Planet Gore

Friedman vs. Freedom

Mackinac Island, Mich. — Mackinac Policy Conference keynote speaker and green icon, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, told an overflow crowd organized by the Detroit Chamber of Commerce last week that the world is turning away from the United Sates and looking to China as the model for the 21st century.

America’s most notable new émigré, Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, might beg to differ.

Writing in Friedman’s paper a day earlier, Chen condemned China as a lawless nation. His home country “inflicted (punishment) on me and my family over the past seven years,” writes Chen. “The fundamental question the Chinese government must face is lawlessness.”

Indeed, China is less a model for the 21st century than a relic of the 20th, a century that saw the American model of democratic capitalism triumph over both German fascism and Russian communism. Today, China is a hybrid totalitarian-fascist state — a government with one boot on the industrial accelerator and the other planted firmly on its people’s necks. And as last century, 21st century Chinese like Chen wish it were more like America.

Friedman, however, envies the Chinese model — infamously putting the title “China for a Day” on a chapter of his 2008 book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded – dreaming of an American dictatorship that can impose Friedman’s vision of a green, post-carbon economy in order to prevent global warming.

Friedman never mentioned Chen in his Mackinac talk. Chen would have inconveniently forced Friedman to admit that liberty is what makes America the envy of the world. Instead, Freidman ludicrously claims that what made America a superpower is a five-part “formula” (a formula the Obama administration has enthusiastically embraced with ruinous effect on the nation’s economic recovery):

1) Education

2) The best infrastructure

3) The most open immigration policies

4) The best rules and institutions

5) Most government-funded research

Well, he got #4 right. But to suggest that millions of immigrants like Chen flock to the U.S. because of our “infrastructure” is laughable. They come for freedom. The freedom to realize the fruits of their hard work. To own their own property. To start their own business. To speak freely.

In short, the freedom from Big Government, the historical enemy of liberty.

Read more at The Michigan here.

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

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