Skip to comments.Penn Jillette: Why Iím a Libertarian Nut Instead of Just a Nut
Posted on 05/20/2009 2:10:08 PM PDT by FreeKeys
I dont speak for all Libertarians any more than Sean Penn speaks for all Democrats. Im not even sure my LP membership card is up to date. Ive voted Libertarian as long as I can remember but I dont really remember much before the Clintons and the Bushes. Those clans made a lot of us bugnutty. When I go on Glenns show he calls me a Libertarian, I think thats 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 dont know if everyone would be better off under a Libertarian government. I dont know what would be best for anyone. I dont even know whats best for me. What makes me Libertarian is I dont think anyone else really knows whats 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 hes 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, its not okay for our government to use force in any situation where I personally wouldnt use force.
For example, if Im not willing to kill a cute cow, I shouldnt eat steak. I dont 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 its not okay for me, its not okay for a slaughterhouse. Asking someone else to do something immoral is immoral. If its not okay for me to break David Blaines hands so my magic show has less competition, its 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, (were speaking hypothetically here, Im 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. Im 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 wouldnt 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 wouldnt pull a gun on you. I wouldnt 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 dont want to pay for it. If you have to use a gun, its not really a very good idea. Democracy without respect for individual rights sucks. Its just ganging up on the weird kid, and Im always the weird kid.
People try to argue that government isnt 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, Im 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.
Its 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 were compassionate, well 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.
Im a Libertarian nut because I dont want my government to do anything in my name that I wouldnt 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.
Penn and Teller are the greatest show in Las Vegas. Well worth every penny.
I believe I’m much more in agreement with Libertarians these days than with big government republicans.
“I dont know what would be best for anyone. I dont even know whats best for me.”
The maxim ‘Nothing but perfection’ may be spelled ‘p-a-r-a-l-y-s-i-s’: Churchill
Well said. I wonder if Teller feels the same. ;)
“the principles of LIVE-AND-LET-LIVE”
Just who is against those principles? Could you please be specific, rather than create a faceless imaginary boogeyman like Meghan McCain does?
If you want societal acceptance of homos, leading to more & more teaching of the joys of sodomy to kids in school, then please say so. If you want legalized drugs, then please, say so.
A conservative inherantly believes in live and let live. What particularly causes you to use the caps lock there?
He doesn’t speak for everyone, he claims. Teller doesn’t speak for anyone!
Same here. The only major issue where I disagree with Libertarians is legalization of recreational drugs.
“I believe Im much more in agreement with Libertarians these days than with big government republicans.”
Conservatives like me are, too...wierd, huh?
I watched their show around Easter at the Rio. It was meh. I guess I have seen some of their tricks before on television and on the internet so it somewhat ruined my experience. However, Ka at the MGM was freaking amazing. Expensive, but amazing.
For example, if Im not willing to kill a cute cow, I shouldnt eat steak.
Yep, he's just a nut. Equating the use of physical force with the killing of an animal as a source of food? Seriously???
Good for Penn Jillette. I think I’m about a 98 percent libertarian.
Oh, I don't know. Just thought the concept's been way too ignored lately. Your message appears a bit hostile. Did you mean to be? If so, I'm not in the mood for an argument today. I simply thought some of our friends here would like to see this column, and that's why I posted it. Period.
Teller is a staunch libertarian too. In fact I think he has influenced Penn more than the other way around.
If he's a Libertarian, he doesn't want them discriminated against BY THE GOVERNMENT. Like laws against sodomy.
That does NOT mean private individuals can't discriminate. No Libertarian would force you to rent to a homosexual couple, or employ a homosexual.
Hence, no "societal acceptance".
The shot across the bow....to the Republicans. Even my 82 year old MIL has become a Libertarian....after a lifetime of straight Republican voting.
What have you done RNC? Are you insane or just stupid...?