Headline of the Day – Friedman Edition

The Silent Majority Wants a Dictatorship Run by Thomas Friedman

The Silent Majority Wants a Dictatorship Run by Thomas Friedman” – Tom Scocca, Slate

That was pretty much my reaction to the last two pieces by the intrepid NYT columnist (see “Harnessing the Tea Party” and Steven Taylor’s “Silly Third Party Musings“) but I wasn’t nearly that pithy.  I never cease to be amazed that highly intelligent observers of the world around them really think that their views are smack in the mainstream despite being extreme outliers.

Hat tip:  Annie Laurie

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Personna says:

    I always defend Friedman because I think he’s often half right. There are many with books on how to fix the world who do far worse.

    In this case he starts with a “pox on both your houses” directed at the two parties an endorsement of the center.

    He seeks a radical, motivated, center, but then dreams are kind of his gig. People don’t read Friedman for dystopian futures. The’ve got people like James Kunstler for that.

    So what, we be surprised by push-back from people who like this sick, broken, two party dynamic?

  2. James Joyner says:

    So what, we be surprised by push-back from people who like this sick, broken, two party dynamic?

    I don’t know anyone who likes it. Certainly not me or any of the frequent posters here. There’s a huge demand for “something better.” The problem is that there’s nothing approaching consensus on what that “something better” would be. Friedman’s idea of better would be considered worse by the vast majority of Americans.

  3. john personna says:

    “[and] an endorsement of the center.”

    “So what, [should] we be surprised”

    Not bad for an iphone post, if I say so myself.

  4. Brummagem Joe says:

    I’ve never been a particular admirer of Friedman even as a futurologist. My sense is “Friedmans” were a buy a few years ago but have progressively become at best a hold probably because of his ludicrous misjudgements surrounding the Iraq invasion. He’s crying for the moon a bit like Sullivan and his ultra simple tax system. None of it is to be taken very seriously.

  5. john personna says:

    You know, two or three years ago I had (slightly) more patience with posts on the strengths of the two party system. Since then we’ve seen the parties become greater parodies of themselves, and we experiencing an election cycle without ideas.

    Party politics have become identity politics. As such, they don’t need ideas.

    I was at the fly shop this week and heard snatches of a conversation down the counter. It was something like “getting Republicans back to what they should be” … “Democrats doing it to” … “how could they be worse.”

    The weird thing about the whole exchange was that it was a handshake based on identity, presumably Republican fly fishers, and not one idea was exchanged. They both got what they wanted out of it, without a single reference to policy or solution.

    I don’t see how that works, and I don’t see how endorsing it helps.

  6. john personna says:

    I only managed to read one Friedman book all the way through, The World Is Flat. I thought it was (as I say) half right. And it was interesting that in some of the parts I knew (computer history) he had his players wrong. Just the same, the half that was right was an important half.

    It didn’t hurt to chronicle the asian outsourcing saga.

  7. john personna says:

    An amazing example (if further were needed) on how far we’ve messed our own room:

    Foreclosure Fraud Reveals Structural & Legal Crisis

  8. MIkeinSA says:

    Ya know, if Friedman is so upset with the politics and politians of the day, and REALLY thinks he has a better idea. . . Maybe he should put down his editorial pen and run for office in his home state. Surely the east coast establishment will appreciate his abilities!