Quotes of the Day

American political commentator and humorist P. J. O’Rourke is one of my all-time favorite authors. I’m sure I’ve posted some of his quotes before, but here are many more to enjoy:

“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.”

“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.”

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

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“Seriousness is stupidity sent to college.”

“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.”

“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”

“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.”

“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 they get elected and prove it.”

“Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.”

“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 view.”

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

“The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.”

“Something is worth what somebody will pay for it. Nothing else, nothing more, nothing less.”

“People will tell you anything but what they do is always the truth.”

“After all, what is your host’s 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.”

“What would annoy the most people most often? That is the true left-wing test of government intervention.”

“Whatever it is that the government does, sensible Americans would prefer that the government does it to somebody else. This is the idea behind foreign policy.”

“Politics are for foreigners with their endless wrongs and paltry rights. Politics are a lousy way to get things done. Politics are, like God’s infinite mercy, a last resort.”

“There are twenty-seven specific complaints against the British Crown set forth in the Declaration of Independence. To modern ears they still sound reasonable, in large part, because so many of them can be leveled against the federal government of the United States.”

“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.”

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“Health care is too expensive, so the Clinton administration is putting Hillary in charge of making it cheaper. (This is what I always do when I want to spend less money — hire a lawyer from Yale.)”

“Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. All through history mankind has been bullied by scum. Those who lord it over their fellows and toss commands in every direction and would boss the grass in the meadows about which way to bend in the wind are the most depraved kind of prostitutes. They will submit to any indignity, perform any vile act, do anything to achieve power. The worst off-sloughings of the planet are the ingredients of sovereignty. Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy, the whores are us.”

“At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child — miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats.”

“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 child abuse. But, if child abuse was the issue, why didn’t Janet Reno tear-gas Woody Allen?”

“The principal 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.”

“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.”

“Freedom is not empowerment. Empowerment is what the Serbs have in Bosnia. Anybody can grab a gun and be empowered. It’s not entitlement. An entitlement is what people on welfare get, and how free are they? It’s not an endlessly expanding list of rights — the ‘right’ to education, the ‘right’ to food and housing. That’s not freedom, that’s dependency. Those aren’t rights, those are the rations of slavery — hay and a barn for human cattle.”

“Government is a health hazard. Governments have killed many more people than cigarettes or unbuckled seat belts ever have.”

“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 is willing 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 will do good with his own money — if a gun is held to his head.”

“Fretting about overpopulation, is a perfect guilt-free – indeed, sanctimonious – way for ‘progressives’ to be racists.”

“When a government controls both the economic power of individuals and the coercive power of the state … This violates a fundamental rule of happy living: Never let the people with all the money and the people with all the guns be the same people.”

“Wherever there’s injustice, oppression, and suffering, America will show up six months late and bomb the country next to where it’s happening.”

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