Why Do People Believe in Fantasies?

It's good to be skeptical. It's really good to be skeptical about government.


We human beings sure are gullible. Polls report that 27 percent of Americans believe in ghosts, and 25 percent in astrology. Others believe mediums, fortunetellers, faith healers, and assorted magical phenomena.

I'd think the astrologers or the psychics or the ghost hunters would be eager to prove they were for real. Not only would they convince skeptics, they'd make a million dollars.

That's what James Randi, the magician, author, and debunker of bogus claims, will pay anyone who can prove he or she actually has an ability that can't be explained by science.

"All people have to do is make a claim, come to us, fill out the form, arrange a protocol, and then we have somebody else do the test," Randi says. He won't do the test himself, he says, because when psychics failed in the past, they claimed that Randi put out "evil vibrations" to thwart their powers.

Has anyone taken up the challenge?

"We've done over 200 of them all over the world."

These days, TV is filled with commercials that claim that a bracelet will make people stronger. One shows people who are easily pulled over when they're not wearing the bracelet, but who withstand the pulling when wearing one.

I asked Randi the secret of this apparently sincere demonstration of the power of the bracelet. Apparently, when the subject wears the bracelet, the demonstrator covertly props him up. But even the test subject doesn't notice.

Why do so many people believe in such "magic"?

"They want magic answers." Also, the media "promote interest and belief in these things because sponsors love it. It sells products."

I have been surprised over the years, reporting on people who sell breast enlargers, baldness cures, and similar nonsense, that many were not just cheats. They had come to believe that their stuff worked. They saw what they wanted to see. Randi is skeptical that the big-name psychics actually believe.

"They have to know what they're doing," he says. "Sylvia Browne alone gets $750 for a 20-minute conversation over the telephone, and she's booked up for the next two years. Now, that's a pretty good business."

She doesn't really believe she has a gift?

"I don't think so. Because when … she comes up to something which is absolutely wrong … she makes all kinds of excuses right away. You have to be quick-thinking in order to do that."

If she really did believe, I'd think she'd volunteer for Randi's million-dollar challenge.

"I'm amazed (that) there isn't a line of people saying, 'I want the million,'" he told me. "A million dollar prize. It's there. Come get it."

It's good that Randi and occasional TV reporters expose the sellers of such "magic." But after I did that for 25 years, I concluded that the harm done by those hucksters is minor compared to the scams perpetuated by politicians.

They promise fiscal responsibility. Then they spend like drunken sailors.

They promise to cure poverty. Then their programs make it worse.

They promise to create jobs. But then they make life so complex and unpredictable that entrepreneurs are afraid to create jobs.

Almost none of their promises come true. But few people approach government with the skepticism it deserves.

Whether you believe in God—or psychics, or global warming—that's your business. I may think you're stupid, but if you waste your money on, say, a "strength" bracelet, you only harm yourself.

But being gullible about government hurts everyone. Government is force. When it sells us bunk, we have to pay even if we don't believe in or want it. If we don't pay up, men with guns will make sure we do.

It's good to be skeptical. It's really good to be skeptical about government.

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com.


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  1. Great picture. Superman and a sack of shit with big ears!

    1. Meanwhile, Superman encounters Black Vulcan at a Rotarian luncheon…

  2. A local radio show here in Houston (Michael Berry) had a caller yesterday – a self-proclaimed Sheila Jackson Lee supporter – who kept asking:

    “If none of these white Republicans want things from the government, why do they vote at all? That’s stupid.”

    The host replied:

    “Maybe they vote because they don’t want the government to do anything TO them.”

    “Well, that’s just stupid. What’s the point having a government at all, then?”


    1. Yeah, a “supporter.”

      1. I thought “leech” was too harsh.

        1. Re: West Texas,

          I thought “leech” was too harsh.

          What about “louse”? “Tick”? “Vampire”? “Tapeworm”?

    2. Re: West Texas,

      Which station? I sometimes listen to the Joe Pags Show on 950 AM.

      1. He’s on 950 from 3-5 in the afternoon and then on 740 from 5-7.

        Also a regular guest-host for Mark Levin’s national show.

        This particular call was on 950 but then it set him off and he kept talking about it on 740. Sheila Jackson Lee’s nonsense and her freeloader enablers are a regular topic on that show.

        1. You mean Congress-WHOOOOA-man Sheila Jackson Lee?

  3. I met a guy in a bar who was selling those magic bracelets. After an hour of ridiculing him, he shut me up by demostrating the bracelet on me. It actually did seem to make a difference in my balance.

    (For the sake of my testimonial’s credibility, let’s say I wasn’t also tossing back beers for that hour of ridicule.)

    1. Let me guess– He had you try it first without the bracelet and the second time with the bracelet. If he had reversed the order, you would have noticed that the opposite was true– You would have been more effective without it.

      It’s a scientific fact that people asked to perform a physical fact nearly always do significantly better the second time. There’s a name for this effect which I can’t recall. Really, though, it’s only logical that this would be the case.

      1. “Practice makes perfect?”

