Thomas Friedman Openly and Shamelessly Advocates Authoritarian Implementation of Environmentalist Agenda “China for a Day” in America?

Thomas Friedman Openly and Shamelessly Advocates Authoritarian Implementation of Environmentalist Agenda

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, the supposedly “moderate” voice among liberalism’s brigades, has come out and openly advocated what environmentalists were previously afraid to say aloud. 

Namely, that America should suspend our democratic, Constitutional principles and become “China for a day.” 

Friedman makes this astounding recommendation in his latest book, ominously entitled Hot, Flat, and Crowded:  Why We Need a Green Revolution – and How It Can Renew America.  As summarized by Amazon.com, Friedman righteously concludes that America is suffering from a “loss of focus and national purpose” to his liking:  

Friedman makes it clear that the Green Revolution we need is like no revolution the world has seen.  It will be the biggest innovation project in American history; it will be hard, not easy; and it will change everything from what you put in your car to what you see on your electric bill.  But the payoff for America will be more than just cleaner air.  It will inspire Americans to something we haven’t seen in a long time – nation-building in America – by summoning the intelligence, creativity, boldness, and concern for the common good that are our nation’s greatest natural resources. 

“Nation-building” in America?  Didn’t the Founding Fathers already accomplish that reasonably well?  And the “biggest innovation project in American history?”  Bigger than building the wealthiest economy the world has ever seen, the moon landing or the arsenal of democracy that won World War II? 

Even more ominously, Friedman includes a chapter entitled China for a Day, in which he praises China’s authoritarian system and asserts that America would be better by imitating it.  But only when it suits his agenda, of course.  If that sounds unbelievable, consider his own words: 

Because once the directions are given from above, we would be overcoming the worst part of our democracy (the inability to make big decisions in peacetime), and the very next day we would be able to enjoy the best part of our democracy (the power of our civic society to make government rules stick and the power of our markets to take advantage of them). 

Goodbye, James Madison.  Hello, Chairman Mao. 

Lest one assume that this takes Friedman out of context or distorts his message, he defended his pronouncement during an appearance on The Colbert Report

Colbert:  Now you have a concept called, you talk about “China for a Day.”  What is China for a day? 

Friedman:  Well, China for a day is a fantasy, basically.  What if we had a government here that could actually make decisions?  OK?  That would actually come together, Democrats and Republicans, and make a long-term plan and pursue it? 

Colbert:  Are you saying the Chinese do that? 

Friedman:  Yeah, they sometimes do. 

Colbert:  But that is a totalitarian regime. 

Friedman:  Mmm-hmm, and it is a measure of the frustration of a lot of people in the Green movement have, certainly me.    

In other words, we’d be better off if we temporarily emulated a system that butchered pesky students in Tiananmen Square with gun barrels and tank treads. 

Of course, Friedman and liberal fellow-travelers would take a different position if someone advocated “China for a Day” for policies that they find less palatable.  For instance, we know that lower taxes and less regulation lead to greater economic prosperity.  So how would they feel if we played China for a day by imposing substantial tax cuts or by eliminating stifling bureaucracies despite any opposition? 

And isn’t this the same crowd that labels President Bush a tyrant? 

America is a nation of laws, not men, and we don’t make exceptions just because Thomas Friedman or anyone else finds our Constitution inconvenient for their agenda.  We were established as a democratic republic that balances competing factions and opposing viewpoints by way of fair, neutral procedures and a system of checks and balances. 

Otherwise, we are no better than the autocracy that we fought the Revolutionary War to overthrow. 

Accordingly, if Thomas Friedman wants to impose his Green utopianism upon America, then he can do it in the manner that Madison, Jefferson, Washington and the rest of the Founding Fathers – not Chairman Mao – thought best. 

December 4, 2008
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