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Free Minds & Free Markets

Interview: Penn Jillette

Loses 100 pounds, doubles down on libertarianism, and gets replaced by a robot

"People don't brag about going up a grassy slope," says Penn Jillette. "They brag about going up Everest."

That sentiment—that nothing worth celebrating was ever found in moderation—animates everything the juggler turned magician turned occasional pundit does.

Jillette has been known as the "larger, louder" half of the magic-and-comedy duo Penn & Teller for three and a half decades. Back in the 1970s, the pair were upstarts, fresh off a stint as part of a high-concept three-man stage act they called the Asparagus Valley Cultural Society. They were armed with an obsessive belief that practice makes perfect, and that conviction served them well: Their show, which started at L.A. Stage Company, made its way to Broadway and is now in residence at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas. Along the way, they spent eight seasons hosting Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, a Showtime series in which they debunked myths and misconceptions from a decidedly libertarian perspective, and had cameos in everything from Sabrina, the Teenage Witch to Dancing with the Stars. Jillette also faced off with Donald Trump on The Apprentice. His magic competition show on The CW, Penn & Teller: Fool Us, just finished its third season.

Even before he was famous, Jillette had no interest in fitting in. He claims to have spent his childhood mouthing off at school and incessantly honing his juggling skills. A product of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, he later did time as a street performer in Philadelphia hurling knives for pocket change. At 6-foot-6 and "obnoxiously loud," he would have been hard to miss: A 1989 New Yorker profile characterized his hairdo as "a sort of frizzy ponytail and another fistful of hair tumbling over his forehead," adding that "he wore clear polish on all but one fingernail, and that one was painted red."

Jillette retains his distinctive manicure but is now lacking some of his trademark mass. Down significantly from his top weight of 330 pounds, the performer has baited headline writers everywhere into variants of the "magician makes himself vanish" joke. Indeed, he beats them to the punch in the title of his recent book on the subject, Presto! How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales (Simon & Schuster). The secret to his weight-loss success? Realizing that, with food as with everything else, moderation is no virtue.

In October, Jillette chatted with Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward about his gastronomical, philosophical, and political views. Whipsawing between the profane and the profound, he described a variant of libertarianism driven by first principles, made the case for why porn actors and The New York Times are ultimately in the same business, and explained that sometimes it's harder to drop 30 pounds than three times that much.

Reason: You're a skeptic—you've built a career by being skeptical about conventional wisdom, religion, and traditional magic. How did that influence your approach to diet?

Jillette: I'm a libertarian. My political beliefs are way outside the mainstream. My religious beliefs are way outside the mainstream. My musical tastes, my theater tastes, my book tastes are way outside the mainstream, and yet I was eating fucking pizza and hamburgers. It's very odd that the one area that I chose to be the most typical American possible was food and diet. And once I got sick enough, my doctors said that I should consider getting stomach band surgery, and all of the sudden I realized I could be weirder. And I realized that not only am I not good at moderation, but I also simply don't respect moderation. If you're good at moderation, I don't like you.

Daniel SahlbergDaniel SahlbergWhen you say that you had to get fat enough before something radical was allowed—the same is true in the medical field, right? Essentially, we wait until people are dying before we let them try new drugs and medical devices on their own recognizance. Is that a fair analogy?

Yeah, I think it kind of is. But I mean, what you let other people do is pretty different from what you let yourself do. I would pretty much let other people do whatever the fuck they want pretty much all the time. For me…I'm not able to just do stuff sensibly. I tried for years and years and years to do weight loss with what I call the New York Times grown-up ways. Have a smaller piece of salmon. Have a piece of protein about the size of a deck of cards, and skip dessert. Be vegan until 6 p.m. All the weird-ass things that grown-ups are supposed to do. Exercise a little more.

There's nobody that's good at moderation who I even like or respect. People don't brag about going up a grassy slope. They brag about going up Everest. I realized that the only way that I can accomplish anything is if it's hard. Things that are easy to do, I don't do. There's just no sort of psychological desire to do that—I just don't enjoy that. So when I called up [food science researcher Ray Cronise] and said, "Can you help me lose 30 to 40 pounds?" he said, "Why don't we lose a hundred?" And I said, "Can we do that easily?" And he said, "No, it will be really hard. You'll love it."

When Penn & Teller are working on a new bit, and one of us comes to the other and says, "This is a really easy bit, we'll be able to do this easily, people will love it," the other one will go, "Fuck off, I don't care." We were doing easy stuff 30 years ago. We're doing hard stuff now.

