PJ O'ROURKE QUOTES

"So-called Western Civilization, as practised in half of Europe, some of Asia and a few parts of North America, is better than anything else available. Western civilization not only provides a bit of life, a pinch of liberty and the occasional pursuance of happiness, it's also the only thing that's ever tried to. Our civilization is the first in history to show even the slightest concern for average, undistinguished, none-too-commendable people like us."

"O'Rourke is one of the free world's great contrarians, a one-man satirical SWAT team with a flame-thrower style. He is also compulsively funny, and infectiously quotable."
        - Robert McCrum reviews "Peace Kills" for "The Observer"

P.J. O'Rourke remarked in one of his books that a sure indicator of the dynamism of any political movement is the number of hot babes at gatherings of supporters. Possibly I've been reading too much evolutionary psychology, but this strikes me as a nontrivial observation.
        - John Derbyshire, "National Review"

Jump to quotes from PJ's books :
~ Peace Kills - America's Fun New Imperialism
~ Republican Party Reptile
~ Holidays in Hell
~ Give War A Chance
~ All the Trouble in the World
~ Parliament of Whores
~ Age and Guile
~ Modern Manners
~ The Man in the Mansion (TV)

"There's only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences."

"You know. if government were a product, selling it would be illegal. Government is a health hazard. Governments have killed many more people than cigarettes or unbuckled seat belts ever have. Government contains impure ingredients-as anybody who's looked at Congress can tell you. On the basis of Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign promises. I think we can say government practices deceptive advertising. And the merest glance at the federal budget is enough to convict the government of perjury, extortion, and fraud. There, ladies and gentlemen, you have the Cato Institute's program in a nutshell: government should be against the law. Term limits aren't enough. We need jail."

"The Clinton administration launched an attack on people in Texas because those people were religious nuts with guns. Hell, this country was founded by religious nuts with guns. Who does Bill Clinton think stepped ashore on Plymouth Rock? Peace Corps volunteers? Or maybe the people in Texas were attacked because of abuse. But, if child abuse was the issue, why didn't Janet Reno tear-gas Woody Allen?"

"America wasn't founded so that we all could be better.  America was founded so we could all be anything we damn well please."

- The Liberty Manifesto The great religions (and conservatives are known for approving of God) teach salvation as an individual matter. There are no group discounts in the Ten Commandments, Christ was not a committee, and Allah does not welcome believers into Paradise saying, "You weren't much good yourself, but you were standing near some good people." That we are individuals-unique, disparate and willful - is something we understand instinctively from an early age. No child ever wrote to Santa: 'Bring me -- and a bunch of kids I've never met -- a pony, and we'll share.'

There is no virtue in compulsory government charity, and there is no virtue in advocating it. A politician who portrays himself as "caring" and "sensitive" because he wants to expand the government's charitable programs is merely saying that he's willing to try to do good with other people's money. Well, who isn't? And a voter who takes pride in supporting such programs is telling us that he'll do good with his own money-if a gun is held to his head.

"Collectivism doesn't work because it's based on a faulty economic premise. There is no such thing as a person's 'fair share' of wealth. The gross national product is not a pizza that must be carefully divided because if I get too many slices, you have to eat the box. The economy is expandable and, in any practical sense, limitless."

"In its better forms, conservatism simply says that the structures of society, both civil and political, religious and so on, are the result of a long series of trial-and-error experiments by millions of human beings, not only all over the world, but through time. And that you should toss out received wisdom only
very carefully. Obviously there are some ideas that were around for centuries that were not good (slavery comes to mind). But when people have been doing something for a millennium or two, there is probably a reason. And you better be pretty careful before you just throw it out."

- How to Explain Conservatism Even bad music has gotten better because it's gotten shorter. One of Wagner's pieces took four days to play. Now the latest single from Hootie and the Blowfish clocks in at just over three minutes.

If the Perennially Indignant think pollution is the fault only of Reaganites wallowing in capitalist greed, then they should go take a deep breath in Smolensk or a long drink from the river Volga.

The Greenpeace booth at all the rock and roll shows nowadays are akin to the old sorcerers who used to stand in the middle of villages warning of danger, 'When night wolf swallows mother moon, there will be great famine.'

The principle feature of American liberalism is sanctimoniousness. By loudly denouncing all bad things - war and hunger and date rape - liberals testify to their own terrific goodness. More important, they promote themselves to membership in a self-selecting elite of those who care deeply about such things... It's a kind of natural aristocracy, and the wonderful thing about this aristocracy is that you don't have to be brave, smart, strong or even lucky to join it, you just have to be liberal.

