Get Premium Access

WTF with Marc Maron Podcast

Comedian Marc Maron is tackling the most complex philosophical question of our day - WTF? He'll get to the bottom of it with help from comedian friends, celebrity guests and the voices in his own head.
RSS Feed Subscribe in iTunes iOS App Premium Podcasts
WTF with Marc Maron Podcast
2014
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2013
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2012
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2011
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2010
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2009
December
November
October
September


All Episodes
Archives
Premium Episodes
Now displaying: Page 1
Nov 28, 2011 5

Marc sits down with the very vocal half of Penn and Teller, Penn Jillette. They discuss the importance of filth, circus freaks, street juggling, good parenting, and the overlap between Penn's atheism and libertarianism. Plus, Marc envisions going off the grid. This episode is sponsored by Stamps.com. Click the radio mic and enter WTF for a special offer.

5 Comments
  • a year and a half ago
    Caleb
    Im kind of getting tired of this athiest stuff when it comes to Penn. Im not religious, but hearing him talk about it all the damn time is just as bad as when people try and force their religious beliefs down my throat.
  • over two years ago
    Brian C
    I wanted to add one more comment in regard to Penn's comments about Obama's healthcare plan. I believe he made a comment to the effect that the healthcare plan was a form of socialism. That is hugely misleading, and here is why.

    The costs of healthcare are already socialized under the current system. If someone gets into a car accident, for example, the ambulance drivers do not stop to make sure the person has insurance before taking them to the hospital. As a society we have decided that people should not be left on the side of the road to die just because they don't have insurance. So if the person does not have insurance, and they are not able to pay their hospital bills, the hospital winds up eating those costs. One of the reasons healthcare costs are so high in the U.S. is because doctors and hospitals have to overcharge patients (or their insurance companies) in order to recoup those losses. The insurance company then passes those higher costs on in the form of higher premiums. That means that all of the responsible people who pay for their own health insurance wind up subsidizing all the people who either decide to take risks at society's expense, or cannot afford health insurance for some reason. That means that UNDER THE CURRENT SYSTEM healthcare costs are socialized. Everyone who goes to a hospital, or to see a doctor and actually pays (either out of their own pocket, or with insurance) is not only paying for their own healthcare, but is also paying for the healthcare of those who cannot afford insurance, as well as those who simply choose to let society pay for their healthcare. THAT is socialism. The individual mandate, which is the part of the healthcare bill that had the conservatives so up in arms chanting socialism, is actually a way to force people to PAY FOR THEIR OWN HEALTHCARE, which, in case anyone is wondering, IS THE OPPOSITE OF SOCIALISM!

    It is also misleading to call Obama's healthcare plan socialism because there is no public option. Everyone will still be PRIVATELY insured. Everyone will still be able to make their own choices about which insurance provider to choose. The notion that Obama's healthcare plan is "socialism" is just a story (propaganda) sold by those who oppose the plan. The plan is not perfect, and it would certainly be possible to criticize aspects of it (both from the left and the right) but those criticisms would often be quite complex, an it is much easier to sell a simple story about it being socialism. Unfortunately that story does not happen to be true.
  • two and a half years ago
    Brian C
    I do not want to turn this forum into a forum for political debate, but anyone who wants to know what some of the problems are with libertarianism (and there are many problems) should read a book called Filthy Lucre by Joseph Heath, or any book on economics that discusses market failures, free rider problems, etc..

    Put simply: even if we ignore questions of social justice in the distribution of income, there are certain collective action problems that arise in a market economy that really can only be solved through government intervention of some kind. An obvious example would be bank runs. When people think a bank might fail, it is individually rational for them to try to withdraw their money, but when everyone acts rationally and tries to withdraw their money at the same time it leads to a collectively irrational result. The bank fails and no one gets their money. The government was able to solve that collective action problem through deposit insurance, and these kinds of collective action problems are pervasive, and the government is often quite effective in solving them.

    The problem with libertarianism is that it tends to be a broad ideological generalization (more government is always bad). The efficacy of the government in solving collective action problems is an empirical question that has to be decided on a case by case basis, and broad ideological generalizations like libertarianism, tend to stand in the way of solving problems. There are certainly cases where government intervention makes things worse rather than better, but there are also times when the government is very successful at solving obvious problems, like deposit insurance. There are also problems, like polio, that can perhaps be solved on an individual basis by people like Bill Gates, and there are others that cannot. Like I said, this question has to be decided on a case by case basis, and ideological commitments like libertarianism tend to get in the way of solving actual problems because they have a ready-made solution for every problem (less government). We could get a lot more problems solved if people were less ideological, and more pragmatic.

    That having been said, Penn Jillette did not seem to me to be an ideologue, he seemed fairly pragmatic. But I just thought I would point out that among academic economists, political scientists, social scientists, and political philosophers, strict libertarianism as an ideology is as dead as Soviet style communism. No one believes anymore that all are problems can be solved if we just leave everyone alone.

    But it was a great interview, and despite disagreeing with Penn Jillette's politics I always enjoy hearing him interviewed, and you are doing a great job Marc. Keep up the good work.
  • almost three years ago
    Steven Doyle
    I like Penn Jillette. His libertarianism is based on a nonsensical, ideological fantasy version of how the world works, but I think he's sincere and empathetic, unlike a lot of Libertarians who seem to be driven by a smug, arrogant selfishness. He's wrong, but his heart's in the right place.

    I agree with him that most atheists don't have a dramatic story of childhood trauma that led to disbelief. In my case, at the age of ten I started thinking seriously about religion, realized it was fairy tales, and that was that. No trauma.
  • almost three years ago
    mavius
    David E kelley wrote a play where all 10 ammendments were characters and they interacted