Chad Perrin: SOB

18 July 2006

Required Reading: Parliament of Whores

Filed under: Humor,Liberty — apotheon @ 11:42

Anyone thinking of entering politics to pursue public office, or considering employment with a government bureaucracy, or even pondering whether or not to register to vote, should go to or Barnes & Noble or anywhere else they need to go to get a (possibly used) copy of PJ O’Rourke’s book Parliament of Whores. As it is explained on the cover, “a lone humorist attempts to explain the entire US Government”.

He’s more than a humorist, of course. He’s a thinking human being with significant experience watching the machinery of US government and politics at work, as a White House correspondent for Rolling Stone, among other “respectable” journalistic professional pursuits. He’s also damned entertaining to read.

An excerpt:

I spent two and a half years examining the American political process. All that time I was looking for a straightforward issue. But everything I investigated — election campaigns, the budget, lawmaking, the court system, bureaucracy, social policy — turned out to be more complicated than I had thought. There were always angles I hadn’t considered, aspects I hadn’t weighed, complexities I’d never dreamed of. Until I got to agriculture. Here at last is a simple problem with a simple solution. Drag the omnibus farm bill behind the barn, and kill it with an ax.

Having read the chapter on US agricultural policy that precedes that incredible statement, I have to disagree. I think he’s being a trifle too kind.

Find this book and read it. It’s more important for forming a well-reasoned view of needed short-term governmental policy than anything else I have ever read. Seriously. Despite the fact it’s about a decade and a half old, now, the only changes it needs take the form of increased emphasis: what was true when it was written is even more true now.


  1. […] apotheon suggested (OK he didn’t address this contest directly, but he knows that I subscribe so I’ll enter it anyway) Parliament of Whores, by P.J.O’Rourke, which is a satire on government. […]

    Pingback by The (shipping) envelope, please -- Chip’s Quips — 20 July 2006 @ 02:38

  2. […] Parliament of Whores, by PJ O’Rourke. I mentioned it recently, in an SOB entry entitled Required Reading: Parliament of Whores. In addition to being good at opening the eyes to governmental process in the US, it is also a laugh factory. It’s the most entertaining read I’ve had in quite a while. […]

    Pingback by SOB: Scion Of Backronymics » Judge a book by its readers. — 2 August 2006 @ 12:42

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All original content Copyright Chad Perrin: Distributed under the terms of the Open Works License