Penn Jillette and libraries


There is a piece on NPR about Penn Jillette's new book God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales

Excerpt from NPR piece that mentions libraries:
His discussion of libertarianism is similar: He doesn't believe government has the right to do anything you wouldn't enforce at gunpoint, so (for instance) stopping crime is a legitimate government function, but public libraries are not, since he wouldn't hold a gun on anyone and force them to create a library. Again, some will agree and some won't, but his commitment to this principle is at least something he's prepared to defend.


His explanation makes sense but then you have the problem of who are you using to define these rules?
He might not hold a gun to someone, but what if I would? It would then be the role of government to build libraries.
What if I wanted to shoot anyone with hairs growing out of a mole on their face, that would have to become government policy as well.

I guess he means that he thinks he's the one that should be in charge.

I haven't read the piece, so perhaps this was addressed in it. But that "hold a gun" rationale is pretty extreme. Would we hold a gun to people to raise money to build roads? No? What kind of society would we live in w/o public roads? And yes, I know in early America we had a lot of private roads. But nowadays? Really?

Libertarianism is logically consistent but practically lame.

.... I'm arming myself. because I could convince myself that anything is worth shooting someone over... clean water, sane laws, safe food, good roads, protected lands and animals, so I would for damn sure shoot someone for trying to take my books and all they represent. thanks Penn. stick with making it look like you chopped off your fingers and you'll be okay with me.

Sure they are principled. So are religious fundamentalists...but I wouldn't care to live in either of their dystopias. My question is why anyone pays attention to an obnoxious vaudeville performer when it comes to important issues like this. Why is celebrity considered sufficient grounds for expertise in anything other than how to gain attention?

I'm still waiting for these libertarians to book their tickets to government-free "paradises" like Somalia, Nigeria and Haiti where the government is virtually non-existent, people do whatever the hell they want and everyone lives in peace and prosperity.....Oh wait a minute, there is no peace or prosperity in any of those places. In fact, with no government, those places are an absolute mess.

Sure, no one likes government bureaucracy or ineffectual government, but I don't want all government services eliminated like libertarians do. Libertarians always talk about how they want all government services either privatized or stopped altogether - funny they never seem to put their money where their mouth is and move places where they can live their dream.

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