Penn Jillette speaks out on the role of government

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," July 5, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


MONICA CROWLEY, GUEST HOST: Welcome back to "Hannity." Penn Jillette isn't shy when it comes to talking about his thoughts on politics and what role government should have in our daily lives.

His book "God No" is now out in paperback. Recently, Sean sat down with Jillette and got his thoughts on the presidential race and much more.


SEAN HANNITY, HOST OF "HANNITY": The one and only Penn Jillette. How are you? Good to see you again.


HANNITY: This may be a crazy exercise I'm going to do here today.


HANNITY: You were on the program, said who are you going to vote in the election after you did the infamous rant on Obama?

JILLETTE: Obama with the marijuana. I said probably Gary Johnson.

HANNITY: Right, but you do know that Gary Johnson has zero chance of winning?

JILLETTE: Right. I tried to explain to you that if you always vote for the lesser of two evils in game theory things just keep getting more evil. The thing that -- the lie that's perpetuated is that we have to have a two-party system.

And all we have to do -- as a matter of fact, if all the people who don't vote, who vote for third party candidates, aren't satisfied, just decide to vote for more freedom, that will change.

HANNITY: If, first of all, I don't buy into your premise. Everything you're saying is predicated on the less of two evils.


HANNITY: I think you have two very different, very distinct candidates with distinct visions for the country.

JILLETT: Not to what I care about neither one of them wants to seriously shrink the government. The difference is I haven't got a problem with who's in power. I have a problem with the power itself. The president has too much power right now.

HANNITY: I agree with you.

JILLETTE: Having wars that are undeclared, even if --

HANNITY: Which war was undeclared?

JILLETTE: We haven't declared any of the wars we're in since, what, Korea?

HANNITY: No. If you read our Constitution doesn't say you have to use exact words.


HANNITY: Congress authorized the use of force. Doesn't say you have to say, we declare war.

JILLETTE: The president is making all these moves. The president should be much more of a figurehead. Congress has been so frightened to take that power back.

HANNITY: But you got co-equal branches of government though. You got the executive and the --

JILLETTE: Right. I think the executive branch is getting too powerful.

HANNITY: I agree with that, but no not for the same reason.

JILLETTE: Even if Romney were the best president possible, even if everything he did were perfect, you're still going into this expansion of presidential power, which has gone on with Clinton, Bush, and Obama, are doing more and more to take care of us. We should consider ourselves adults. And I we should consider trust the citizens of the United States to take care of themselves.

HANNITY: I like what you're saying, that people should be responsible. I agree with that, agree with that. But if the option or the choice is to repeal ObamaCare, the nanny state, you would agree. You would want that.


HANNITY: And Romney says that he's going to get rid of the bureaucracy in a lot of ways, pull back regulation, reduce spending, work with Paul Ryan, get on a plan to balance the budget.

Ryan has already produced a plan to deal with entitlement spending and the third rail of politics. I don't know if it's going to be perfect, but infinitely better than the $1.5 trillion of debt we get every year.

JILLETTE: You really think he would make the government smaller or wouldn't just be a different person in the amount of power?

HANNITY: If he doesn't, he will ruin the best opportunity we have to save the country from becoming Greece.

JILLETTE: Right, but if we decide that we want someone to actually give people more freedom, I believe that both Obama and Romney think they know what's best for other people. And I believe that's the mistake. I believe they're pure-hearted. I'm not cynical at all.

HANNITY: You are the exception to the rule. Here you're a libertarian that is not arguing to legalize drugs because you want to use drugs.

JILLETTE: I don't want them.

HANNITY: You've never tried marijuana.


HANNITY: You never had a drink.


HANNITY: You've never had a cigarette that you smoked.

JILLETTE: I do fire eating, so I have to light a cigarette --

HANNITY: You never smoked a cigar.


HANNITY: You're the exception to the rule for libertarians. You know that, right?

JILLETTE: I do know that, but I also do know that the most important thing is for the government to allow more freedom than I want for myself. Morality has to be a subset -- the most important thing is that people in this country feel like they are living legally. There's nobody in this country right now that can say with complete confidence they are doing nothing illegal. We have too many laws. What you need to do, is if you are a good person, you should have no fear of the government. It comes back to the Al Capone thing that we busted him on income tax invasion. You don't want to feel good about that. You don't want to feel good that the government can bust anybody on anything they want. You want to be able to do good things. Much smaller laws. You know, my son, when he gets to be 12 years old, should be able to understand everything that's illegal and everything that's not. There shouldn't be this huge amount of illegal things you can do. Someone who is a good person should have no fear of the government whatsoever.

HANNITY: All right, I lost this debate. I can't win this debate. Go waste half your vote.

JILLETTE: I'll waste my whole vote. That's what I'm going to do.


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