P. J. O'Rourke

(Patrick Jake O'Rourke)

P. J. O'Rourke
P. J. O'Rourke
  • Born: November 14, 1947
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Political Satirist, Journalist

128

Quotes

14

Citations

106

Concepts

0

Videos

Quotes
Quote Topics Cited
Advocating the expansion of the powers of the state is treason to mankind Power
Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. All through history mankind has been bullied by scum. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Government subsidies can be critically analyzed according to a simple principle: You are smarter than the government, so when the government pays you to do something you wouldn't do on your own, it is almost always paying you to do something stupid. Miscellaneous
If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
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. History ;Death ;Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
Making fun of born-again christians is like hunting dairy cows with a high powered rifle and scope. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Many reporters, when they go to work in the nation’s capital, begin thinking of themselves as participants in the political process instead of glorified stenographers. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
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. Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
Special interests are interested in whatever's special to them. Lobbying & Special Interests
The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then get elected and prove it. Political Parties & Machines
The Republicans are the party that says that government doen't work, and then they get elected and prove it. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The Vietnam War was not clearly a wrong war, but it was clear that it was stupid. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
To grasp the true meaning of socialism, imagine a world where everything is designed by the post office, even the sleaze. Miscellaneous
Wherever there's injustice, oppression, and suffering, America will show up six months late and bomb the country next to where it's happening. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
A 'farm' today means 100,000 chickens in a space the size of a Motel 6 shower stall.
A friend of mine at the American Enterprise Institute says there are two parties: the silly party and the stupid party. I'm too old for the silly party, so I had to join the stupid party.
A hat should be taken off when you greet a lady and left off for the rest of your life. Nothing looks more stupid than a hat. Life
A lot of newspaper columns used to be written in a rat-a-tat-tat, fast-paced style - and they tended to be funny. They were a little relief from the grimmer, grayer parts of the newspaper, and one of the best people at doing this was Will Rogers. Humor
Adam Smith pointed out that there were three things that make us more prosperous, in a general sort of way: freedom to pursue our own self-interest; specialization, which he called division of labor; and freedom of trade. Freedom & Liberty
Agriculture is a business that has been up to its bib overalls in politics since the first Thanksgiving dinner kickback to the Indians for subsidizing Pilgrim maize production with fish head fertilizer grants. Business, Commerce & Finance ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. Death
America gives every appearance of being a nation besotted with trashiness - divorce, illegitimacy, casual Fridays.
America's grossly unfair tax system won't lead to class war. Or, if it does, the war will be brief. War & Peace
Any terrorism is an attack on libertarian values.
Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power. Society ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Power
Arguing, in the sense of attempting to convince others, has gone out of fashion with conservatives.
As a longtime former resident of 15 years in Washington, I wish that everybody would stay off the Mall with their political cause so that we can get out there, you know, and play flag football or Frisbee, or walk the dog or something - you know, which is, you know, what the National Mall should be for, in my personal opinion.
As I get older, all sorts of things become less funny. Once one has children, any cruelty involving children becomes far less amusing than when one was at the mercy of one's friends' and relatives' children. Humor
Barack Obama is more irritating than the other nuisances on the Left.
Because of their size, parents may be difficult to discipline properly. Humor
Being a humorist is not a voluntary thing. You can tell this because in a situation where saying a funny thing will cause a lot of trouble, a humorist will still say the funny thing. No matter how inappropriate. Humor
Cleanliness becomes more important when godliness is unlikely. Humor
Conservatives really don't believe in politics as the primary instrument of getting along in life and therefore don't tend to put their energy into it a way people left of center do. Life ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Daniel Patrick Moynihan is the archetypal extremely smart person who went into politics anyway instead of doing something worthwhile for his country. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Don’t vote. it only encourages the bastards. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Don't send funny greeting cards on birthdays or at Christmas. Save them for funerals, when their cheery effect is needed. Humor
