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Tuesday, September 09, 2003
Funny-slash-annoying bit in the Onion interview with PJ O'Rourke:

Well, I think in the Clinton era, if people hadn't been spending vast amounts of time attacking Clinton, they would have found that they had essentially the same problems as they do now. It is very hard now to shock people into thinking about government regulation and the extent of government involvement in life... about fundamental Hayekian ideas. Ever read any [Friedrich] Hayek? He's great. The Road To Serfdom is like... I'm not a big political-science reader, but I actually dog-eared my copy. I ended up going back through it and writing a précis, I was so impressed by this book. It's all about what happens when government tries to make everything right. I mean, Hayek is not protesting that things like child labor and stuff are good. He's just trying to show that when government undertakes to make everything good for everybody, this is what happens. And he addresses it to socialists of all parties. It was written during WWII, and basically it's an anti-Nazi, anti-communist thing, but also it's an anti-Conservative and anti-Labor-party thing aimed at the British. He was an Austrian, writing in Britain. And I feel like now, I guess, everybody pays lip service to libertarian—and, indeed, many conservative—ideas, and yet they keep moving forward with an increasingly bureaucratic state. It shows itself in all sorts of little ways. I'm not screaming about injustice here, or gulags. I buy a tractor two years ago, and four-fifths of the tractor manual is about not tipping over, not raising the bucket high enough to hit high-tension wire... not killing yourself, basically. The tractor itself is covered with stickers: Don't put your hand in here. Don't put your dick in there. And in that manual, I found out—and it cost me a thousand dollars—that when the tractor is new, 10 hours into use of the tractor, you have to re-torque the lug nuts. If you don't, you will oval the holes. This is buried between the moron warnings. I never found it. I take the tractor in for its regular servicing, and they say my wheels are gone. A thousand dollars worth of wheels have to be replaced because I didn't re-torque after 10 hours. How am I supposed to know that? "It's in the manual." You fucking read that manual! You go through 40 pages of how not to tip over! Anyway, that's the world that we seem to be moving into. And just because a society has absorbed these ideas and pays them lip service, anyone who's talking about libertarian ideas and certain basic conservative principles will get people who nod politely and say, "Oh, yeah, we knew that already." It's a pain in the ass.

Yeah, Hayek fans tend to be people who "aren't into political science that much." I wonder why? *cough* Maybe has something to do with, oh I dunno, the fact that most political science kind of disproves Hayek?

It's kind of funny that O'Rourke's main argument against government regulation is a tractor manual (!) that he was too old and lazy to read all the way through. Really, PJ, just because you have a short attention span doesn't mean that the fundamental principles of American government are flawed. Sheesh.