- The Politics Of Worry Bob Dole wants to make women illegal and the Rhinos are all gone, I mean I looked everywhere -- under my couch, the closet -- they're gone. - PJ unimpressed with liberal whinings : "The Politics Of Worry" In a democracy, everyone steals from everyone else, whereas in all the other systems, a small political elite plunders the population with a ruthlessness and efficiency the people as a whole can never quite manage to do to itself.
Terrible danger lurks in the idea that the government should do more to protect people and give them more of the things they need. France shows you what happens when you base politics on the idea that the government has to give ever-greater protection and benefits to people: the economy simply gets asphyxiated. France's official unemployment rate is 10 per cent; its real rate is probably closer to 40 per cent. Government regulations ensure that business-people can't fire anyone in France. They respond by not hiring anyone.

        - PJ, interviewed in Britain's "Sunday Telegraph" as riots rage in France (Nov'05)

"Why are conservatives opposed to gun control?"
"In case we have to shoot Democrats. It happened during the Civil War, and it could happen again."

"The whole idea of government is this: if enough people get together and act in concert, they can take something and not pay for it."

"A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them."

"I want to tell you something about humour, it isn't a nice thing. When a kitten plays with a ball of wool it's only funny when it strangles itself."

"Just as some things are too strange for fiction, others are too true for journalism."

"When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators."

"One of the annoying things about believing in free will and individual responsibility is the difficulty of finding somebody to blame your problems on. And when you do find somebody, it's remarkable how often his picture turns up on your driver's license."

"The free market is ugly and stupid, like going to the mall; the unfree market is just as ugly and just as stupid, except there's nothing in the mall and if you don't go there they shoot you."

"Government conspiracy? They can't even deliver our mail and it's got our address on it and everything!"

"Not being a liberal, I have very little grasp of things that I know nothing about."

"Making fun of born-again Christians is like hunting dairy cows with a high powered rifle and scope."

"Marijuana is self-punishing. It makes you acutely sensitive, and in this world, what worse punishment could there be?"

"In our brief national history we have shot four of our presidents, worried five of them to death, impeached one and hounded another out of office. And when all else fails, we hold an election and assassinate their character."

"Maybe it's understandable what a history of failures America's foreign policy has been. We are, after all, a country full of people who came to America to get away from foreigners."

"Our democracy, our culture, our whole way of life is a spectacular triumph of the blah. Why not have a political convention without politics to nominate a leader who's out in front of nobody? Maybe our national mindlessness is the very thing that keeps us from turning into one of those smelly European countries full of pseudo-reds and crypto-fascists and greens who dress like forest elves."

"Hollywood stands for unhappiness. It was the most unpleasant work I've ever done in my life. There are thousands of people vying for positions of which there are only a few. Most businesses are not entirely run on the zero-sum game. Hollywood is - anyone else's gain is your loss."

"You fall in love with perhaps half a dozen people in your life, and a like number of people fall in love with you. But the affections are rarely mutual and almost never contemporary. It is the most irresponsible thing that can be done to let such a coincidence pass and not act upon it."

#

PEACE KILLS

As of early 2004, America didn't seem to have the answers for postwar Iraq. Then again, what were the questions? Was there a bad man? And his bad kids? Were they running a bad country? That did bad things? Did they have a lot of oil money to do bad things with? Were they going to do more bad things?
If those were the questions, was the answer "UN-supervised national reconciliation" or "rapid return to self-rule"? No. The answer was blow the place to bits.
A mess was left behind. But it's a mess without a military to fight aggressive wars; a mess without the facilities to develop dangerous weapons; a mess that cannot systematically kill, torture, and oppress millions of its citizens. It's a mess with a message - don't mess with us.

When other countries demand a role in the exercise of global power, America can ask another fundamental American question: "You and what army?"

Clinton was everybody's best friend. Except when he wasn't. He conducted undeclared air wars against Serbia and Iraq and launched missiles at Sudan and Afghanistan. Clinton used the military more often than any previous peacetime American president. He sent armed forces into areas of conflict on an average of once every nine weeks.

REPUBLICAN PARTY REPTILE

We are the Republican Party Reptiles. We look like Republicans, and think like conservatives, but we drive a lot faster. I think our agenda is clear.
We are opposed to : Government spending, Kennedy kids, seat-belt laws, being a pussy about nuclear power, busing our children anywhere other than Yale, trailer courts near our vacation homes, Gary Hart, all tiny Third World countries that don't have banking secrecy laws, aerobics, the UN, taxation without tax loopholes, and jewelry on men.
We are in favour of : Guns, drugs, fast cars, free love ( if our wives dont find out ), a sound dollar, cleaner environment ( poor people should cut it out with the graffiti), a strong military with spiffy uniforms, Natassia Kinski, Star Wars ( and anything that scares the Russkies), and a firm stand on the Middle East (raze buildings, burn crops, plow the earth with salt, and sell the population into bondage).
There are thousands of people in America who feel this way, especially after three or four drinks.

- Republican Party Reptile I'm a registered Republican and consider socialism a violation of the American principle that you shouldn't stick your nose in other people's business except to make a buck.

