You've probably heard the axiom that Democracy is the worst form of government -- except for all the others. Well, in New York Times' columnist Tom Friedman's world, the only thing worse than Chinese communism is American Democracy.
Specifically, on Thursday's "Morning Joe," he reiterated a point he has made before
. In a discussion of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington, he said: "There's only one thing worse, in my view, than one-party autocracy -- the Chinese system -- and that's one-party Democracy. Okay? See, one-party autocracy, at least if it has some vision of the future, can actually order the right things . . . collective action from the top down. But when you have one-party Democracy, that is, you have one party trying to do things and the other sticking a spoke in its wheels constantly, you can't get anything big done. And that to me seems to be our real dilemma today."
A few thoughts . . .
First, I don't think he meant "sticking a spoke in its wheel," but having done enough TV to know we all mess up, I get what he meant.
More important (regarding his choice of words) is his notion that having one political party stymie a second political party equates to "one-party Democracy." Quite the contrary -- one-party Democracy would be when one political party can do whatever it wants, and where the minority can do nothing to stop it. Friedman's concern is actually with a two-party Democracy -- which essentially means he prefers authoritarian rule to Democracy.
As I've written before
, this is indicative of many on the left who truly do not like the American system -- especially when Democracy means one party is "sticking a spoke in its wheels" when liberals are in power. Again, Friedman is not alone here. This has become a common lament among liberals.
Of course, it is worth noting that our Founding Fathers intentionally created a "messy," adversarial system of checks and balances. It was their intent to slow things down. This, I might add, has served us quite well for more than two centuries.
Last, Friedman's apparent wish for a "benign" dictator is utopian, inasmuch as it ignores Lord Acton's warning that "absolute power corrupts absolutely." Saying a "good" dictator wouldn't be so bad is like saying a non-calorie Big Mac wouldn't be bad -- it is in the nature of autocrats to be authoritarian. Besides, who decides what is "good" or "bad," if the people have no say?