Monday, May 24, 2010

Thomas Friedman once again wishes to be king--I mean, China--for a day

The thing that admirers of what they imagine to be benevolent despots forget is this: When dictators close off the public input loop and just bull ahead, they can do as much untold harm as whatever good they might do. There was no public brake on the Soviet Union's industrial diktats, so they wound up with dustbowls, Chernobyl, and the withered Aral Sea. There are villages in China whose groundwater is poisoned by industrial chemicals--and the voiceless inhabitants are forbidden to move away. Friedman & Co.'s daydreaming that surely they, their own anointed selves, would get things right, betrays a monumental lack of respect for the American people, and an equally monumental inflated sense of their own probity.

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