My Grandmother wouldn't even speak the word Democrat if there were children in the rooom, she'd say Bastards instead.

Neither conservatives nor humorists believe man is good. But left-wingers do.

Fishing ... is a sport invented by insects and you are the bait.

- Republican Party Reptile Man developed in Africa. He has not continued to do so there. Previously, all the dinosaurs had died. Paleolithic, Neolithic, amd other oddly named men spread. They used fire, but being primitive, they used it for everything - food, clothing, and bodily decoration. Caves were painted, also fixed up and furnished in a simple but attractive style. They were ideal for young couples who were just starting the human race.
The Earth was proved flat and there was an extensive series of religious debates that killed everyone with an IQ over 50. - Excerpts from "A Brief History Of Man" Ignorance is stupid, but education leads to college students. Smart people dont start too many bar fights, but stupid people dont build many hydrogen bombs. Then again, smart people would never drop one. Or would they? Its something we ought to know. - An Intellectual Experiment Life is filled with pain and sorrow, facts which cannot fail to touch the heart of any perceptive American. Therefore no US citizen with an IQ over 110 is sober after 6:00 in the evening.

The forces of safety are afoot in the land. I, for one, believe it is a conspiracy - a conspiracy of Safety Nazis shouting "Sieg Health" and seeking to trammel freedom, liberty, and large noisy parties. The Safety Nazis advocate gun control, vigorous exercise, and health foods. The result can only be a disarmed, exhausted, and half-starved population ready to acquiesce to dictatorship of some kind.

- Safety Nazis Bicycles are Childish : Bicycles have their proper place, and that place is under small boys delivering evening papers. Insofar as children are too short to see over the dashboards of cars and too small to keep motorbikes upright at intersections, bikes are suitable vehicles for them. But what do we make of an adult in a suit and tie pedalling his way to work? St. Paul, in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, 13:11, said, "When I became a man, I put away childish things." He did not say, "When I became a man, I put away childish things and got more elaborate and expensive childish things from France & Japan." - Principle Arguments Which May Be Marshaled Against Bicycles When it comes to taking chances, some people like to play poker or shoot dice; other people prefer to parachute jump, go rhino hunting, or climb ice foles, while still others engage in crime or marriage. But I like to get drunk and drive like a fool. Name me, if you can, a better feeling than the one you get when you're half a bottle of Chivas in the bag with a gram of coke up your nose and a teenage lovely pulling off her tube top in the next seat over while you're going a hundred miles an hour down a surburban side street. You'd have to watch the entire Mexican air force crash-land into a liquid petroleum gas storage facility to match this kind of thrill. If you ever have much more fun than that; you'll die of pure sensory overload.

I have to get completely shit-faced to even think about driving fast. How can you have a lot of exciting thrills when you're so terrified that you wet yourself all the time? Thats not fun. Its just not fun to have exciting thrills when you're scared. Take the heroes of the Iliad, for instance - they really has some exciting thrills, and were they scared? No. They were drunk. Every chance they could get. And so am I, and I'm not going out there to have a horrible car wreck until somebody brings me a cocktail.

You know, its a shame, but a lot of people have the wrong idea about accidents. For one thing, they dont hurt nearly as much as you'd think. Thats because you're in shock and cant feel pain, or if you arent in shock, you're dead, and that doesnt hurt at all so far as we know.

- How to drive fast on drugs while getting your wing-wang squeezed and not spill you drink That night a young man named Jaafar Jalabi arrived at the ABC office. I liked him immediately. For one thing he was scared, and there's entirely too much bravery in Lebanon. Also he wore a Rolex. I have a personal theory that faithful, disciplined, highly principled, self-sacrificing people (in other words the people who are forever getting the rest of us killed) wear cheap wristwatches.

"What about snipers?" I once asked someone. He said, "Oh, most of the snipers have automatic weapon. They arent very accurate."

- With Hostage & Hijacker in Sunny Beirut HOLIDAYS IN HELL

If I had the chance to visit another planet, I'd want to see the planet's principal features - what makes it tick. Well, the planet I've got a chance to visit is Earth, and Earth's principal features are chaos and war. I think I'd be a fool to spend years here and never have a look.

Because I was curious and wanted a few facts, there are no important people in this book - no interviews with Heads of State or Major Figures On The International Scene. These people didn't get where they are by being dumb enough to tell reporters the truth.

There are no earnest messages in this book. Half the world's suffering is caused by earnest messages contained in grand theories bearing no relation to reality - Marxism and No-Fault Auto Insurance, to name two. Earnestness is just stupidity sent to college.

The Japanese take snapshots of everything, not just everything famous but *everything*. Back in Tokyo there must be a billion colour slides of street corners, phone booths, fire hydrants and overhead electrical wires. What are the Japanese doing with all these pictures? Its probably a question we should have asked before Pearl Harbour.