      2. Well, on the way home I passed the roadside sobriety test, smart guy. So something shored up my balance.

  4. This will degenerate into an atheist vs. theist battle in 3, 2, 1 . . .

    Bonus points to the first person to bring up “magical sky fairy,” on either side.

      1. Catholic!

      2. Islamic fanatic!

    1. You’re a fairy.

    2. Its the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Get it right you Anti-pastafarian!

    3. Re: grylliade,

      You heathen! Can’t you see this is a battle between libertarians and statist fucks?

  5. You talking to me?

    1. I’m in charge. Iron my skirt daddy.

      1. Show me what’s under your skirt and I will.

        1. I like to comparison shop. You first.

          1. I don’t wear a skirt.

            1. No skirt? Then how are we going to play Highlander, The Quickening, The Final Dimension, The Search for Vengeance, The Source, and my personal favorite Endgame

              1. Oh, OK I’ll wear a skirt. You’ll love The Final Dimension and the Endgame.

                1. I know I’ll love the Endgame but you need a safe word cause it might hurt you a little. Don’t pick STOP 😉

                  1. Wait a minute. I think Sky Mommy has a dick, no women watch Highlander.

                    1. Are you getting scared little boy? Bummer, I wanted to play caveman next

                    2. I’ll play, I’ll play!

                    3. Barney, I don’t think you’re the type of guy who would like me to tie your hands above your head, shave you, and finger-paint your whole body (except I don’t use fingers).

                    4. Do me, do me, do me….what do you use!?

                    5. Barney, I’m starting to think you really aren’t Barney Frank but another horny little boy who would love to play. Sky Daddy’s fear is the fun part.

  6. They promise fiscal responsibility then spend like drunken sailors.

    I take objection to this characterization. Unlike politicians, drunken sailors stop spending when their wallet is empty.

    1. And drunken sailors are the ones getting fucked.

      1. That depends on whether or not we got enough cash left over for hookers!

      2. Oh, and “whiskey-dick” starts becoming a real concern after the third dead bottle of Johnny Walker!

      3. …spending half my paycheck on rot gut and getting into the thong of a little Japanese stripper stage named “Bimbo Money-Maker”; fuck was I stupid (and broke) back then!

        Still, good times!

    2. Exactly. And drunken sailors only spend their own money.

      1. Until we start “booty calling” lonely housewives and stealing from their purses while they’re in the shower trying to wash off the disgust we put inside of them!

  7. So, we have an article that is 90% bashing on ideas that can be proven to be wrong, but that people believe anyway, and then about 4 sentences saying “Oh yeah, this applies to the government, too.”

    I was kind of hoping for some facts, figures, or even a table or graphic.

    1. You need to have faith that the graphic exists, even if you can’t see it or touch it.

      1. Do you believe in magic?

  8. Did you know gullible isn’t in the dictionary?

    1. What idiot would fall for that, outside of the socialist loons here???

      1. Oops. It’s “gullable.” My bad.

        1. There it is, the entry right next to my picture. See?

        2. The correct spelling is “GoreBull”, speaking of which,,,

    2. Re: H man,

      Did you know [the word] [“]gullible[“] isn’t [found] in the dictionary?

      You better get yourself a new dictionary. And a book on English grammar.

      And bring me a latte, while you’re at it.

      1. Someone needs to get busy writing his blog.

        1. Just as soon as I get my latte.

          1. Be careful, I think Sky Mommy has a dick.

            1. Sky Daddy, I’m so disappointed. I’m starting to think you don’t have a dick either-wait that’s a bigger turn-on.

              1. Rachel is that you?

  9. He won’t do the test himself, he says, because when psychics failed in the past, they claimed that Randi put out “evil vibrations” to thwart their powers.

    That’s just silly. Obviously anyone working at Randi’s behest puts out “evil vibrations”.

    1. It’s “Bad Vibrations”.

    2. I was once told by a hippie that my aura was “pure black.” And that was before I punched her in the throat.

      1. I was even hoping for an artificial pancreas. I don’t need the fucking competition.

      2. Same thing happened to me except I gave her a donkey punch instead!

        She did get the last laugh as the free clinic can attest…

  10. Obama’s not Superman, He’s Brainiac and he’s plotting to raise taxes on Lex Luthor.

    1. Let’s take this further: one of the greatest threats “Superman” faced was when “Brainiac” and “Lex Luthor” set aside their partisan differences in order to fuck over “Superman” and his friends.

      Also, I know people say Cheney was Luthor, but I think Karl Rove really deserves that “illustrious” title.

      1. Don’t forget that they were only successful because Mr. Mxyzptlk decided to evil rather than just impish.

        Short, pointy features, evil… Pelosi.

        1. I definitely could see Pelosi with Gilbert Gottfried’s voice (See Superman:TAS).

          1. She always sounded like Billy Quizboy to me.

            1. Actually, if you slightly slow down a recording of Fran Drescher. . .

              1. I’d pay to hear Fran say “I heard from a reliable source that she has a surgically-implanted baboon’s uterus.”

                1. I’d pay Fran just to not laugh. Ever. Again.

                  1. Tree-fitty.

                  2. Fair warning… you’ll only get paid in rape dollars.

                    1. linkie no goodie.

