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.

There are new curriculum standards being implemented into schools throughout the nation for health classes that not only go far beyond what's appropriate for young children, but are entrenched in clear political biases, too. Under the standards, third-graders are taught about hormone blockers and endless gender identities, and topics get shockingly graphic for kids as young as 11. Some schools are even teaching their teachers and kids to ignore what parents have to say about these topics. And the worst part may be that many parents are completely unaware what their children are being taught.

Tina Descovich, co-founder of Moms for Liberty, joined "The Glenn Beck Program" to explain exactly what you can ask at your next school board meeting to ensure this "horrifying" curriculum isn't being taught in your kid's school.

Watch the video clip below:

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It should come as no surprise that a newsworthy story receives more media coverage when released on a Monday than a Friday. The reason is in part due to a large number of news-consuming Americans checking out for the week to focus on their weekend plans rather than the news.

On Monday's radio program, Glenn Beck shared information that President Joe Biden decided to release on Friday — when fewer people would notice — regarding the Climate Finance report. This report is marketed to Americans as "A Roadmap To Build a Climate-Resilient Economy." But Glenn believes the report to be Biden's Great Reset warning shot to banks.

In this clip, Glenn warned that if Americans don't stand together, in eight years we all indeed will own nothing. Watch the clip for the full story. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.



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On today's radio program, Glenn Beck was joined by Bill O'Reilly to discuss the top stories of the week.

For O'Reilly, the biggest story this week centered around someone mysteriously missing from mainstream media news reports today: Mark Zuckerberg. Specifically, O'Reilly said it's the 'scandalous' way the Facebook CEO spent nearly $420 million to influence the 2020 election — and did so successfully.

Watch the clip to hear the full conversation. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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On Thursday's radio program, Grace Smith and her father, Andy, joined Glenn Beck on the phone and provided a first-hand account of Grace's refusal to wear a mask at school.

Smith, 16, began a maskless protest after her school district in Laramie, Wyoming, decided to implement a mask mandate. As a result, Grace received three suspensions, was issued two $500-citations, and was eventually arrested.

"How long were you in jail?" Glenn asked.

Grace said was taken to jail but was never booked nor was she was placed in a jail cell.

Glenn commended Grace's father, Andy, for raising such a "great citizen" and asked if it was Grace's idea to protest. Andy said it was Grace's idea, explaining that they took the position of arguing on the grounds of civil rights rather than the efficacy of wearing a mask.

Grace has since withdrawn from public school and started a home school program. She also told Glenn that she will continue to fight the school district, legally.

You can donate to Grace's legal fund here.

To hear more from this conversation click here.

Disclaimer: The content of this clip does not provide medical advice. Please seek the advice of local health officials for any COVID-19 and/or COVID vaccine related questions & concerns.

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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.