David Harsanyi writes for National Review Online about the latest disappointing commentary from high-profile newspaper columnist Thomas Friedman.

Like many left-wingers fixated on the “climate crisis,” Friedman suffers from an acute case of authoritarian envy. Friedman’s focus of adoration is Xi Jinping and the People’s Republic of China, the world’s largest one-party state tyranny. On Chris Cuomo’s CNN show this week, the Pulitzer Prize–winner “was thinking, like, what are they doing in China today?”

Friedman imagines that 1.3 billion Chinese are contemplating serious environmental matters rather than wasting their time with a “knucklehead” like CNN fixation Marjorie Taylor Greene:

“They were probably thinking about some bad stuff with the Uyghurs and all of that, oh, for sure, but I guarantee you they weren’t wasting their time on this nonsense.”

I doubt the Chinese are “thinking about” the Uyghurs, since there’s no critical press allowed in China. But yes, Americans should be thankful that they don’t have to think about the sadistic state-sanctioned torture of women with electric batons, or the gang rape of 20-year-olds in front of hundreds of detainees, or genocide — at least, not in America.

Friedman once famously fantasized about America being “China for a day” so that “we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions.” This isn’t just the rationalization used by every tyrant in history, but it’s also puerile. China isn’t interested in Friedman’s “right solutions.” Instead, it is building 250 new coal-powered plants right now — enough to power all of Germany.

Friedman is a longtime fan of China’s authoritarian governments. One of China’s Asian competitors explained a decade ago why “state capitalism” causes problems.

State capitalism is not as effective as private capitalism. Would you stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning if it’s not your company at stake?

No. So you wake up tomorrow morning knowing your salary is intact. [In a private company,] it’s about capital and your share in it. There are real stakes involved. And the other stakeholders also make sure you’re on the ball. You’ve got to stay focused. So I believe very strongly that private capitalism easily outdoes state capitalism.