  11. I funny thing I find is those who claim to be great skeptics when it comes to religion or UFOs or other woo are some of the most ardent big happy government progressives I have ever met.

    Ideology: is dissolves skepticism on contact.

    1. I used to find a lot of ghost-believers, conspiracy nuts and Ouija-board believers among the collectivist crowd…presumably all progressive, big-government types today.

  12. By age 18, the typical American has had thirteen years of propaganda at the government indoctrination centers called public schools.

    K-12 classroom indoctrination is about 16,000 hours by age 18. Television viewing and homework add another 15,000+ hours of pro-state indoctrination.

    Inherent in all propaganda media is the message of the necessity and goodness of the State. Certainly some teachers and news outlets will discuss corruption in the State, but this is always with a view of perfecting the State, not eliminating it. (I.e., the State could be perfect if only the right people were in charge.)

    It’s amazing that there are so many people who can resist such extensive indoctrination.

    1. It’s amazing that there are so many people who can resist such extensive indoctrination.

      Really? By my reckoning, a loose estimate puts those who have resisted indoctrination at something like 1-5% of the population and shrinking. A good portion of those who have resisted are in jail getting raped, abroad raping somebody, or commenting on the internet like the neutered schmucks we are. For the most part, the pro-state indoctrination has been a complete success. I mean, if you score 95% on a calc exam, you fucking passed.


      Disclaimer: Drax has been playing too much Fallout: New Vegas and the appeal of post-apocalyptic justice and anarchy is perversely appealing to him.

      1. The appeal of anarchy isn’t perverse. Anarcho-capitalism is what libertarians graduate to when they finally get tired of statism.

        1. What is I think was using that word ironically?

    2. I don’t recall my calculus homework possessing any particular ideological spin.

      Geometry, now that was different. Those damned hippy rhombuses!

      1. Yeah.. look at most public school’s math curriculums and you’ll understand why that’s not an issue anymore.

  13. It’s good to be skeptical.
    It’s really good to be skeptical about government.
    It’s really, really, fucking super-ultra good to be skeptical about Fox Business reporters and their catapulted propaganda.

    John, just come out of the closet as a Republican.
    You’re not fooling anyone with your “libertarian” shtick.

      1. People watch me because I’m a lesbian and only government can make people like me feel empowered.

        1. People watch me because I’m retarded and only government indoctrination can make people like me seem entertaining.

        2. You’re a carpet muncher! If you were a real woman, we’d be on together.

    1. Because being for gay marriage and being entirely skeptical of the GOP wave is sooooooooo Republican.

      1. John Stossel agrees with the Republicans on 95% of all issues.

        At least Keith Olbermann and Sean Hannity are honest by being open partisan.

        1. Maybe that means the Republicans are right 95% of the time?

          Although I would argue that percentage is too high.

          When and if the Republicans and John Stossel are in agreement, that makes me think the Republicans are doing something right, not that Stossel is being partisan.

        2. Agreement on issues seems to be a pretty difficult statistic to quantify. Please show your work.

        3. I’d (based on absolutley no data, just my cursory estimation) place that agreement at closer to 55%. Even then only with the qualifier that Stossel agrees with 55% of the positions Republicans claim to support.

    2. Actually, he’s fooling a lot of people. Including a lot of libertarians that comment at Reason.

      Every Thursday I wait with bated breath for Stossel’s newest fluff piece.

      1. I’m a libertarian…and people believe in fantasies!

  14. A better statistic would be that only 10% of Americans don’t believe in any gods. This 10% is also unlikely to believe in psychics, UFOs, or other irrational belief systems. That leaves us with 90% of the population who have one or more irrational belief systems. The only thing that saves us is that no single irrational belief system predominates.

    1. I think it would be interesting, and fortunate, if we found out that the 10% composed of unbelievers are the most successful people in the country/world. Of course, it probably doesn’t work that way especially if certain otherwise rational captains of industry have to “believe” for the “sake” of their children, at the behest of their parents, siblings, wives and/or mistresses. For the feminists out there, replace feminine words with masculine where necessary and go eat a dick.

      1. There is a correlation between atheism and IQ.

        In 2008, intelligence researcher Helmuth Nyborg examined whether IQ relates to denomination and income, using representative data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, which includes intelligence tests on a representative selection of white American youth, where they have also replied to questions about religious belief. His results, published in the scientific journal Intelligence demonstrated that on average, Atheists scored 1.95 IQ points higher than Agnostics, 3.82 points higher than Liberal persuasions, and 5.89 IQ points higher than Dogmatic persuasions. [4] “I’m not saying that believing in God makes you dumber. My hypothesis is that people with a low intelligence are more easily drawn toward religions, which give answers that are certain, while people with a high intelligence are more skeptical,” says the professor.[5]


        1. Yeah, but I’m not sure I would equate higher IQ with more success/happiness (however the hell you measure that). If anything, it probably correlates with less…

          1. There are studies that are all over the map on that question.

            Material success is midwifed by effort. Smart lazy people aren’t very successful. Or are just successful enough to pursue what they’d rather be doing rather than working.

