Libertarians Lack Compassion?

Aha. I ran across this interview with Penn Jillette (Penn & Teller) and loved what he said about Libertarians and compassion.  He has some great points here, especially about no one, Liberal, Libertarian or Conservative, being evil, simply being groups that disagree about how to solve the same problems. I’ve written it out here, but watching it is really worth it.

 

 

Here is the Penn Jillette transcript starting at 3 minute 40 secs:

…But I think the biggest misconception I find about Libertarians is that there’s a lack of compassion. And I think that…there is as much compassion among libertarians as there is among liberals. It’s not what the problems are, it’s how to solve them.

EVERYBODY wants clean, safe energy. Some people think nuclear’s the way to go; some people think coal’s the way to go, some people think wind’s the way to go, and there’s always balances on that:

Libertarians tend to put freedom as a goal in itself and also a way to obtain other goals.

Liberals tend to put security as a goal in itself and a way to obtain other goals.

Ahhh I think the biggest misconception is that libertarians – I guess the cliché would be – don’t care about the crack babies.  I just think you can deal with people in trouble using compassion.

One of the things that bothers me about statism is that they take away my compassion. When you take money from me by force, run it thru the government to help other people, I think there’s less compassion that me being able to do something.

What I say about Libertarians versus Liberals is:

I will gladly help you build the library. I will not use a gun to get someone else to join us in helping to build that library. I want credit, you know, I want credit for helping. I want to feel like I’m helping, and giving money to the government does not seem like the best way to help, and forcing other people to give money to the government seems immoral to me.

I think that if I want to cure cancer, I should work on curing cancer. You can’t force other people to give money to cure cancer – then you’re not really helping, or you’re helping in a way that I don’t think is right.

So the question on healthcare was not if you saw someone lying in the street who needed help, would you run over and bandage them. The question is really if you saw someone suffering in the street, would you run, get a policeman, have that policemen find a doctor, have that doctor forced by everybody around to take a vote and then come in and help.

But I think that it’s forgotten that what everybody’s trying to do is help the people that need it.

Everybody’s trying that.  I will say that about every political group.

And I think that I would love to see the people using the word wrong more, and using the word evil less. Obama is a really good guy, a really smart guy, and every moment, every second of every day is spent trying to do what’s best. I disagree with him. But there’s no sense that he’s evil.

And this is something I’ll say that a lot of people will freak out at:

I think the same is true for George W Bush. I think every second he was trying as hard as he could to do what was best. I disagreed with him very, very intently….

To be able to say “you’re wrong and here are the reasons” is respect. To say “you’re evil” is antihuman.   Cause the people that I‘ve met in my life who are truly bad and truly evil, is such a small number. I mean, if you take the 6 billion people on the planet and round off the numbers, about 6 billion are good. 

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