The Power of Independent Thinking

P. J. O’Rourke Interview | A Cry from the Far Middle: Dispatches from a Divided Land
Posted: Sat. November 21, 2020, 9:29am PT

Independent institute Senior Vice President Mary L.G. Theroux interviews political humorist and bestselling author P. J. O’Rourke on his book, A Cry from the Far Middle: Dispatches from a Divided Land. O'Rourke says that we’ve worked ourselves into a state of anger and perplexity, and it’s no surprise because perplexed and angry is what Americans have been since the Roanoke Colony got lost. This astute and entertaining look at the current state of these United States draws on the book's essays on everything from our fraught history (“Oh Beautiful for... Pilgrim Feet?”) to the political effects of social media (“Whose Bright Idea Was It to Make Sure that Every Idiot in the World Is in Touch with Every Other Idiot?”). A Washington plan is advanced to reform federal poverty programs, “Just Give Them the Money.” And a rant is made against the “Internet of Things” because your juicer is sending fake news to your FitBit about what’s in your refrigerator.

Included in the book is a quiz to determine whether you’re a “Coastal” or a “Heartlander” (you know organic, fair-traded, locavore, and gluten-free, but do you know hay from straw?), an impassioned plea to license politicians (as opposed to licensing beauticians!), and much more.

P. J. O’Rourke is a Founding Member of the Board of Advisors for the Independent Institute. He has written twenty books on subjects as diverse as politics and cars and etiquette and economics. "Parliament of Whores" and "Give War a Chance" both reached #1 on the "New York Times" bestseller list. He is a H. L. Mencken Research Fellow at the Cato Institute, a regular panelist on NPR’s "Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me," and editor-in-chief of the web magazine "American Consequences." He lives in rural New England, as far away from the things he writes about as he can get.

The Independent Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan, public-policy research and educational organization that shapes ideas into profound and lasting impact through publications, conferences, and multi-media programs. Our mission is to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity.

A Cry from the Far Middle: Dispatches from a Divided Land, by P. J. O’Rourke

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