American Consequences - September 2018

A Conversation With Penn Jillette

hit anybody in my life in anger. It’s hard to believe I would even fight to defend myself. And I’m really against that. So I have to ask myself: What would I be willing to use force to stop ? And although I might not have the strength or the bravery, I would use force to stop a murder. I would use force to stop rape. I would not use force to build a library. And that, I think, in a nutshell is my libertarian philosophy.

from messing things up because he’s so crazy. PORTER STANSBERRY: Is that really that unusual? Because I have maybe 500 employees. And the same exact thing goes on right here. People always think the boss is crazy. And they think that for the good of the institution, they’re going to not do what they’re told to do. At our company we call it “stonewalling”... When I have a big radical idea that people think are risky, they just won’t do it. And they just stonewall me and hope that I forget about the idea that I had. And usually I do. That’s just how organizations work. It’s not a conspiracy. PENN JILLETTE: It’s not a conspiracy and it is the way organizations work. I think, having spent a lot of time with Trump – and the editorial, in your summation, that seems right – when you read the actual details, where they disagree with their boss is more profound than you see in business. And their use of the word “crazy” when they’re talking about you is probably accompanied by an eye roll. When they’re talking about Trump, it may be accompanied by cold sweat. And I think that is a profound difference. The people around Trump really worry that they have a mentally ill child who is the most powerful man in the world. And that is very different. I think if you talked about a president who, whether we agree or disagree, was smart and sane like Bush or Obama – pick either one of them – even presidents we disagree with profoundly and think didn’t do anything like Carter were sane and smart. I’m sure the

“ So this very thing that makes me think that war is so rarely the answer is the same thing that makes me think that so rarely government control is the answer.

BUCK SEXTON: Penn, what do you think about this anonymous op-ed in the New York Times? This is what everybody in D.C. is talking about. Have you read the op-ed? PENN JILLETTE: Of course I’ve read the op-ed. And the smart money says Dan Coats, right? BUCK SEXTON: Really? Because I was going to say: one, who do you think is responsible? And, two, what do you think of the message? It’s basically saying in summary that there is a group – he calls it a “steady state,” not a “deep state” – of senior administration officials that are trying to stop the president

76 September 2018

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