Thomas Friedman is pretty bloody irrelevant in 2020. No one really talks about him anymore. His columns are largely ignored by the public, even though he has far stronger tenure than any professor could ever dream of. Freidman’s true peak of influence was in the late 90s through the 00s, when he combined random fake conversations with taxi drivers, Friedman Unit facile discussions of the Iraq War, and paeans to globalization as our savior that routinely made fun of the anti-globalization movement as hopeless Luddites who wanted to hold the world back.
Twenty years since the WTO protests in Seattle and the streets of America are again ablaze. Friedman’s beloved neoliberalism has proven a failure in solving any problem unless you thought the rich not having all the world’s resources was a problem. Neoliberalism has created massive inequality around the globe, destroyed labor movements and public services, created mass migrations of people without the economic structure existing anymore to mitigate some of the racial resentment that can cause, and opened the door for the rise of global fascism.
So it’s funny to watch Friedman attempt to come to grips with his life project in flames. Of course, he can’t bring himself to engage in actual self-reflection or his own history in this project.