Each child is biologically required to have a mother. Fatherhood is a well-regarded theory, but motherhood is a fact.
Ending wars is very simple if you surrender.
Even the most left-wing politicians worship wealth creation - as the political-action-committee collection plate is passed.
Everybody knows how to raise children, except the people who have them. Families, Children & Parenting
Everybody with a gun has a checkpoint in Lebanon. And in Lebanon, you'd be crazy not to have a gun. Though, I assure you, all the crazy people have guns, too.
Finland is a rich country. What have they got? They got Nokia phones and plywood. How'd they get so rich? Because they're free.
Fiscal conservatism is just an easy way to express something that is a bit more difficult, which is that the size and scope of government, and really the size and scope of politics in our lives, has grown uncomfortable, unwieldy, intrusive and inefficient. Government ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Freedom is not empowerment. Empowerment is what the Serbs have in Bosnia. Anybody can grab a gun and be empowered. Freedom & Liberty
Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. Power ;Government ;Money, Coins & Minting
Global warming is a fact. Now it's up to liberals to make it a reality. Hence there is crucial importance in preventing powerful, greedy free market forces from getting in the way of worsening storms and rising sea levels. The Kyoto Accord is a good first step.
Government is a health hazard. Governments have killed many more people than cigarettes or unbuckled seat belts ever have. Health, Healthcare & Medicine ;Government
Horses and horsepower alike are about status and being cool.
I am unboreable in the great outdoors.
I come from Toledo, Ohio, a town that has been hurt badly by the shift of the automobile business towards Japan. And yet I remember how the car workers lived in the neighborhood that I grew up in. My father was a car salesman, and I remember how we lived. I remember how modestly we lived. Business, Commerce & Finance
I had a confused early hippie phase, which was like a cafeteria tray of sloppy, semi-Marxist thoughts, absorbed second-hand.
I know quite a few fellow members of the news analysis and commentary business, and I have it from the highest-placed sources, on the record, that each and every one of our children is a genius. Business, Commerce & Finance
I like fiction and the kind of history that gives the grace and flavor of fiction to the past. No bloviation on current events, please. I can write that junk myself. History
I like making things. I have a wood shop at home. I am a terrible carpenter but I love doing it. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I live in New Hampshire. We're in favor of global warming. Eleven hundred more feet of sea-level rises? I've got beachfront property. You tell us up there, 'By the end of the century, New York City could be underwater,' and we say, 'Your point is?'
I rarely meet a politician that I don't like personally. They are generally well endowed with charm. Therein lies the danger.
I think it's been hard for people to understand how Islam can be a good religion, and yet the Islamists are evil. Those of us who have had experience with Islam understand this, just as we understand the difference between snake handlers and people going to church on Sunday morning. Morning
I think the Baby Boom does have a tendency to get its nose in everything. The Greatest Generation had a better tendency to leave people alone. Of course, they also had a better tendency to hate everybody's guts.
If government were a product, selling it would be illegal. Government
If I were a congressman who had voted for the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, I'd claim it was forced on our country by a sinister international organization.
If we heard that somebody starved to death in Sweden or Switzerland, we would be shocked. Death
If you are young and you drink a great deal it will spoil your health, slow your mind, make you fat - in other words, turn you into an adult. Health, Healthcare & Medicine ;New Years
If you talk to most businessmen, they'll say that what they do is for the public good, but you know they're just greedy, and consumers are just consuming for the sake of their own greed.
In Henry Adams, I discovered not only the prototype of the modern thinker but also someone who is more interesting: a viper-toothed, puling, supercilious crank, thwarted in ambition, aging gracelessly, mad at the cosmos, and ashamed of his own jejune ideals. He is nevertheless very dear to me.
In Israel, waves of anger and fear circulate all the time, but so do jokes and gossip and silky evening breezes. So, too, in America. Time
In its worse forms, conservatism is a matter of 'I hate strangers and anything that's different.'
In Toledo, people grow out. Out to the suburbs. Out to the parts of America where the economy is more vigorous. And all too often, out to 48-inch waistbands.
Infant mortality and life expectancy are reasonable indicators of general well-being in a society. Society ;Life
Israel is slightly smaller than New Jersey. Moses in effect led the tribes of Israel out of the District of Columbia, parted Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis, and wandered for forty years in Delaware.
