What Tom Barnett Should Have Read Before Reviewing Tom Friedman’s New Book

What Tom Friedman Means by ‘Flat’,” by Dan, tdaxp, 1 May 2005, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/05/01/what_tom_friedman_means_by_flat.html.

The Book Is Flatulent: A Brief Review of Thomas L. Friedman’s “The World Is Flat” Op-Ed,” by Thomas Barnett, The Newsletter from Thomas P.M. Barnett, 20 June 2005, http://www.newrulesets.com/journals/barnett_20jun2005.pdf.

Dr. Barnett is confused by Mr. Friedman’s new book, The World is Flat

The book is mind-numbing in its repetition. It seems like every third page there is a CEO named Jerry or Craig from a high-tech company ready with some self-enforcing quote (“Tom, let me tell you why I think the world is becoming flatter by the day!”). In fact, using the word “flat” (or “flatter,” “flattening,” “flatist,” “flattest,” “flattener,” and so on) seemed to be a prerequisite for getting your quote (and there are oh so many quotes and snippets of “flat” conversations) in the book (you can almost hear Friedman prompting everyone, “Now be sure to use the word ‘flat’ somewhere in your response or I can’t use it!”).

Hey, it’s no worse than bleating “sock it to me!” to get on Laugh-In. A cameo’s a cameo.

Friedman is stupefying in his efforts to interpret everything in terms of flatness (Southwest lets you print your boarding tickets online? “Yet another brilliant example that the world is getting flat!”; You can eat sushi in a small Midwestern town? “OMYGOD the world is sooooo flat!”) that by the end of the book you have no idea what the terms means anymore. Flatness is a euphemism for everything from “cool” to “new” to “high-tech” to “competitive” to “innovative” to “globalization” to “flat” (no, wait a minute, that last one doesn’t work . . . or does it?) am not kidding you, as you read this book you’re so trained, almost in a Pavlovian sort of way, to see the word “flat” that when you go more than a paragraph or two without seeing it, you start to get anxious.

Tom Barnett doesn’t know what Tom Friedman means by “flat.” Maybe he should google what does tom friedman mean by flat? and read the first result


The red lines symbolize vertical power, so someone has police authority. Yet everyone is on the same level, so there are not leaders or followers. This is Friedman’s idealized school system — it is a flat vertical network

Friedman is not an anarchist or a libertarian. He believes in the importance of government. He also believes that the “top-down there are experts who know better” approach is now out of date. In Friedman’s philosophy, people should no longer “act steep” (externalize leadership to others) but should “act flat” (internalize leadership to themselves).

Read the rest of What Tom Friedman Means by Flat.

Tom Barnett sees that flat is applied to many different domains, but he doesn’t see the big picture. The good doctor instead mocks Friedman for thinking horizontally, calls the book “Orwellian,” and writes

But I am not optimistic. Friedman’s career is on autopilot now. His editor obviously can’t tame him (Warren would have axed so much of this book it’s not funny; and whenever I get close to using Core-Gap like that in a paragraph, he is merciless in his criticism). The man lives in a bubble where he speaks to the adoring crowds at all times, and they’re mostly CEOs looking for product placements in his next piece (the whole book is one big product placement).

If Barnett means that The World is Flat is basically a big appendix to The Lexus and the Olive Tree, then he’s exactly right.

If Barnett is implying that his own blog is somehow not basically a big appendix to The Pengaton’s New Map, then I don’t know what blogosphere he’s typing in.

Lifting Pains Associated with Homosexualism

Spectrum of Sexuality and the Kinsey Scale,” Sex Editorials, downloaded 20 June 2005, http://sexeditorials.com/theory/spectrum.html.

Rhetoric aside, some commenting on my commenting,” by Aaron, tdaxp, 16 June 2005, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/06/15/schiavo_case_leads_conservatives_to_support_euthanasia.html#c137831.

Right before I started my temp job, Aaron wrote:

Gays – When someone is chronically ill, it is typically their families they turn to, and usually their families and loved ones that get them through. In some cases, it is the insurance of a husband or wife that gets them through. By denying homosexuals that ability to form lasting legal family units, we’re alienating them and abandoning them to a world of too-expensive medical care and unsupportive society.

Aaron is addressing the use of families in emotionally supporting ill homosexualists. Add into this the national and local status of homosexualists as the predominate vectors for AIDS, and we can look at a utilitarian approach to minimize physical and emotional pain.

All other things being equal, Aaron’s normalization approach would lessen emotional pain in the long-run. If strong families could span homosexualist bonds, the sick would have strong support networks in their bleakest days.

What Aaron ignores is the economic idea of the margin. To give Aaron the benefit of the doubt, I will assume that homosexuality existed in the past and assume the the Kinsey Scale…

0- Exclusively heterosexual with no homosexual
1- Predominately heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual
2- Predominately heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
3- Equally heterosexual and homosexual
4- Predominately homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
5- Predominately homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual
6- Exclusively homosexual

…. is true.

The Kinsey Scale can be thought of as a Spectrum, or Rainbow, raining from the “red” exclusively heterosexual to the “violet” exclusively homosexual. Just as the visible rainbow includes an infinite number of colors, the Kinsey Rainbow includes an infinite number of variations.

Nonetheless, the quality of being homosexualist — engaging in homosexual acts — is binary, either TRUE or FALSE. So in this model, active homosexualism is a function of an individual’s Kinsey quotient, the culture he is in, and the societies he is in.

By denormalizing homosexualism in culture and societies you absolutely reduce the number of homosexualists. This reduces the physical and mental pain.

Remember that Aaron supported normalizing homosexualism on the practical grounds that it would reduce pain. But that it theoretical and in the long-term. On the other hand, denormalizing homosexualism would immediately begin reducing pain. And this argument was made by giving him the friendliest assumptions — assuming that policy should be made on pragmatic grounds, that homosexuality is a natural condition of man, and that the Kinsey scale accurately describes homosexualism.


Joe Biden 2008?

Biden wants to run for president in ’08,” Associated Press, 20 June 2005, http://www.suntimes.com/output/elect/cst-nws-biden20.html.

More competition for Tom Daschle in his dream of becoming the Democrat Presidential Nominee…

Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) said Sunday he intends to run for president in 2008.

But Biden, who also sought the nomination in 1988, said he would give himself until the end of this year to determine if he really can raise enough money and attract enough support.

Going after the nomination ”is a real possibility,” he said on CBS’ ”Face the Nation.”

”My intention, as I sit here now, is, as I’ve proceeded since last November as if I were going to run. I’m quite frankly going out, seeing whether I can gather the kind of support,” Biden said.

Biden dropped out of the 1988 presidential race after disclosures that he had borrowed from other politicians in his stump speeches and after questions about his law school records.

The grumpy new President?

Clinton Calls for Closing Gitmo (Deception to Avoid Moral Isolation)

Concerning the Way in Which Princes Should Keep Faith,” by Nicolo Machiavelli, The Prince, AD 1513, http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/machiavelli-prince.html#CHAPTER%20XVIII[*].

Clinton adds voice to criticism of Guantánamo,” by Lionel Barber and Paul Taylor, Financial Times, 19 June 2005, http://news.ft.com/cms/s/9189fb54-e0f1-11d9-a3fb-00000e2511c8.html (from Drudge Report).

Moral Isolation is an important part of victory. Once you morally isolate the Enemy, you take away his friends and his ability to easily find more help. Every warrior in a drawn-out struggle should try to morally isolate his nemesis. Likewise, the warrior must avoid being morally isolated himself.

Former President Bill Clinton has a suggestion on how to do this

Bill Clinton has become the most prominent figure so far to add his voice to criticisms of the US prison camp at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba.

In an interview with the Financial Times, the former president called for the camp, set up to hold suspected terrorists, to “be closed down or cleaned up”.

Mr Clinton joined critics at home and abroad who have singled out the indefinite detention of prisoners without trial and widespread reports of human rights violations at Guantánamo. “It is time that there are no more stories coming out of there about people being abused,” he said.

Mr Clinton said the test for judging whether harsh treatment of terrorist suspects was justified was whether it challenged the “fundamental nature” [read: “fundamental appearance” — tdaxp] of American society. If the answer is Yes, you have already given the terrorists a profound victory.”

WWCD: What Would Clinton Do?

He would appear to change while not changing — he would be slick.

Bush should be slick. Let us avoid moral isolation and appear to be with our friends. As Machiavelli wrote,

Every one admits how praiseworthy it is in a prince to keep faith, and to live with integrity and not with craft. Nevertheless our experience has been that those princes who have done great things have held good faith of little account, and have known how to circumvent the intellect of men by craft, and in the end have overcome those who have relied on their word. You must know there are two ways of contesting,[ the one by the law, the other by force; the first method is proper to men, the second to beasts; but because the first is frequently not sufficient, it is necessary to have recourse to the second…

But it is necessary to know well how to disguise this characteristic, and to be a great pretender and dissembler; and men are so simple, and so subject to present necessities, that he who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived. One recent example I cannot pass over in silence. Alexander the Sixth did nothing else but deceive men, nor ever thought of doing otherwise, and he always found victims; for there never was a man who had greater power in asserting, or who with greater oaths would affirm a thing, yet would observe it less; nevertheless his deceits always succeeded according to his wishes, because he well understood this side of mankind.

Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them. And I shall dare to say this also, that to have them and always to observe them is injurious, and that to appear to have them is useful; to appear merciful, faithful, humane, religious, upright, and to be so, but with a mind so framed that should you require not to be so, you may be able and know how to change to the opposite.

Let us appear to be kind to the terrorists. Just as long as we secretly send them to Uzbekistan or someplace similarly awful.

The terrorists do not deserve honor or humanity. And our enemies do not deserve honesty.

From Around the Blogosphere: Egypt News, Snoofle, and Moon Buggy report it straight, Whittling Wood ignores the fact the prisoners were captured on the battlefield, California Yankee, In the Bullpen, and niTworks don’t give Clinton enough credit. California Conservatives ties it back to the high cost of Amnesty International’s moral Isolation attack.