Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Friedman's Temptation

In his New York Times column about "global weirding" (you have to read it), one would expect Thomas L Freidman to focus on backfilling the increasing number of holes in the global warming assertion. (One really can't call it an argument any more, can one?) But in the column he not only stubbornly ignores the, for his side, embarrassing revelations of the past week, he also manages once again to conclude with praise for the current Chinese government, this time for their, to his mind, more enlightened energy and environmental policies.

I say "once again" for this is not the first time Friedman has found the present Chinese administration worthy of admiration. Nor is it, by the way, only the second. I suppose I could stop at this point and simply mock his apparent ardor for this brutal regime by suggesting something like an office pool. You know, how many times will Tom Friedman write yet another love letter to the Chinese communists before the year's out? But I'm afraid his, and others, enchantment with this government is much more serious than that.

Sadly, I include 'others' for I suspect Friedman is not alone in his infatuation. Rather, he is all too indicative of a dangerous disposition on the part of many who occupy the political Left. Their absolute confidence in their ability to know exactly what is best for you and for me, leaves them vulnerable to what Jean Francois Revel many years ago identified as the "totalitarian temptation". While they are beyond doubt about what is necessary, they are also aware of their lack of power to impose it. For many, fulfilling this deficit of power remains, we may be thankful, only a temptation. But for Friedman and others apparently unashamed of praising this tyrannical government, it seems it is fast becoming a lust.

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