It’s My Party, And I’ll Cry If I Want To

With a hat tip to our friend Jess Kaplan, here is P.J. O’Rourke’s wistful assessment of the wreckage of American conservatism.


  1. Hi all,

    PJ O’rourk was a wanna-be hippy who was just too uncool to make the scene -He has castigated the left- quite humorously- ever since…
    The problems with so much conservative “thinking” is that it is reactionary.The whole notion that public housing is an offence to those who do not need it is typical of the “me” generation he wants to deride.

    Trickle(tinkle) down economics was a hoax! I believe it was a scam that perpitrated the myth that wealthy folks know what is best for those less fortunate. ( but never the much loathed Government) In gave credence to the notion that their largess was the fountain of economic well being. BS.

    robber-barons never had the society’s well being in mind… it just happened that every so often their wealth created some downward improvements in life –

    it was more generally Public education and a shared sense of social responsibility that grew our once great nation-

    It is with great relief that I view the demise of the right wings’ ideas of social engeneering-
    while denying the fact of it being engeneered!

    Posted November 17, 2008 at 11:41 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Hi Pat,

    I think that’s a little bit of a mis-characterization of the sort of conservatism that O’Rourke represents; government-level “social engineering” is, after all, almost tautologically the province of the Left. The question is what is the proper role of government — and to a conservative, confiscating one man’s money to provide housing for another, for example, is not what government is supposed to be for.

    The point is not that the wealthy “know what is best for everybody”, but that the government has no right to take what is theirs on the assumption that it does. Wealthy business types are universally despised on the Left, it seems, but after all, somebody has to generate the nation’s wealth — and as Churchill said, “for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

    Reasonable people may differ, of course, about what sort of government they want.

    I still think Bill Vallicella’s essay on conservatism is one of the best I’ve read. Read it here.

    Posted November 17, 2008 at 12:13 pm | Permalink
  3. The working folks like you generate the wealth bro- At this time our nation is a plutocratic system seemingly governed by two parties but actually functioning as one party with two factions, and very strongly influenced by big biz- but its still better than past structures to a large degree, so we muddle along…

    Posted November 18, 2008 at 10:43 am | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    The working folks like me wouldn’t have anyplace to work if the much-reviled “big biz” didn’t exist.

    As Churchill said:

    “Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.”

    Posted November 18, 2008 at 11:27 am | Permalink
  5. Pat G. says

    Perspectives are dubious… one hemisphere’s up is the other’s down…The direction a society lends its efforts to are pretty easy to read. Where has the wealth gone these past 8 years- not to those pulling but to those who make themselves easy targets as greedy sobs…

    Posted November 20, 2008 at 2:46 pm | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    Yes, the folks behind the Wall Street meltdown are easy targets, and rightly so (though for every “predatory lender” there must also be someone borrowing beyond his means). But it is naive to blame “big biz” for the nation’s woes; those big businesses employ an awful lot of people.

    Posted November 20, 2008 at 3:40 pm | Permalink
  7. Hey again,

    I guess world views make humorous comparrisons…I in no way blame big biz for all our woes- just the lion’s share of the economic woes-

    By the way lion’s share ,eans “as much as one wants at one’s leasure”

    I have lived out side of the USA for almost 4 years of my life visited some 35 nations with economies based on capitalism, socialism and communism; their societies were christian, buddhist, islamic, hindu, whatever-

    They all were primarily ruled by those who controlled the wealth- the job allotments the bread & butter issues-the “big biz” of the national or micro-economies-(as in the fishing spots alloted in Malasia’s Panang)

    Everywhere it was those who ran the largest businesses that held the most power over the working people, everywhere- here too-
    I acually conclude that those who do not think big biz runs things (up or down) are being naive, – or perhaps just too ideological to see the forest for the proverbial trees…

    We live in an oligarchy, set up as a republic – there is little actual democracy left in our system- due in no small part to the legislature and the various president’s vested interests in “big biz”- those with the money hold the true reins of power…

    To employ people and then shove them over a cliff as in Enron or undermine the health and wellbeing of millions by trashing the environment etc etc…where is the balance?

    Posted November 24, 2008 at 10:29 am | Permalink
  8. Malcolm says

    Well, Pat, it is simply a fundamental fact of life that wealth confers various sorts of power and influence. That’s essentially what wealth is. And the pursuit of wealth is the economic engine that makes the world go round. Take that away, and we will all freeze and starve together.

    I’m all for keeping a wary eye on how business behaves, and reining in its excesses. But let’s not demonize the very idea of business itself, and let’s not fool ourselves with Utopian visions that deny human nature.

    Posted November 24, 2008 at 11:00 am | Permalink
  9. pdg says

    I hold little to no hopes of basic democracy let alone any utopian vision, we are in deep dog doo here and there is blame for everyone…

    to just say thats the way it is and human nature is such and such -denies the possibility of human evolution -which can been seen- that we have an afro-american as pres now shows growth -but it is no utopian scenario

    no one is demonizing biz -I’ve been in biz for myself for over 40 years -I do castigate the present direction of our once proud nation as it is swamped by debt-never good biz- and is destructive of our basic constitutional rights to bolster thye greedy rich-

    the systemic failures are due to the excesses of big biz to a large degree -at this time -not as a general rule-sometimes it may have been utopian (nightmareish) dreams ala pol pot- but to not see the real trouble we are in right now due to the corruption of our system is indeed naive bro-
    love to all-Pat

    Posted November 25, 2008 at 10:58 am | Permalink
  10. Malcolm says

    OK, then, Pat: what’s your remedy?

    Posted November 25, 2008 at 11:02 am | Permalink
  11. pdg says

    Educate people in basic civics and political discourse.

    That the laws created in the minds of men for the betterment of their fellow man be obeyed.

    From Moses to Hammurabi, to our incredible constitution – great thinkers and law makers have given us a pretty good frame-work.

    That The current governance of mankind is in the hands of miscreant dolts like Cheney & GW Bush is a travesty- they have – at every turn given the over-sight of our nation’s well being to the very people who are bound to abuse that power…

    So my remedy is EDUCATION free and open-minded Liberal education-that offers all views in a context of wonder and exploration -yes even creationism -!

    Because when ideas are juxtaposed and evaluated in an open-minded fashion the truth will become manifest.

    That truth will differ from mind to mind but diolog usurping war-mongering is a good start

    Posted December 1, 2008 at 11:39 am | Permalink
  12. “So my remedy is EDUCATION free and open-minded Liberal education-that offers all views in a context of wonder and exploration -yes even creationism -!”

    That’s hilarious considering that “open-minded Liberal education” is the most oxymoronic expression I have heard in years.

    Posted April 6, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink