If scathing, uproarious, and insightful political satire were not enough, for more than 30 years P. J. O'Rourke has written about his love affair with the automobile. His newest book, Driving Like Crazy: Thirty Years of Vehicular Hell-bending, Celebrating America the Way It's Supposed to Be--With an Oil Well in Every Backyard, a Cadillac Escalade in Every Carport, and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Mowing Our Lawn combines his classic articles on automobiles with new material and traces the birth and death of America's car obsession.
With more than 1 million words of trenchant journalism under his byline and more citations in the Penguin Dictionary of Humorous Quotations than any living writer, O'Rourke has established himself as a premier political satirist. He is the best-selling author of 16 books, including Parliament of Whores, Give War a Chance, Eat the Rich, The CEO of the Sofa, Holidays in Hell, Peace Kills and On the Wealth of Nations. Both Time and The Wall Street Journal have labeled O'Rourke "the funniest writer in America."
Conservative journalist and satirist P.J. O'Rourke discusses America's saga with the automobile as a symbol of freedom. He expresses concern over how the forthcoming 'Obamamobile' is yet another governmental restriction on personal freedom.
I love P.J. O'Rourke's books, speeches and thinking. He is a pro-freedom, independent man proud of his country and committed to the spread of individual liberty. He is also the king of the one-liners - one of my favorites, "Blogs are free and worth the price." Also, "Giving the government more power is like giving whiskey and the car keys to teenage boys."
you completely misunderstood his point on eminent domain and the taking of private property for public use. It is in the United States Constitution. It is something GOVERNMENT does. In fact, the left leaning members of our Supreme Court recently gave government almost unlimited power to take private property that is not in keeping with the takings clause, " . . . nor shall private property be taken for public use without fair compensation . . . "
P.J. is a classical liberal in the truest sense of the world. He understands that individual liberty is always in danger and must be defended. I do not think he wishes to have the right to do whatever he wishes without regard to the same right for others. He does believe, however, that the government is far too intrusive in our lives, takes too much of our money, and inhibits our ability to persue happiness as we understand it.
When was there ever a time in the history of this country when you could do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted, with no consequences? All it takes is one example to refute that claim. Shall I provide one?
With respect, you are a catastrophist in the malthusian tradition. Let me tell you a little secret. The earth was here long before us, and will be here long after we are gone, hundreds of millions of species of animal bacteria and random microbe have lived and died on this earth, and well over 99% of them died by the hand of nature, not man.
I happen to be a conservationist. I am for the preservation of forests and other natural resources. What I am not, like so many modern environmentalists, is a catastrophist. We will not die off due to overpopulation, and we will not die off due to global warming. That, is a lie, the exagerrations about the impact and devastation of global warming, are lies. This does not mean there is no impact, or that to the extent that there is impact, but this is no rationale to become hysterical.
I want electric cars, and lower emissions, all the while riding in something that does not look like a golf cart. Can you understand that?
Can you also understand, for those of us who do not consider global warming a civilization ending catastrophe (which it isn't, not even close), engaging in radical and rapid change to remake an entire economy in a crash effort, will do more harm than the good gained.
I know many of your kind do not like engaging in cost benefit analysis, too many "feelings" flying around. How lovely. Do you understand there is a human cost to slower growth due to resources being diverted into reshaping our energy needs?
I want the latter to be done, but do so too fast and you cost us all too much, and that leads to deaths and continued poverty and degradation as well, do you care?
There are many ways in which his thinking is outdated and even morally disgusting now. The main problems is his flawed concept of freedom and blatant disregard for the people around him.
What ABOUT the freedom to do what you want? With the projected 9 billion people on earth, the majority of actions that previously, only 20 - 30 years ago, would be your own business now affects everyone around you. A good example of this is drunk driving. Would you like to have a person waving around a gun in your face? That is exactly what a drunk driver does. He is in a one and a half tonne of massive steel, hurtling down on a highway at X mph. One wrong move, and someone is in serious risk of dying. Is it not responsible to insist that everyone driving in public should be sober?
And what would the consequences be if we didn't worldwide ban leaded gasoline? The lead poisoning would be disastrous. The same goes for many other sorts of emission regulation, where the substances are too dangerous to be free to use as anyone wishes.
He can tout how the cars now look ugly, are annoying and heartless. I can even agree up to a certain point that this is regrettable. But make no mistake, not doing those changes would be far worse. Sure, they can be done in better ways - nobody likes the noises some cars (mainly the American, ironically) make when you leave your door open. But that does not mean that the initiative were based on a false premise. It only means that the execution were done poorly.
In a century where every action affects everyone, where people are forced to interact and participate in a society, this mans politics is equally a display of ignorance about the state of the world, and egotistical thinking. Sure, his reasons and motivations are well meant, but that can be said about almost everyone.
What demonstrates this fallacy of thinking the most, is his willingness to force people to move if he wants a super highway to go in a straight line. Suddenly, that persons freedom to own his land is negated for the greater good (as it should be). But if you try to prohibit him to drive around in a car that pollutes the air, is deadly if he were to accidentally hit someone and poisons the drinking water of everybody with the lead in the gasoline, then that is suddenly unthinkable.
No people, I'm afraid this man is to set in his ways to be persuaded, but many others can be. If you are one of those who agree with him on a majority of subjects, investigate what the consequences of leaded gasoline would be, investigate what statistical impact the various choices would have on the lives of others. Look at countries where these changes have not been made until recently (India) and where they have been in action for a long time (Scandinavia). Get educated.
As for the American car.. Well, it killed itself. It was born in an era of excess and full personal freedom, where you could do what you wanted when you wanted, without regard to the consequences to others. That era is over and done with, as is, hopefully, his way of thinking.
Hilarious book excerpts and I believe everything he says to be true from the idea of being able to conceive children in the back of automobiles vs. a date on a buggy to taking the bravery out of teenagers.
I'm sure most accidents happen because some kids are extremely reckless and too brave for their own good. If they want to be brave, they should go bungee jumping or sky diving and not risk other people's lives. And I find his comment about legalizing drugs funny but I support that cause as well.