            Happiness is probably harder for smart people. It’s distressing to realize that your life is at the mercy of the idiot majority. Ignorance is bliss, in a limited fashion.

          2. I like to explain it that for someone with an IQ of 140+, dealing with people of average intelligence all day is not unlike if a person of average intelligence had to spend everyday surrounded by the mentally retarded.

        2. I read that too, but I thought his name was Helmet Cyborg.

        3. Just to play devil’s advocate here, you do realize that the IQ test itself has very questionable value and is an unscientific and unreliable barometer of “intelligence,” right?

          1. Spoken like someone who scored very low on an IQ test!

    2. Fortunately, these 10% are now more free to be open about their unbelief than they have been at any other point in history.

  15. […][F]ew people approach government with the skepticism it deserves.

    […][B]eing gullible about government hurts everyone. Government is force. When it sells us bunk, we have to pay even if we don’t believe in or want it. If we don’t pay up, men with guns will make sure we do.

    John, sometimes government takes our property and just pretends to give us a service or good in return, or how else can one explain the DMV or public schooling?

    I do not believe most people are unskeptical about government, as they may be simply showing callousness – they LIKE receiving “free” stuff evne if the value of it cannot compensate for the economic harm it creates.

    Randi is skeptical that the big-name psychics actually believe.

    And I am pretty skeptical that the big-name statist fucks believe.

    1. I do not believe most people are unskeptical about government, as they may be simply showing callousness – they LIKE receiving “free” stuff evne if the value of it cannot compensate for the economic harm it creates.

      I wish this wasn’t true, but alas…

  16. Almost none of their promises come true.

    Except all those hundreds of government functions that make civilization happen every day of the year. You’re bitching that government hasn’t solved poverty yet? You expect a lot for someone so skeptical of government’s abilities.

    The only people in the room who believe in fairy tales are not those of us who appreciate that government is a net good–but those of you who pretend there’s a fantasy free market world out there that will make everyone more free, just as long as it stopped sounding like hell on earth and more people took it seriously.

    1. Because nothing screams “civilization” like standing in line for something you don’t need in the first place.

      Yeah us!

    2. Count me among those bitching that government actually believes it CAN solve poverty.

      Your turn.

      1. You have to resort to believing it because 100% of the historical evidence shows the contrary.

      2. Maybe it can’t, but I don’t know how poverty could be solved in its absence. I do know that I’m more interested in solving poverty than solving the problem of rich people not being more rich, which is all libertarians and Republicans care about.

        1. BS: we just know that freedom, economic and social brings a rising tide that raises all boats. Yes some float higher than others whereas government planning results in at best stagnation and at worst famine and mass murder (c.f. the great leap forward, the killing fields, the Ukrainian genocide, etc. etc.).

          1. You’ve got to be kidding.

            1. No Tony, all that stuff really did happen

              1. There were also planets in existence during those horrors. Therefore, planets caused them.

                1. Tony’s right. I never happened.
                  Move along, apes!

        2. Poverty is a pretty relative term. What is considered poverty in the United States would be considered near obscene wealth in Afghanistan. (Note: there is an interesting corollary between levels of economic/personal freedom and levels of wealth, just sayin’).

          Given the above please elaborate on what, “solving” poverty looks like. What is Tony’s desired end state?

          1. In short when can we get up on a podium on an aircraft carrier with a “Mission Accomplished” banner hanging behind us regarding the War on Poverty?

          2. “What is Tony’s desired end state?”

            From each accordingto his ability; to each according to his need.

    3. Hell on earth. That’s a good one Tony. I forgot people don’t like being responsible for themselves and their actions. I guess that would sound like hell to some people.

    4. Re: Tony,

      Except all those hundreds of government functions that make civilization happen every day of the year.

      Government is populated by such clever individuals, that they thought of civilization before anybody else.

      You’re bitching that government hasn’t solved poverty yet?

      No, we’re bitching that government is TRYING to “solve” poverty – just like a kid with finger paint is “trying” to do a work of art…

      1. For what it’s worth(this is directed at Tony, but follows OM’s point of contention), we are also bitching that the government is trying to “solve” it’s terrorism problem by killing people who aren’t terrorists and molesting grandmothers. Bonus: we also bitch about how the government tries to “solve” it’s “bad” drug problem by accidentally enriching those who produce said drugs and enslaving those who just want to fucking by some Sudafed.

        1. Really? Is that your main beef? That some drug interdiction laws go too far? You don’t have a beef with drug prohibition in and of itself?

          Or maybe you were dishonestly trying make you idiots seem more reasonable by pointing out one bad law that more people are more likely to agree with, when in reality you’d like to see policies that most people would see as ludicrous, like tax-free heroin and coke available at any store that wants to sell it, and any advertising they want to do too, and even the right to sell it to young people.

          1. Please continue to ignore this idiot.

          2. I’m calling it now Edwin is the mutant child of Max and Chony. There is just a smidgen of Max’s reliance on ad hominim attacks mixed with Chony’s convoluted rationalizations. Henceforth Edwin shall be known as Choxed or Edaxony.

            1. He’s like a right-wing version of Tony, though at least the latter rarely stoops to spittle-flinging flights of pointless insults.

    5. You’re bitching that government hasn’t solved poverty yet? You expect a lot for someone so skeptical of government’s abilities.

      I’m not “bitching” about it. I merely say that the government’s promise to do so is worthless.

      And the government doesn’t “make civilization happen”. That’s ridiculous.

      1. When did government promise to end poverty? Can you actually cite a statute or judicial ruling that charges the government with this task? Hell, can you even find any politicians promising this any time soon. I’m sure you can find one or two idiots saying so, but not a lot.

        1. Yeah, that whole “War on Poverty” thing is just a myth. It’s working about as well as the War on Drugs, by the way. Both majority approved too!

          1. Don’t forget the War on Terror. I can’t wait until they start the War on Childhood Diabetes (has it already started?) and they inevtiably cause the rates to top 80%. Thanks alot you fucking power-jacking buffoons.

          2. So you can’t then?

            1. You are retarded. This is why no one listens to you.


              1. still not seeing any statutes requiring the government to completely end poverty

                1. Yeah, amazing government never ‘requires’ itself to do anything when it takes on an extra-constitutional duty no one asked them to do.

      2. I invented civilization!

        1. No, that was Sid Meier.

    6. Government is heaven on earth?

      1. You must have faith. Unquestioning faith.

    7. Hey morons, Tony isn’t saying that government makes all of civilization happen. But he is saying that it does provide the basic network of enforcing property rights. This is a point that even you idiots recognize; remember the article just last week about the lack of property rights in third world countries? I think it was another Stossel article.
      But half of you idiots think that this enforcement could happen in a vacuum. That it could happen 100% completely voluntarily and without national borders to demarkate areas of jurisdiction, with only donated money, which is ludicrous. People won’t pay for courts and cops if they don’t have to as a condition of being in a jurisdiction, and the idea that there doesn’t have to be geographical jurisdictions is ludicrous. How the hell are adjacent plots of land going to run on completely different sets of land-use laws? And for all laws in general, having geographically contiguous jurisdictions is the only cost-effctive form of governance (as opposed to the anarcho-capitalist fantasy of no jurisdictions and only “protection businesses”) because of savings in transportation and communication costs.

      And the other issues he points out is you guys severely overplay the promises “statists” make. Nobody claimed the state can solve poverty – and those liberals who do, most other more practically-thinking liberals decry as stupid. Most people only expect the government to be just that – governance. It is not the alpha and the omega in our (the vast majority of people – the normies) minds that you like to pretend we think it is. It is just one of many useful social constructs.

      1. Please don’t be his porn.

      2. I’m a state-suckin’ prick!

      3. Only Robert Gibbs gets to tell what somebody else really means.

        1. Edwin is Tony.

    8. Every civilization needs an agency of extortion. How else would we allow sociopaths to run everything?

      1. false framing of the situation

        the government is “run” by duly elected officials. Their ideas have to be popular enough for them to get elected in the first place, so nobody that ideologically unattractive can get into office (like, let’s say libertarians). Not to mention laws that are directly voted on by the populous (referendums). Not to mention that the judiciary is independant and runs on the common laws system, which is a whole nother thing besides legislation. And then there’s constitutional protections.

        1. Er, slavery was very popular with the majority for quite a long time.

          1. So? Does that therefore make the concept of majority rule illegitimate?

            If only a tiny proportion of people agree with you, that’s not their problem, it’s yours.

            1. You can forever be a member of the majority, whether they be benevolent or murderous…..

              1. You didnt address his point

                1. A murderous majority invalidates majority rule.

                2. a murderous majority invalidates majority rule.

                3. A majority that enslaves and murders a minority is invalid — except in the Tonys-of-the-world’s minds. Tough shit for the enslaved? Legitimate? Are you kidding?

            2. Does that therefore make the concept of majority rule illegitimate?


              Next question?

              1. Ok, so then what is supposed to replace it? Take note that even you libertarians don’t agree on everything

                1. “Ok, so then what is supposed to replace it?”

                  Nothing, Tony Edwin..

        2. “Their ideas have to be popular enough for them to get elected in the first place…”

          13 years of (nearly compulsory) indoctrination helps with that.

      2. A sociopath is someone who demands that he has the right to live life like he’s the only person in the world, like the libertarian who told me that he has the right to shoot a kid just for walking across his lawn (an incident that actually happened that I brought up) or shoot someone for keying his car.

        1. And that crazy guy speaks for everyone who now or in the future calls themselves libertarian. Got it.

          1. I’ll grant that not every libertarian believes that exactly. But it seems every single libertarian has some sick perverse belief like that, lime that drunk driving should be legal or that cbild prostitution doesn’t violate anyone’s rights
            Or are you going to tell me that only the good parts of a philosophy matter?

            You really have to be in massive denial to remain Libertarian for very long

        2. Oh yeah, he had also said that those sovereign citizen guys who murdered that cop had the right to do so

          Isn’t libertarianism just great you guys?

  17. Stossel seems like a good guy. Awful writer though.

    1. He writes like tapioca tastes.

      1. Hey now, I like tapioca!

    2. True enough. But I would much rather that someone told the truth haltingly, than lie like a motherfucker in a sophisticated and entertaining manner.

    3. Yes, this was one of his more awkward columns. However, the “other side” gets the message – every time a Stossel column appears in the local paper, the dissenters have a field day with letters to the editor and none of them complain about his writing style.

  18. To recap:

    Lots of people believe in magic.

    Lots of people have ideas about government that differ from John Stossel’s.

    The author regards the connection between these points as so self-evident that there’s no need to do any in-depth analysis.

    That’s what I call a Grade-A contribution to the public discourse.

    1. “men with guns”

      Jesus Christ you guys are annoyingly repetitive. Even when I was deep into libertarianism (well, as deep as I ever actually got), lines like that made me roll my eyes.
      Don’t you guys get tired of these silly stupid tropes being repeated over and over again?
      Yes, if we don’t follow the law, we’ll be arrested, and yes we’re just fine with that. If you hate it that much, go somewhere else, you’ve got like 200 countries to choose from. Or hell, none at all. You could just go to some pacific island and take some sweet potato and cassava slips with you. Maybe if you’re un-annoying enough a small island with a small population won’t object to you living there. Or just live out at sea. That seasteading douche already has like $500,000. Borrow some money from him and buy a boat. You’ll be free according to your aspberger-nerd strict techinical definitions – you’ll be dirt shit poor and have a difficult life, but you’ll be free as you love frame it, and you could finally leave the rest of us the hell alone.

      1. Meant that to be a reply to the original article, not the above comment

      2. “…and you could finally leave the rest of us the hell alone.”

        Ahhhh if only you could leave us alone in the first place you sheep-fucker.

        1. Hey, we built this country and it’s governance system. We don’t all agree with every last policy, but we still sethis system as a net positive or a necessary thing. If you don’t like it it’s incumbent upon YOU to leave

          1. Begging your pardon jack booter, but it’s culturally incumbent upon us to tar, feather, and hang your sorry statist ass.

            1. Now who likes the initiation of force?

              1. Hardly an initiation. Rather a reflex. In the grand tradition of three corner hat reflexes.

                1. you want hang me just because I agree with the basic concept of a state? Sounds like initiation of force to me

                  1. Yeah, that’s right, citizens. Stop trying to oppress me and my tazer- hold on..
                    HEY KID! YEAH, YOU! Get the fuck on the ground now! No, stop infringing upon my right to physically force you to do what the fuck I want NOW GET THE FUCK ON THE GROUND NOW!

        2. “If you don’t like it it’s incumbent upon YOU to leave”

          It’s our duty to leave? I’m sure I read somewhere that we have a slightly different duty:

          “…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

      3. The point you’re missing, Edwin, is how much government / how many laws do we actually need?

  19. “But few people approach government with the skepticism it deserves.”
    If you’re under 50, you approach government with skepticism. Everybody does. Everybody.

    The main thing is that the left and right separate out the parts of the government and politicans they like and are not skeptical of those factions.

    1. And they’re both right to some extent. The only ones who are consistently wrong are absolutists like communists and big-l Libertarians

      1. And they’re both right [wrong] to some extent. The only ones who are consistently wrong are absolutists like communists and big-l Libertarians

  20. Christians believe they go to heaven when they die, socialists believe their grandchildren will live in a socialist utopia (heaven on earth).
    Socialism is a new religion.

  21. Astrology is not true, but is not useless. You can use it to take advantage of others’ belief in it.

  22. And Now The Man Who Spasms Intestinal Rhythms

  23. Dogging faith? This will be John’s last show ever.

  24. My wrist crystals say John’s career is over.

  25. How do all those people believe in God and not believe in Ghosts?

  26. Bracelets worked for Wonder Woman.

    1. Hey buddy

      1. I’m the coal in your stocking.

        1. I’m the stock in your colon

  27. Denim? Looks like it’s casual Thursday for the Stache.

  28. I’m getting a vision… It was Shermer who stashed the body in the woods!

    1. If it was actually Stossel who did it, at least you can claim “stached” as a hit

  29. Remember the hits, forget the misses. That’s how the Eagles got so famous

      1. I hate the fuckin Eagles man

  30. People are laughing at Stossel’s extroversion/introversion!

    1. I guess he’ll be an introvert from now on

  31. Ouch. A shot at Bush from out of nowhere.

    Also, I guess it’s no longer too soon to laugh at 9/11 jokes.

