Richard Eskow’s insights regarding Thomas Friedman will make perfect sense to anyone who has read Friedman’s gung-ho dispatches about globalization and entrepreneurship in the digital age, or his advice to the discouraged — “But you know what they say to do with lemons? Make lemonade”:
Friedman is a closet Ayn Rand in many ways, but he gives Rand’s ugly and exploitative philosophy a pseudo-intellectual, liberal-friendly feel-good gloss. He turns her harsh industrial metal music into melodious easy listening: John Galt meets John Denver. That make him very useful to those who would dismantle the engines of real economic growth, the ones that create jobs while protecting life and limb.
Eskow was reacting to a recent column in which Friedman declared “Average is over,” dismissing the millions who’ve lost good jobs and haven’t come up with an idea for a new business that would catapult them into the ranks of the super-wealthy. You know — an air mattress bed-and-breakfast chain. Or maybe a new app that will cool your house, walk your dog and send witty texts to your girlfriend, all at the same time.
As if there is anything above average about Friedman, who rarely writes a column that doesn’t feature dead-wrong statements about American foreign policy and other weighty matters. Check out his support for the Iraq war or, more recently, his ignorant allusion to Winston Churchill while trying to make a point about immigration reform.
Friedman and Rand would make an interesting couple — the upbeat proselytizer and the dour scold — but Rand has been dead for decades and Friedman is cozily married to a real-estate heiress with whom he shares a mansion worth more than $9 million.
What’s remarkable about this is that we live in an era when many if not most journalists are either jobless or working for a lot less money than they once earned. Friedman avoided this dilemma by becoming a mustachioed mouthpiece for the owner class, making huge sums on the lecture circuit after writing the fatuously titled The World Is Flat. Hey, you know what they say to do with lemons…