Something has been missing from our lives. Yes, it’s been weeks since we’ve had a good laugh. So, we turn to the editorial pages of the International Herald Tribune to find our favorite comic, Thomas L. Friedman, a man who wants to make a better world, in the worst possible way.
We used to enjoy reading his columns. You could always count on him to come up with such a damned fool idea, on any subject, that it would have been an embarrassment to a jackass. But what intrigued us was trying to figure out how the man thought – or if he thought at all. When we explore Friedman’s oeuvre we feel we are probing down clumsily, like a neurosurgeon with a kitchen knife, into the softest mush of the human brain. How does it work, we wonder?
Friedman is no idiot. He writes in complete sentences. Somehow he has gotten a gig not only as a columnist for America’s most prestigious newspaper, but as a semi-serious author, and celebrity speaker at business functions.
(His success has not made us jealous; it has only made us suspicious. We wonder what the rest of the world must be thinking if it can take Friedman’s ruminations seriously.)
It was Friedman, we recall, who pushed hard for the United States to invade Iraq, and who then described U.S. troops (the most lethal attack force the world had ever seen), as ‘nurturers’, and who, like midwives, were helping to deliver a baby democracy in the Mesopotamian desert. Then, when the war went bad, he blamed the Bush team, urging them to send yet more armed nurturers and spend even more money. It was he, too, who blamed terrorism on high oil prices; and he still urges the United States to ‘go green’ as a way to promote ‘reform’ in the Middle East.
The man has a plan for everything. That is what makes reading him so funny. He cannot seem to appreciate that the world is a product of many thousands of generations’ worth of evolutionary adjustments, compromises, and innovations that he could not possibly hope to know about…nor can he imagine that there is any situation – no matter how remote or complex – that his own little mind cannot improve.
Thus does he urge America’s voters to insist upon a “Green Election” in 2008.
We won’t bother with the inane details (such as having a college student question the candidates because “young people will be the ones most affected by global warming”); What is appalling is the desperately shallow earnestness of it. Why would a college student have any more insight into global warming than anyone else? And why, if voters are so interested in global warming, don’t they ask the candidates themselves? How is it possible for an intelligent Homo Sapien to write such obvious hooey?
What we are beginning to suspect is that there is something wrong with the brain itself. In spite of all its pretensions to logical thought, the thing is barely functional. It will believe anything.
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