Quotations by Jillette, Penn


And I’ve always said, you know, that I don’t respect people that don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell — or not getting eternal life, or whatever — and you think that, “Well, it’s not really worth tellin’ ’em this, because it would make it socially awkward.” And atheists who think that people shouldn’t proselytize, “Just leave me alone. Keep your religion to yourself.” How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?

I mean, if I believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you and you didn’t believe it, that a truck was bearing down on you, there’s a certain point where I tackle you — and this is more important than that.

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
“A Gift of a Bible,” Penn Says, ep. 192 (9 Dec 2008)
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That’s the beauty of the Web: You can roll around in a stranger’s obsession without having to smell his or her house. You can amscray whenever you want without being rude. The site gets its “hit” and you know more about our species’ diversity.

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
“Free Celebrity Nudes!” Penn’s Columns (15 Oct 1997)
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Added on 8-Apr-21 | Last updated 19-Apr-21
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Two things have always been true about human beings. One, the world is always getting better. Two, the people living at that time think it’s getting worse. It’s because you get older, your responsibilities are different. Now I’m taking care of children instead of being a child. It makes the world look scarier. That happens to everyone.

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
“Honest Questions with Penn Jillette,” Interview by Glen Beck, CNN (2 Nov 2007)
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Added on 15-Apr-21 | Last updated 19-Apr-21
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Freedom only means the freedom to be stupid. Because you don’t need freedom to do what everybody thinks you should.

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
“Honest Questions with Penn Jillette,” Interview by Glen Beck, CNN (2 Nov 2007)
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Democracy without respect for individual rights sucks. It’s just ganging up against the weird kid, and I’m always the weird kid.

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
“I don’t know, so I’m an atheist libertarian,” Interview, CNN (16 Aug 2011)
Added on 13-May-21 | Last updated 13-May-21
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If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
“Passing Down the Joy of Not Collecting Stamps,” God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales (2011)
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The question I get asked by religious people all the time is, without God, what’s to stop me from raping all I want? And my answer is: I do rape all I want. And the amount I want is zero. And I do murder all I want, and the amount I want is zero. The fact that these people think that if they didn’t have this person watching over them that they would go on killing, raping rampages is the most self-damning thing I can imagine. I don’t want to do that. Right now, without any god, I don’t want to jump across this table and strangle you. I have no desire to strangle you. I have no desire to flip you over and rape you.

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
“Penn Jillette Rapes All the Women He Wants To,” Interview by Ron Bennington,Interrobang (30 Apr 2012)
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Added on 27-May-21 | Last updated 27-May-21
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Luck is probability taken personally.

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
(Attributed)

While Jillette says this often, he attributes it to statistician and fellow skeptic, Daniel "Chip" Denman.
Added on 3-Jun-21 | Last updated 3-Jun-21
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When I talk about the death penalty to people, there are a zillion pragmatic arguments to make that the death penalty is more expensive, that you could make mistakes with the death penalty. I try to never use them, because I believe that as soon as I use them, I have dropped what matters to me. Because those arguments are disingenuous. To say, “What if we put an innocent person to death?” I am then telling you that if you can promise me we won’t put any innocent people to death that I’m somehow OK with that, and I’m fucking not. Killing people is wrong. Government shouldn’t fucking do it. End of story.

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
Interview by Kahterine Mangu-Ward, Reason (Jan 2017)
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Added on 10-Jun-21 | Last updated 10-Jun-21
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My definition of art is anything you do after the chores are done, and in that definition of art, Ron Jeremy, Picasso, and the mall Santa all have the exact same job.

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
Interview by Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason (Jan 2017)
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Added on 23-Jun-21 | Last updated 23-Jun-21
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People say if you legalize drugs, you’re going to have a lot more junkies. And then the other side says, Oh no, no, no, we will have fewer junkies [and] they’ll be treated better. I don’t know! I just know that if you don’t have the right to put whatever you want into your own body, you’re not living in a free fucking country. Simple.

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
Interview by Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason (Jan 2017)
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Added on 28-Jul-21 | Last updated 28-Jul-21
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Bacon is so good by itself that to put it in any other food is an admission of failure. You’re basically saying, “I can’t make this other food taste good, so I’ll throw in bacon.”

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
Quoted in Adam Boult, “Why We Love Eating Meat,” Telegraph (13 Jun 2016)
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Added on 25-Sep-20 | Last updated 25-Sep-20
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