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Remembering P.J. O’Rourke: 30 of the Libertarian Writer’s Wittiest Quotes

p.j. o'rourke

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P.J. O’Rourke, a famous journalist and writer who knew how to convey his libertarian and conservative ideas through a very personal, funny and irreverent humorous style, passed away on February 15. Thanks to his wit, P.J. O’Rourke managed to make a name for himself in mass media outlets such as National Lampoon, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic Monthly, The American Spectator, The Weekly Standard, Playboy, Vanity Fair, and The Daily Beast, among others.

In El American, we wanted to pay tribute to the memory of P.J. O’Rourke and thank him for his work in defense of freedom ideas with this compilation of his 30 most ingenious phrases, which show the exceptional capacity he had to analyze reality in an accurate way with an optimistic and very entertaining point of view.

p.j. O'rourke cato
P.J. O’Rourke. (Cato Institute)

LTop 30 quotes by P.J. O’Rourke

  1. 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.
  2. Marxism has tremendous appeal in the Third World for exactly the same reason it had tremendous appeal to me in college. It gives you something to believe in when what surrounds you seems unbelievable. It gives you someone to blame besides yourself. It’s theoretically tidy. And, best of all, it’s fully imaginary so it can never be disproved.
  3. 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.
  4. Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Weird clothing is de rigeur for teenagers, but today’s generation of teens is finding it difficult to be sufficiently weird. This is because the previous generation of teens, who went through adolescence in the sixties and seventies, used up practically all the available weirdness.
  8. Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.
  9. In fact, safety has no place anywhere. Everything that’s fun in life is dangerous. Horse races, for instance, are very dangerous. But attempt to design a safe horse and the result is a cow (an appalling animal to watch at the trotters.) And everything that isn’t fun is dangerous too. It is impossible to be alive and safe.
  10. Neither conservatives nor humorists believe man is good. But left-wingers do.
  11. One of the problems with being a writer is that all of your idiocies are still in print somewhere. I strongly support paper recycling
  12. 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.
  13. I like to do my principal research in bars, where people are more likely to tell the truth or, at least, lie less convincingly than they do in briefings and books.
  14. The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work, and then they get elected and prove it.
  15. 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 fantasy about being tied to a bed and sexually ravished by someone dressed as a liberal.
  16. 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.
  17. Government is a health hazard. Governments have killed many more people than cigarettes or unbuckled seat belts ever have.
  18. Fretting about overpopulation, is a perfect guilt-free— indeed, sanctimonious— way for “progressives” to be racists.
  19. People who are wise, good, smart, skillful, or hardworking don’t need politics, they have jobs.
  20. People with a mission to save the earth want the earth to seem worse than it is so their mission will look more important.
  21. When a thing defies physical law, there’s usually politics involved.
  22. Distracting a politician from governing is like distracting a bear from eating your baby.
  23. 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.
  24. Your money does not cause my poverty. Refusal to believe this is at the bottom of most bad economic thinking.
  25. You can’t get rid of poverty by giving people money.
  26. You know, if government were a product, selling it would be illegal.
  27. A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them.
  28. When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.
  29. Politics is the business of getting power and privilege without possessing merit.
  30. Politicians are always interested in people. Not that this is always a virtue. Fleas are interested in dogs.
P.J. O’Rourke: Funniest man in America.

Ignacio Manuel García Medina, Business Management teacher. Artist and lecturer specialized in Popular Culture for various platforms. Presenter of the program "Pop Libertario" for the Juan de Mariana Institute. Lives in the Canary Islands, Spain // Ignacio M. García Medina es profesor de Gestión de Empresas. Es miembro del Instituto Juan de Mariana y conferenciante especializado en Cultura Popular e ideas de la Libertad.

Social Networks: @ignaciomgm

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