By on June 19, 2009

P.J. O’Rourke reads from his new book Driving Like Crazy at the Cato Institute (hat tip: Chris Moody).

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17 Comments on “P.J. O’Rourke on the American Car...”

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    Best laugh of the week so far!!!

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    Word for word from the Introduction in his new book.
    The book was better.
    RE the book: I couldn’t go more than 1/2 dozen paragraphs without pissin my pants laughing each time.

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    PJ O’Rourke never fails to entertain and amuse but keep in mind that some of the laughs come at the expense of objectivity. Funny as hell – definitely. Car industry visionary – probably not.

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    P.J. O’Rourke coming back from obscurity as a pathetic has been making corny, unfunny jokes about back seat sex is just one more tragic consequence of the automotive bailouts.

    The car is the antithesis libertarianism. Unless unconnected, disorganized roads and no gas sound good to you.

    The car was invented in Bismarck’s nationalist, socialist Germany; the car functions only because of roads created by the government and oil made available by foreign intervention by the government.

    Along with inventing the car, the best cars are made by the nationalist, socialist countries of Japan and Germany. With the nationalist, socialist country of China coming up quickly.

    The “Obamamobile” is a 420 HP Camaro. The first Chrysler to come back in production after the government led reorganization is the Viper. It’s harder to make crappy jokes with the truth, isn’t it P.J.?

    Also, I still have all my guns, despite the “liberals”, but I guess that reality would have gotten in the way of another one of P.J.’s crappy jokes.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love cars, and I hate the TARP bailouts, including those to the auto industry. But that doesn’t justify mentally undeveloped libertarians. Especially when their jokes aren’t good anymore.

    Hopefully P.J. can retire in Somalia, where he can have the good fortune to experience the automobile in a truly libertarian country, and the people around him can have the good fortune to not understand the language his jokes are in.

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    I take it you’re not a fan?

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    Sadly, he pegged Springfield Mass. perfectly.

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    I agree with much of what no_slushbox says. But I’m not about to let that interfere with getting some laughs. PJ certainly is not a visionary, unless by that you mean someone who can see the past clearly, but he is funny.

  • avatar

    Here’s the whole video:

    The Q&A is pretty interesting. He discusses the connection between the car and libertarianism in more detail and it’s not quite the cartoon version of his views presented by no_slushbox. In fact, he shows a far greater historical understanding of the automobile.

  • avatar

    That was fun and funny. Good for us.

  • avatar

    PJ is playing PJ again. I think the audience here seems to be the same generation of people just like the Cato Institute (as far as I can see) so he’s playing his schtick to a receptiona audience to say the least.

    Anyway not a lot of people these days who are championing 1960s detroit muscle gas guzzlers so I can’t hold any malice towards him.

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    You forget that the automobile took off in America with the invention and implementation (by private industrialists) of mass production. That product, the Model T, was a raging success across the country in areas that completely lacked roads. It sold because it worked without roads. It gave freedom of movement to people who literally had no way to move themselves or things. It ran by consuming a waste byproduct of the lamp oil production process (gasoline, once petroleum replaced whale oil for lighting). What could be more libertarian?

  • avatar

    The Obamamobile used to be a Hemi 300c. Everyone knows they’d love the new Chevy (‘car of tomorrow’) to be a the crappy Volt.

    The fact that GM has a flash in the pan called the Camaro and that dead man walking cranked up the Viper line that they couldn’t sell is inconsequential.

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    America would be embroiled in armed revolt if the car was taken away from its citizens. This is one reason public transportation often needs government subsidy in the US – people love the independence of cars more.

    As a consequence, the American car market can sustain only so much meddling by Big Government – the mere existence of today’s SUVs, supercars, horsepower wars, and gadgets are testimony to the love affair with the car, despite the government’s attempt to create the “Obamamobile” since the 1970s.

    We’ll see how it goes – if market forces still exist, it won’t go very well. Are you listening, Chevy Volt?

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    Along with inventing the car, the best cars are made by the nationalist, socialist countries of Japan and Germany. With the nationalist, socialist country of China coming up quickly.

    When the car was invented (Siegfried Marcus 1870 or Daimler and Benz 17 years later) Germany and Austria were hardly socialist. Nationalist, yes, but hardly socialist.

    I wonder just who are all the socialists buying 7 Series BMWs, S Class Mercs and LS460 Lexii.

    Oh, and while he’s had some successful books, P.J., like Harlan Ellison, has always been somewhat obscure. It was in Eat The Rich that O’Rourke pointed out that the only successful socialist countries, like in Scandinavia, were rich due to longstanding existing industries. It seems that socialism needs some functioning capitalists to pay for it all.

  • avatar

    Give the public a means of buying a new Camaro SS (or performance equivalent) for about $15,000 and I might find myself wanting an ‘Obamamobile’. Until then, no thanks.

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    PJ was funny when he wrote for National Lampoon in the 70’s. Now…not so much.

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    It seems that socialism needs some functioning capitalists to pay for it all.

    And capitalists need socialists to keep them from metastasizing.

    Anyhoo, back on topic: the man is funny, not always (ever?) objective, but funny. His new stuff is starting to sound a more than a little “get off my lawn”, and lot less like the writer of “Eat the Rich” or “Parliament of Whores”. I’ve only started to read the book, and it really comes across as kind of flat and rather more playing to the crowd than making a statement.

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