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Article posted Oct 20 2011, 4:13 PM Category: General Source: Reddit Print

Penn Jillette gets it.

Via byukid r/Libertarian

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Comments 1 - 20 of 69 Add Comment Page of 4 >

Posted: Oct 20 2011, 9:07 PM

193200 gets what?

he gets nothing.

Posted: Oct 21 2011, 11:36 PM

685 Yea, well, if the rich were doing it without guns pointed at them, there wouldn't be any need for the guns.

Posted: Oct 21 2011, 11:46 PM

99132 What a pompous ass.

Posted: Oct 22 2011, 3:34 AM

7694 He's totally right! Compassion is only compassion when you do it yourself--plus a heck of a whole lot more fulfilling.

Perhaps you three "Anonymous" should try it.

Posted: Oct 22 2011, 3:35 AM

7044 Way to be part of the 1%, Penn. We're taking this shit back so you may as well learn to like it or maybe try out Russia. I hear they don't take care of their people over there. You should fit right in.

Posted: Oct 22 2011, 3:35 AM

17326 The poor can't afford to help the poor, you rich bastard.

Posted: Oct 22 2011, 5:03 AM

206188 lol you all are idiots who miss the point, It's real cute but kind of disappointing. You're dithering bags of idiot, walking around in a rage you yourselves will forever be confused about.
Teller's Mom

Posted: Oct 22 2011, 5:15 AM

7247 When is it going to be his turn to shut up and Teller's to speak?

Posted: Oct 22 2011, 5:18 AM

72173 If he wants a true Libertarian paradise he should live in Haiti. He's just another person who can't handle the gray areas of life. Third world countries have very weak non-centralized government, the majority are disenfranchised with no public schooling, no support systems to help them get out of poverty, terrible infrastructure, poor health standards, and no strong businesses. There you go, Libertarians, now please try to think your ideas all the way through before you go trying to change the world (which used to be a Libertarian's wet dream, but ask yourself why we worked so hard to get away from it).

Posted: Oct 22 2011, 5:24 AM

142167 Im poor but i still give to the homeless. i politically believe in taxation because i know Haliburton wont give a dime.
jim Brigman

Posted: Oct 22 2011, 7:59 AM

69255 what an idiot, no body is pointing a gun at any one to get them to help, the only gun pointing is us pointing the guns at other countries to get them to do what we want them to , fucking ass hole.
jim Brigman

Posted: Oct 22 2011, 8:08 AM

69255 We want cops, teachers , military, good roads and bridges, these things cost money, revenue comes from taxes, pretty fucking simple.
The rich got their tax break and they still sent the jobs over seas where people work for $.32 an hour. Enough is never enough for them. They worry about what kind of fucking caviar to eat while some people wonder where their next meal will come from. It is sad really. I don't make that much, but I do not complain when 20% of my check disappears every week. But they will bitch if they have to pay 30% even though what they have left over is what I make all year. Wish I had their fucking problems.
Bob Mitchell

Posted: Oct 22 2011, 9:28 AM

10812 Oh Penn! You know I love you man! You are a genius! But you don't get it on this one. People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed and sheltered. Using our government to ensure everyone's basic needs are met is not compassion. It is self interest. I do not want to live surrounded by starving, sick, stupid, naked homeless people. I support an Economic Bill of Rights as proposed by FDR. We might not be able to get there today; but, we can do better and should!

Posted: Oct 22 2011, 10:26 AM

184147 I think he was talking about feeding, medicating, educating the Iraq people... at gun point.

Posted: Oct 22 2011, 11:19 AM

6962 I don't know what he was originally talking about, but it's clear that the quote is being used in support of Libertarianism (Look at the tag under the picture).

Anyway, that's a stupid argument for him to make. Voting for the Government to give people money (among other things), is voting to be taxed in order to give those things. When someone votes yes on some kind of social service, they are saying "Take my money and use it to help people that need it."

People do this for all sorts of reasons, but one of the largest is simply because they don't know what to do with the money. A single person with no experience might not have the skill to build something for their community, or might not have the time to go to a soup kitchen. But various Governments have entire institutions dedicated to social services, and by allowing yourself to be taxed in order to keep these places functioning, a person is in a very real way contributing to their community, even if they lack the faculties or capital to do something on their own.