The French are sawed-off sissies who eat snails and slugs and cheese that smells like people's feet. Utter cowards who force their own children to drink wine, they gibber like baboons even when you try to speak to them in their own wimpy language.

You can always reason with a German. You can always reason with a barnyard animal, too, for all the good it does.. The larger the German body, the smaller the German bathing suit and the louder the German voice issuing German demands and German orders to everybody who doesn't speak German. For this, and several other reasons, Germany is known as 'the land where Israelis learned their manners'.

Italy is not technically part of the Third World, but no one has told the Italians.

The Belfast pictured in Time magazine, the rubble-and-barbed-wire, litter-and-graffiti Belfast, is, in fact, a patch of highly photogenic impoverishment no more than a mile long and a half a mile wide. It's as though Architectural Digest came to "do" a house and only took pictures of the teenager's bedroom. People who live in this heck's half acre have been worked over by social scientists until there's hardly one of them who's not a footnote on somebody's master's thesis. And they're so thoroughly journalized that urchins in the street ask, "Will you be needing a sound bite?" and criticize your choice of shutter speeds.

There are a lot of mysterious things about boats, such as why anyone would get on one voluntarily.

You know what you've got here? This is white trash behaving itself - the only thing in the world worse then white trash *not* behaving itself. These people arent having any fun. They should join the Klan. They'd be better off. They could hoot and holler and what-not. The Klan doesnt do all that much really bad stuff any more because there are too many FBI double agents in it.
        - PJ visits a Christian Evangelical Theme Park

If I get out of here, I'm never going to worry about things that won't kill me. I'm never going to worry about the rent. I'm never going to worry about articles being rejected. And I'm certainly never going to worry about earning a living as a humorist, because if I can make fun of this, I can make fun of anything.
        - PJ is worried by bombs exploding around him in Lebanon

We did see one fellow getting roughed up by a crowd outside a polling place. We shoved people, in the Korean manner, until we found someone who spoke English. He told us the fellow being kicked and punched was a suspected government agent. The police came, punched and kicked the fellow some more, and hauled him off. It was certainly the first time I'd ever seen police arrest somebody on suspicion of being a government agent. But that's Korea.

They [La Prensa] accused us of supressing freedom of expression. This was a lie and we could not let them publish it.
- Nelba Blandon, Nicaraguan Interior Ministry Director of Censoship, quoted in New York Times (1984)

Often, the more you understand, the less you forgive.
        - Jillian Becker, Director, Institute for the Study of Terrorism

Take up the White Man's burden, the savage wars of peace,
Fill full the mouth of Famine and bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest, the end for others sought,
Watch Sloth and heathen Folly bring all your hope to naught.
        - Rudyard Kipling, on the Americans taking possession of the Philippines

# GIVE WAR A CHANCE

Iraq's invasion of Kuwait is a case of bad men doing wrong things for wicked reasons. This is the full-sized or standard purebred evil and is easily recognized even by moral neophytes. Other malignities--drugs in America, famine in Africa and everything in the Middle East--are more complex. When combating those evils people sometimes have trouble deciding whom to shoot.

If Europeans didn't discover North America then how'd we all get here?

"Liberal" is, of course, one of those fine English words, like lady, gay and welfare, which has been spoiled by special pleading. When I say liberals I certainly don't mean openhanded individuals or tolerant persons or even Big Government Democrats. I mean people who are excited that one percent of the profits of Ben & Jerry's ice cream goes to promote world peace.

Any rich man does more for society than all the jerks pasting 'Visualize World Peace' bumper stickers on their cars. The worst leech of a merger and acquisitions lawyer making $500,000 a year will, even if he cheats on his taxes, put $100,000 into the public coffers. That's $100,000 worth of education, charity or US Marines. And the Marine Corps does more to promote world peace than all the Ben & Jerry's ice-cream ever made.

That liberals aren't enamored of real freedom may have something to do with responsibility - that cumbersome backpack which all free men have to lug on life's aerobic nature hike. The second item in the liberal creed, after self-righteousness, is unaccountability. Liberals have invented whole college majors - psychology, sociology, women's studies - to prove that nothing is anybody's fault. No one is fond of taking responsibility for his actions, but consider how much you'd have to hate free will to come up with a political platform that advocates killing unborn babies but not convicted murderers. A callous pragmatist might favor abortion AND capital punishment. A devout Christian would sanction neither. But it takes years of therapy to arrive at the liberal point of view.

I have often been called a Nazi, and although it is unfair, I don't let it bother me. I don't let it bother me for one simple reason. No one has *ever* had a sexual fantasy about being tied to a bed and sexually ravished by someone dressed as a liberal.

