Years ago, and before his transformative weight loss, Penn Jillette was a guest on Real Time and was asked about his libertarian beliefs. He proceeded to explain that libertarians try to solve every problem by asking if it can be done with more freedom instead of less.
Penn Jillette schooled Bill Maher on what a real libertarian is once again just last week.
Bill Maher invited Penn Jillette back onto his show following a tumultuous week that saw numerous protests across the country against Confederate statues. Jillette opened by saying that if Confederate sympathizers wanted statues they should have won the war – noting that the losing side normally doesn’t get memorialized.
He followed up by correctly noting that Thomas Jefferson was against such idolatry and wouldn’t approve of a statue of himself. In sum, Penn Jillette proposed removing all such statues from public land – as it isn’t a proper responsibility of government.
After they got through the news of the day, Bill Maher got right back Penn Jillette’s libertarian beliefs. Of course, Maher started with the vote that Jillette cast for Hillary Clinton. Although Jillette did end up voting for Clinton in Nevada, he did say at the time that he “traded” his vote for at least ten votes for Gary Johnson in other states.
He explained to Maher that the only reason he voted for Clinton was because he personally knew just how bad of a person Donald Trump is from his time on The Apprentice.
Penn Jillette takes Bill Maher to school
Finally, Bill Maher got to the heart of the issue and started to build a libertarian strawman which Jillette burned to the ground in short order. Maher insisted that libertarians go too far in insisting that the FDA or EPA is abolished. But Jillette quickly reminded him that isn’t the priority. There are countless other laws, regulations, programs, agencies, and departments to get rid of before that needs to be looked at.
The icing on the cake was when Bill Maher insisted that “without government help you’re not going be able to even know what good food is.” Jillette proceeded to school Bill Maher on what a real libertarian is and what their priorities really are. Libertarianism is not anarchism, and libertarians do believe there is a limited role for government in some areas.
Jillette again said that libertarians simply try to solve problems with more freedom instead of less, although the answer is sometimes no. He followed that up by explaining that the first thing libertarians want to do is to abolish corporate welfare and crony capitalism; not end public education. Once that is done, there’ll be plenty of opportunity to discuss how to reduce the size and scope of other government programs.
“That all sounds like common sense,” replied Maher who clearly appreciated the reasonable, rational argument.
Afterwards, the ever optimistic Jillette explained how he felt that Trump’s presidency could be a good thing by leading to an ultimate reduction in executive power.
There’s also a more tongue-in-cheek realization: there’s no Illuminati out there. If there was, there’s no way they would have allowed Trump to win in the first place.
Watch their entire exchange in full below: