Creating the Government Monster Truck

A reader sends me this (I never can remember which folks say its OK to use names -- if you want me to credit you, please say its OK in your email).

"The politician creates a powerful, huge, heavy, and unstoppable Monster Truck of a government," P.J. O'Rourke writes in his new book, How the Hell Did This Happen? (Atlantic Monthly Press). "Then supporters of that politician become shocked and weepy when another politician, whom they detest, gets behind the wheel, turns the truck around, and runs them over."

Which sounds like what I have written for years, eg here

Technocratic idealists ALWAYS lose control of the game.  It may feel good at first when the trains start running on time, but the technocrats are soon swept away by the thugs, and the patina of idealism is swept away, and only fascism is left.  Interestingly, the technocrats always cry "our only mistake was letting those other guys take control".  No, the mistake was accepting the right to use force on another man.  Everything after that was inevitable.


  1. Mercury:

    Eventually the Monster Truck becomes wired up to the point where it just starts doing stuff on its own.
    Then it becomes more or less completely autonomous, then it doesn't really matter whether there is someone behind the wheel or not.

  2. ErikTheRed:

    It's always cute to watch conservatives discover things that libertarians have been talking about for several generations.

  3. SamWah:

    It's always "the wrong people" in charge who are messing things up.

  4. J K Brown:

    Yeah, the politicians increasingly only have access to the acceleration sending unit, which the ECU bureaucracy then decides when, how and how much of the request it will provide sending a signal to the Throttle Position Unit, but also how much fuel is injected based on some pre-determined stoichiometric mix a committee programmed in to meet some unseen mandate.

  5. J_W_W:

    Amen, brother! That's why the best thing Trump is trying to do is to eliminate regulations, and the most dangerous thing his backing of increased government programs.

  6. J_W_W:

    Those "wires" are the bureaucratic class, so there are still humans operating that all too inhuman machine.

  7. chembot:

    Who knew that the movie "maximum overdrive" was actually a government reality documentary film?