P.J. O'Rourke Quotations

P.J. O'Rourke

A charity ball is like a dance except it's tax deductible.

After all, what is your hosts' 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.

A golf course is a perfect example of Republican male aesthetics -- no fussy little flowers, no stupid ornamental shrubs, no exorbitant demands for alimony, just acre upon acre of lush green grass that somebody else has to mow.

A little government and a little luck are necessary in life; but only a fool trusts either of them.

America isn't divided by political ethos or ethnic origin. America isn't divided by region or religion. America is divided by jerks. Who wants to bring a bunch of jerks together with the rest of us? Let them stew in Berkeley, Boston, and Ann Arbor.

America wasn't founded so that we could all be better. America was founded so we could all be anything we damn well please.

And pointing is only half of what dog breeders have accomplished. The dog also retrieves. Imagine -- to put this in terms comprehensible to the lowest common denominator of male readers -- you found a Victoria's Secret model in your front yard, wearing her professional attire, and intensely interested in affection. And suppose you carefully picked her up, being sure not to hug her too tightly or return any intimate caresses, and delivered her to your next-door neighbor, the guy who's had your Skill saw since last February and always lets his crab grass go to seed.

Anyone who has studied psychology, sociology, anthropology, or any of the other wacko-and-wog disciplines knows the three great rules of the social sciences: Folks do lots of things. We don't know why. Test on Friday.

Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Stepanakert, capital of the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region, rioted over much needed spelling reform in the Soviet Union.

As it is with spouses, so it is with government spokespersons...if an answer is more than three words long, it's No.

Because of their cuisine, Germans don't consider farting rude. They'd certainly be out of luck if they did.

Distracting a politician from governing is like distracting a bear from eating your baby.

Even some of Bob "Immortal Adenoid" Dylan's work doesn't get an A+ on the midterm test of time:
Dogs run free
Why not we?

Actually, that sounds like T.S. Eliot compared to most of the English spoken during the Sixties. Like, can you dig the whole riff, you know, heavy vibes with where it's at and really out of sight because I can get behind this far-out thing that's going down if you know where I'm coming from.

[E]very now and then the XJ's car alarm would got off for no reason other than to remind you that Jaguars are made in England.

Fly fishing may be a sport invented by insects with fly fishermen as bait.

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

Government proposes, bureaucracy disposes. And the bureaucracy must dispose of government proposals by dumping them on us.

Humans are the only animals that have children on purpose with the exception of guppies, who like to eat theirs.

I don't understand the balanced budget amendment. Isn't it like trying to stop smoking by hiding cigarettes from yourself?

I don't understand why the same newspaper commentators who bemoan the terrible education given to poor people are always so eager to have those poor people get out and vote.

If I made a bundle on leveraged real estate, timely broker tips, and legal fees from clients who wanted favors from my spouse, I'd use the money to buy a big car. Not the Clintons. They'd use the money to get elected to the White House, and there's a big car already there.

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free.

I not only can't figure out the timer on the VCR but can't figure out why to watch TV.

In our brief national history we have shot 4 of our presidents, worried 5 of them to death, impeached 1 and hounded another out of office. And when all else fails, we hold an election and assassinate their character.

It is an odd but universally held opinion that anyone who doesn't drink must be an alcoholic.

I wonder how many of the people who profess to believe in the leveling ideas of collectivism and egalitarianism really just believe that they themselves are good for nothing. I mean, how many leftists are animated by a quite reasonable self-loathing? In their hearts they know that they are not going to become scholars or inventors or industrialists or even ordinary good kind people. So they need a way to achieve that smugness for which the left is so justifiably famous. They need a way to achieve self-esteem without merit. Well, there is politics. In an egalitarian world everything will be controlled by politics, and politics requires no merit.

I wonder how many people in the so-called creative fields stand before their accumulated professional efforts and think the thing they've been doing for the past quarter of a century is a thing for which they have no particular talent. Not enough, to judge by the too copious output of various mature painters, poets and architects.

Look at the parts of America where government has had the most power, where government has spent the most money. Look at those housing projects we've got the poor people in. Then say to yourself, "What the government has done for folks in the inner cities, it can do for that for spotted owls."

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.

No government proposal more complicated than "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private" ever works.

Nothing bad's going to happen to us. If we get fired, it's not failure, it's a midlife vocational reassessment.

"Oh, Indians never get lost," he said, looking on every side with an expression as perplexed as my own. "However," said Tom, "sometimes the path wanders away."

Politicians are always interested in people. Not that this is always a virtue. Fleas are interested in dogs.

Popular culture has always been moronic. It has to be, by mathematics. I mean, one-half of the population is by definition below median intelligence.

[President Clinton] has put a lawyer in charge of making doctors cheaper. Next he'll be trying to get our grass mowed for less by calling the plumber to come have a word with the boy who does the lawn.

Some people say a front-engine car handles best. Some people say a rear-engine car handles best. I say a rented car handles best.

The American political system is like fast food -- mushy, insipid, made out of disgusting parts of things and everybody wants some.

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 get elected and prove it.

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

There are a number of mechanical devices which increase sexual arousal, particularly in women. Chief among these is the Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible.

There are just two rules of governance in a free society: Mind your own business. Keep your hands to yourself.

There are no kinder or better people in the world than those who listen to you when you're eighteen.

[T]here are several recognizable types of humorous activity. There is parody, when you make fun of people who are smarter than you; satire, when you make fun of people who are richer than you; and burlesque, when you make fun of both while taking your clothes off.

There is, I see, one constant in all types of fishing, which is when the fish are biting, which is almost-but-not-quite-now.

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.

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.

There's a difference between information and knowledge. It's the difference between Christy Turlington's phone number and Christy Turlington.

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

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

Your money does not cause my poverty. Refusal to believe this is at the bottom of most bad economic thinking.