  32. Ouch, a hot at Larry King. Can’t we all just get along?

    1. Whoa. Shot at Larry King. Freudian slip.

  33. Vaccinations stop diseases and save children’s lives. Is that wisdom too conventional?

  34. Yeah, it was the spirit or the cold water or I just wasn’t in the mood.

    1. Mila Kunis makes the spirits go away.

  35. Opium of the masses, right John? You Marxist!

  36. I’m hedging a side bet against Pascal’s wager. 91/1 odds big payoff

  37. Yeah, tell him Padre! Show him your paycheck. God’s signature, right there.

  38. Atheists can’t love someone. duh

  39. Save it for the homily, Father.

  40. God is a RACIST!!! I knew it.

  41. Old argument? God’s pretty old isn’t he? And unchangable if I remember correctly

  42. This is all there is, and that’s the tie you pick, Shermer? Way to live life to the fullest.

    1. If there was a God he would put a stop to that… and slavery if he still had time

  43. I have experienced God in my life, that is why you must shut off your brain and do as I say err…what God told me to tell you to do

  44. His answer to that is just his dramatic whisper voice

  45. The only way this discussion could get worse would be audience participation. Way to go, John.

  46. I bet that collar has magnetic crystals that give the Padre extra good balance.

    1. You can’t mix em. That’s like idols in the saddle bag or bleach and ammonia.

  47. I think more people say they believe in God than actually do.


    I hope he wrote different speeches for different gods.

  49. What if you’re wrong lady about choosing the hometown God? Maybe you’re going to Buddah hell.

  50. The audience and Shermer just Godwinned the show.

  51. “I see your Hitler and raise you a Stalin.”

  52. If you don’t believe in God you can’t really pull off this dramatic whisper voice or these big upward hand gestures

  53. “Well, he used to watch Davey and Goliath, but he thought the idea of a talking dog was blasphemous.”

  54. Jim Cramer is the devil, I knew it!

  55. Because they get paid to boost bad stock.

  56. She looks like she wants to fuck the camera man

  57. My stocks just made huge gains, if you know what I mean.

    1. The shrinkage spirits just went away

  58. And this guy know his lost decades

  59. My pants just went bullish, if you catch my meaning.

    1. I’m gonna SHORT sell on that. OHH MODED!

      1. That’s one bubble that’s definitely gonna bust.

  60. I have an erection, if you get my drift.

    1. And it looks remarkably like Burton’s head. Take from that what you will.

      1. I’m sure there’ll be a penis liver spot commercial this break.

        1. Suggesting a vigorous application of that cream.

  61. Audience member just totally looked at his watch. Right there on camera. Quick, Stossel, break out your golf cart. It’s a crowd pleaser.

  62. I’ve felt in touch with the dead. But I’m a necropheliac

  63. I used to believe in ghosts, but it just turned out to be Klansmen burning a cross on my lawn.

  64. The Amazing Randi seems to enjoy watching the mentally ill hurt themselves.

  65. My representative makes money off my belief in government.

  66. Notice they don’t claim it will improve your freethrow average.

  67. WTF? Stossel is wearing jeans? I guess it’s Casual Thursday. It’s a good thing John’s favorite Economics professor didn’t seem him like this.

    1. Fiscal Meth|12.16.10 @ 9:04PM|#
      Denim? Looks like it’s casual Thursday for the Stache.

      Let’s try to keep up okay Mr. Mizrahi?

      1. I didn’t even realize you were here.

        1. Forgive him Lord for he knows not what he says.

  68. It’s even better to be skeptical about the bullshit that Rush, Sean, and Glen feed you.

    I ain’t holding my breathe, waiting for you guys to realize this, though.

    1. How dare you forget the second “n” in my Professor’s name!!

    2. How about we be skeptical of anyone that demands that we suspend our capacity for reason, put aside our demand for consistent principles and insist that we judge individuals based purely on the parenthetical letter that follows their name on C-SPAN.

      Team Red and Blue have an equal number of idiots that insist that blind allegiance is more important than principles or consistency.

    3. Chad, just make sure to keep believing the bullshit WE feed you.

  69. Alex Karras in the audience there just got a free bracelet with Stossel vibes all over it.

  70. Plagiarizing Reagan?

    1. Better than stealing from Biden.

      1. Bitin’ Biden

  71. Where’s L?

    1. Next time you see him, remind him of his obligations.

  72. Well, that show seemed to fly by. Maybe it was the opening three minutes that I missed.

  73. The classic liberal and traditional conservative


    1. Democrats want less government in some private areas, but not all. They still believe they have the right to tell you what subjects your children must learn in school (sex-ed.)

      Because people being ignorant about sex is something some jurisdictions (especially the ones with lots of rednecks with not a lot to do besides have sex and give birth) should experiment with, because it just might be a good idea to keep people ignorant of sex, because Jesus hates sex.

      They also believe they have the right to distribute your earnings

      So does everyone else who’s not an anarchist.

      and tell you what to eat and how to speak in public.

      Food regulation supporters might say they are in favor of increasing the number of good choices for people, especially those on limited incomes, instead of what the market provides: 20 flavors of diabetes in a bucket. And I don’t know anyone in favor of regulating speech. Just people who believe in manners rather than whining that they’re not allowed to be bigots in public.

