In Don't Vote - It Just Encourages the Bastards, best-selling humorist P. J. O’Rourke, whose On the Wealth of Nations, about the foundations of economic,s has been published in 18 languages, delivers a hilarious theory of politics.
America’s most subversive conservative, O’Rourke describes government as a devil’s bargain between power, freedom, and responsibility, and goes on to hilariously skewer the politicians who have bargained with us to consolidate power, and the many mini-bargains and evasions that citizens have made with the consequences of their choices.
P. J. O'Rourke begins with a party game that comes to us from late-night giggle sessions in all-girls boarding schools: “Kill, F@#%, Marry.” Pick three men - or, in O’Rourke’s version, three political ideologies, i.e., Democrat, Republican, and Independents (a.k.a. Confused). Then you have to choose which to terminate with extreme prejudice, which to go for a roll in the hay with, and which to settle down with permanently for a boring life in the suburbs. This astute tool of political analysis works on the parts of government as well as on the political thinking that led to those parts: Kill the Department of Education, screw Social Security, and marry the Armed Forces. The same for political policies: Screw the bailout, marry a balanced budget, and national health care kills you.
O’Rourke explores the basis of our democracy - the aforementioned power, freedom, and responsibility, a.k.a. the “Kill, F@#%, Marry” of liberty and self-rule. O’Rourke favors - reluctantly, he admits - responsibility. From the woes of nation-building to the woes of letting politicians rebuild the automobile industry, no irresponsibility of America’s political establishment is spared. Why, he asks, was the health care reform debate framed in terms of health insurance? ("When your house is on fire, do you call Allstate or 911?") Listen to P. J. O’Rourke on the pathetic nature of politics and laugh through your tears or, what the hell - just laugh.
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