There is nothing like some bold, contrarian thinking to shake up the stale Washington consensus. Noted wanker Thomas Friedman is perhaps the finest practitioner of this art, the apogee of his career being his bold and contrarian suggestion that Israel terrorize the Palestinian population. This quite new idea took many by surprise, but has since been adopted by the IDF to great effect. Matthew Yglesias is part of a younger generation of wankers, but has risen rapidly in stature since his inspired defense of collapsing buildings on poor people in exchange for cheap denim.

Though these wankers will eventually retire and die, there is no shortage of young wankers willing and ready to replace them, as Mark Strong proves today. Faced with the classic tension between “optimists” and “pessimists” and their disagreements over whether things are getting better or worse, Strong makes the brilliant proposal that we simply stop caring about right and wrong:

Whereas a pessimist sees the glass half-empty and an optimist sees the glass half-full, a pragmatist simply observes the glass and its contents and determines its maximum utility. Moral judgments are cut neatly out of the evaluation. The situation is neither good nor bad; the situation just is.

This is a truly divine bit of wanking. Strong pushes aside the sentimental fools who cling to “principles” and presents his pseudo-utilitarian neoliberalism as the detached, rational worldview, unsullied by any sort of emotional attachment to the millions oppressed by his beloved “bipartisan consensus”.

Near the end of his pitch for The World is Really Fucking Flat, Or: I Want a Big House Like Tom Friedman, Strong shows that his writing is just as horrific as that of his spiritual father:

While we’re all entitled to our respective opinions, there is no productive value in the belief that humanity is headed for a cliff on a runaway train. The same goes for plugging our ears with wax and tying ourselves to the mast. Ship, train, plane or blimp—whatever comparative vessel you prefer, if we don’t do something, it’s going to crash.

Mark Strong’s future looks bright. The rest of us are fucked.