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Penn Jillette on his atheist libertarianism

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More  August 18, 2011 10:56 AM

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Massachusetts native Penn Jillette is one of the more prominent libertarians in America known for something other than being a libertarian: he's the talking half of the Las Vegas based magician duo known as Penn & Teller. His recent post on explains why he is atheist but more importantly a libertarian.

What makes me libertarian is what makes me an atheist -- I don't know. If I don't know, I don't believe. I don't know exactly how we got here, and I don't think anyone else does, either. We have some of the pieces of the puzzle and we'll get more, but I'm not going to use faith to fill in the gaps. I'm not going to believe things that TV hosts state without proof. I'll wait for real evidence and then I'll believe.

And I don't think anyone really knows how to help everyone. I don't even know what's best for me. Take my uncertainty about what's best for me and multiply that by every combination of the over 300 million people in the United States and I have no idea what the government should do.

The driving force of the piece is this appearance on Piers Morgan Tonight.

Jillette has done as much as any entertainer in America to spread the ideas of libertarianism. His show on Showtime, BS, tackled libertarian pet topics like "family values", gun control, taxation, the War on Drugs, recycling, and popular subjects like NASA, sex, stress, and lawn care. BS just completed its tenth and final season. Look for another Penn & Teller project that is sprinkled with libertarianism to pop up on the Discovery Channel this fall.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Garrett Quinn began writing for newspapers at age 17 with CNC in his native South Shore. He has been published in BlueMassGroup, RedMassGroup, Pioneer Investigates, and Wonkette. He is a More »

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