P.J. O'Rourke on How the Greatest Generation Ruined America


A snippet from The Daily Caller's interview with the great libertarian author and comedian P.J. O'Rourke:

TheDC: When do you think we reached a point where it became taboo to discuss individual responsibility? Because we seem to have skipped that argument with homeowners, too. We've said that it's not fair that peoples' homes are worth less than they owe, so maybe they shouldn't have to pay all that back.

P.J.: This is the explosion of positive rights, as opposed to negative rights; "gimme" rights versus "get outta here" rights. The Bill of Rights are all "get outta here rights."

TheDC: Stay out of my gun cabinet, out of my bedroom.

P.J. Get off my lawn.

Explosion of positive rights started in 1932 with the election of Roosevelt. There had been noise made in this direction starting with the progressives, and even Republicans, and it was all exacerbated by the vast centralization and expansion of government power during World War II, which may have been necessary.

But even so, by the time you got done, the Greatest Generation, upon whom I blame everything, by the time they got done with the Great Depression and World War II, they emerged in 1945, as did British voters, with this sense of entitlement. This sense that government really should take care of this stuff, like it does in the military.

They emerged thinking that the government really should make sure that everybody has food, everybody has a place to sleep, everybody gets medical care.

You know, people talk about how greedy the baby boomers are, but fuck, man! We were 12! We didn't do the Great Society stuff.

Read the whole thing here. Watch O'Rourke talk auto bailouts, socialism, and libertarianism with Reason.tv below.