Sunday, May 1, 2016

How Penn Jillette became a libertarian

Penn Jillette: How I Became a Libertarian - Newsweek:

April 30, 2016 - "The way the media tend to present libertarians is that we’re conservatives, or we’re people with money who want to smoke dope. And it’s really not true at all for me. I do not come to libertarianism because I’m a really successful businessperson, or a CEO, or because I have to fight regulations.

"I really come to it from a purely hippie point of view. I have always been a peacenik, and in the '80s I met a man named Tim Jenison. I was then just kind of your standard liberal, and Tim was libertarian.

"I started giving all the arguments for why the government had to be more powerful, and Tim said a really simple sentence to me. He said, 'Do you think it’s OK to punish people who’ve done nothing wrong?' And I said 'No' — even though I felt somewhere in my heart that it was a trick question. And then he said, 'Why is it OK to reward people who’ve done nothing right?'

"He said, 'Can’t you see that you can’t reward without punishing? They’re the same thing.' And that shut me up for a little while.

"Then Tim started saying, 'You know, you’re so against force. You’ve never hit anybody in your life. You’ve been beat up. You’ve been in carnival situations that have gone badly and people have hit you and you’ve not hit them back because you didn’t think it was life threatening. You are insanely peacenik in terms of the way you see war, what the country should do. Why do you think it’s so OK for the government to use force to get things done that you think are good ideas?'

"I started thinking that one really good definition of government is that government is supposed to have a monopoly on force. The government is the guys with the guns, and we are the people who tell the government what they can do. So in my morality, I shouldn’t be able to tell anyone to do something with a gun that I wouldn’t do myself.

"Now I want to add here that I am incompetent and I am a coward, so this is all theoretical, what I’m about to say — but if you asked me: Would I use a gun to stop a murder? Yeah! Would I use a gun to stop a rape? Yeah! Would I use the threat of a gun to stop a robbery? Yeah, I think you kind of have to. Would I use a gun to protect our country and our way of life? Yeah!

Would I use a gun to build a library? No!

"Do I think libraries are really important? Wicked important! Really important!.... So will I give my money to help someone build a library? Yeah! Will I ask other people to give their money to help build a library? Yeah! Will I beg other people to give money to build a library? Yeah! Will I lie to people to get them to give money to build a library? A little bit.

"Will I use a gun to get someone to build a library? No.

"And that is, in a nutshell, my entire view of politics: that I have to look over what people want the government to do and say 'If I were given all the power, would I use a gun to accomplish what they want to accomplish?'"

Read more:
'via Blog this'

No comments:

Post a Comment