P.J. O'Rourke, R.I.P.


P.J. did the most to promote libertarian views about love, peace and understanding in the last half-century. O’Rourke, Who died?At the age 74. Like Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. Sid Vicious, P.J. Did it? HisWay: By blowing smoke to both sacred cows left and right. 

He warned that the Democrats were the party which believes government can make people smarter and taller. The Republicans, he said, are the party who say government isn’t working and get elected to prove it.

Write in well-known outlets like National Lampoon, Rolling StonePlease see the following: AtlanticNPR’s appearances of. Wait…Wait Don’t Tell Me!O’Rourke combined the wisdom of Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand with a lot more zest.

“Giving power and money to the government is similar to giving whiskey and car keys teenage boys.” O’RourkeLegislation controls buying and selling. The first thing to buy and sell is legislation.

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“Libertarianism isn’t political,” He insisted. “It’s anti-political, really. It seeks to get things out of politics.”

O’Rourke, like his journalistic heroes Tom Wolfe or Hunter S. Thompson was not an Ivory Tower philosopher-king nor was he an armchair curmudgeon. At his very best—in books like All the Trouble in the WorldAnd Holidays in Hell—He engaged with the entire world, sometimes at great personal risk.

“I was always a pessimist in the libertarian mindset.” He told the story Reason2020. “This is probably because I spent 20 years as a foreign correspondent, largely covering wars, insurrections, social upheavals, and disturbances of all sorts….We have a rational side, thank God…But it isn’t the only side in our multifaceted—and sometimes pretty ugly—little personalities.”

Even as he despaired over a presidential contest between Joe Biden and Donald Trump—”I’m appalled by the choice that we’ve been delivered…I’m worried”—he was never dissuaded from his faith in individuals yearning to be free, whether they live in Chicago or China.

“Libertarianism as an attitude, and as a way to think about politics is at its core.” He spoke.“It is the notion that people can be assets.”

His elegiac 2014 book, The Birth of the Baby Boom: It’s Not My Fault, and I Will Never Do It AgainHe wrote his epitaph. This was far from being a criticism of his own generation or an attack on millennials (which is how he intended it to be) but instead it was a thoughtful and funny meditation on how we arrived at a more gentle country that still values innovation and individualism. 

If the Greatest Generation boomers and the millennials were fighting, would they have left the country more confused and richer? He told the story ReasonYou may also like: You are certainly more patient. In fact toleranceTolerance is the opposite of tolerance, which means I’ll tolerate you as long as I can. You are more open to people’s differences and will embrace them.

O’Rourke made it possible for us to laugh and think again, before finally making us feel inspired to venture out in the vast world that he loved.

Watch: “P.J. O’Rourke’s views on Millennials, and Baby Boomers. P.J. O’Rourke ReasonClick here.

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