There's nothing selfish or self-righteous about it. I think that Libertarianism has a lot of good things to say, but Penn is completely missing the mark with this quote.

Posted: Oct 22 2011, 5:21 PM

18496 I believe the best way to help the poor is to help people be less poor. Part of the problem we've been having is that because we've deregulated everything, and allowed money to become concentrated in the hands of a very few.

Lots of people seem to love the idea of as near-total uninvolvement by government in their lives as possible. Frankly, so do I - as far as people's personal lives.

But the lack of regulation of large corporations enabled them - and the people who run them - to accumulate so much wealth that they ended up with so much concentrated leverage that they ended up skewing the laws, and manipulating the flow of money itself, to the point that more and more money and power was concentrated into their hands.

I'm amazed continually by calls for reducing the power of government. For my whole life, we've steadily removed the power of government to regulate businesses, tax the wealthiest people, and determine who gets what. And things have gotten steadily worse for more and more people.

In the original quote, Mr. Gillette states explicitly that he isn't sure what to do about these major problems, and that he's not sure he understands them.

I agree with the idea that you don't help people by just giving out handouts willy-nilly. That doesn't mean public welfare programs for people who are truly in need aren't necessary or useful for society. But the need for such assistance would be a lot smaller if there were enough jobs to go around, and if they paid a living wage to everyone who had them.

The vast majority of people don't actually want handouts. The idea that people will sit around and enjoy living off food stamps unless you force them to work is hyperbolically exaggerated. Think about it - how many people do you know who would really just sit around and live off food stamps and in project housing? I'm sure we've all got at least one lazy-ass person in our family or social circle, who would love to live on your couch and eat cheetos all day, but the vast majority of people aren't like that. And even the couch potatoes I know generally do some sort of work to support themselves, and none of them are on the dole.

There are also perfectly good _selfish_ reasons for a society to offer some level of assistance to it's poorest members - for one thing, if you don't, you will eventually see marked increases in crime, violence, disease, and yes - greed.

When I was young and stupid, I used to be annoyed that my tax money would be used to fund schools, because I knew I would never have any children. I felt it was unfair that I had to pay for other people's kids to be educated. Until it occurred to me that the alternative is living in a society full of uneducated people. I'm no longer young, and I'm at least less stupid - and I have a jillion better reasons to want to see people educated, and to be happy to have my taxes support that, but I still think that reasoning makes sense.

If your tax dollars don't go to education, you end up surrounded by uneducated people.

If they don't go to relieve the worst effects of poverty, you end up surrounded by both suffering and _desperate_ people.


Posted: Oct 22 2011, 5:57 PM

1075 @Coyote


The vast majority of all people on welfare are on it for a small period of time, using it essentially to survive a rough time in their lives.

However, in a counter-intuitive number, 70% of people on welfare at any given time have been on it for more than two years.

The problem is that naturally, it only looks at a snapshot of time. That one month, 70% of people on welfare were there for two years. It excludes that 30% who have only been on it for a few months, and the *millions* that go through it as part of that 30%, versus the few thousand that are represented by the 70%.

Is this a measurement of the "welfare queens?" Not necessarily. The study also reveals many of those in the 70% are barely getting by on the welfare they receive. It isn't that they are gaming the system, but rather, they need MORE help to leave poverty, help they can't or don't get.

Welfare helps far more people than it hurts, and it benefits the nation as a whole. The complete lie that people sit around waiting for welfare checks and subsist off that check is a fallacy of its own right and provably false.

Posted: Oct 23 2011, 2:15 PM

7436 You guys just don't get it!!!! Penn is talking about using war to justify what our government calls helping people.

Posted: Oct 23 2011, 5:18 PM

6681 7436 said: "Penn is talking about using war to justify what our government calls helping people."

Thanks for the clarification, as the quote is not referenced to any topic, and thus is easily misunderstood. So the comments of outrage are quite justified, and IMO, mostly well written.

On 2nd thought: Are you really sure about this? Where's /your/ reference?

Posted: Oct 23 2011, 10:22 PM

99237 This guys an insensitive idiot.
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