As Alexander Cockburn once observed, the core function of the mainstream news media is to sow confusion where reality is perfectly plain. Add to this his personal history as a capitalist’s son and husband of a rentier billion-heiress, and it’s little wonder that Thomas Friedman is the tenured professor of the great gibberish machine, the pampered, flattered godfather of the propaganda clown army.
His latest contribution to the jabberwocky effort? His proposition yesterday that the world is being run by “petro-dictators now telling the world what to do.”
You see here why Friedman has attained such heights within the corporate capitalist spin industry. It would’ve taken a large committee meeting for days to prepare a more shamelessly Orwellian inversion of basic reality. Not only does Friedman’s claim reverse the actual past and present relationship between petro-dictators and corporate royalty, but it blithely and thoughtlessly restates the standard overclass insistence that oil, not cars, is our problem. (One could, of course, also note Friedman’s ongoing delusions about bio-fuels.)
The simple reality that must be kept from view is that cars-first transportation accounts for eight tenths of U.S. petroleum use, and cars-first transportation is the indispensable lifeblood of corporate capitalism. Oil dictators work for those who dictate transportation policies (and energy wars). Not the reverse. Oil will never be demoted unless cars are demoted.
And who are the car-dictators? Friedman’s own class, of course — the Richistanis who enthroned and employ the world’s petro-dictators; refuse to allow themselves to be mentioned as a possible source of problems; refuse to permit the first hint of a first hint of democratic questioning of auto-centric society, despite its radical and increasingly obvious unsustainability.
Such is the stuff our grandchildren will be barfing about, if we manage to leave them a world still capable of remembering and pondering it.