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.

We've heard a lot about critical race theory lately, and for good reason: It's a racist ideology designed to corrupt our children and undermine our American values. But most of what we see are the results of a process that has been underway for decades. And that's not something the mainstream media, the Democrat Party, and even teachers unions want you to know. They're doing everything in their power to try and convince you that it's no big deal. They want to sweep everything under the rug and keep you in the dark. To fight it, we need to understand what fuels it.

On his Wednesday night special this week, Glenn Beck exposes the deep-seated Marxist origins of CRT and debunks the claims that it's just a harmless term for a school of legal scholarship. Newsweek opinion editor Josh Hammer joins to argue why we must ban critical race theory from our schools if we want to save a very divided nation.

Watch the full "Glenn TV" episode below:

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On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck blasted the Democrats — and anyone else on the left — who have been so eager to open our southern U.S. border for the past several months, but also willing to turn a blind eye to the Cuban people in need of help today.

"While we are welcoming people from any country, all over the world, without any kind of information, and setting them into our country, putting them on American planes paid for by American taxpayers," Glenn began. "And our Coast Guard Cutters are turning these [Cuban] people away. Shame on you! Shame on you!"

Glenn said that he's "sick and tired" of hearing about "brave" leftist activists like Colin Kaepernick, who protest the America flag while wearing Che Guevara and Fidel Castro t-shirts. Meanwhile, the Cuban people are risking their lives by taking to the sea to escape their oppressive regime and come to America.

"Anybody who glorifies Che doesn't know their ass from their elbow. You can't call them a human rights activist. You're protesting the American flag, because you so deeply believe in the right to be free? And yet, you wear a Che T-shirt?" Glenn said.

Glenn went on to argue that, even though the left has "bastardized" the meaning of our country, he still believes America is the best nation on Earth. In fact, he'd give up his citizenship "in a heartbeat" if another country could prove to be better, more noble, and more free. But no other nation exists like ours, he said, which is why it's so imperative we fight for freedom here, in Cuba, and around the world.

Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn explain:

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There's a new "reality" spreading, and the mere act of questioning it has become incredibly dangerous, Wall Street Journal investigative journalist Abigail Shrier told Glenn on the most recent episode of "The Glenn Beck Podcast."

Shrier's book, "Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters," exposes the radical gender activism that — like critical race theory — has overtaken our children's schools and culture. But even worse, she warned, it could end your parental rights for good.

Shrier made it clear she is by no means "anti-trans," but simply speaking up against the extremes of this new "reality" has made her enemy No. 1 to many activists. Her book has been bashed so hard by the Left that Target has stopped selling it twice, Amazon once banned ads for it, and the American Booksellers Association even called sending it to others "a serious, violent incident."

In the clip below, Shrier explained why she believes "there may be no hope for the public school system."

"You have teachers behaving like activists across the country who have no interest in actually teaching. They believe their job is to remake your child," she asserted. "We're seeing so much evidence of that, I think it's fair to say that it may be too deeply rooted in the ideology being taught in public school. I'm not sure that the public school system is redeemable at this point."

Watch the video clip below for more or find the full podcast with Abigail Shrier here:

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What is actually in Texas' new GOP-led voting bill? Nearly every Texas House Democrat fled the state to block its passage, calling it racist and oppressive, and President Joe Biden backed them as well.

But Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Friday to set the record straight and call out the lies: All of these claims are "completely false." He also explained his promise to "arrest" the Texas House Democrats when they return to the Lone Star State.

"What is in the bill is completely different than what they're saying, what Kamala Harris is saying, what President Biden is saying. What's in the bill actually increases the number of hours that people have to vote in the state of Texas. In the state of Texas, we have at least 12 days of early voting, and we are adding hours to those days. And on top of that, we are giving people time off from work to be able to vote. Bottom line, we're making it easier to vote in the state of Texas," Gov Abbott explained.

"In comparison, Delaware — the state that President Biden votes in — has exactly zero hours of early voting," he added. "That said, there is one thing that we're doing in the state of Texas, and that is we're making sure we tighten the reins on mail-in ballots that can lead to voter fraud. And it's not me saying that. It's a federal judge, appointed by Barack Obama, in Corpus Christi, Texas, who wrote in a legal opinion that voter fraud occurs, quote, in abundance as it concerns mail-in ballots. We know. Texans know. There is fraud in mail-in ballots in the state of Texas. It must be fixed. That's one thing we're trying to do. That being said, all these claims that we're denying people the right to vote and yada, yada, yada, are completely false."

Abbott went on to discuss the much-debated voter ID laws in Texas and to explain why Democrats insist on calling basic voter ID requirements "racist."

"When Democrats do not have truth on their side, they resort to one single word and that is 'racism' ... Texas implemented voter ID almost a decade ago, and when we went through that fight, what word did they use? Racism," he said. "Guess what? After Texas imposed voter ID requirements in the state of Texas, there have been more people voting and more people of color who went to vote. Voting didn't get harder. It got easier and more abundant in the state of Texas. And so, once again, Democrats have absolutely no legal standing, other than to say, 'racism.'"

Glenn asked Gov. Abbott to explain his pledge to "arrest" the Democratic lawmakers that fled once they return to Texas.

"Let me explain how this works. So, whenever there is a break of quorum, which is what is happening now — meaning there is not a sufficient number of people who are showing up to the Texas House of Representatives for the Texas House to engage in business. Whenever there's a quorum break like that, the House issues what's called a 'call on the House.' And when that happens, the sergeant-at-arms is authorized to work with the Texas Department of Public Safety, to — you can call it arrest, apprehend, whatever you want to call it — any of the members who are not in the Texas House of Representatives and bring them to the Texas House where they will be 'cabined' with no ability to leave the Texas House chamber, without a permission slip from the speaker."

Watch the video clip below for more details:

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