~

I really didnt understand before that moment, I didn't realize until just then - we won. The Free World won the Cold War.
All the people who had been sent to gulags, who'd been crushed in the streets of Budapest, Prague and Warsaw, the soldiers who'd died in Korea and my friends and classmates who had been killed in Vietnam - it meant something now. All the treasure that we in America had poured into guns, planes, Star Wars and all the terrifying A-bombs we'd had to build and keep - it wasn't for nothing.

And the best thing about our victory is the way we did it - not just with ICBMs and Green Berets and aid to the Contras. Those things were important, but in the end we beat them with Levi 501 jeans. Seventy-two years of Communist indoctrination and propaganda was drowned out by a three-ounce Sony Walkman. A huge totalitarian system with all its tanks and guns, gulag camps, and secret police has been brought to its knees because nobody wants to wear Bulgarian shoes. They may have had the soldiers and the warheads and the fine-sounding ideology that suckered the college students and nitwit Third Worlders, but we had all the fun. Now they're lunch, and we're number one on the planet.

- The Death of Communism You can't get good chinese takeout in China and cuban cigars are rationed in Cuba. That's all you need to know about communism. - Return of the Death of Communism, part III : The Saga Continues Shhh, they think they won the war. The old communists who run Vietnam believed they defeated imperialism, colonialism and decadent western capitalism. So where did that little girl in Hoan Kiem park, in the middle of downtown Hanoi, get a hula hoop? Why does every house in the city have a workshop, store ot tea parlor in the front room? Whence the hundreds of tiny factories? Wherefore the hawkers, barkers, jobbers and drummers shouting their wares in the street? How come foreign investors pack the haute cuisine restaurants? How come there's haute cuisine? And what is that eminently imperialist corporation, British Petroleum, doing signing a joint venture agreement with the state-owned Vietnamese oil company in the lobby of my hotel? With an open bar?

I wonder if it changes the nature of a society for beauty to be so common. Maybe in Vietnam "She has a wonderful personality" really means something. But I couldnt figure out a polite way to ask.

The Hoa were merchants and manufacturers. They were very successful and thus, according to the logic of Marxism, responsible for society's failures. The Hoa suffered the same fate as the pizza parlour in Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing except at the hands of the world's fourth largest army instead of a small, petulant movie director.

Saigon is like all the other great modern cities of the world. Its the mess left from people getting rich.

Saigon is still predominantly a two-wheeled city, but motorized and not just with little Honda engines. Even bicycles are ridden with attitude. Traffic is like a bad dog. It isnt important to look both ways before crossing the street. Its important to not show fear.

- It's The End Of History "Serious" people are dense and know it. But, they think that if they are grave enough about Yugoslavia their gravity will make up for the fact that, like most people, they dont know whats going on over there, and, like all people, they dont know what to do about it. Seriousness is stupidity sent to college.
Seriousness is also the only practical tone to take when lying. All lies are told with a straight face. Its truth thats said with a dismissive giggle. Real seriousness is involuntary. If youre held at gunpoint or run over by a bus, you'll be serious about it. - A Serious Problem It was Marxism nonetheless because the wildest hippie and the sternest member of the Politburo shared the same daydream, the daydream that underlies all Marxism : That a thing might somehow be worth other than what people will give for it.

You can call it the Third World, the Underdeveloped World or just the Part Of The World That's Completely Screwed.

I like to think of my behaviour in the sixties as a learning experience. Then again, I like to think of anything stupid I've done as a learning experience. It makes me feel less stupid.

- Second Thoughts about the 1960s The African relief fad serves to distract from the real issues. There is famine in Ethiopia, Chad, Sudan and areas of Mozambique. All of these countries are involved in pointless civil wars. There are pockets of famine in Mauritania, Niger and Mali - the result of desertification caused mostly by idiot agricultural policies. African famine is not a visitation of fate. It is largely man-made, and the men who made it are largely Africans.

African leaders, lost in the frippery of centrist thinking, fail to dwal with market forces, or any other natural phenomena. Leave it to a Marxist to see the world as the world is not.

Famine is the result of bad politics. And the Aid concerts are examples of the bad logic that leads to bad politics. It's probably not going too far to say that Africa's problems have been produced by the same kind of dim, ignorant thinking found among American pop artists. "If we take, say, six months and not spend any money on nuclear weapons, and just spend it on food, I think we could make a big dent." says Waylon Jennings in the USA for Africa publicity packet. In fact, a small nuclear weapon placed directly under Haile Mariam Mengistu and his pals would probably make a more beneficial dent than a whole US defence budget of canned goods.

Anyway, money is not going to solve the problem... Getting people to give vast amounts of money when there's no firm idea what that money will do is like throwing maidens down a well. It's an appeal to magic. And the results are likely to be as stupid and disappointing as the results of magic usually are.

