Quotes by P. J. O'Rourke

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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.

Marijuana is self-punishing. It makes you acutely sensitive, and in this world, what worse punishment could there be?
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.
Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
Maybe a nation that consumes as much booze and dope as we do and has our kind of divorce statistics should pipe down about character issues. Either that or just go ahead and determine the presidency with three-legged races and pie-eating contests. It would make better TV.
I like to think of my behavior in the sixties as a learning experience. Then again, I like to think of anything stupid I've done as a learning experience. It makes me feel less stupid.
Majority rule is a precious, sacred thing worth dying for. But -- like other precious, sacred things, such as the home and the family -- it's not only worth dying for; it can make you wish you were dead. Imagine if all of life were determined by majority rule. Every meal would be a pizza. Every pair of pants, even those in a Brooks Brothers suit, would be stonewashed denim. Celebrity diet and exercise books would be the only thing on the shelves at the library. And -- since women are a majority of the population -- we'd all be married to Mel Gibson.
Newsmen believe that news is a tacitly acknowledged fourth branch of the federal system. This is why most news about government sounds as if it were federally mandated -- serious, bulky and blandly worthwhile, like a high-fiber diet set in type.
Nothing bad is going to happen to us. If we get fired, it's not failure; its a midlife vocational reassessment.
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.
You can't get rid of poverty by giving people money.
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.
Seriousness is stupidity sent to college.
The principle 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.
I am a journalist and, under the modern journalist's code of Olympian objectivity (and total purity of motive), I am absolved of responsibility. We journalists don't have to step on roaches. All we have to do is turn on the kitchen light and watch the critters scurry.
The government is huge, stupid, greedy and makes nosy, officious and dangerous intrusions into the smallest corners of life -- this much we can stand. But the real problem is that government is boring. We could cure or mitigate the other ills Washington visits on us if we could only bring ourselves to pay attention to Washington itself. But we cannot.
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.
Farm policy, although it's complex, can be explained. What it can't be is believed. No cheating spouse, no teen with a wrecked family car, no mayor of Washington, D.C., videotaped in flagrant has ever come up with anything as farfetched as U.S. farm policy.
There's no telling what might have happened to our defense budget if Saddam Hussein hadn't invaded Kuwait that August and set everyone gearing up for World War II. Can we count on Saddam Hussein to come along every year and resolve our defense-policy debates? Given the history of the Middle East, it's possible.
When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.
In the end we beat them with Levi 501 jeans. Seventy-two years of Communist indoctrination and propaganda was drowned out by a three-ounce Sony Walkman. A huge totalitarian system has been brought to its knees because nobody wants to wear Bulgarian shoes. Now they're lunch, and we're number one on the planet.
Government proposes, bureaucracy disposes. And the bureaucracy must dispose of government proposals by dumping them on us.
Automobiles are free of egotism, passion, prejudice and stupid ideas about where to have dinner. They are, literally, selfless. A world designed for automobiles instead of people would have wider streets, larger dining rooms, fewer stairs to climb and no smelly, dangerous subway stations.
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 meadow 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.
Our democracy, our culture, our whole way of life is a spectacular triumph of the blah. Why not have a political convention without politics to nominate a leader who's out in front of nobody? Maybe our national mindlessness is the very thing that keeps us from turning into one of those smelly European countries full of pseudo-reds and crypto-fascists and greens who dress like forest elves.
Social Security is a government program with a constituency made up of the old, the near old and those who hope or fear to grow old. After 215 years of trying, we have finally discovered a special interest that includes 100 percent of the population. Now we can vote ourselves rich.
Every generation finds the drug it needs.
Our nation has withstood many divisions—North and South, black and white, labor and management—but I do not know if the country can survive division into smoking and non-smoking sections.
Everything that’s fun in life is dangerous.
Fishing … is a sport invented by insects and you are the bait.
Jewishness cropped up and has never successfully been put down since.