Interesting video I happened across.
Jilette’s kinda a wind bag. I mean, I have been a big fan of his for a long time, but he really isn’t as smart as I would like him to be. He has the right initial approach to problem solving and reasoning through issues, but he somehow runs off course and doesn’t understand many issues terribly deeply. For instance, I saw him on Bill Maher recently, and he basically said [very close paraphrase] “I think the government should never use violence or force for any purpose that an individual couldn’t use . . . I also think all governmental decisions should be made to maximize freedom.”When you first hear those things, you think “Oh yeah! Good idea!” Then, you think through what it entails, and it’s actually kind of horrifying and nonsensical. As to the first point, the government would only be limited to individual actions. That automatically means no collective action whatsoever of any kind – no war, no social services, no administrative action, no court systems (many actions of the court would be considered “violent” based on his definition of the word), etc. That’s crazy. That automatically makes his entire philosophy invalid. Furthermore, individuals can use any amount of force under certain circumstances. Like, you can legally kill someone in self-defense. How on Earth do you translate acceptable individual violence with acceptable governmental violence? As to the second point, and someone else has called him out on this before (I believe Christopher Hitchens a few years ago), is that there is not such thing as an “objective” freedom. Like, what does he mean by “freedom”? Some people say that taxation is oppressive and denies freedom, but the many homeless, unemployed, members of teh military, public employees, etc. who receive benefits from the government would argue that taxation increases their freedoms (gives them job opportunities they wouldn’t have, provides health care to them and allows them to live as they please, etc.) It’s a completely relative, arbitrary standard. How would you ever govern a country based on such a philosophy? It’s impossible.Essentially, he’s an atheist Mitt Romney. Which is pretty ironic. He has all these principles and ideals that he has trained himself to talk about during brief public appearances, but when he has to really discuss the nuts and bolts of those ideas, it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t have a whole lot of value to say.
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