P. J. O'RourkeP. J. O'Rourke, (1947- ) US humorist, journalist, & political commentator

P. J. O'Rourke Quote

“There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please.  And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.”

P. J. O'RourkeP. J. O'Rourke
~ P. J. O'Rourke

Ratings and Comments

Joe, Rochester, MI

Yes, but only as long as you don't infringe on anyone else's rights. And yes, take the consequences when you do infringe on other people's rights.

  • Reply
Anonymous    7/11/05

I agree, but not enough people think of the consequences first.

Logan, Memphis, TN

"I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!!"

warren, olathe

Get serious. You have a right to do what ever is politically correct and to put the blame on the conservatives. Take that back. You only need to claim to be politically correct as long as you give lip service to the damn fascist left.

Joe, North Caldwell, NJ

With all respect, I'm tired of hearing that it's all the fault of right-wing Republicans or liberal Democrats. That's an intellectually lazy argument, and it's part of the reason we're in this stew. We're not just a nation of factions. We're a people. We share common principles and ideals. And we rise and fall together.

Mike, Norwalk

a lot of truth to that humor

kg, NE
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kg, NE    1/30/08

The quote is dead-on true. God blessed us all with the choice of right and wrong--and we'll have heaven as a reward or hell to pay for our choices--both here on earth and afterwards. Trouble is, Americans have increasingly have done what they damn well please for the past 40 years until its become the status quo. Now we're facing the consequences. Pretty simple, folks.

E Archer, NYC

This is the essense of Liberty. There is no Freedom without Responsibility! Life is a risk -- take some g-d chances and quit yer whining when things don't turn out as hoped. Welcome to the club!

Jack, Green, OH

A person has no right to wantonly harm anyone, even if he gets away with it. It doesn't take consequences to make it a right. This is the mentality of the rowdy kids who harass the Amish for the fun of it because they know they won't fight back, or take action. Maybe O'Rourk is one of them.

trinity dushon, S.F.,Ca

All through the bible, you will find this to be true., as you will notice you are responcible for the consequences of your actions( and sometime the price is high, but a life long lesson well learned, and that depends on weather you remember what the lesson was for.

Jack, Green, OH

Responsibility, yes; PJ only considered consequences with no thought of responsibility. No consequences does not mean no responsibility. That made his quote untrue. It's responsibility that determines the limits of one's rights ...not consequences. Consequences have nothing to do with it.

JoW, Utah
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JoW, Utah    4/14/08

The use of the word "right" is incorrect. You have the ability to do as you please. You have the ability to murder, but not the God given right too. Rights and wrongs put all human action in two categories. Rights have good eternal consequences while wrongs have bad ones. You have the right to: "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"-Locke. You have the wrong to murder. As for the duty to face the consequences of your actions, that is like saying the last domino in a long train has the duty to fall. It is not a duty, it is simply inevitable. In this life or the next.

Bob, Charlotte

P.J. -- I like your philosophy. I'd paraphrase it:

'I can do anything I damned well please!

What ? You want me to accept responsibility for what I do?'

Mike, Norwalk

Liberty is: “The power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature.” (Bouvier’s Law Dictionary) “Liberty: exemption from extraneous control. The power of the will, in its moral freedom, to follow the dictates of its unrestricted choice, and to direct the external acts of the individual without restraint, coercion, or control from other persons. Liberty is the right which nature gives to all mankind of disposing of their persons and property after the manner they judge most consistent with their happiness, on condition of their acting within the limits of the law of nature, and so as not to interfere with an equal exercise of the same rights by other men.” (Blacks Law Dictionary 1st ed.) Liberty: "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual." (Thomas Jefferson). Liberty is the basic human right O'Rourke was playing to. Of course with law, there is justice. When an infraction of law occurs, justice is the remedy that is called upon.

E Archer, NYC

O'Rourke says "the duty to take the consequences" -- to me that means to be responsible. And the word "duty" makes that responsibility unavoidable, one MUST be responsible.

The blame game is what keeps lawyers, insurers, and politicians in business. Replace them with 'the duty to take the consequences' and the consciences of one's peers to determine atonement and amount of compassion/charity they may wish to extend. A people that would indeed follow the precepts of christian fellowship would not need to be governed, if their institutions did not prey upon them.

Ronw13, Yachats Or

The whole truth, to that humor, Moral responsibility or the lack of it determines the consequences endured. Go Logan, Pissed off big dog morally responsible right wingers are fed up with knee jerk reactions from disgruntled, manipulated proletariat citizens having not the sense to take a stand of independence, but only wanting dependence. A product of a manipulated state of being by corruption at the supposed highest level, man. It is the spirit of, and in man, that will determine the evil or good he will do. Therefore we battle spiritual wickedness in high places !

Mary, MI
  • Reply
Mary, MI    8/7/20

A thousand Thumbs Up!

jim k, Austin

A good Libertarian comment.


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