euphoric feelings. It almost seems too good to be true. I didn't think there was any way that this would actually happen, especially with all the backlash, intimidation, and violence toward the Supreme Court justices. And yet, here we are. Roe v. Wade has been overturned. This is an amazing day!

Dave Rubin: Big disagreement on what happens next now that Roe v. Wade is overturned

Dave Rubin, Libby Emmons, Jeffrey A. Tucker, and David Reaboi debate what will happen in the wake of the Supreme Court’s breaking decision on Roe v. Wade. Now that abortion rights have been pushed back to the states, will there be a summer of massive riots or not? Will the Roe v. Wade ruling make America’s political polarization significantly worse?

Stu Burguiere: Here are the reasons SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade

I never thought this would happen. I never thought I would see this day. I just never ever ever ever never ever believed that Roe v. Wade would actually be overturned. I really didn't. But let's take a look at the reasons this day has finally come ...

The Rick & Bubba Show: 'This is history! Unfortunately we're 60 million lives too late'

We were live on the air when news broke of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned its controversial 1973 Roe v. Wadeopinion, concluding that there is no constitutional right to an abortion.

"The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives," the syllabus of the decision reads.

As expected, the leftist outrage erupted instantaneously, fueled largely by the misinformed idea that overturning Roe v. Wade means abortion will be banned nationwide. But, as stated in the above-mentioned Supreme Court syllabus, the authority has actually been returned to individual states and their duly elected lawmakers.

One such misinformed leftist, Parkland shooting survivor Cameron Kasky, was infuriated that those awful Supreme Court justices "just voted to kill women." So he took to Twitter to urge people to go to the homes of said Supreme Court justices to "let them know how you feel."

"Go to the home of every Supreme Court justice who just voted to kill women. Let them know how you feel," Kasky tweeted.

The backlash was immediate:

Kasky decided to delete his original tweet because he is apparently "sick of republicans talking to [him]." But, unfortunately for Kasky, the internet is indeed forever:

Speaking from the White House, President Joe Biden dutifully helped spread the misinformation about the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and took the opportunity to prompt voters to elect more Democrats in November so that Congress can write abortion protections into law. Did the president just let slip the real reason Congress hasn't made any effort to start writing such laws in the nearly two months since Justice Samuel Alito's draft opinion was "leaked" in early May?

Watch Glenn Beck and producer Stu Burguere discuss how Biden's speech reveals that Democrats are absolutely terrified of the upcoming midterm elections. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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 multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

CNN reporter tries to 'ambush' GOP candidate Kari Lake, IMMEDIATELY regrets it

Image source: (left) Video screenshot/ (Right) Mario Tama/Getty Images

CNN senior national reporter Kyung Lah thought she'd caught Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake off guard when she asked for an impromptu interview outside an event, but ended up sorely regretting her decision.

Lake, a former Fox news anchor, shook hands with Lah as she approached and immediately pointed out that the CNN reporter wasn't wearing a mask any more, a barbed reference to a contentious interview in October 2021, in which Lah smeared the GOP candidate as a “rising star of the right-wing and proud spreader of lies." Lah asked if Lake had “a minute to chat.”

“I’ll do an interview," Lake answered, "as long as it airs on CNN+. Does that still exist? I didn’t think so, because the people don’t like what you guys are peddling, which is propaganda. Thank you.”

Lake then walked into the event, leaving Lah utterly speechless.

It looks like Lake gained quite a few fans on Twitter:

Kari Lake has been a longtime friend to "The Glenn Beck Program." She joined Glenn last August to tell Glenn why she left the corrupt world of media, what prompted her to enter "the even more corrupt world of politics," and how she plans to make a big difference in her battleground state of Arizona.

Watch the video clip below to catch the conversation. Can't watch? Download the podcast 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 multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

Hunter's Biden's latest BIZARRE scandal reveals how red-flag laws REALLY work

Photo by Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Even if red-flag laws weren't unconstitutional (which they are), they've never been about your safety. They're about your submission, argued Glenn Beck on the radio program. Think of it this way: If red flag laws became the law of the land, do you think President Joe Biden’s son Hunter would lose his guns or face charges for violating the gun laws we already have?

You may have heard that he once "lost" a gun in a dumpster by a school. But there's a whole lot more to the bizarre tale. Newly revealed texts from Hunter's abandoned laptop detail the strange drama that unfolded when Hallie Biden, Hunter's sister-in-law-turned-lover, threw his handgun into a dumpster near a Delaware school in October 2018. The gun was found and turned in to police, but like so many of the Biden family scandals, the chaos created a sandstorm that conveniently helped cover Hunter's tracks. Only tidbits of information have emerged, the most significant of which is that the gun in question was purchased by Hunter illegally and, of course, no charges were filed as a result.

Glenn broke down the details of the most recently revealed Hunter Biden scandal, noting in particular that no charges or arrests were ever made as a result.

"If you voted for Joe Biden and you believe in all of these red-flag laws, then why isn't Hunter Biden in jail today?" Glenn asked.

"You and I both know that the ramifications of Hunter Biden's activities and his tragic saga go well beyond Hunter Biden, because they are teaching people a lesson. We are moving towards a society that has a ruling class that lives above their own edicts. They tell us they know better. They tell us that our neighbors and even some of us are dangerous, while ignoring the dangers in their own lives or in their own families ... We saw it during COVID-19 and we will see it again with gun regulations, 'The rules are for thee and not for me.' This is why Americans cannot give an inch, not one inch of our liberty away on the grounds of the government's good faith. They have no good faith left. They have violated every single principle of liberty and they've done it in a name of they know better," he said.

"Don't be fooled," Glenn added. "Just as we saw during COVID-19, just as we saw with the Patriot Act that is now being horribly abused by the people in power that swore they'd never abuse it, red-flags are not about your safety. Period. They are about your submission."

Watch the video clip below to catch the conversation. Can't watch? Download the podcast 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 multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.