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Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government Study Guide & Plot Summary

This Study Guide consists of approximately 32 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Parliament of Whores.
This section contains 474 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government Study Guide

Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government Summary & Study Guide Description

Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government by P. J. O'Rourke.

Plot Summary

Parliament of Whores is a critical look not only at American government, but at the concept of government itself. O'Rourke argues that the U.S. government is irreparably broken, benefiting the undeserving at the expense of the American taxpayer. In O'Rourke's view, a functional society lies in the hopes and dreams of individuals, as facilitated by a self-correcting free market. O'Rourke holds that when government interferes in economics, people are stifled and freedoms are compromised.

O'Rourke begins by depicting the U.S. government as directionless, subject to the arbitrary whims of public opinion. Nevertheless, Americans find its complexities impenetrable and boring. O'Rourke suggests that the government has become similar to the English monarchy of the American Revolution, with the government even failing to follow the laws of its own Constitution. O'Rourke suggests that American government has become so problematic that it must be stopped entirely.

O'Rourke, disgusted by the idea of a political convention, offers a scathing recollection of the Democratic and Republican conventions of 1988. He cynically observes that candidates abandon their ideas to win nominations. Democrats pander to populist interests, behaving like brats with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement. Republicans, meanwhile, behave like unhip, out-of-touch parental figures. Neither party, O'Rourke observes, stands for the ideals they claim to prize.

O'Rourke examines the three branches of American government, observing that the president exists as a largely symbolic figure, while Congress seems unequal to its many Constitutional responsibilities. The Supreme Court is unfathomable - no one beyond its hallowed walls truly understands how it operates. The dysfunctional American bureaucracy, meanwhile, caters to the whims of popular opinion, as the government ties itself in knots trying to meet the needs of the citizenry. From this mounting chaos, an ever-increasing budget is produced.

O'Rourke examines the way the government spends taxpayer money, concluding that America isn't serious about addressing the many issues it faces. The war against drugs is half-hearted. The war against poverty, meanwhile, only serves to perpetuate the problem it seeks to address. America's farm policy is so dysfunctional that it actually pays farmers not to grow crops. O'Rourke dismisses America's foreign policy as, so far, ineffectual, but sees great promise in America's military technology. Suggesting that American still has many enemies, he councils against the cutting of military spending.

O'Rourke takes a dim view of most special interest groups, seeing them as parasitic organization attempting to siphon money from the U.S. government. He explores the dynamics of anti-poverty groups, environmentalists, and failed savings-and-loans, observing how each works to the benefit of itself at the expense of the taxpayer. O'Rourke looks at Social Security, presenting it as a megalithic special interest group threatening to bring America to the brink of financial ruin. Finally, O'Rourke returns to his own New Hampshire town, where he demonstrates how government fails even on the smallest scale.

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This section contains 474 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government Study Guide
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Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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