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IQ Squared: P.J. O’Rourke- American Politics and Government

December 3, 2014

P.J. O'Rourke
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

There’s an old American saying that goes like this. “We get the government that we paid for”. Another way of saying that is that we get the government that we voted for. “Look buddy, you voted for those assholes in charge. What the hell do you have to complain about?” And for people who didn’t bother to vote, seek help please, but they get the government that other people voted for. Just because you were too busy on your iPhone or watching reality TV, or don’t think voting is worth it, you live in the same country as everyone else in that country and get government as well for good and bad.

I don’t feel sorry at all about people who voted for people that they now don’t like. They could’ve voted for someone else, or bothered to do their homework before they voted. And I don’t feel sorry for people who don’t vote and then later complain about the political system. When they aren’t doing their part to make it better. We live in a democracy in the sense that the people vote for the leaders and the candidates and incumbents who get more votes than their opponents are the people who win and assume office. That is what majoritarian democracy is about.

I like P.J. O’Rourke’s comment about personal responsibility and spending other people’s money. Great Danny DeVito movie about that by the way, but imagine if someone gave you a blank check of someone else’s money. How responsible would you be with that, or forget about the blank check, a check for ten-thousand dollars over a month or so, how well would you do with that money? If that money comes with no strings and no responsibility, you won’t spend that money very well at least compared with if you were to spend ten-thousand dollars over a month of your own money. And having to live with the consequences of every financial decision that you make.

I don’t want government to go away or disappear and I’m not a Libertarian unlike P.J. O’Rourke. But at the same time I don’t want government managing my life for me, or trying to manage someone else’s life. Why, because they aren’t trying to manage people’s affairs for them with government money. They are trying to manage the affairs of people with the people’s money, the taxpayers money. So of course they are not going to spend that money as well, because if they screw up, they can just tax us more to try to fix whatever problem they just created.

When Uncle Sam or whoever the government uncle is in whatever the country, says “I know you have a problem and I want to help you and I’m the government and it won’t cost you anything.” Your first question should always be, “how much will your help cost me?” After you tell Uncle Sam to get his big fat hand out of your pocket. Because anything that government does comes with a cost that is paid for by the people who live in that particular country. Of course it is not free if you pay taxes, because with those taxes you’re paying for those public services that you receive.

As far as freedom and fairness. You can’t have one without the other. If someone is not able to by law to be as successful as they possibly can base on their own work and production and the services they provided for others, because government has their hands down their pockets and in their piggy banks taking whatever they can away from that individual, then that person won’t be successful. They’ll say “why should I work so hard and be so good at what I do, when government just takes away most of what I created to give it to other people who aren’t doing well?” Oh by the way, government is doing that in some name of fairness.

As far as the Baby Boomers, I have mixed feelings about them. I love the individualism of the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s that allowed for Americans to be Americans and what the Founding Fathers essentially wanted to create, a society for people to be free to be themselves. But at the same time while they did that, they went completely the other way when it came to economic policy and created a society where people now expected government to give them things. There was this Tom Jefferson liberal free society on one hand. While on the other hand there was this Tom Hayden or Bernie Sanders collectivist utopian society where people weren’t expected to act for themselves and take care of themselves.

The so-called Me Generation that Boomers tend to get labeled as, is me meaning “give me Uncle Sam! I deserve this, that and the other thing and you the government should give that to me at someone else’s expense. Because why should I as an individual have to do those things for myself?” And public education, again that is only as good as the people want to be and a lot of that has to do with the kids that are part of that system and the parents that they come from. If you raise their kids well and make education a big part of what you are trying to get across to them, chances are those kids will do well in either a public or private school. But if you don’t, unless they are a great bright kid perhaps smarter and more mature than their parents, they won’t do very well in school.

Government, education, politics and politicians are only as good as the people. Well at best they can only be as good as the people. The only thing worst than people not voting, are dumb voters who always vote or at least vote a lot. Because they are voting for people that they aren’t knowledgable about and perhaps do not even understand that. You want good politicians, public servants and educators, you need to do your part to make that happen and not expect others to do that for you. The two worst fears for crooked politicians, are educated voters and a lot of educated voters. You do your homework, vote for the people who’ll represent your best interests and hold them accountable, you’ll have the best government that you possibly can.
IQ Squared: P.J. O’Rourke- The Funniest Man in America

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