Tom Friedman: Eco-Communist Wannabe

When news broke that self-proclaimed communist and former Obama adminstration Green Jobs Czar Van Jones signed a 9/11 truther petition in 2004, we wrote:

Green Jobs Czar is the perfect job for a 9/11 truther. Just as Popular Mechanics has debunked all of the crazy 9/11 truther claims, research both here in the U.S., and abroad, has repeatedly demonstrated that subsidizing high cost renewable energies destroys more jobs than it creates.

Then, this weekend on Meet the Press, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman defended Jones, calling the internet Turns out Friedman is no stranger to Jones’ views. Friedman wrote a puff piece on Jones’ Green-Collar Solution in October of 2007. Today, Friedman again cements the bonds between socialism and the enviro-leftist movement, writing in his column:

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. It is not an accident that China is committed to overtaking us in electric cars, solar power, energy efficiency, batteries, nuclear power and wind power. China’s leaders understand that in a world of exploding populations and rising emerging-market middle classes, demand for clean power and energy efficiency is going to soar. Beijing wants to make sure that it owns that industry and is ordering the policies to do that, including boosting gasoline prices, from the top down.

No, Mr. Friedman, one-party autocracies do not deal with ‘exploding populations’ with clean power and energy efficiency. One-party autocracies deal with that with forced sterilizations, one-child policies and female infanticides.

NRO’s Jonah Goldberg replies:

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 yearned 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.

Later Goldberg writes:

I simply do not believe Tom Friedman et al when they say that China is beating us on the environment. No totalitarian regime has ever been a better steward of the environment than an advanced industrialized democratic regime. I have a hard time believing the Chinese are an exception to that rule.

Heritage research fellow Derek Scissors shot down just such China reporting from the New York Times earlier this year:

In raw terms, China does genuinely invest a great deal of money in “green energy.” That’s because, in raw terms, the PRC invests a great deal of money in everything, including industries which heavily pollute.

The PRC is definitely working to clean up its coal production. In this it has advantages over the US in that Chinese President Hu Jintao hasn’t publicly bashed his country’s coal industry and Chinese environmentalists don’t loudly oppose cleaner coal.

The PRC’s chief goal is to reduce conventional sulfur pollution from coal — which it has suffered terribly from — not to cut into greenhouse gases. The US addressed the issue of sulfur emissions nearly two decades ago with the creation of the Acid Rain program.

Despite lavish spending, China has struggled to follow suit. Environmental improvements are often not utilized fully, as with renewable energy projects never connected to the national grid. On coal, while new plants are being built, old, dirtier plants are not being closed. Reliance on coal is increasing: on official statistics, the proportion of energy generated by coal fell for the first twenty years of reform but has risen this decade as economic growth outstrips the country’s ability to use other forms of energy.

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