Ignarus Maximam: ‘Flat World’ Tom Friedman, Arch Globalist

Like the stubbornly ignorant (and wrong) ancient defenders of the “flat earth” theory, Tom Friedman, even in the face of mounting scientific reality and abundant evidence, continues to shill for everything ultra-chic, hyper-liberal, woke, and globalist. Indeed, he appears to be the principal spokesman for these causes. You could easily write his unoriginal New York Times columns for him because, as with any abhorrent novel plot, you always know what is coming next.

“Most writers are humble folk—an industry-wide lack of respect knocks the asshole out of most people pretty quick. But . . . he’d always been a pompous ass.” So goes a memorable passage from the novel, In the Heat of the Night. They must have had Friedman in mind. 

No one in the world is such a dithering dilettante, know-it-all, literal knee-jerk, self-assured, mindless, bloviating liberal.  Sir Tom, a Brandeis semi-educated wise guy, took a minor degree at Oxford and swallowed the arrogance pie whole. Watch him perform on CNN shows like the plagiarist Fareed Zakaria’s gig, and you have a prima facie example of the opposite of Socrates’ example: “I neither know nor think that I know.” 

Since he won three Pulitzer prizes for his mediocre writing, Friedman is permitted this haughty “attitude” by most interlocutors. On his lofty perch, he can say whatever he wants many times a week—and the Left listens, then applauds, loudly. As a constant fixture on the mainstream idiot talking head shows, Freidman also appears regularly in Switzerland at the Davos confab for dedicated, card-carrying globalists and at the Aspen Institute to beat his chest and act self-righteous. He claims to be “authoritative” on everything—from foreign affairs to global trade to the Middle East to environmental issues, and of course, climate change. He has bragged that Barack Obama sounds him out about a plethora of issues.

Although a staunch supporter of the ever-so-necessary war in Iraq, together with his neoconservative fellow-travelers, Freidman—a dedicated kibbutz Zionist who later came to detest Israel—has never apologized. He was even for a time a defender of Saudi power and the Mohammad Bin Salman regime. 

A true lover of any and all multilateralism, there is no globalist institution Friedman does not favor. He would gladly accede all American sovereignty to the highly esteemed United Nations. Yet curiously, at the same time he has repeatedly praised China’s one party rule and its communist dictator—the true beneficiaries of globalism.

Married to the daughter of a strip mall tycoon, Friedman does your typical liberal hypocrite routine one better. He gladly takes $75,000 for a scripted, regurgitated after-dinner speech and lives in a nearly 12,000-square-foot mansion in affluent Bethesda, Maryland, while sniping at the rich and (un)green.

New York Times reporters are not exactly disagreeing with my assessment, either. Many despise him. “Tom Friedman is an embarrassment. I mean there are multiple blogs and Tumblrs and Twitter feeds that exist solely to make fun of his sort of blowhardy bullshit,” one Times reporter recently told the Observer.

At Slate, Glenn Greenwald may have said it best: “If I had to pick just a single fact that most powerfully reflects the nature of America’s political and media class in order to explain the cause of the nation’s imperial decline, it would be that, in those classes, Tom Friedman is the country’s most influential and most decorated ‘foreign policy expert.’” Really.

In reality, Freidman is nothing more than a bad travel writer, an embarrassment to scholars and real experts, whatever their stripe or specialty. Journalist Matt Taibbi has said of Friedman’s writing: “Friedman came up with lines so hilarious you couldn’t make them up even if you were trying—and when you tried to actually picture the ‘illustrative’ figures of speech he offered to explain himself, what you often ended up with was pure physical comedy of the Buster Keaton/Three Stooges school, with whole nations and peoples slipping and falling on the misplaced banana peels of his literary endeavors.”

A huge Hillary Clinton supporter, Freidman, who claims to be a radical “centrist,” came out in 2020 in favor of Mayor Mike Bloomberg for president. After that debacle ended badly (and quickly), he easily sided with Joe Biden because any candidate is better than Donald Trump as far as he’s concerned. 

Friedman is a “Trump hater’s Trump hater” of the highest degree. He waxes poetic against America, favors its decline, and ardently wishes for the whole panoply of globalism, lock, stock and barrel. If there were a Goebbels for globalism you would be hard-pressed to find a better candidate for propagandist for the elitist cause. The French, as always, have a term for this: mensonge com homme.

Perhaps people need to stop taking the best-selling author of such trite non-classics as The World Is Flat and The Lexus and the Olive Tree so seriously. His silly prognostications are always wrong and entirely one-sided, so why give him notice? He marshals few facts and produces mostly self-infused hot air. Freidman is akin to the character Tom Ripley from Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley—evil wants status, even if it has to fake it or steal it.

Since Friedman’s lame idea of a “national unity government”—with the likes of Mitt Romney as secretary of state—fell on deaf ears, he needs to come up with a new and better idea. Maybe Barack Obama as head of the United Nations? Or Hillary Clinton for vice president? 

In retirement, Friedman (who soon turns 67) could recuse Sleepy Joe Biden as his primary speechwriter of yet more copied/borrowed platitudes and odes to globalism. Yes, Joe badly needs both a voice and a debate coach. Apply now. 

About Theodore Roosevelt Malloch

Theodore Roosevelt Malloch, scholar-diplomat-strategist, is CEO of the thought leadership firm The Roosevelt Group. He is the author of 18 books, including The Plot to Destroy Trump and appears regularly in the media, as a keynote speaker, and on television around the world. 

Photo: David S. Holloway/Getty Images

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