I have been a teetotaler all my life. I've never done recreational drugs. And for some reason when someone ordered wine for dinner it was very comfortable for me to go, "Fuck off, I don't drink your stupid fucking wine." I don't listen to the Grateful fucking Dead. I don't need your fucking joint. And yet with food, it was like, "Oh, we're all eating pizza? Let's all have pizza!" The line that kept going through my head when I lost a hundred pounds was, "To live outside the law you must be honest." Everything comes down to Bob Dylan, and it fits in so well with the way I live now. I like being outside, and I like being a little different.

And I think [libertarians are] just OK being idealistic. We're OK being laughed at. You have to be OK if you're a libertarian with people like Bill Maher and Sarah Silverman calling you a fucking idiot.

When you read the news or maybe when you look at your Facebook feed, aside from the election, what are stories that jump out at you?

What I can't understand is watching people that I know well absolutely tick off every single libertarian principle and then scoff at [libertarianism] and hate it. Gary Johnson has said this over and over again, but everybody [we know] is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. And somehow they just want to say, "Well, of course that's right, but it just won't work." And it just amazes me.

It also amazes me—there's this thing that supporters of a candidate do where they believe their candidate is lying to win in ways that they agree with. I mean, as Bill Clinton flew to Arkansas to make sure he could put a person with mental disabilities to death, that week my anti–death penalty friends were saying, "Well, you know Bill Clinton is definitely against the death penalty, but he has to do this to get elected." And you go, "Wait a minute, what?!"

What is the political development in your lifetime that has affected you the most, personally?

Jesus, that's a real tough one. I think politics has gotten better. I tend to think that everything gets better. I always go back to the late '60s, early '70s, when my dad was my age: Our president has gone insane. The National Guard is shooting students at Kent State. We're involved in a war that will never end. It's an immoral war.

And now, at least as of [October 2016], we have a president that is sane and who is kind and who has very few scandals. We have an economy which is doing pretty well.

The best development in the private sector—I guess you can argue if it's private sector completely—is computers, the internet, communication.

The Gutenberg press created the United States of America. The idea that we're going to allow the press to have power, and people can read. You don't have the United States without that technology. And it seems to me like the internet is a much bigger change than the Gutenberg press in every single way.

"Not only am I not good at moderation, but I also simply don't respect moderation. If you're good at moderation, I don't like you."

The guy who more or less invented the web browser, Marc Andreessen, says that once the current technological revolution—smartphones, tablets, wireless internet—are in the hands of a billion extra people, "it is hard to believe that the result will not be a widespread global unleashing of creativity, productivity, and human potential."

I was one of the people talking at [the Massachusetts Institute of Technology] in the early '90s about how computers were going to change things, and I was one of the nuts that was making predictions that were much too optimistic—and I wasn't even close to what the reality was. [Reality] turned out to be so far beyond what any of the nuts thought.

I couldn't predict that juggling would get better. Juggling took the biggest jump ever because of the internet, and only because people could see videos of other people doing stuff. That's all it did. A brother and sister in Russia, when they were 12 years old, got the internet and became the best jugglers in the world. And they would never have juggled other than that.

That's something you can't predict. You can predict pizza delivery. You can predict drones. You can predict all that shit. You can't predict stuff that has nothing to fucking do with computers getting better.

The problem for human beings has always been too little information. And I don't believe there is such a thing as too much information, but we have to learn to process it and use it, and that's crazy.

A seminal moment in modern American politics is the day that The Daily Show's Jon Stewart goes on Crossfire and starts yelling at Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala, "I'm the entertainment. You're supposed to be serious!" Is the hybridization of entertainment and politics ruining everything?

I have a definition of art which protects me from this question. My definition of art is anything you do after the chores are done, and in that definition of art, Ron Jeremy, Picasso, and the mall Santa all have the exact same job. I believe there is one show business. So I don't really think there is much of a difference between a newscaster and a stand-up comedian in terms of what their job is.

Jon Stewart is playing the trick of you're supposed to do this and I'm supposed to do that, and the this and that are reality and entertainment. But the this and that are really just two different kinds of show business.

The newscasters should be held to the exact same standards as [comedian] Amy Schumer. With Amy Schumer we ask, "Is she interesting? Is she funny? Is she delivering the thing that we want from her at this moment?" I would say the same thing for Meet the Press. I would say you're not supposed to be funny, you're not supposed to be making things up, you're not supposed to be talking about the guy you went out with last night—but you are supposed to be giving us as consumers what we want. What we want out of you is a feeling that you aren't distorting the facts in giving us this information.

So you know, I disagree very strongly with The New York Times, but I read The New York Times almost every day. Because I trust The New York Times to deliver the kind of entertainment they promised me. And the kind of entertainment they promised me is that they won't lie about certain things, and that they will cover certain things, and that they will give me a well-rounded view of certain things that's within my vocabulary and that's in my style, and the length of article that I want, and all of that. So I would argue that The New York Times is doing precisely what Jon Stewart is doing, but they're just delivering for a different audience.

You did a show years ago about how ineffective prohibition is when it comes to immigration. In your worldview, is it about the moral gesture or is it the practical side that matters?

When I talk about the death penalty to people, there are a zillion pragmatic arguments to make that the death penalty is more expensive, that you could make mistakes with the death penalty. I try to never use them, because I believe that as soon as I use them, I have dropped what matters to me. Because those arguments are disingenuous. To say, "What if we put an innocent person to death?" I am then telling you that if you can promise me we won't put any innocent people to death that I'm somehow OK with that, and I'm fucking not. Killing people is wrong. Government shouldn't fucking do it. End of story.

I mean, if you can convince me right now on the phone that you can eliminate all marijuana, eliminate all LSD, eliminate all heroin, keep it out of the country so that people can't do it, and you can do that without using any violence—if you make that argument, am I then in favor of drug prohibition? I still don't think I am. If you told me here's a way we can keep all Muslims out and that will stop the terrorism, I don't think I can make that deal.

So I don't think there is a pragmatic argument. There is only the moral argument. I realize that's an incredibly black-and-white, stupid position that I don't think anyone agrees with me [on], but I can't find a way around it. So every issue becomes moral to me. I've never smoked marijuana in my life. I don't want to smoke marijuana. But I can't find any way that it's my right to stop you.

"My definition of art is anything you do after the chores are done, and in that definition of art, Ron Jeremy, Picasso, and the mall Santa all have the exact same job."

It's very compelling to describe it in that way, and yet frequently I see in your work—especially in Bullshit!—and in your conversation semi-pragmatic arguments cropping up. So is your stance that we can talk about the practicalities also, but let's be clear, what matters is the moral argument?

I hate the verb works. I hate it in art, I hate it in politics, I hate it in morality, I hate it all across the board. If someone tells me that they have a joke in their show and it works, I automatically hate that person. I want to know what their joke means, what they're trying to do. I don't want to be Charlie Chaplin, stumbling around until something gets a laugh. I want to be Buster Keaton going, "This is what I think in my heart is funny. This is what I want to do."


So with libertarianism, I find myself really often on Real Time and in other situations where people say, "You people think the invisible hand is going to fix everything and capitalism will give us utopia," and I always say, "I never said that." I don't even know if free markets work. There's that word work.

It just seems like it's not my right morally to do anything different. People say if you legalize drugs, you're going to have a lot more junkies. And then the other side says, Oh no, no, no, we will have fewer junkies [and] they'll be treated better. I don't know! I just know that if you don't have the right to put whatever you want into your own body, you're not living in a free fucking country. Simple.

So yeah, the pragmatic arguments are discussed, but my hope is that every time you've seen me make those, I've made them under duress.

Daniel SahlbergDaniel SahlbergLast question: When are you going to be replaced by a robot?

Well, in a lot of ways I already have been, right? I mean, isn't Netflix a robot? Aren't people choosing to see other entertainment besides live entertainment? Is there any way you can describe a TV image as anything other than a robot? Certainly the one person in the studio doing the act is a person who is employed. But certainly every other image that gets sent around is a robot.

And what we've found out, shockingly—and no one ever believes this [although] it's always true—is that radio did not put musicians out of work. Televisions did not put entertainers out of work. The internet sure shook up musicians, it's sure shaken up movie makers, but it still seems that job is there. If you want to talk about technology in the broad sense, the people who are reading my book right this second have replaced me with a robot, you know? There was a printing press that did that. I didn't have to scroll it out in front of them or say it to them. People are hearing my book on tape right now.

On cassette tape, I'm sure.

It was reel-to-reel I had in my mind.

But that shows the silliness of that argument. I watch these people argue about trade deficits and how all our jobs are going overseas. Our jobs didn't go overseas; they went to robots. We're arguing horribly about, what is it, 30 to 50 thousand jobs being lost in coal mining and we can't absorb that? Well, within five years, and I am making these numbers up, of course, but 1.8 million truck drivers will lose their jobs [because] right now as we speak there is an 18-wheeler self-driving across the country. That job is going away in about five years, and I don't think the government can stop that. I don't think legislation can stop that. Luddites have never won, ever. They drag their feet, but they lose.

So I've already been replaced by robots. The whole 20th century was about replacing me with robots. The 21st century is about replacing cars with robots, and that's freaking tough.

Anything else to add?

Drive fast and take chances while you still can.

This interview has been edited for style, clarity, and length.

Photo Credit: Daniel Sahlberg

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  • BigW||

    Penn is really harsh on moderation, he should be more moderate in that belief. ;-)

  • The Elite Elite||

    "doubles down on libertarianism"

    Is that what you call voting for Hillary? I'd call that "completely abandoning libertarianism" but maybe that's just me.

  • bacon-magic||

    I came here to say this^.

  • Carlos Inconvenience||

    I came here to say that too.

    I suspect a lot of readers did/will.

  • I can't even||

    Me 3 or 4. Nothing says libertarianism like supporting the big government candidate.

  • ||

    He sold his vote for more Gary Johnson votes. I'm OK with that, though I wouldn't do it, because I wouldn't trust a single goddamn person to follow through.

  • You ARE a Prog (MJG)||

    And can we trust that he followed through?

  • Mike Laursen||

    She lost. What follow through does he need to do?

    What follow through could he do? We have a secret ballot. These were friends of his, he he trusted them as friends to do what they said they would do.

  • ||

    She lost.

    And Gay Jay fell well short of any expected percentage of anything.

    I didn't intend to shoot anybody in the face does not justify shooting someone in the face any more than I didn't intend to vote for Hillary or I really intended for Gay Jay to get 5% of the vote (or w/e) justifies voting for Hillary or Johnson failing to meet polling quotas.

    If Gary/Penn had a single electoral vote to point to there might be a case. Otherwise, it's a "We have to destroy the system to save the system." situation without even an inkling of saving the system going on.

  • John Titor||

    My problem is that his reason was just stupid though. It's reflective of his own ignorance to go "I'm worried about Trump with nukes" because that just shows you have no goddamn idea how American nuclear policy works.

    I mean, just say "I think he's a buffoon with bad trade policy and issues with foreigners." That's at least an argument, but he's effectively trying to defend a Clinton vote by being hysterical.

  • Mike Laursen||

    This is a guy who personally knows Trump, and apparently is on Trump's enemies list. I think that qualifies him to be very down on Trump without any of us second guessing him.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    So voting Clinton is the answer.

  • Mike Laursen||

    He didn't just straight up vote for Clinton. He traded his vote with liberal friends in exchange for their votes for Gary Johnson. He also campaigned pretty heavily against Trump and Clinton on his podcast, and promoted Gary Johnson.

    Did you promote Gary Johnson and denounce Hillary Clinton on your podcast with thousands of listeners? No? Then maybe you could curb the criticism a bit.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    No he said when Trump was on the verge of becoming a nominee "I I I I'm going to have to vote for Hillary" and continued on with some babble about Trump being batshit crazy, nuclear war, and I forgot if the topped it off with hair spun from piss.

    You have been told this several times already. Maybe you should stick to things you know something about.

    If I had a platform to promote someone the Austin Petersen, who I did speak out for, would have been my choice. I liked and promoted ad voted for Mike Smith of the Constitution party too.

    BTW, I am not in the entertainment business so take your podcast jive and shove it, tard.

  • Mike Laursen||

    There's what's kept the Libertarian Party as such as force to be reckoned with in American politics. Let's pick the completely unknown dude who has the purist position on gay wedding cakes, because the dude who is actually a former popular state governor departed from purity to say there is some value in accommodation laws.

    And you think I'm the 'tard.

  • ||

    And you think I'm the 'tard.

    Considering an arguably 'more pure' libertarian was both more popular and closer to achieving the presidency without even running? Yes.

    If lightning struck Gary Johnson and *Rand* Paul tomorrow the debate over who was the more effective libertarian and had a better shot at the presidency could be easily be given to Rand in a well-reasoned fashion.

    Penne Jillette has, repeatedly, shown himself to be a stand-for-nothing libertarian (among other causes) and, rather decidedly, strives to fit that niche. That's not to say he's a full on raging statist, but nobody should be the least bit surprised when people say he stands for nothing, is a traitor, Benedict Arnold, etc.

  • John Titor||

    Yes, that's a reason for him to not vote for Trump. It does not justify him turning around and supporting a statist candidate.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Saying that Penn "supported" Clinton ignores several relevant facts.

  • ||

    No. It does ignore facts. Their relevance is only backed by intentions.

    Jillette wanted to vote for Hillary, Johnson, or both.

  • ||

    He *sold* his vote for more Gary Johnson votes.

    Take a long hard think on this statement and, when done, please libertarianize it for the rest of us and show your work.

  • Pan Zagloba "The Stickler"||

    Trading! He claims he traded his vote for dozens of GJ votes!

  • You ARE a Prog (MJG)||

    He didn't just double down, he duodecuple down!

  • SIV||

    Y'all beat me to it!

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    They beat me to it also. Or did they?

  • Zeb||

    It was weird and doesn't make much sense. But it has nothing to do one way or the other with whether he is libertarian. One symbolic action (however ridiculous) does not undo a lifetime of talking about and promoting the benefits of freedom. It's not as if he supported any of her policies or has anything positive to say about her at all.

  • John Titor||

    The act of voting is giving consent to be 'ruled' (for lack of a better term), Penn gave his consent to Hillary Clinton.

    If he'd voted for Johnson, there'd be no issue. You can obviously argue about his merits, but at least he's a step in a direction away from statism. Instead he voted a candidate that actively voiced statist dogma and represented a rejection of any libertarian values. Yes, that is a betrayal of libertarianism, and it reflects negatively on Penn.

  • paranoid android||

    If he'd voted for Johnson, there'd be no issue.

    "B-b-b-b-but the Nazi cakes!"

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    He was down with Johnson's position of bankrupting bakers if they didn't decorate some cakes. Never heard him extend the edict to anybody else.

  • Zeb||

    Yes, that is a betrayal of libertarianism, and it reflects negatively on Penn.

    Maybe so. But it doesn't indicate that he is "completely abandoning libertarianism", which is what I was responding to.

    This is why I hate strategic voting. Just vote for the candidate that best represents what you want out of government.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Oh, please. Get off your high horse. He explained that he did it as part of a vote swap. Maybe you think that's a dumb thing to do, but it's not a betrayal of libertarianism.

    Whatsmore, he had Gary Johnson on his popular podcast, and promoted Johnson. And regularly dissed Trump and Clinton. That's more than you've ever done.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Gary Johnson is even less libertarian than Penn.

  • SIV||

    ^THIS^

  • Mike Laursen||

    Oh, please. Johnson is plenty libertarian. He might not meet your purist standards, but so what.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Bullshit tard. He wants to jail people for refusing to work for people they don't like.

  • Mike Laursen||

    It's a made-up issue. Let's talk about real issues such as domestic spying, the war on drugs, runaway spending, foreign entanglements.

  • John Titor||

    Forgive me for not believing in a vote swap with zero evidence to support it. He can say he had a vote swap, but unless he can definitely prove that the unnamed people actually did vote for Johnson I don't believe him. And it still doesn't change the basis of his personal vote.

    Whatsmore, he had Gary Johnson on his popular podcast, and promoted Johnson. And regularly dissed Trump and Clinton.

    And yet still provided support to Clinton based on his deranged view of Trump. It is a betrayal to vote, i.e. giving consent and support a blatantly statist candidate that rejects every fundamental principle of libertarianism. Jillette voted for a candidate that has actively announced that every right should be restricted.

    That's more than you've ever done.

    And his support for Clinton is more than I've ever done to support statism. Jillette can mock her all he likes, but when it came down to it, he consented to her rule.

  • Mike Laursen||

    He swapped votes with friends, whom he trusted. I got a feeling you've never experienced that level of friendship.

  • SimonD||

    I find it acceptably Libertarian to make a vote swap. Unfortunately, I also find it completely Democrat to make a deal and then renege on it, so I'm sure the other side voted Hillary too.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Really? You have never had a personal friend who is a Democrat, whom you know to be an honorable person who keeps their word?

  • wareagle||

    the same Penn who voted for Hillary, right? Just stop

  • Zeb||

    Why does one vote (that didn't end up mattering) undo everything else he's ever said or done?

  • You ARE a Prog (MJG)||

    He's a TRAITOR

  • John Titor||

    Not that it actually is an 'undo button' for everything he's done, but it does show that he is willing to throw away his beliefs and support the antithesis of them due to some deranged, irrational notion. It means he's fundamentally untrustworthy when it comes to politics.

    I don't think that vote makes Penn not a libertarian. It makes him a bad, unprincipled one.

  • paranoid android||

    The interesting question, to my mind, is whether the people who want to crucify him for vote-trading for Hillary would still be criticizing him if he had vote-traded for Trump instead.

  • John Titor||

    I can only speak for myself, but if Jillette said he's vote-trade for Trump because Clinton was going to use illegal Mexicans to murder him in his sleep (which is about as rational as his Trump and nukes comment) I'd still think he was being a deranged nutter throwing away his principles due to hysteria.

  • Zeb||

    Penn is good at stage magic and being funny and is an interesting guy. He's also good at presenting libertarian ideas in an amusing way (Bullshit was great).

    But it is a mistake to look to him as some kind of libertarian leader or authority. He clearly isn't a super deep thinker about pure libertarian principle. And it is disappointing that he got carried away with the "Trump is the worst thing that could possibly happen" crap.

  • Mike Laursen||

    He personally knows Trump. One of the first things Trump did during his campaign was to attack Penn & Teller's Broadway show. There's some anecdotal evidence Trump considers Penn a personal enemy. All that entitles Penn to have a very negative view of Trump without anyone here second guessing him on it.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    You mean quite some time after Penn was calling Trump all manner of names and even said Trump's hair was made from cotton candy spun from piss?*

    I guess that is something else you missed with your intense listening to Penn's podcast.

    *While I might agree with many or all of Penn's ugly characterizations of Trump, even the few of substance that he accidentally stumbles across, it is ridiculous to say that Trump launched this particular feud.

  • John Titor||

    I'm not viewing Jillette as a leader, I'm viewing him as a person who makes active political statements, and then walked back on them for weird reasons. I'm judging him as a man and his willingness to actually stand by the principles he claims to hold. But as noted by others here, Penn does have the habit of being an intellectual coward, so some may cut him more slack.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Now he's an "intellectual coward." Whad'he do?

  • Unintended Consequence||

    And some libertarians think voting for Gary Johnson makes you unprincipled, so maybe need to chill out with the ERMAGERD HES AN ABSOLUTE 100% TRAITOROUS STATIST FUCK nonsense.

  • SIV||

    GayJay voters are ABSOLUTE 100% TRAITOROUS STATIST FUCKS

  • John Titor||

    Hey look, you constructed a childish strawman that isn't reflective of what I actually said. In fact, nowhere did I call him a traitor or statist fuck. What I said is that he's a bad libertarian because he supported a massively statist candidate. God forbid we hold libertarians to any kind of standard.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    And he said on his own show he was going to vote for her when Trump was just likely to be nominated. He wasn't talking about any alternative candidates then, not the LP even, just the Big Two and he "had to vote for Hillary."

    On Gary Johnson, he digs the guy climbed Everest. That is his big plus for Johnson. Plus Penn is completely down with expanding marriage licensing, instead of eliminating it. He digs Gary Johnson's formulation of forcing churches (no word on anybody else) to perform marriages against their objections.

    His forced vaccination plan is quite innovative. Vaccination snipers.

    All of this stuff is in the archives of his weekly podcast. BTW, I highly recommend his podcast if you are into listening to his behind-the-scenes entertainment industry stories.

  • Mike Laursen||

    What? I listen to his podcast every week, and I'm. It sure where you're getting your facts. Penn interviewed Johnson on his podcast weeks before his liberal friends talked him into the he Hillary-for-Johnson vote swap.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    I got my facts from his show. If you don't bother paying attention to what he says on his show, that is your problem.

    He announced he was going to "have to vote for Hillary" before the LP convention, debate or vote.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Citation please.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    You listen every week and can't find this, tard?

    Go play with shriek.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Which episode?

  • Radioactive||

    I never double down on anything, even doubling down...

  • Warren||

    Penn is a fucking traitor to libertarianism who abandoned us when we needed him most. FUCK THAT FUCK

  • ||

    He's that special combination of principaled stupid who will declare himself a pacifist who loathes bullies and bullying, then defend a friend for mocking Jews, Christians, Hindus, etc., and then declare themselves and him to be something other than cowards when they won't make fun of Muslims because Muslims are known to hit back.

  • Mike Laursen||

    I'm pretty sure he would freely call himself a coward as far as his being afraid of radical Muslims.

  • Citizen X||

    Are you mad? You seem mad.

  • Hugh Akston||

    When was that exactly?

  • Zeb||

    Well, he's single-handedly responsible for Hillary Clinton winning the election, don't you know?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Motherfucker

  • ||

    PJ;DR

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Ditto.

  • Conchfritters||

    "We're like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but the people who like licorice really like licorice."
    ― Jerry Garcia

  • Citizen X||

    "Some of those people will even live in a van, do lots of drugs, and follow licorice around the country." [gets paid]

  • Swiss Servator||

    *applause*

  • Citizen X||

    [plays incoherent, meandering version of "Casey Jones" for two and a half hours]

  • robc||

    Can you trade the tape to me?

  • Citizen X||

    Sure, man. Wanna get high first?

  • MarconiDarwin||

    And somehow they just want to say, "Well, of course that's right, but it just won't work." And it just amazes me.

    Sure, libertarian solutions can work. They just have to be practical. For example, take politics. Who are the prominent libertarians who run as libertarians?

    Last honest Abe was Harry Browne. Most recently, it was Gary Johnson. They both ran for President. I still don't care if he does not know what Allepo was. He had good ideas, some even practical.

    But mostly impractical. He was nowhere close to winning, had he won, Congress would have not helped one bit.

    Till libertarians control enough of a state legislature, actually show it working better, libertarianism will remain impractical.

    So instead what you have are a bunch of Republicans and social conservatives posing as libertarians. Issues discussed? Not about social injustice, not about the corporate welfare state, but about the welfare state of the poor, unemployed, minimum wagers.
    This is shown at reason. And quite cleverly done. Ten stories about what Hillary says arrogantly, one thing about Drumpf. 400 reported cases by the SPC folks on hate crime, use three, four false reports and claim there is no hate crime.

    Then go libtards, leftists every other line in the comments.

    That is libertarianism. That is why it won't work. It is not even being applied to any real problem.

  • Acosmist||

    Yes, if only Reason had commented on Trump! Oh well.

  • Swiss Servator||

    YIELD: Makes 6 servings ACTIVE TIME: 30 min TOTAL TIME: 30 min
    INGREDIENTS

    1 garlic clove, halved crosswise
    1 1/2 cups dry white wine
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    2 teaspoons kirsch (optional)
    1/2 pound Emmental cheese, coarsely grated (2 cups)
    1/2 pound Gruyère, coarsely grated (2 cups)
    PREPARATION

    Rub inside of a 4-quart heavy pot with cut sides of garlic, then discard garlic. Add wine to pot and bring just to a simmer over moderate heat.
    Stir together cornstarch and kirsch (if using; otherwise, use water or wine) in a cup.
    Gradually add cheese to pot and cook, stirring constantly in a zigzag pattern (not a circular motion) to prevent cheese from balling up, until cheese is just melted and creamy (do not let boil). Stir cornstarch mixture again and stir into fondue. Bring fondue to a simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to fondue pot set over a flame.
    What to dip:
    •Cubes of French bread
    •Cubes of apple and pear
    •Roasted potatoes
    •Julienned raw red bell pepper
    •Blanched broccoli florets
    What to drink:
    •Dry white wine such as dry Riesling or Sancerre
    •German lager or Saison-style ale
    •Farmhouse cider
    •Fino Sherry

  • Citizen X||

    Now i'm hungry for some Gruyere.

  • Swiss Servator||

    Good...gooooood.

    *rubs hands together fiendishly*

  • Crusty Juggler||

    *rips up $10 Melting Pot gift card*

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Well, the best way to enjoy fondue is right after you get back from your key-card party. While you feel the strangely reassuring feeling of shag carpet between your toes you ask your wife how her night was - and which one of your friends she schtupped - while dipping bread in a pot of melted cheese.

    There is nothing better.

  • Citizen X||

    Nah. Tight polyester shirt with wide lapels, lots of chest hair showing.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    You're both wrong. You wear an untied lime green terrycloth robe

  • ||

    Have you tried this with l'Etivaz? My wife used a blend of that and an Alpage, and this once again reminded me of why I married her.

  • DesigNate||

    Sorry, we're all full up on smug leftist assholes who don't know one goddamn thing about libertarians or libertarianism. Maybe try Lew Rockwell, I hear they may be interviewing for that position.

  • Mike Laursen||

    This.

    It is such bad strategy for the Libertarian Party to concentrate so much on the Presidential race. It should concentrate on grooming candidates and bringing them up from the local government level.

  • josh||

    "It also amazes me—there's this thing that supporters of a candidate do where they believe their candidate is lying to win in ways that they agree with."

    "So you know, I disagree very strongly with The New York Times, but I read The New York Times almost every day. Because I trust The New York Times to deliver the kind of entertainment they promised me."

    his political and entertainment critique strike me as -at least somewhat- contradictory.

  • Mike Laursen||

    I'm not seeing where his reading the New York Times invalidates his critique of people who claim to know their favored politician's true thinking, even though they have no knowledge other than public statements the candidate has made that contradicts their claim.

  • josh||

    it doesn't invalidate it so much as it does make him one of those people who is fine being lied to so long as he gets what he's looking for.

  • Mike Laursen||

    That quote is taken out of context. He has talked about his habit of reading the New York Times several times on his podcast. He tends to disagree with many of their editorial opinions but he sees much of the reporting as getting the facts correct.

  • I can't even||

    Way to ask those hard-hitting questions "Reason Staff".

  • art guerrilla||

    don't I recall an interview somewhere (maybe here) where he talks about how he doesn't let his kids play outside, or something fairly weird and control-freakish like that ? ? ?
    when I read that, I was pretty much, 'whoa, what a dick...'
    'reality' is a casino lounge ? ? ?
    no, you are missing the original reality...

  • Mike Laursen||

    He lets his kids play outside.

  • Certified Public Asshat||

    His typical daily diet consists of an "enormous salad" with vinegar as dressing for lunch (he doesn't usually eat breakfast) and a dinner consisting of 3 lbs. of greens and three servings of black or brown rice with a vegetable stew, along with lots of fruits for dessert (his favorite is "an enormous amount of blueberries with plain cocoa powder") and vegetables with vinegar or Tabasco sauce as a snack.

    Jesus Christ.

  • Citizen X||

    You know what's good with black rice? Beef bulgogi or some nice coconut-fried shrimp.

  • Citizen X||

    Or some chicken and a fuckton of cheese.

  • Swiss Servator||

    Fuckton or shitload?

  • Citizen X||

    Depends. Can it be Gruyere?

  • Certified Public Asshat||

    I am very worried about the combination of 3lbs of greens and a fuckton of cheese.

  • ||

    Worried about what it will do to your toilet?

  • ||

    Can you imagine the dumps he's taking after a meal like that?

  • Baelzar||

    He must wear Depends. I mean, no human anus could contain it.

  • Pan Zagloba "The Stickler"||

    I read The New York Times almost every day. Because I trust The New York Times to deliver the kind of entertainment they promised me. And the kind of entertainment they promised me is that they won't lie about certain things, and that they will cover certain things, and that they will give me a well-rounded view of certain things that's within my vocabulary and that's in my style, and the length of article that I want, and all of that.

    And now, at least as of [October 2016], we have a president that is sane and who is kind and who has very few scandals. We have an economy which is doing pretty well.

    Dammit, Jillette...

  • josh||

    i know it requires advanced math, but if they will lie about other things, than how can you know they aren't lying about "certain things".

  • Just Say'n||

    No offense to the nuanced opinions of a magician, but he's about as 'libertarian' as Bill Maher.

  • Zeb||

    He's no towering intellectual pillar of libertarian thought, but I'd say he's a lot more libertarian than Maher. I'm not going to go to him for coherent cultural commentary, but everything I've ever heard him say about his personal beliefs leads me to believe that he is very libertarian in his personal views.

  • Pan Zagloba "The Stickler"||

    No way Maher would understand what Penn and Teller end the act the way they do. He'd make a guess, and he'd be wrong.

  • Zeb||

    That's a great bit.

    His vote for Clinton was dumb. But stuff like that is much more important and what I'm going to base my judgement of him on.

  • Robert||

    I forgot the name of the guy whose act that used to be at LP conventions. I guess they ripped him off.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    About? Maybe "almost."

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Obama is sane, the economy is sound and doing pretty well and other than a few made up wingnut CT (BENGHAZI!!) there have been no scandals.

    (I know - here come the TEAM RED! fans to dispute)

  • Pan Zagloba "The Stickler"||

    Pay your bet, donations didn't hit the mark!

  • John Titor||

    He tried to pay in cocaine, but Welch wouldn't take it. What kind of libertarian publication is this anyway?!?

  • Pan Zagloba "The Stickler"||

    Oh, he mailed the cocaine and they thought it was anthrax?

    Man, if I had a quarter for every time it happens...

  • Loss of Reason||

    You are right. No where does it say insane for Obama.

    Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

    Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity, mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and others. It is a cluster B personality disorder.

  • John Titor||

    You're attempting to reason with a loudmouthed cokehead. This will not work.

  • Citizen X||

    Since when can shreek afford cocaine? He strikes me as more of a "shoplift Spice from the gas station" kinda guy.

  • Pan Zagloba "The Stickler"||

    Ooh, you think we can make a bath lotion pipeline to Dogdick, GA? Sounds right up his alley and might be profitable, what with all the new Russia fans down there.

  • DesigNate||

    Hahahahahahahahahaha

  • The Late P Brooks||

    So you know, I disagree very strongly with The New York Times, but I read The New York Times almost every day. Because I trust The New York Times to deliver the kind of entertainment they promised me.

    Krugabe's not-so-slow-motion crackup has been incredibly entertaining.

  • ||

    Thats no shit. I am amazed at how much satisfaction I get from that. I never think of the guy unless he is referred to here at H&R, yet the thoroughness of his useful idiocy makes me hate him passionately. Watching him fall down the crazy hole is just delightful.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Obama is sane, the economy is sound and doing pretty well and other than a few made up wingnut CT (BENGHAZI!!) there have been no scandals.

    Beat that tin drum, little wind-up monkey. Beat it.

  • ||

    I don't need to read the interview. I just read his comments here.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    You are way ahead bruddah.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Yeah after "And now, at least as of [October 2016], we have a president that is sane and who is kind and who has very few scandals. We have an economy which is doing pretty well." I cut to the comments.

  • BradA||

    Hooray for Rebo & Zooty. Zoot, Zoot!
    He still didn't say how he lost the 100 lbs.

  • Baelzar||

    "And now, at least as of [October 2016], we have a president that is sane and who is kind and who has very few scandals. We have an economy which is doing pretty well."

    He's definitely smoking SOMETHING if he believed that bullshit.

  • Priscilla King||

    Well, Frank Gilbreth made a movie celebrating the death of the lead pencil, but Luddites are keeping them in the stores, and where's Gilbreth now? And my generation also killed the video phone...and if we work at it we can kill Windows 10....