      1. Tony,

        Sex ed is clearly something that should be left for the parents, or should be done with the parents consent after being informed of the content, and with the option of not letting the child to attend. Even non-religious people can have very different ideas about how to approach the subject. And it’s not a subject that’s that important from a public-schooling perspective – we’re just looking to create basic functioning work-forcers.
        Remember, it works both ways. Those idle rednecks could be teaching your kids.

        Removing bad choices isn’t the same as increasing good ones. So trans fat bans and fast food restaurant bans are B.S. from that perspective. Not to mention they’re really regressive policies – fast food places are very cheap.
        Know what might increase good choices? Changing zoning laws and realty taxes to encourage local farming (like lowering the acre size for farm exemptions), easing restaurant inspection restrictions and placement restrictions. From what I understand, we in the metro area don’t have all those amazing food trucks that serve healthy, uniqe AND cheap food in the Bay ares because we have serious limitations on the opening and parking of food trucks. From what I’ve seen, I’d love to have some of those truck round here.

      2. Tony you are being a bigot right now (calling people rednecks), so I guess you agree that you should be “regulated” and pay a bigotry fine.

        Oh I see… , its not bigotry if its rednecks.

        1. In TonyWorld, the only bigots are right-of-center. It’s okay when Team Blue does it.

  74. I keep asking myself that same question, “Why do people still believe in fantasies?”, when people speak of God.

    1. Then I remind myself that Atheists and Agnostics are dumb enough to believe in anthropogenic global warming, the “gay” gene, Keynesian economics, materialist free will, animal rights, macro-evolution, and other supposedly “secular” fantasies as part of their retarded religions.

  75. “Hey, we built this country and it’s governance system”

    Yes. And look at how bastardized that system has become, thanks solely to Rs and Ds.

    “When did government promise to end poverty?”

    Not directly, but to hear fools like Tony’s lords’n’masters tell it, government is the only cure for poverty.

    How much is spent on welfare, every year? How much has been spent since, hell, let’s just pick the inception of LBJ’s “Great Society” programs; add up the total of every entitlement program over that period.

    By now, we should have close to NO poverty. In theory, it should have worked… but it didn’t, and it won’t. Nor will Obamacare or extending unemployment by another year.

    Edwin, it’s really puzzling that you don’t focus your efforts to combat the real threats: The far-left, and the far-right.Whatever got that thorn lodged in your craw over libertarians, is hampering your ability to see the real threats to this country.

    1. A common pique with those petulant liberal among us.

  76. Why Do People Believe in Fantasies?

    Well we are a rather young species. As much as I shake my head in shame at our indefatagalbe reluctance to take us where reason leads, we have made some progress in a short time: 3000 years being a short amount of time in a universe that is 14 or so billions of years old.

    The dinosaurs lived for tens of millions of years and there is no evidence that they came to use tools, use logic, or establish societies.

    In the last few decades, I see an increase in the speed at which we are breaking the bonds or pathologies like monotheism and tribalism. Psychology is getting good at describing our pathologies though completely useless at ameliorating them. In the next few years, maybe it will.

    But yeah, us geniuses are still have to deal with the majority of humanity that is still pretty stupid.

  77. Well we are a rather depraved species. As much as I shake my head in shame at our indefatigable reluctance to take us where logic leads, we have made a little progress in a long time: ~10,000 years being a fairly long amount of time in a universe where time is linear and variable.

    Antediluvian societies may well have lasted for thousands of years, and there is no evidence that they ever “progressed” in the modern sense of the word.

    In the last few decades, I see an increase in the speed at which our culture is decaying under pathologies such as Atheism and Multiculturalism. Psychology is gone up a blind end at even describing our pathologies, let alone ameliorating them. In the next few years, maybe we’ll finally come to our senses and stop listening to those idiots.

    But yeah, folly still reigns supreme over the vast majority of humanity. Just look at how stupid atheistic religions like Fascism and Communism were, and they still have their defenders! We’ll probably be hearing from idiots defending the Welfare States after those godless hell-holes all collapse as well.

  78. Why isn’t religion included in the list of bullshit fantasies people believe in? Once you open yourself up to believing in the bible, holy ghosts, god, a son of god, a resurrection of the dead, people living inside a fish, parting the ocean, turning into pillars of salt, then is it any wonder those same people believe in psychics, astrology, and $20 magic bracelets?

  79. Troy: Fascism and communism are not atheistic religions. In fascism the leader, whether it’s hitler or kim jong-il, is the diety and there’s a whole state religion centered around him. Communism is not defined as atheist, that’s just the way the Soviets did it and that was the one and only thing they got right. Communism and religion are not mutually exclusive – communism is an economic system like capitalism, it’s not a political system. But at the end of the day communism is a flawed economic system doomed to collapse, and that’s exactly what happened to the USSR. It had nothing to do with the soviet union trying to mandate atheism. It’s not like massive religion would have saved the USSR from collapse. Massive religion won’t save the US from its impending collapse either.

  80. How about mbt kisumu sandals this one: there are X driving deaths a year- what % of driving deaths (or serious injuries) involve alcohol, or other intoxicating substances? kisumu 2 People are pretty darn good drivers when they are not impaired.

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