Sunday Snippet: Penn Jillette on Libertarian

“There are two things that I always believed about modern politics. One was that everyone who had ever run for major office was smarter than me. And the second thing was there was no one worse than Hillary Clinton. Both of those things have been disproven by Donald Trump.”

Hey! Isn’t that the guy who goes on stage with that other guy who doesn’t talk? No, not Jay and Silent Bob, the magician types. That’s right. Here is one half of the Penn and Teller duo, except this one has become much more politically outspoken in recent years. With the US election right around the corner, you can be sure that Penn Jillette has an opinion or two to share about the two remaining candidates.

Except, as a Libertarian, he probably feels like there should be a third candidate involved in the conversation too. In a recent Big Think video, which I’ve embedded below, Penn Jillette helps to explain the philosophy behind Libertarianism and how it might differ from the platforms of the Democrats and Republicans. He also happens to be a Bernie fan. Sort of.

Up until recently, you might say that the face of the Libertarian movement in the United States has been Ron Paul. You might also turn to his son Rand Paul. For this political season, we’d naturally look to Gary Johnson, as he is the Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States… even if he doesn’t get nearly the same kind of attention as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Put in the simplest sense possible, Libertarianism is founded on the idea that I don’t know what’s best for you, just as you don’t know what’s best for me. Libertarians are champions of personal freedom and small government. While I agree on some level, I also feel that some people are simply better equipped to handle difficult decisions. Someone with more experience and training presumably knows better than I do.

And like Penn Jillette, I’ve always assumed that if someone is able to run for major political office — whether or not I actually agree with their political ideology — they’re probably smarter than me. Now, I’m not so sure. I want the people in power to be better than me. I want them to make the hard decisions I may not be able to make. They should be in charge for a reason.

To my knowledge, this is the first time in American history where both major candidates are generally disliked. At this point, it really feels like you are choosing between the lesser of two evils. But at least you get to a choose, which is a privilege denied to many around the world. Let your voice be heard now and in November.