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Amidst all the whining, race-baiting, name-calling, and other dishonest defense mechanisms, there's one frequent ploy of the Left that is actually clever : first, they choose to believe in an idealized version of mankind (man as a naturally peaceful and sharing creature), espouse utopian political philosophies based on that fantasy, and advocate a set of egalitarian policy prescriptions which flow from their delusions, and then they have the gall to castigate conservative critics of their foolhardiness by saying that they are attacking straw men.  It's kind of like Jimmy Stewart's character, Elwood P. Dowd, turning the tables on his psychiatrists and calling them crazy for bringing up Harvey all the time.  Such is the nature of most of the criticism of this very funny book by P. J. O'Rourke, in which he sets out to test big government liberalism by seeing how it is playing out in the real world, on a series of issues : overpopulation, famine, ecological disaster, ethnic hatred, plague and poverty.  For making this effort to scientifically test the ideology of the Left, in the laboratory of reality, he has been accused of practically fabricating the issues in order to shoot down their solutions.  If only....

It is all enjoyable and a ringing vindication of free markets, limited government and American culture (circa 1950), but far and away the best chapter is the overpopulation one where he compares that perennial favorite of the Paul Ehrlich crowd, Bangladesh, with Fremont, CA.  Why Fremont?  How about, because they have roughly the same population density.  By the time Mr. O'Rourke is done, the very notion that population growth, in the abstract, is something that we have to be terrified of has been rendered utterly laughable (and laugh you will).   Also worth the price of admission, before its author totally fades into obscurity, is the evisceration of Al Gore's deranged magnum opus, Earth in the Balance.   Mr. O'Rourke delivers Mr. Gore a well deserved drubbing.

The book makes a fine companion piece to Parliament of Whores, sort of a foreign affairs version of the same tale.  Taken together, they stand as one of the best and certainly the funniest defenses of liberty you are likely to find.

(Reviewed:)

Grade: (A-)

  

Websites:

See also:

P.J. O'Rourke (3 books reviewed)
Humor
P.J. O'Rourke Links:
    -PJ O'Rourke Web Site
    -Cato Institute
    -American Spectator
    -Weekly Standard
    -Rolling Stone
    -EXCERPT : Chapter One of Eat the Rich
    -ESSAY : Squishier than thou : Demonstrating against reality in London and Washington (P. J. O'Rourke, The Atlantic Monthly | December 2001)
    -ESSAY : We'll Run this Planet as We Please : And if you don't like it, go back where we came from (PJ O'Rourke, August 25, 2001, Wall Street Journal)
    -ESSAY : Stupidity in the Golden State (PJ O'Rourke, June 2001, Daily Oklahoman)
    -ESSAY : Bill Clinton and His Consequences (P.J. O'Rourke, Atlantic Monthly)
    -ESSAY : Who The Heck Are These People? (P.J. O'Rourke, Forbes FYI, 03.05.01)
    -ESSAY : 100 Reasons Why Jimmy Carter Was a Better President Than Bill Clinton (P.J. O'Rourke
The American Spectator, September 1993)
    -ESSAY : Why I am a Republican (P.J. O'Rourke)
    -ESSAY : No Fiscal Conservatives Here (P.J. O'ROURKE, NY Times, February 17, 2000)
    -ESSAY : The Liberty Manifesto (P. J. O'Rourke, Libertarian.org)
    -ESSAY : A Message to Redistributionists (P. J. O'Rourke, Cato Institute)
    -ESSAY : Democrats Are The Bad Guys (P.J. O'Rourke, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY : A New Birth of Hypocrisy (P.J. O'Rourke, The Weekly Standard, March 1, 1999)
    -ESSAY : How to Explain Conservatism to Your Squishy Liberal Friends: Individualism 'R' Us
(P. J. O'Rourke)
    -ESSAY : An Open Letter to the Other Party. "Dear Democrats..."  (P.J. O'Rourke, The Weekly Standard, 08/21/2000)
    -ESSAY : Catching the Greased Pig (P.J. O'Rourke, The Weekly Standard, February 2, 1998)
    -ESSAY : Welcome Delegates! To Your Democratic National Convention (P.J. O'Rourke, Voter.com, 08/13/2000)
    -ESSAY : Putting the Moi Back in Memoir (P. J. O'Rourke, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY : My Fellow Americans . . .; All My Priorities (P. J. O'Rourke, NY Times)
    -ESSAY : BOOK & BUSINESS; HOW TO SUCCED IN BUSINESS? HERE'S THE SECRET....
(P. J. O'Rourke, NY Times)
    -LECTURE : Closing the Wealth Gap (P.J. O'Rourke, June 1997 Cato conference in Shanghai, China)
    -REVIEW : of A Man in Full (PJ O'Rourke, Policy Review)
    -REVIEW : of WHY NOT ME? The Inside Story of the Making and Unmaking of the Franken Presidency. By Al Franken (P. J. O'Rourke, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Guidelines for Bias-Free Writing, by Marilyn Schwartz and the Task Force on Bias-Free Language of the Association of American University Presses (P.J. O'Rourke, The American Spectator August, 1995)
    -REVIEW : of L.A.WOMAN By Eve Babitz (P. J. O'Rourke, NY Times Book Review)
    -AUDIO : P. J. O'Rourke (Salon)
    -BOOKNOTES : Author: P.J. O'Rourke Title: Eat the Rich  Air date: January 3, 1999 (C-SPAN)
    -DISCUSSION : Live with TAE : Two men who represent different generations and different branches of conservative thought find they have a lot in common : Robert Bork & P.J. O'Rourke (The American Enterprise Institute)
    -DISCUSSION : 1997 The Year in Review (P. J. OíROURKE, CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, KATE OíBEIRNE,The American Enterprise Institute)
    -DEBATE : WHERE THERE'S SMOKE THERE'S P.J. O'ROURKE Churchillian oratory -- American style -- from the Oxford Union (P.J. O'Rourke)
    -INTERVIEW : with P. J. O'Rourke (Chris Wood, Pure Fiction)
    -INTERVIEW : P.J. O'Rourke talks politics (JIM SLOTEK, Toronto Sun)
    -INTERVIEW : P.J. O'Rourke ... a Q&A  (December 18, 1998, London Observer Service)
    -The Unofficial PJ O'Rourke Homepage
    -PROFILE : Laughing at Big Government, and Crying, Too (Richard Bernstein, NY Times, 1991)
    -PROFILE : P. J. O'Rourke : The Laughing Libertarian (Alysse Minkoff, Cigar Afficianado)
    -ARTICLE : At American Spectator, A Firing Offense (Howard Kurtz , The Washington Post, October 20, 1997)
    -REVIEW : of ALL THE TROUBLE IN THE WORLD The Lighter Side of Overpopulation, Famine, Ecological Disaster, Ethnic Hatred, Plague, and Poverty (Florence King, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of All the Troubles in the World (Eugene Linden, TIME)
    -REVIEW : of PARLIAMENT OF WHORES A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government. By P. J. O'Rourke (Signe Wilkinson, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of GIVE WAR A CHANCE Eyewitness Accounts of Mankind's Struggle Against Tyranny, Injustice and Alcohol-Free Beer. By P. J. O'Rourke (1992) (Terry Teachout, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of HOLIDAYS IN HELL By P. J. O'Rourke (1989) (Tom Ferrell, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of REPUBLICAN PARTY REPTILE Essays And Outrages. By P. J. O'Rourke (1987) (Lewis Burke Frumke, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of EAT THE RICH By P.J. O'Rourke (1998) (Peter Passell, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Eat the Rich  Readers Digest (Gary Marshall, Spike)
    -REVIEW : of Eat the Rich (JIM SLOTEK -- Toronto Sun)
    -REVIEW : of Eat the Rich , By P.J. O'Rourke (Diane Hartman, Denver Post)
    -REVIEW : of AMERICAN SPECTATOR'S ENEMIES LIST by  P.J. O'Rourke (JIM SLOTEK -- Toronto Sun)
    -REVIEW : of John Preston reviews The CEO of the Sofa by P J O'Rourke (booksonline)
    -REVIEW : of CEO of the Couch by PJ O'Rourke (Griff Witte, The Denver Post )
 

GENERAL :
    -ESSAY: The real American model: A dynamic free market? No. America's economy is about massive public subsidy of the middle class. The lesson for the world? Don't copy it. (James Galbraith, OpenDemocracy)
    -ESSAY : The Mirth of a Nation : Black Comedy's Reactionary Hipness (Justin Driver, New Republic)
    -ESSAY : Kristol's Ball : William Kristol's feisty Weekly Standard urges on the GOP Revolution (DAN KENNEDY, Salon)
    -ESSAY : The Death of Libertarian Outrage  (Timothy Sandefur, Laissez Faire City Times)
    -Laissez Faire City Times

Book-related and General Links:
    -PJ O'Rourke Web Site
    -Cato Institute
    -American Spectator
    -Weekly Standard
    -Rolling Stone
    -EXCERPT : Chapter One of Eat the Rich
    -ESSAY : Squishier than thou : Demonstrating against reality in London and Washington (P. J. O'Rourke, The Atlantic Monthly | December 2001)
    -ESSAY : We'll Run this Planet as We Please : And if you don't like it, go back where we came from (PJ O'Rourke, August 25, 2001, Wall Street Journal)
    -ESSAY : Stupidity in the Golden State (PJ O'Rourke, June 2001, Daily Oklahoman)
    -ESSAY : Bill Clinton and His Consequences (P.J. O'Rourke, Atlantic Monthly)
    -ESSAY : Who The Heck Are These People? (P.J. O'Rourke, Forbes FYI, 03.05.01)
    -ESSAY : 100 Reasons Why Jimmy Carter Was a Better President Than Bill Clinton (P.J. O'Rourke
The American Spectator, September 1993)
    -ESSAY : Why I am a Republican (P.J. O'Rourke)
    -ESSAY : No Fiscal Conservatives Here (P.J. O'ROURKE, NY Times, February 17, 2000)
    -ESSAY : The Liberty Manifesto (P. J. O'Rourke, Libertarian.org)
    -ESSAY : A Message to Redistributionists (P. J. O'Rourke, Cato Institute)
    -ESSAY : Democrats Are The Bad Guys (P.J. O'Rourke, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY : A New Birth of Hypocrisy (P.J. O'Rourke, The Weekly Standard, March 1, 1999)
    -ESSAY : How to Explain Conservatism to Your Squishy Liberal Friends: Individualism 'R' Us
(P. J. O'Rourke)
    -ESSAY : An Open Letter to the Other Party. "Dear Democrats..."  (P.J. O'Rourke, The Weekly Standard, 08/21/2000)
    -ESSAY : Catching the Greased Pig (P.J. O'Rourke, The Weekly Standard, February 2, 1998)
    -ESSAY : Welcome Delegates! To Your Democratic National Convention (P.J. O'Rourke, Voter.com, 08/13/2000)
    -ESSAY : Putting the Moi Back in Memoir (P. J. O'Rourke, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY : My Fellow Americans . . .; All My Priorities (P. J. O'Rourke, NY Times)
    -ESSAY : BOOK & BUSINESS; HOW TO SUCCED IN BUSINESS? HERE'S THE SECRET....
(P. J. O'Rourke, NY Times)
    -LECTURE : Closing the Wealth Gap (P.J. O'Rourke, June 1997 Cato conference in Shanghai, China)
    -REVIEW : of A Man in Full (PJ O'Rourke, Policy Review)
    -REVIEW : of WHY NOT ME? The Inside Story of the Making and Unmaking of the Franken Presidency. By Al Franken (P. J. O'Rourke, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Guidelines for Bias-Free Writing, by Marilyn Schwartz and the Task Force on Bias-Free Language of the Association of American University Presses (P.J. O'Rourke, The American Spectator August, 1995)
    -REVIEW : of L.A.WOMAN By Eve Babitz (P. J. O'Rourke, NY Times Book Review)
    -AUDIO : P. J. O'Rourke (Salon)
    -BOOKNOTES : Author: P.J. O'Rourke Title: Eat the Rich  Air date: January 3, 1999 (C-SPAN)
