The Magazine

The Next Big Stink

The killjoys are back. What do they have in store for us?

Feb 9, 2009, Vol. 14, No. 19 • By P.J. O'ROURKE
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Being a poke-nose, a nanny-pants, and a wowser satisfies the pathetic need of the political class to feel self-important and powerful. Banning paper and plastic and making shoppers carry their groceries home in their mouths like dogs is just the thing to make a little tin humanist in the Obama West Wing think he's admiral of the Uzbek Navy.

Not that Pecksniff Buttinskiism is a strictly partisan matter. Long-lipped howler Republican Drys teamed up with spigot-bigot William Jennings Bryan to enact Prohibition. The GOP is home to blue noses of a size as if room had been made on Mt. Rushmore for a bust of Andrew Volstead. Meanwhile Democrats do have their pleasures--drinking bong water at gay weddings and so forth. Plus there is the Kennedy family to be considered, with their penchant for exciting risk--skiing into trees, sleeping with the babysitter, and claiming entitlement to New York Senate seats.

Republicans stick their schnozollas into other people's underpants and stashes (but not gun cabinets). In the matter of scolding foreigners and muscling in on the governance of lesser breeds without the law, Republicans are a regular pain in the atlas. But it is the Democrats who've learned to make political honey out of minding other people's beeswax. Not satisfied with mere bossy irritation of the public, Democrats have created whole branches of government--the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, the Department of Tofu and Sprouts. Democrats have opened barrels of (USDA inspected!) pork sufficient to feed all of their high-binding and wire-pulling friends, relatives, cronies, and the state government of Illinois. Democratic wisenheimers have managed to get themselves elected Big Chief Itch-and-Rub of every worry and to be appointed Pharaoh of Fret for every concern. They are the Party of Eliot Spitzer. And we the citizenry are Eliot Spitzer's wife.

How are the Democrats going to demean and humiliate us next? What issue will the Democrats fasten upon as a threat to the commonweal and a hazard to the planet? What busybody ordinance and ass-and-elbows regulation will be put upon the books for our own good?

It's important to find out what type of private interest or kind of human enjoy-ment the Democrats are going to pass a law against. We could lobby to defeat it. (Although our best lobbyists are in jail.) We could brace ourselves to endure it. (Although our endurance--witness the paltry vote against Timothy "H&R Block" Geithner--is nearly exhausted.) Or we could plan strategies to resist the oppression. (Dig hole behind garage; buy enormous freezer; hide the red meat.)

There are several ways to make a prediction about what the Democrats will outlaw. We might calculate the greatest statistical danger to Americans. That would be death. According to The Statistical Abstract of the United States there is a 1:1 rate of occurrence. But it's hard to engage in an Obama-style "dialogue" with dead people, even though they do vote in Cook County. There is, in theory, a "death tax," but enforcement difficulties arise when the deceased don't pay it. Rahm Emanuel is, we are almost certain, a vampire. But whether this will give the Obama administration a pro- or anti-death tilt is unclear.

Another way to foretell proscription is to look at the most common or frequently occurring danger to Americans. What causes the most crime, violence, unemployment, divorce, disease, and mental illness? But that brings us back to Andrew Volstead, who was a Republican. Democrats will have to be satisfied with nibbling around the edges of this issue, providing additional funding for local enforcement efforts to curtail Managing a Hedge Fund While Impaired, etc. Also Democratic party loyalist trial lawyers can be given greater scope, allowing more bar and restaurant patrons to sue for being "Over-Served." Some friends of mine and I are bringing a class action suit against P.J. Clarke's in New York, where we met our first wives.

Or we could simply poll the nation and determine what the average American perceives as the greatest danger. Young black males in hoodies. But any action on this front would put the Obama administration in danger of support by Bill Cosby.