PJ ORourke and the search for the centre ground


These last five years or so have been rough going for a lot of people. Among, them have been those who think of themselves as occupants more or less of the middle of the road, the zealous, the bipartisan the consider as of arguments on their own merits compromises count we all just get along is. So. Polarizing have these times being that even some of those who might in less crazed and Febrile Times have been considered ideological out lawyers appear suddenly reasonable. Special. Guest this week is PJ O'Rourke, the journalist foreign correspondent and satirist who made his name as a conservative contrarian in the nineteen eighty, thousand, nine, hundred, ninety s gleefully winding up the liberal subscribers of rolling stone and writing bestselling books including Republican, Party reptile give war a chance and peace kills a rock became if possibly despite himself, the favorite conservative of American liberals being about as much a liberal as American conservatives could stand. His latest book a cry from the farm middle dispatches from the divided land fines rourke. If not exactly standing afford history yelling stop. Then at least flailing gamely at the on rushing tide of dogmatic foolishness with the broom of measured reason and not once does he mangle metaphor nearly as grotesquely that this is the last episode of this program which will be broadcast before a rox fellow Americans make a fairly fundamental decision about what their politics is going to look like from here on can the centre-ground be retaken and is anyone still there? This is the foreign desk. The anarchistic Listrik point of view that is common at the end of the teens in the beginning of the twenties and on for those of us who matured very late. Reality shake you out of that I mean anybody who tells me are an anarchist I'll invite them to revisit Mogadishu with me. Let me show you what anarchy really means. Now non nealer hand is sort of like armed nitwit trump supporters. Maybe should have had a little goal at Northern Ireland back in the eighties. Where that road leads, if you WANNA take that road all the way down to the end of that road Belfast was. Enlightening experience as we're the Balkans and so and saw that light goes to mitigate. Once absolutism and certainly once anarchism knowle's. Page or you welcome to the foreign desk this episode may end up appearing as either the last signal before the ship sinks or the fanfare perhaps of some new door and we need to frame our conversation accordingly indeed find a middle ground which I think is appropriate to certainly the theme of Your New Book the title a cry from the Far Middle Does seem to book in Republican Party. Reptile from Nineteen eighty-seven to an extent. But the question is can the middle ground be made to sound atl sexy and exciting? No. I'm Sir Short Answer. Thank you for joining us. PJ. House that was a quick interview of Frank Answer and a One one been looking for a certain amount of honesty in politics. I just saw something the other day I saw the first honest yard sign that I have seen over here in the states this election campaign, it said settle for Biden. If it weren't for the pandemic I would've gone knocked on their door and give them the big. Hug. But is there a way you think that centrism can be made to sound at all exciting could there be a centrist party reptile. Yeah, it would be very tough, but you know it really I just want to go back to US fighting in our usual way I don't want to put an end to our quarrels with some sort of sweet and mushy kiss on both cheeks wall befriends from now on and forever no I want to go back to a good strong fight between the left and the right. Trouble is to fight has gotten away from the issues. You know the coral it's one of those things like a good old family feud. Coming from an enormous Irish family I am plenty familiar with us. A good family feud where the cause of the the anger is long forgotten and people are just screaming and yelling at each other and threatening each other and misbehaving. In general we want a period where the left and right really had to confront themselves. They had to confront the failure of communism, which is leftism taken to its greatest extreme. The left had to confront the failure of that Ed to confront the failure of their socialist economies in western Europe in in the UK and so on. The right had to then confront the fact that it was much less fund should be empower under Reagan and Thatcher. Then it was to be standing outside pressing your face against window making grievances and obscene gestures and turned out that the free market. Lovely thing though it is, it doesn't solve all our problems magically either so we had to fight that album. It's now been. So long ago since we had those substantive fights that we've forgotten how to argue. So my comparison I don't think actually put this in the book, but missing about sense is that. Are Put aglow arguments have ceased to be real political arguments about real issues as say, no, do we increase the scope of the national health improve its funding and operation or do we modify? It means tested? Give a little larger scope to the private sector Blah Blah. Blah Instead. It's one of those things and anybody who's been in a marriage or partnership it starts out with shall We re Slip Cover the SOFA and it ends up with, and then there was a woman you were flirting with that party in Nineteen ninety-one to which the other half of the partnership response I hate your mother I'd never settled out but I hate your mother, you know. And here we are

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