It could be that all awful dictators are frustrated artists - Mao with his poetry and Mussolini with his monuments. Stalin was once a journalistic hack, and I can personally testify to how frustrated they are. Pol Pot left a very edgy photo collection behind. And Osama seems quite interested in video. Literature, Writers & Writing
I've only been to New Zealand once, about 1989. It was incredibly beautiful, kind of like the ideal of where I live in New England - all that and then some - but I can't say I was there long enough to get any very clear idea.
Kabul is a walled city, which sounds romantic except the walls are pre-cast reinforced concrete blast barriers, 10 feet tall and 15 feet long and moved into place with cranes. The walls are topped with sandbags, and the sandbags are topped with guard posts from which gun barrels protrude. Romantic
Kuwait City is not gorgeous, actually, but it's got a kind of Epcot Center thing going for it. It's not pretty. But it's striking, I'll give it that. It's not as over-the-top as Abu Dhabi or Dubai. But nearly.
Most people sort of enjoy going to work because of the socialisation, a chance to flirt with co-workers and so on, but actually hate the job they do. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
My working hypothesis is that stupidity in popular culture is a constant. Popular culture cannot get more stupid.
Neither liberal nor conservative politicians can resist the temptation to stand as mighty sequoias of rectitude amid the lowly underbrush of fundraising.
Never be unfaithful to a lover, except with your wife.
Never fight an inanimate object. Humor
Northwest Ohio is flat. There isn't much up. The land is so flat that a child from Toledo is under the impression that the direction hills go is down. Sledding is done down from street level into creek beds and road cuts.
Not much was really invented during the Renaissance, if you don't count modern civilization.
Now, do I think the baby boomers tend to be self-absorbed? I do.
Of all the American educational system's problems, none is more severe than the academic year beginning before Labor Day.
Of course, no one wants to ban the vote. Voting should remain available for sporting and recreational purposes. But certain types of votes clearly should be curtailed - 'assault votes,' for example, in which the only purpose of the vote is to harm others. Sports & Athletics
On inspection, Gaudi's architecture isn't whimsical at all.
Passover is my idea of a perfect holiday. Dear God, when you're handing out plagues of darkness, locusts, hail, boils, flies, lice, frogs, and cattle murrain, and turning the Nile to blood and smiting the firstborn, give me a pass. And tell me when it's over. Religion & God
Political discourse has become so rotten that it's no longer possible to tell the stench of one presidential candidate from the stink of another.
Popular culture has become engorged, broadening and thickening until it's the only culture anyone notices.
Positive rights are the right to shelter, the right to education, the right to health care, the right to a living wage. These things are - these are, I would call them, more properly, political rights rather than positive rights. And they are extremely tricky, because now we are dealing with things that are zero sum. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Health, Healthcare & Medicine
Preachers at black churches are the last people left in the English-speaking world who know the schemes and tropes of classical rhetoric: parallelism, antithesis, epistrophe, synecdoche, metonymy, periphrasis, litotes - the whole bag of tricks.
President Bush said that if illegal immigrants want citizenship, they'd have to do three things: pay taxes, hold meaningful jobs, and learn English. Bush doesn't meet those qualifications.
Public schools helped create the idea of America and inculcate Americans with a few rudiments of knowledge. To judge by that very American item, the Internet, a few rudiments is all anyone cares to have. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Regulation creates a moral hazard.
Richard Nixon was the best thing that ever happened to journalism. I mean this guy was wonderful. Just when you thought he could get no worse, he got worse.
Russians not only vehemently despise blacks, they believe Africa begins at the Ukraine border.
Sheep farming is heavily subsidized in Great Britain. Without the subsidies, the green grazing in the valley of the River Exe would be gone. The handsome agricultural landscape of which the British are so proud, carefully husbanded since Boudicca's day, would be replaced by natural growth. The most likely growth is real-estate developments.
Some day you will be wheeled in for a heart bypass operation, and a surgeon will be the person who is now behind the counter when you renew your car registration at the department of motor vehicles.
Supposedly, summer vacation happens because that's when the kids are home from school, although having the kids home from school is no vacation. And supposedly the kids are home from school because of some vestigial throwback to our agricultural past.
The 18,000 NASA employees are full of galactic talents and abilities and are ready to accomplish whatever they're directed to do.
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?
The District of Columbia is an extreme example of disconnect between financial input and educational outcome. Unfortunately, extreme is not the same as abnormal.
