This isn’t normally the kind of thing that I deal with, but after reading Thomas Friedman’s column in the New York Times today, I’ve got to wonder: is it possible to anathematize newspaper columnists? Or better ye, is it possible to ship them to countries they admire? China, for instance, about which Friedman writes:
Watching both the health care and climate/energy debates in Congress, it is hard not to draw the following conclusion: There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today.
One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century. It is not an accident that China is committed to overtaking us in electric cars, solar power, energy efficiency, batteries, nuclear power and wind power. China’s leaders understand that in a world of exploding populations and rising emerging-market middle classes, demand for clean power and energy efficiency is going to soar. Beijing wants to make sure that it owns that industry and is ordering the policies to do that, including boosting gasoline prices, from the top down.
Our one-party democracy is worse.
And why is our “one-party democracy” (one in which the voters, rather than guns, decided that Democrats should have control of the presidency and both houses of Congress) worse than China’s “one-party autocracy,” where dissent can get you imprisoned and public protest can get you shot in the street? Why, it’s all the fault of the party that doesn’t have any power in Washington:
The fact is, on both the energy/climate legislation and health care legislation, only the Democrats are really playing. With a few notable exceptions, the Republican Party is standing, arms folded and saying “no.” Many of them just want President Obama to fail. Such a waste. Mr. Obama is not a socialist; he’s a centrist. But if he’s forced to depend entirely on his own party to pass legislation, he will be whipsawed by its different factions.
So let me get this straight: because Republicans, who have no power to pass anything, refuse to save the president’s bacon from the factionalism of his own party, they therefore get the blame for making our political system worse than one in which Friedman would have long since been given a life sentence for some of the things he’s written.
But hey, at least the Chinese make the trains run on time.
(Via Chris Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal, from whom I’ve also shamelessly stolen the Mussolini reference.)
UPDATE: Perpetua in the comments at MCJ points to an article in Friedman’s own newspaper that indicates that maybe the one-party autocracy isn’t working out so well after all:
Lead pollution from a newly opened and unlicensed manganese smelter has poisoned more than 1,300 children in southeastern China’s Hunan Province, state-run media said on Thursday, the second case of mass lead poisoning in the past month.
The report of poisoning in Wugang followed a similar case in Shaanxi Province, in north-central China, where state news reports say 851 children living near the nation’s fourth-largest smelter have tested positive for lead poisoning since early August. More than 170 have since been hospitalized.
Pollution is a serious problem across China, where breakneck industrial development has fouled both air and water to sometimes extraordinary degrees.
Although the national government has committed to clean-up measures, the World Bank says 59 percent of the water in China’s seven major rivers is unfit to drink, and the government says the air in about a quarter of cities is unhealthy.
Yes, I can see why Friedman would prefer China’s efficient and caring government to ours, which is dedicated to the Destruction of Planet Earth, and secretly run out of the men’s room at the Republican National Committee.