- Fiddling While Africa Starves Normally the patterns of history are reassuring. To hear of Tsarist Russia pressing for warm-water ports or 18th century England fighting hegemony on the continent or Ming China clashing with Japan over the fate of Korea is to feel a continuity, a comprehensibility, in human affairs. But in "The Jewish War" ( a History of the Jewish Revolt in AD 60 ) the shock of recognition is just a shock. Here, sixty generations ago, is nearly the same cast of characters engaged in exactly the same onsessive, vicious and fatal behaviour for the same terrifying reasons on the same cursed, reeking, ugly chunk of land. - The 2000 Year Old US Middle East Policy Expert No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the sources of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.

Note that the drug testing hubbub began with testing professional athletes. True, children loop up to pro athletes. But children are short and look up to everything.

- Studying For Our Drugs Test You can't shame or humiliate modern celebrities. What used to be called shame and humiliation is now called publicity. And forget about traditional Character assassination. If you say a modern celebrity is an adulterer, a pervert and a drug addict, all it means is that you've read his autobiography. - Notes Towards A Blacklist For The 1990s Dr. Ruth Westheimer cites 1.5 million unwanted children a year as eveidence of a need for education. But 40 years ago young women were less educated in you-know-what, and there werent 1.5 million unwanted children. Its not sexual ignorance making all those babies, its sex. Taboos have something to do with keeping human behaviour in line. - Sex With Dr. Ruth War! War! Blood-red savage war! Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of ditto. Saddam Hussein - he's worse than Hitler, worse than Stalin, worse than waking up wearing a wedding rind next to Roseanne Barr. He invaded Iran. Je invaded Kuwait. He even invaded some parts of the country he already lives in, that's how crazy Saddam Hussein is. He's got chemical weapons filled with... with... *chemicals*. Maybe he's got The Bomb.

It's lots of fun being in the panic industry. If you can't convince the world to love you, then scaring everyone out of their Bart Simpson Underachiever-and-Proud-of-It T-shirts is the next best way to get attention and feel needed.

Everybody has been cashing in on the Saddam Hussein hysteria. The Soviet Union has been accumulating points in the civilized-nation lookalike contest.

Actually the best thing about this Gulf War has been all the new excuses generated by the Pantagon briefing officers. These will doubtless prove handy to Americans in all walks of life, especially school kids who havent done their homework.
My book report impacted harmlessly in an unpopulated area. I cant tell you what happened in 1066, we're waiting on the bomb-damage-assessment reports. I'm sorry but units of the elite Republican Guards were dispersed and dug in around my algebra problem.

Dogs are considered unclean in Saudi Arabia. Which, when you think about it, is true so far as it goes. But camels are not considered unclean in Saudi Arabia. This leads me to believe that the Saudi Arabians know something about house-training animals that we do not.

Maybe Kuwait really was a threat to Iraq. I talked to a Kuwaiti Air Force colonel who thought it had been. He explained that Kuwait was using all its oil money to buy things for its citizens while Iraq was using all its oil money for military hardware. Iraq either had to bring its citizens up to teh Kuwaiti level or bring Kuwaiti citizens down to the Iraqi level. Kuwait caused the Gulf War by shopping too much. This leaves us with little hope for world peace as long as wives are allowed to hold credit cards in their own names.

When the Iraqis tried to leave Kuwait City they headed en masse up the road to Basra using both sides of the six-lane highway. About 35 miles north of the city, near a low rise called the Mutlaa Ridge, this bug-out was spotted by US Navy A-6 attack planes. These Navy pilots must fly New York City traffic helicopters in civilian life, because they knew exactly what to do. They went right to the spot on the crest of the ridge where the road narrows from six lanes to four and plugged that bottleneck with cluster bombs.
The panicked Iraqis tried to drive around the burning wreckage and became bogged down in the sand. The traffic jam spread out and backed up until it was nearly half a mile wide, more than a mile long and contained at least 1500 vehicles. Then all the airplanes that the US Navy, Marines and Air Force could muster came in and let loose with everything they had. The wreckage was still smouldering four days later.
Allied burial details were moving through the carnage, but some bodies were still lying there crispy and twisted in agony. I felt sorry for the poor dead bastards, but it was a reasonable detached kind of sympathy that came from the went-to-college part of the brain. I was intellectually obliged to feel sorry for them, but after seeing what they'd done in Kuwait City, I had more of an Old Testament feeling in my heart :
Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth, I did stamp them as the mire of the street, and did spread them abroad. ( 2 Samuel xxii:43 )
Of course, I didnt do it personally, but my tax dollars helped.

Like many men of my generation, I had an opportunity to give war a chance, and I promptly chickened out. I went to my draft physical in 1970 with a doctor's letter about my history of drug abuse. The letter was four and a half pages long with three and a half pages devoted to listing the drugs I'd abused. I was shunted into the office of an Army psychiatrist who, at the end of a forty-five minute interview with me, was pounding his desk and shouting, "You're fucked up! You don't belong in the Army!" He was certainly right on the first count and possibly right on the second. Anyway, I didn't have to go. But that, of course, meant someone else had to go in my place. I would like to dedicate this book to him.
I hope you got back in one piece, fellow. I hope you were more use to your platoon mates than I would have been. I hope you're rich and happy now. And in 1971, when somebody punched me in the face for being a long-haired peace creep, I hope it was you.

