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“Penn & Teller” star Penn Jillette says he has inventor Tim Jenison to thank for helping him shed his liberal leanings and embrace libertarianism. In an interview to promote his documentary,” Tim’s Vermeer,” about Jenison, Jillette opened up about why he ditched the liberal ideology of many of his Hollywood pals.

“I used to be kind of your standard-release Hollywood liberal. And it was Tim’s views — his love of individualism and his love of accomplishment, his love of enterprise, his love of entrepreneurship — that really, as I became close to Tim, really turned me around. Tim’s idea of the individual is a love of being able to fight for something in a free-market situation,” he told Salon.


Jillette ultimately has found common ground with his Hollywood friends, and believes that everyone wants the same thing — for people to be happy. How one arrives at that happiness is where the disagreements begin.

“Watching people less fortunate than yourselves, wanting to make people kind of on an equal footing and wanting to help people is nothing but good,” he said.

“We all want that; how we accomplish it is what we’re disagreeing on. And I think that’s important to remember. And I think that it’s a culture in Hollywood that’s just very, very smart people who think they have something they don’t deserve. And, in some cases, you know, what hurts you the most is things that come too easy.”