Don’t Vote “It Just Encourages The Bastards”

Author: P.J. O’Rourke

On the cover of the book, “Don’t Vote, It Just Encourages The Bastards”, by P.J. O’Rourke, there is a quote that reads ‘A merciless but often humorous look at the shortcomings of American Politics…Whether readers agree with O’Rourke’s politics or not, his style is cutting and insightful.”

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending upon the reason you choose to read Mr. O’Rourke’s book, I think the quote is a very accurate summation.  The book is definitely merciless in touching upon a wide spectrum of shortcomings within our political system.  And, it is not only often humorous, but Mr. O’Rourke has, as usual, has an extremely imaginative way of describing the content.  He is truly gifted in that respect.

And, as the quote also suggests, his style is cutting and insightful.  When he hones in on an issue, he does not hold back in any way.  And, similarly, he makes no attempt to hide his views.

So, if you are a fan of Mr. O’Rourke, this book is a no-brainer.  If you are anywhere close to the conservative side of the political spectrum, this book will be a tasty bit of read meat.  And, if you seek an entertaining frolic through the systematic dysfunction of our political system, this book is a page-turner.

However, if you are none of the above, I suspect you will be disappointed in the book and better served to look elsewhere, particularly if you are in search of viable solution sets.  To that end, I found the book particularly lacking and was disappointed that even the “tried and true” conservative playbook was not better represented.

I once worked for a gentleman who, in describing a planned trip to a 3 day seminar, said that he hoped to come away from each such event with at least one interesting idea by which to shape his business or his lifestyle.  That is the way I have come to view political books.  No matter how entertaining or “insightful”, have I come away with an idea that I think could legitimately improve the political system. Unfortunately, “Don’t Vote” did not meet that test.

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