The good news is that, according to the Obama administration, the rich will pay for everything. The bad news is that, according to the Obama administration, you're rich. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The great majority of Baghdad is a slum - a lot of it's new, but it's still slum. It's usually this concrete-block, one-room design with a door and a window, arranged one-up, one-down, often with a shop with nothing in it on the first floor, and then a one-room apartment above it. There's street after street after street of that stuff.
The great thing about being a print journalist is that you are permitted to duck. Cameramen get killed while the writers are flat on the floor. A war correspondent for the BBC dedicated his memoir to 50 fallen colleagues, and I guarantee you they were all taking pictures. I am only alive because I am such a chicken. War & Peace
The inherent purpose of American government is let people seek their own goals and to encourage them to be responsible on the various adventures they have on their way to those goals, good, bad, and otherwise. Government
The job of the president of the United States is to talk to the public, is to explain to them. Now, some presidents talk too much, like Bill Clinton. Some presidents try to talk but don't know how, like George Bush senior.
The library, with its Daedalian labyrinth, mysterious hush, and faintly ominous aroma of knowledge, has been replaced by the computer's cheap glow, pesky chirp, and data spillage. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
The Nobel Peace Prize has always been a joke - albeit a grim one. Alfred Bernhard Nobel famously invented dynamite and felt sorry about it. War & Peace
The perpetuation of slavery, the exile and extermination of American Indians, and the passage of Jim Crow laws weren't carried out at the bidding of a few malefactors of great wealth.
The problem in Afghanistan is really not so much land as water. It's a dry country with ample amounts of water running through it, but not to good enough effect.
The problem, when comparing contemporary television to television in 1974, is that TV has become not just bad but sad.
The two most frightening words in Washington are 'bipartisan consensus.' Bipartisan consensus is when my doctor and my lawyer agree with my wife that I need help.
The U.S. tax code was written by A students. Every April 15, we have to pay somebody who got an A in accounting to keep ourselves from being sent to jail.
The weirder you're going to behave, the more normal you should look. It works in reverse, too. When I see a kid with three or four rings in his nose, I know there is absolutely nothing extraordinary about that person.
There are a number of Americans who shouldn't vote. The number is 57 percent, to judge by the combined total of Clinton and Perot ballots in the 1996 presidential election.
There is a simple rule here, a rule of legislation, a rule of business, a rule of life: beyond a certain point, complexity is fraud. You can apply that rule to left-wing social programs, but you can also apply that rule to credit derivatives, hedge funds, all the rest of it. Life ;Business, Commerce & Finance
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. Government ;Money, Coins & Minting
There is 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.
There's one more terrifying fact about old people: I'm going to be one soon.
There's something about Marxism that brings out warts; the only kind of growth this economic system encourages.
Toledo is better than exciting, it's happy. Because nothing is more conducive to unhappiness than taking yourself seriously, and taking yourself seriously is difficult when you're baseball team is the Mud Hens.
TV ushered in the age of postliteracy. And we have gone so far beyond that. I mean, what with the Internet and Google and Wikipedia. We have entered the age of post-intelligence.
We print journalists are victims of economic forces beyond our control. We were as surprised as everyone else was by the sudden collapse of the reliable reporting market. We had no idea that real news and clear-eyed analysis were being 'bundled' with subprime celebrity gossip, 'U.S. Weekly' derivatives, and Jennifer Aniston/Angelina Jolie swaps.
We will win an election when all the seats in the House and Senate and the chair behind the desk in the Oval Office and the whole bench of the Supreme Court are filled with people who wish they weren't there.
We've come into the world of '1984,' but it turns out to be '1984'-Lite.
When I was fifteen, I dreamed of living in the big city, as many a young person does if he is artistic and sensitive. By 'artistic and sensitive' I mean short, skinny, unkissed, bad at sports, and carrying a C average in high school. Sports & Athletics
Writing on a computer makes saving what's been written too easy. Pretentious lead sentences are kept, not tossed. Instead of sitting surrounded by crumpled paper, the computerized writer has his mistakes neatly stored in digital memory.
You can learn all about the human condition from covering the crime beat in a big city - you don't need to go to Beirut for that - but a foreign correspondent begins to understand poverty from a different perspective.
You're not a baby boomer if you don't have a visceral recollection of a Kennedy and a King assassination, a Beatles breakup, a U.S. defeat in Vietnam, and a Watergate.