Friedman: in defense of autocracy

Thomas Friedman explodes the myth of the intrinsic liberal attachment to democracy as well as underlining Jonah Goldberg’s basic thesis:

Watching both the health care and climate/energy debates in Congress, it is hard not to draw the following conclusion: There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today. 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.

Remarkable. No sooner do the Democrats have the benefit of a Democratic White House, Senate, and House of Representatives than they start calling for autocratic rule because they dislike the limitations which the remaining tatters of the Constitution place on their ability to achieve their goals. Sooner or later, the Left always ends up pining for a dictator.

Can you even imagine how they’d be howling “Nazi!” at any right-wing writer who wrote in open favor of autocracy? If, at this point, you don’t understand that Communists, socialists, National Socialists, Fascists, Democrats, and neocons are all just different flavors of would-be autocratic authoritarians, you are simply ignorant of ideological history.

JG himself weighs in thusly: “I cannot begin to tell you how this is exactly the argument that was made by American fans of Mussolini in the 1920s. It is exactly the argument that was made in defense of Stalin and Lenin before him (it’s the argument that idiotic, dictator-envying leftists make in defense of Castro and Chavez today). It was the argument made by George Bernard Shaw who yearend for a strong progressive autocracy under a Mussolini, a Hitler or a Stalin (he wasn’t picky in this regard). This is the argument for an “economic dictatorship” pushed by Stuart Chase and the New Dealers. It’s the dream of Herbert Croly and a great many of the Progressives.”

Attn Boomers: you are old

So for the love of your bell-bottoms, pre-Raphaelite hair, and shaggy gay mustaches, just shut up and deal with it already. The Beatles are not cool and even if we assume that they were at some point in the distant past, they have not been for literal decades, except, of course, in the manner that a corpse is cold.

But why should kids care about a group their grandparents danced to forty years ago? There is always a sneaking suspicion that the continued obsession with The Beatles is driven by media nostalgia.

They don’t care. Their parents don’t care. No one under the age of sixty is obsessed with The Beatles except for a few retro-crazed would-be hipsters pretending they are John Cusack selling LPs at independent record stores. And even their obsession is only ironic. As I see it, The Beatles were little more than the Jonas Brothers of their day, which is very, very far from even beginning to approach anything that can reasonably be described as cool. So they wrote a lot of pop songs, had some big hits, and met with a Tiger Beat reception in America. BFD.

Can you even imagine an elderly Generation Xer writing an article about Duran Duran entitled “Are They Still Cool?” in the year 2027?

If you happen to dig The Beatles, then pick up the new Guitar Hero game and have yourself a groovy time. But please also accept the fact of your own mortality and understand that the world does not revolve around the ephemeral tastes of your generation. It never did.

What happened?

Camille Paglia is deeply displeased with her own Democratic Party:

How has “liberty” become the inspirational code word of conservatives rather than liberals? (A prominent example is radio host Mark Levin’s book “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto,” which was No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three months without receiving major reviews, including in the Times.) I always thought that the Democratic Party is the freedom party — but I must be living in the nostalgic past….

But affluent middle-class Democrats now seem to be complacently servile toward authority and automatically believe everything party leaders tell them. Why? Is it because the new professional class is a glossy product of generically institutionalized learning? Independent thought and logical analysis of argument are no longer taught. Elite education in the U.S. has become a frenetic assembly line of competitive college application to schools where ideological brainwashing is so pandemic that it’s invisible. The top schools, from the Ivy League on down, promote “critical thinking,” which sounds good but is in fact just a style of rote regurgitation of hackneyed approved terms (“racism, sexism, homophobia”) when confronted with any social issue.

It’s nice to see a genuine 60s liberal noticing that today’s Democrats are the very slavish servants of the authoritarian State they claimed to oppose back then. Of course, the Republican Party isn’t much better and La Paglia doesn’t hesitate to point that out.

Supporting one of the two major parties these days is more akin to cheering for a sports team. All you’re doing is declaring which group of self-serving thieves you wish to benefit by allowing them to make your decisions for you.