25 January 2011

Book Review

P.J. O’Rourke is a funny guy.  There’s really no escaping that fact, especially in his latest book, which sees him giving politicians both barrels.  And politicians deserve it.

Don’t Vote is hysterical, if only because it is true.  And it is also sobering, if only, again, because it is true.  The overarching theme of the book is the classic adolescent’s game, Kill F*** Marry, a game that is played to hilarious results throughout the book.  Especially when Bill Clinton is involved.

Throughout the book, O’Rourke laments the death of freedom and the rise of politics.  He often mentions that he is a conservative/Republican, but this claim often rings hollow, for he continually references Adam Smith, the Cato Institute, and other venerable libertarian sources.  And he even has a chapter titled “Morality in Politics—And What’s It Doing in There?”  That’s a good question, really.

With a liberal serving of the founding fathers, especially on government, the book attacks nearly every aspect of the modern political process, as if to say “enough already!”  And we have had enough already.

The lunacy of politics is highlighted in a variety of ways:  most notably, on the cost of pennies.  Sure, producing pennies is a money-losing proposition, but seeing as how the government is far more wasteful in just about all of its endeavors, it seems borderline lunatical to make an issue out of this.

His takes on climate change, trade balance, and gun control are all uproarious, and definitely worth the time.  Part three is also good, as well, as it takes an introspective look at the right.  He makes the depressingly keen observation that while it took the Democrats over fifty years to ruin their position in Congress, it only took the Republicans twelve.  Frankly, it seems miraculous that the right has any power, given their ineptitude of the last ten years.

In sum, the book is funny and biting, and serves as the perfect antidote for all the seething rage that inevitably builds up when one becomes too heavily involved in politics.  Read it and weep.

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