Monday, March 8, 2010

Jonah Goldberg Embarrassed By Emporer Tom's Nakedness

Mr. G serves up a real treat here. I've often wondered what planet Friedman is hailing from. Here's an excerpt exemplifying and instance where Tommy F's adulation of China's dictatorial statism is based on an "theoretical" event which he himself manufactured—in other words, it's patent nonsense:

For instance, Friedman particularly loves the fact that China’s State Council banned plastic bags. “Bam! Just like that — 1.3 billion people, theoretically, will stop using thin plastic bags,” he writes in Hot, Flat, and Crowded. “Millions of barrels of petroleum will be saved, and mountains of garbage avoided.” It’s as if Madison, Hamilton, and Jefferson had been morons for not decreeing an annual Tyranny Day when all the work can get done. Regardless, as usual, “theoretically” means “not in reality.” China never did any such thing. It simply required that stores charge customers for bags. They do the same thing at my local Safeway, yet plastic bags continue to lurk, threatening all we hold dear. More to the point, it is either deranged or dishonest to suggest that China — with its ever-growing tally of coal factories, poisoned rivers, corrupt regulators, etc. — is some great steward of the environment. It may or may not be leading in the manufacture of green technologies — though don’t take Friedman’s word for it; he rarely sources his too-good-to-check claims — but it is also burning fossil fuels faster than any other country.

Emphasis mine. But, of course, if you ignore the millions of people killed by the Chinese government then what's a few kilotons of fossil fuel between comrades?

And lolz @ "...plastic bags continue to lurk, threatening all we hold dear."


One doesn’t have to read Dostoevsky to know this sort of thing is hardly new — the envy for authoritarian regimes that can force the wheel of history in the right direction; the contempt for the messiness of democracy; the conviction that all good things go together and that certain enlightened and visionary revolution­aries can apply their intellects to any problem, can pick the lock of History and start over at Year Zero. This all-consuming passion for a unified theory of everything and the indomitable conviction that you are right has consumed many a brilliant mind.

Friedman doesn’t want America to become a totalitarian country — at least not for more than 24 hours. Whenever he goes too far in that rhetorical direction he pulls back a few paragraphs later, but his to-be-sures about how America is still better become less convincing every time, more pro-forma and cutesy. He is possessed by his own prophecy, consumed by his clairvoyance about the One Right Way. Half-measures succumb to the mental furnace; the case for democratic deliberation cannot withstand the heat. Everything fuels the fire in Tom’s mind.

You get the feeling that the guy could fall in love with a blow-up doll.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, America certainly should imitate the policies of nice, clean, pollution-free China.

    I also remember hearing somewhere that those "awful" plastic grocery bags (which we use for many things in my household, such as trash can liners) are actually made in America. Therefore, banning them would put more Americans out of work. The politically correct cloth bags are made in China. (Not to mention that the cloth bags would need to be laundered, which would use more energy.)