ALL THE TROUBLE IN THE WORLD

In general, life is better than it has ever been, and if you think that, in the past, there was some golden age of pleasure and plenty to which you would, if you were able, transport yourself, let me say one single word : "Dentistry".

Russia is not a threat anymore. Now it's just a disjointed group of individual states with too many K's and Z's in their names . . . a big conglomeration of Scrabble possibilities.

Things are better than they were a few years ago. Things are better than they were a few weeks ago. In fact, things are better than they were at 9:30 this morning thanks to two aspirins and a few bloody marys . . . but that's personal.

Government subsidies can be critically anaylsed according to a simple principle : You are smarter than the government, so when the government pays you to do something you wouldnt do on your own, it is almost always paying you to do something stupid. Government usually doesnt work. It doesnt work because its political. People who are wise, smart, skillful, or hardworking dont need politics, they have jobs.

Why is government so stupid? Its the difference between Harvard University & Harvard University football team.

When a private entity does not produce the desired results, it is (certain body parts excepted) done away with. But a public entity gets bigger.

PARLIAMENT OF WHORES

I have only one firm firm political belief about the American political system, and that is this: God is a Republican and Santa Claus is a Democrat. ...God is an elderly stern fellow. ...God is unsentimental. It is very hard to get into God's heavenly country club. Santa Claus is another matter. He's always cheerful, and he loves animals. He may know who's been naughty and who's been nice, but he never does anything about it. He works hard for charities, and he's famously generous to the poor. Santa Claus is preferable to God in every way but one: There is no such thing as Santa Claus.

In comparative terms, there's no poverty in America by a long shot. Heritage Foundation political scientist Robert Rector has worked up figures showing that when the official U.S. measure of poverty was developed in 1963, a poor American family had an income twenty-nine times greater than the average per capita income in the rest of the world. An individual American could make more money than 93 percent of the other people on the planet and still be considered poor.

Maybe a nation that consumes as much booze and dope as we do and has our kind of divorce statistics should pipe down about "character issues." Either that or just go ahead and determine the presidency with three-legged races and pie-eating contests. It would make better TV.

For the people in government, rather than the people who pester it, Washington is an early-rising, hard-working city. It is a popular delusion that the government wastes vast amounts of money through inefficiency and sloth. Enormous effort and elaborate planning are required to waste this much money.

Farm policy, although it's complex, can be explained. What it can't be is believed. No cheating spouse, no teen with a wrecked family car, no mayor of Washington, D.C., videotaped in flagrante delicto has ever come up with anything as farfetched as U.S. farm policy.

Feeling good about government is like looking on the bright side of any catastrophe. When you quit looking on the bright side, the catastrophe is still there.

"How come," I asked Andy, "whenever someone upsets the Left, you see immediate marches and parades and rallies with signs already printed and rhyming slogans already composed, whereas whenever someone upsets the Right, you see two members of the Young Americans for Freedom waving a six-inch American Flag?"
"We have jobs." said Andy.

We won't dispassionately investigate or rationally debate which drugs do what damage and whether or how much of that damage is the result of criminalization. We'd rather work ourselves into a screaming fit of puritanism and then go home and take a pill.

All tax revenue is the result of holding a gun to somebody's head. Not paying taxes is against the law. If you don't pay your taxes you'll be fined. If you don't pay the fine, you'll be jailed. If you try to escape from jail, you'll be shot. Thus, I - in my role as citizen and voter - am going to shoot you - in your role as taxpayer - if you dont pay your share of the national tab. Therefore, every time the government spends money on anything, you have to ask yourself, "Would I kill my kindly, gray-haired mother for this?"
In the case of defence spending, the argument is simple : "Come on, Ma, everybody's in this together. If those Canadian hordes come down over the border, we'll all be dead meat. Pay up."
In the case of helping cripples, orphans and blind people, the argument is almost as persuasive : "Mother, I know you dont know these people from Adam, but we've got 5000 years of Judeo-Christian-Muslim-Buddhist-Hindu-Confucian-animist-jungle-God morality going here. Fork over the dough."
But day care doesnt fly : "You're paying for the next-door neighbour's baby-sitter, or its curtains for you, Mom."

AGE AND GUILE

I loved this car (Jaguar XJ12). I loved the other cars. I love all cars, if the truth be known. We're told cars are dangerous. It's safer to drive through South Central LA than to walk there. We're told cars are wasteful. Wasteful of what? Oil did a lot of good sitting in the ground for millions of years. ...and we're told cars cause pollution. A 100 years ago city streets were ankle deep in horse excrement. What kind of pollution do you want? Would you rather die of cancer at eighty or typhoid fever at nine? Cars have made us richer, freer, happer people. Life is better because of cars. Cars are good.

- Die, Eco-Weenies! The insurgents call themselves Zapatistas after Emiliano Zapata, one of the heroes of the Mexican Revolution. Zapata believed in land redistribution. His idea was to redistribute land so that wealthy landowners had a small plot six feet deep. - The 1994 Mexican Elections : Make Lunch, not War Distracting a politican from governing is like distracting a bear from eating your baby.

Bill almost had me convinced Republicans caused Whitewater until I remembered that Arkansas only has about one Republican and he had to stay home that week because his wife accidentally used the sheet with the eyeholes in it to make the bed.

We don't want to drive the president out of office until we know for sure whether Al Gore is an alien cyborg. Sure, he looked human when he debated Perot, but I understand it blew out two-thirds of his circuits.

- Whitewater But let us not forget the moral dimension of health care reform. Everyone, rich or poor, needs health care to live. And everyone, rich or poor, needs food to live. Therefore, next year, the Clinton administration will introduce federal preparation of everybody's breakfast. - Health Care Reform I'm a 47-year old middle-class male with a job. Every hippy-dippy thing that's thought up - from heroin addiction to special vegan lunch lines in the local high school cafeteria - I get to pay for. Of course I'm a Republican.

In Washington, the Repubicans are trying to destroy big government. ...Think of what big governments have gotten up to in this century : not one, but two world wars, the gulag, the holocaust, aerial bombing of civilian population centers, the Berlin Wall, nuclear explosions, the post office. A wicked individual might want these, but he wouldn't have the cash and connections to get them. A villainous corporation could afford them but has to market the products. The Vietnam draft would be a tough sell for even the most fiendish businessmen. "Get shot! Get killed! Get diseases from foreign women who despise you in their hearts!"
... Governments do terrible things. All right, I sympathize. I do terrible things myself. Although it's getting harder to find somebody to do them with now that I'm forty-seven and a Republican. What bothers me is how terrible government things are always for the greater common good. Communists, Nazis, and more than a few democratically elected leaders of the free world have told us in plain language than their loathsome acts were justified by felicific calculus - the most good for the greatest number. Censorship, genocide, the Volstead Act, wholesale expropriations of private property, segregation, religious persecution, mass deportations, and vaporizing Nagasaki have all benn "for the good of the nation," "good of mankind," "good for us in the long run," "good for future generations."

You must know that politicians loathe you. They have to make rules and regulations or you'd screw up everything. You'd fall right out of the car if it weren't for seat belts. And you can't be trusted with money. You'd spend it on fatty foods and cigarettes or a powerboat that would harm the environment. The politicians need to get that money away from you. They have to raise taxes quick. Better let the government look after your cash. Better let the government look after your cash. Government will do worthwhile things with your paycheck such as lend it to Mexico. And fund educational TV. Because you'd watch nothing but football and Melrose Place if it weren't for serious and informative nature programs about how Democrats are facing extinction.

Politics doesn't work. Look at the parts of America where government has had the most power, where government has spent the most money. Look at the housing projects we've got the poor people in.

Republicans don't have that many ideas. Democrats have lots of them. Every time a politician gets an idea it costs you money, and sometimes, in the case of wars it costs you your skin.

- Republicans take control of Congress MODERN MANNERS

Sex Toys: There are a number of mechanical devices which increase sexual arousal, particularly in women. Chief among them is the Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible.

Even very young children need to be informed about dying. Explain the concept of death very carefully to your child. This will make threatening him with it much more effective.

Never steal anything so small that you'll have to go to an unpleasant city jail for it instead of a minimum-security prison.

After all, what is your hosts' purpose in having a party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they'd have simply sent champagne and women over to your place by taxi.

# THE MAN IN THE MANSION

In January 2007, PJ presented a documentary program for BBC4 about Californian politics and its governors over the past 100 years.

Now for good or ill, California is the place where trends tend to be set in Western civilization if civilization indeed it is. California, for several generations now, has been the newest, biggest, most experimental place in the newest, biggest, most experimental part of liberal Western capitalism which is itself a new experiment for mankind.

California was never a Garden of Eden, but that didn't stop Americans from thinking about it that way... then came the summer of 1965.

Now I'm a parent, I understand anti-youth messages.
        - commenting on Ronald Reagan's anti hippy speeches

Riot, fire, landslide and earthquake.
        - on California in the 1990s

We depend on government for law and order. And everybody thinks that law is the important part of that phrase but really it's order that we need government for.

It's easy to laugh at California, and we should laugh at California. But it's easy to forget that it is just an exaggerated version of Western democracy.

~

Links : PJ O'Rourke an unofficial site

Return to Politics index, or Site homepage.