While I’ve often thought that Tom Friedman’s thinking is muddled, I have never before thought of it as depraved. But what other conclusion can one draw from this?
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. The fact is, on both the energy/climate legislation and health care legislation, only the Democrats are really playing.
“One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks!” Just last week Xie Changfa was sentenced to 13 years in prison for the crime of attempting to organize a political meeting. Apparently, in Tom Friedman’s mind, the “drawback” of Chinese democrats being treated like violent criminals is outweighed by the benefit of central-planning that serves ends Tom Friedman likes.