6 Quotes: P. J. O’Rourke on government and politicians
Religion & Liberty Online

6 Quotes: P. J. O’Rourke on government and politicians

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On Thursday, the Acton Institute will be hosting an Evening in Chicago with P. J. O’Rourke. In honor of the event, here are six quotes on government and politicians by the best-selling author and beloved political satirist:

On politicians: “A politician is anyone who asks individuals to surrender part of their liberty—their power and privilege—to State, Masses, Mankind, Planet Earth, or whatever. This state, those masses, that mankind, and the planet will then be run by . . . politicians.”

On government power: “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”

On Republicans and Democrats: “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.”

On the idea of government: “The whole idea of our government is this: If enough people get together and act in concert, they can take something and not pay for it.”

On government subsidies: “Government subsidies can be critically analyzed according to a simple principle: You are smarter than the government, so when the government pays you to do something you wouldn’t do on your own, it is almost always paying you to do something stupid.”

On the elitism of government: “When government does, occasionally, work, it works in an elitist fashion. That is, government is most easily manipulated by people who have money and power already. This is why government benefits usually go to people who don’t need benefits from government. Government may make some environmental improvements, but these will be improvements for rich bird-watchers. And no one in government will remember that when poor people go bird-watching they do it at Kentucky Fried Chicken.”

Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).