"The Tenth Commandment sends a message
to socialists, to egalitarians, to people obsessed with fairness,
to American presidential candidates in the year 2000 --
to everyone who believes that wealth should be redistributed.
And that message is clear and concise: Go to Hell."
P. J. O'Rourke
(1947- ) US humorist, journalist, & political commentator
his book, Eat the Rich
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Reader comments about this quote:
And the Eighth says the same to those who "acquired" the wealth mentioned in the Tenth through unethical means. And the Tenth itself also speaks to those who acquire their wealth through takeovers and mergers. Hell, it speaks to anyone who covets anything they don't already have that currently belongs to another. Thus the entire history of growth in the US could be said to be based upon a violation of the Tenth and the Eighth....(and at least 8 others.)
 -- L.A. Hazard, Stuart     
    How succinctly put.
     -- john-douglas, nassau     
     -- Chicago     
     -- Anonymous      
     -- E Archer, NYC      
    Funny, but it doesn't adress the main issue. What America DID isn't the focus of PJ. What America should do is. The redistribution of wealth by government force is an evil.
     -- Curtis, Atlanta     
    Striving to obtain something is not of itself to covet. To have a great car or a big house or a yacht is not the same as wanting the great car or the big house or the yacht that happens to belong to someone else. There are enough cars, house, and yachts to go around. Of course, we tend to feel that if only we obtained certain things that life would improve, which is generally falacious. But wanting to have something is not automatically to covet. Neither is being rightly concerned with fairness the exclusive realm of socialists; in fact the opposite tends to be true. There is nothing fair about paying an equal share to a workman who does little or nothing to earn it. Property is finite, so all must have access to land to produce crops, and other concerns related to survival, but all are equally responsible for producing what they need. If land is hoarded to the point that people cannot use it to produce food, then then capitalists must realize the inhumanity of hoarding. But equal distribution of what property there is, for its own sake, is senseless. Now, if we really all cared equally about all people, we would all be clamoring to always divide property equally, which is not equitably, but we all would also clamor for each person to to a fair amount of work. But since we generally do not care, we just complain about what we do not have, and not about what we should be responsible for. Socialists are great for claiming rights, but not for fulfilling responsibilities.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
    David, how wrong you are - today, under a so called conservative / republican state we have more debt, more unemployment, more tax cuts for the rich, more spending, more killing, more hatred, more poverty, more uninsured, more intolerance, more terrorism - give me a Liberal or a Democrat any day. And by the way your examples are black and white - a reasonable and equitable accomodation is all one ask for not the shop.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
    Terrible quote
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
    I don't find it reasonable that the IRS take my money so the government can give it to the poor, and declare war on other countries. I find it reasonable that those that want a big car buy it with money they have earned, not that I am forced to provide. I find it reasonable that other countries decide for themselves how (and by whom) to run their country. And if someone comes to steal my money, they are likely to get shot.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
    I agree with you 100%, David. O'Routke is way off base. He confuses egalitarianism and redistribution of wealth with coveting. I don't want any more of someone else's wealth for myself, but I do think the unworthy ones with too much, like our overpaid CEOs, should be made to share some with those who work hard and have so little. When wealth is unevenly distributed it is right to redistribute some of it.. Is a top exevcutive worth 400 times as much as his workers?
     -- Jack, Green, OH     
    In a free society wealth is never distributed unless it is by a philanthropist of his own free will. Charity at the point of government's gun is no charity at all: it is immoral, it is robbery. CEO's are paid what they are because the shareholders of the company think they are worth it. They might or might not be wrong in particular instances. As for those who work hard and are poor, as rare as that combination may be, most are there because of their own life choices and they are living with the consequences. Many need charity, but none "deserve" it. It is a moral choice for individuals to be charitable to the needy. It is an immoral choice to steal your neighbor's property to give to the poor.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
    I still think P.J. is wrong, Ken, that egalitarianism is coveting. I don't covet what anyone has but I am for fairness. Ken Lay stole what he had from his stockholders and employees and there are others like him almost as bad out there. There is no other way of looking at them. They can bankrupt a company and go off in their golden parachutes It is still a fallacious statement. Egalitarianism is not coveting, no matter what you think of redistribution of wealth, and that was the question.
     -- Jack, Green, OH     
    I don't know that the 10th saying addresses the socialists, egalitarians, or people obsessed with fairness. I think their intent is more closely associated with theft pure and simple, with an immoral and hollow attempt to justification such. On my own dime, after Katrina hit the gulf coast, I went down to help with the church I attend. My congregation is fairly small by comparison, maybe 3 or 400 families, but 30 to 50 men went down each week for over 12 weeks (on their own dime). To date, I have seen more Christian outpouring than all the subject group combined, and that includes the war mongering fasciasts in power currently.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    My point here was not that Christians are better or worse than anyone else, it was that while the subject group, along with the war mongering fasciasts in power currently (coveting more power) are trying to figure out who they can rip off to finance (who knows what) their ambitions, it was the regular people that came to the aid of their fellow Americans.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    PJ O'Rourke is a political satirist/humorist. Exactness may not be his intent in this quote with regard to the commandments, covetousness, economic redistribution of wealth, or socialism vs. free market capitalism. This is supposed to make you laugh.
     -- EGL, LA     
    Thanks, Mike. 'Regular' people indeed are no strangers to goodwill. I would call them the 'common man' or simply the People. There were hundreds of organizations and individuals that helped out the needy in New Orleans and Florida -- some were Christians and some weren't. For me, those that 'served' their fellow man out of compassion are the heroes -- not necessarily those that serve out of religious obligation or to expand its church members. Christians do not have a monopoly on compassion. Look at earthquake torn countries in Asia -- the millions of people that pour out to help are not Christians. Can a non-Chrisitan get any respect in this world without being told they really need to become Christians or they will go to hell? My response is similar to O'Rourke's in that regard.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US      
    ha ha!
     -- JBP, Florida     
    PJ O'Rourke is funny, but very misguided.
     -- DOnovan, SL,UT.     
     -- Mary - MI      
    Joe, Rochester, I agree
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
    I agree with EGL,La.
     -- jim k, Austin     
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