Nicholas's Reviews > Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government

Parliament of Whores by P.J. O'Rourke
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's review
Aug 05, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: politics
Read in July, 2008

** spoiler alert ** Basically, it was a summary of all the ways in which people want benefits from the government without paying for them. He champions personal responsibility and hard work above all else. He seemed to be more of a libertarian than a republican. It was a good look at the absurdity of the American system of government. One tendency of O'Rourkes writing that I really liked was his pointing out that it is our fault that everything is so fucked up. We're the ones that are lazy and want to blame politicians for being human. You can't have a system like ours and expect people to run it well.

The best parts are when between jokes he suddenly becomes serious and you realize that he just dropped bombs on you. Fucking great.

It was also funny.


"You kids today, you don't know how good you've got it. Why, back in 1979 inflation was so bad that nickles cost fifty cents, the Dow was minus a million, they were giving out food stamps as stock dividends and you couldn't walk to your garage without getting held hostage by the Iranians."

"Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die." (DEA's Perez)

"We're Americans. These are modern times. Nothing bad is going to happen to us. If we get fired, it's not failure; it's a midlife vocational reassessment. If we screw up a marriage, we can get another one. There's no shame in divorce. Day care will take the kids, and the ex-wife can go back to the career she was bitching about leaving. If we get convicted of a crime, we'll go to tennis prison and probably not even that. We'll just have to futz around doing community service for a while. Or maybe we can tearfully confess everything, join a support group and get off the hook by listening to shrinks tell us we don't like ourselves enough. Hell, play our cards right, and we can get a book contract out of it. We don't have to be serious about the drug problem-or anything else."

"This is a democracy. We're free to change what our government does any time we want. All we have to do is vote on it. In the meantime, if people like me--rich, white, privileged, happy--cannot even bother to abide by the legal standards of their freely constituted society, of a society that has provided them with everything a civilization can be expected to provide, then those people deserve their drug problems and everybody else's drug problems, too. They deserve--I deserve--to have every crack addict in the country knocking on the front door saying, 'I lives here. Can I go in?'"

"You can't get rid of poverty by giving people money."


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