    -DISCUSSION : Live with TAE : Two men who represent different generations and different branches of conservative thought find they have a lot in common : Robert Bork & P.J. O'Rourke (The American Enterprise Institute)
    -DISCUSSION : 1997 The Year in Review (P. J. OíROURKE, CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, KATE OíBEIRNE,The American Enterprise Institute)
    -DEBATE : WHERE THERE'S SMOKE THERE'S P.J. O'ROURKE Churchillian oratory -- American style -- from the Oxford Union (P.J. O'Rourke)
    -INTERVIEW : with P. J. O'Rourke (Chris Wood, Pure Fiction)
    -INTERVIEW : P.J. O'Rourke talks politics (JIM SLOTEK, Toronto Sun)
    -INTERVIEW : P.J. O'Rourke ... a Q&A  (December 18, 1998, London Observer Service)
    -The Unofficial PJ O'Rourke Homepage
    -PROFILE : Laughing at Big Government, and Crying, Too (Richard Bernstein, NY Times, 1991)
    -PROFILE : P. J. O'Rourke : The Laughing Libertarian (Alysse Minkoff, Cigar Afficianado)
    -ARTICLE : At American Spectator, A Firing Offense (Howard Kurtz , The Washington Post, October 20, 1997)
    -REVIEW : of ALL THE TROUBLE IN THE WORLD The Lighter Side of Overpopulation, Famine, Ecological Disaster, Ethnic Hatred, Plague, and Poverty (Florence King, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of All the Troubles in the World (Eugene Linden, TIME)
    -REVIEW : of PARLIAMENT OF WHORES A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government. By P. J. O'Rourke (Signe Wilkinson, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of GIVE WAR A CHANCE Eyewitness Accounts of Mankind's Struggle Against Tyranny, Injustice and Alcohol-Free Beer. By P. J. O'Rourke (1992) (Terry Teachout, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of HOLIDAYS IN HELL By P. J. O'Rourke (1989) (Tom Ferrell, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of REPUBLICAN PARTY REPTILE Essays And Outrages. By P. J. O'Rourke (1987) (Lewis Burke Frumke, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of EAT THE RICH By P.J. O'Rourke (1998) (Peter Passell, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Eat the Rich  Readers Digest (Gary Marshall, Spike)
    -REVIEW : of Eat the Rich (JIM SLOTEK -- Toronto Sun)
    -REVIEW : of Eat the Rich , By P.J. O'Rourke (Diane Hartman, Denver Post)
    -REVIEW : of AMERICAN SPECTATOR'S ENEMIES LIST by  P.J. O'Rourke (JIM SLOTEK -- Toronto Sun)
    -REVIEW : of John Preston reviews The CEO of the Sofa by P J O'Rourke (booksonline)
    -REVIEW : of CEO of the Couch by PJ O'Rourke (Griff Witte, The Denver Post )
 

GENERAL :
    -ESSAY : The Mirth of a Nation : Black Comedy's Reactionary Hipness (Justin Driver, New Republic)
    -ESSAY : Kristol's Ball : William Kristol's feisty Weekly Standard urges on the GOP Revolution (DAN KENNEDY, Salon)
    -ESSAY : The Death of Libertarian Outrage  (Timothy Sandefur, Laissez Faire City Times)
    -Laissez Faire City Times
    -REVIEW : of The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World by Bjørn Lomborg (Matt Ridley, booksonline)
    -ESSAY : The truth about the environment : Environmentalists tend to believe that, ecologically speaking, things are getting worse and worse. Bjorn Lomborg, once deep green himself, argues that they are wrong in almost every particular (The Economist, Aug 2nd 2001)

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