Having been away for most of the weekend driving around the Coromandel, I missed most of the PJ O’Rourke roundups – apart from my own, of course. Sounds like a lot of drinking went on at other tables too, what with women finding Farrar and Sean Plunket strong contenders for the boudoir, and Chris Trotter achieving Christhood (or so Roar Prawn would have you believe).
Anyway, we were this close to The Great Man for most of the night. And for most of the night we say that view through tears of laughter.
Annie Fox got this close afterwards – and is still buzzing.
And PJ stood still long enough afterwards to be surrounded by the exuberant Libertarianz crew. Tongue tied by adulation, alcohol poisoning and proximity to our hero, I fear we were making little sense by this time and the effects of Wine Flu were beginning to seriously kick in.
Fortunately for you lot who weren’t there, or through over-exuberance or other afflictions you can’t remember what you were laughing about that the time, the Herald has some excerpts from PJ’s speech, from which I’ve pinched the quotes below. And fear not freedom lovers: The Free Radical will have the whole speech in its entirety in its new issue, coming soon.
- We live in democracies. Rule by the majority. Rule by the people. Fifty per cent of people are below average in intelligence. This explains everything about politics. Not that we'd want to live in a country ruled only by the best and brightest. That would be too much like being married to Cherie Blair.
- Long term there's only one thing that gives me hope as a right-winger - the left wing. It's going to be hard to do a worse job running America than the Republicans did, but the Democrats can do it if anyone can.
The left is the party of government activism - the party that says government can make you richer, smarter, slimmer, taller, and take a dozen strokes off your golf game. The right is the party that says government doesn't work. And then they get elected and prove it.
- The US Government is going to take over the American car industry. I can predict the result - a lightweight, compact vehicle with a small carbon footprint using sustainable alternative energy. When I was a kid we called it a bike.
- America has wound up with a charming leftist as a President. And this scares me. Not because I hate leftists. I don't. I have many charming leftist friends. They're lovely people - as long as they keep their nose out of things they don't understand. Such as making a living.
- A charming leftist President scares me because what if Obama really does turn out to be a "uniter, not a divider"?
This could mean an end to partisan bickering and result in politicians of all stripes working together to solve national and international problems. Then we're really screwed.
America needed a Republican president because America has a Democratic Congress. Republican president, Democratic Congress - this means gridlock. I love gridlock.
The worst thing in politics is "bipartisan consensus". Bipartisan consensus - that's like when my doctor and my lawyer agree with my wife that I need help.
- So what are our national leaders up to?
Well, I can't speak for yours. But I've been keeping an eye on mine.
The first thing President Barack Obama does is a US$700 billion economic stimulus. Wasn't that the last thing President George W. Bush did?
US$700 billion Bush financial bail-out plus US$787 billion Obama stimulus package plus a US$3.6 trillion federal Budget - add all that together and it equals ... More money than there is.
The 1 trillion, 487 billion dollars that America is spending on the financial bail-out plus the economic stimulus package is equal to more than a year's worth of US individual and corporate income tax payments put together.
Which raises the question: instead of a bail-out and a stimulus, why not no taxes for a year? Zero. Stop taxing us!
Would this be an economic stimulus? Uh, yeah. A stimulus? Comparing no taxes to what the Obama Administration is doing is like comparing Viagra to Tylenol PM.
But, no taxes? This will never fly.
Why not? Because no taxes - that only puts money in the pocket of people who pay taxes. Politicians can't buy votes like that. People don't love a politician for giving them their own money that the politician just snatched. This is like running off with a man's wife and expecting him to thank you when you drop her home the next day.
- Robin Hood didn't steal from the rich and give to the rich. Likewise, politicians who pretend that they're Robin Hood have to give tax money to people who don't pay taxes.
And do you know how many people pay taxes, statistically speaking? None. . . We're sponges. And the G20 remedy for this recession is like the medical treatment back in the days of Adam Smith - apply more leeches!