Tom Friedman admits that one-party rule has its "drawbacks." But he also says it's fairly useful when trying to institute controversial policy, like, say, public health care. In The New York Times, he proposed that China's one-party autocracy is better than America's "one-party democracy" in at least one important respect: China's "reasonably enlightened" rulers not only recognize good policy, but can also implement it:
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.
Across the political spectrum, columnists expressed disgust with what they called a "tribute to autocratic rule."
- Am I crazy, Or Did Tom Friedman Write a Column Today Calling For the Abolition of Democracy? Matt Yglesias asked on Twitter.
- Send Him On The Slow Boat To China, Matt Welch said at Reason Magazine. "Do you, too, prefer Chinese governance to American democracy? No really, Friedman says that." Welch said Friedman isn't, "a serious thinker, or a tribune for global democracy, or even a good columnist."
- Viva La Revolucion! Pareene declares at Gawker. "Yes, the party may be increasingly corrupt and full of the Princeling children of former Communist party officials, the party may stoke violence against ethnic minorities, it may censor the media and lock up journalists and cheerfully ignore human rights, but at least they can get cap-and-trade passed."
- Yes, There Are Drawbacks To Dictatorships, Jonah Goldberg opines at The National Review. The, "crushing of dissidents with tanks, state control of reproduction,
government control of the press and the internet. Omelets and broken
eggs, as they say." Goldberg, who appears to be furious, continues. "If only America could drop its inefficient and
antiquated system, designed in the age before globalization and
modernity and, most damning of all, before the lantern of Thomas
Friedman's intellect illuminated the land."
- He Has a Point, says Jamelle at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen. "Creepy admiration for china's authoritarian government aside," Friedman is right. "The United States has become something of a
neutered one-party democracy. That is, for those interested in
governing - at least on the national level - the Democratic Party
really is the only game in town."
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