Wednesday, December 30, 2020

WWTFD: What Would Thomas Freidman Do?

I don’t know about anyone else in Congress but Rep. Jim Jordan is concerned about autocratic lockdowns in this country.


See the source imageBusiness closed by government mandate until further notice, or until they go bankrupt

Well honestly, I think they were pretty clear on the subject.

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” - Founding Father Benjamin Franklin

But never mind the founders, what would our great thinkers of today, like renowned NYT economist Thomas Friedman, say?  I can’t say for sure but I can guess, given his 2009 wistful yearning for America to be a little more like autocratic China:

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.

The price of that one-party autocracy is a tad high in the human rights and civil liberties department -

How a Crackdown in Hong Kong Would Reverberate, From Shanghai to TaiwanHong Kong: China jails 10 who fled by boat to Taiwan for up to three years

but hey! – small price to pay for enlightened leadership - as displayed during the Great Pandemic -

covid nonsense rules

- and a Green New Deal, eh?

To be clear, Friedman thinks that urban, liberal, modern ‘thinkers’ (Democrats) ‘get it’ while rural, ignorant, children of the corn (Republicans) don’t. If we could just prevent the rubes from Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas etc. from voting to muck things up, we’d already be enjoying that Green New Deal that enlightened thinkers like him are so fond of.

And don’t think for a moment the ‘09 column was a one-off, he doubled down in his most inarticulate way a year later on Meet the Press:

“You know, that's really what, what it's come down to. So I don't—I, I—I'm worried about this, it's why I have fantasized—don't get me wrong—but that what if we could just be China for a day? I mean, just, just, just one day. You know, I mean, where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions, and I do think there is a sense of that, on, on everything from the economy to environment. I don't want to be China for a second, OK, I want my democracy to work with the same authority, focus and stick-to-itiveness. But right now we have a system that can only produce suboptimal solutions.”

Good grief Thomas, if your “optimal solution” is China’s “authority, focus and stick-to-itiveness” we’ve got a problem. As Matt Welch pointed out at the time:

You do not get the "stick-to-itiveness" of Friedman's authoritarian one-party fantasia without the violent, freedom-depriving assault on those (especially though not only activists and bloggers and journalists) who are seen as threats to the regime. Dreaming about removing checks and balances to impose a super-genius policy is not the work of a geopolitical thinker, but the tantrum of an impatient sloganeer.

We’ve seen what tantrums of impatient sloganeering gets us: fraudulent elections, ongoing shutdowns/lockdowns, permanent business closures and the destruction of massive amounts of capital. So what the heck, let’s have a little more of that autocratic "stick-to-itiveness."

UPDATED: A full list of which Pa. businesses must close, which are  'life-sustaining' under new coronavirus shutdown orderMake that March 27, 2021…

Where would we be without our enlightened overlords who know so much more and are so much smarter than us?

covid signage