Last week a bunch of posh kids held a demonstration in London under the banner of an organisation calling itself Extinction Rebellion. Their aims are drearily predictable: obtaining political power for themselves to enact sweeping, authoritarian economic and social policies under the pretence of environmental concern. In other words they’re just another unit off an ageing production line, about as unique as a Michelin tyre but not half as interesting.
The demonstration and other stunts caused severe disruption to people trying to go about their daily lives, which the participants justified by saying everyone needs to be made aware of climate change. Several people complained the police just stood idly by and allowed public roads to be blocked, and asked whether Brexit demonstrators would be afforded the same courtesy. The answer of course is no, because Extinction Rebellion demonstrates in support of the establishment viewpoint whereas a Brexit protest would run in precisely the opposite direction. The police are hardly going to be ordered to beat up a bunch of floppy-haired teenagers who want the government to have more power, no matter how annoying they are. Extinction Rebellion’s actions are about as subversive as the May Day parades in the former Soviet Union.
In case we hadn’t been patronised by spoiled teenagers quite enough, British parliamentarians invited an odd-looking sixteen year old Swedish schoolgirl dressed up to look about ten to lecture us on how bad we are:
Teenage activist Greta Thunberg has described the UK’s response to climate change as “beyond absurd”.
In a speech to MPs, the Swedish 16-year-old criticised the UK for supporting new exploitation of fossil fuels and exaggerating cuts to carbon emissions.
She was invited to Westminster after inspiring the school climate strikes movement.
There’s a lot to say here, and I’ll say it.
Firstly, there’s a good reason why political campaigners have chosen an autistic child as their front: it makes people reluctant to criticise her. As the past couple of days have shown, anyone challenging her scripted nonsense is shouted down for being mean to a child with mental problems. Whoever put her up to this – and it seems to be her parents – ought to be ashamed of themselves. It is bordering on child abuse.
Secondly, any adult who takes their political lead from a sixteen year old ought to quit whatever they’re doing and seek help. Similarly, adults who find a teenager manipulated into regurgitating boilerplate climate hysteria “inspiring” are probably those who think their own brat’s spelling test results are newsworthy. Politicians are a little different in that they like her for the same reason they support Extinction Rebellion: she is arguing in favour of their being given more powers. Just as young Pavel Morozov‘s narcissism served the interests of Soviet politicians, so this child’s serves the interests of ours.
Thirdly, what she’s actually saying is emotive, irrational nonsense. The UK, and the west in general, has not “done nothing” about climate change, and her predictions for the future ought to have interested a child psychologist long before now. Not a single person has challenged her on this. And if leaving a ticking time bomb for children is a concern, how come her focus is not on the national debt? Realistically, what is likely to be the larger handicap we’re passing down to future generations: a one and a half degree temperature rise or tens of thousands of dollars in debt hung around the neck of every newborn baby? We’re stealing children’s futures all right, but not by driving cars.
Fourthly, her supporters say she is doing valuable work in raising awareness of climate change. They’ve offered the same excuse on behalf of Extinction Rebellion, only I can’t think of a single issue given more prominence in my lifetime. Every aspect of our society and culture, every corporation, every government, every event and every activity comes with some reference or other to climate change. It even has its own UN agency. It’s as ubiquitous as a state religion, and we are constantly lectured on the subject from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep, seven days a week with no break even for Christmas. Saying British people need more awareness of climate change is like saying North Koreans need more awareness of the Kim family. We are plenty aware, we just don’t agree sweeping authoritarian socialism is the answer, and sticking teenagers in front of us who look as though they wandered off the set of Deliverance and got lost isn’t going to persuade us any.
Finally, this whole circus is merely a symptom of the political malaise which infests the UK and wider developed world. As with the treachery and incompetence over Brexit, I am reluctant to place the blame for Greta Thunberg’s being permitted to address parliament wholly on the politicians responsible for it; they are merely the representatives of a ruling class who are as incompetent as they are corrupt as they are immoral, backed by a section of the population born into circumstances which never required them to acquire self-awareness or make difficult decisions. This Swedish brat demanding we pay her attention and organise our nation’s affairs in a way which meets her approval is one thing. That our politicians, media, and substantial numbers of adults at large in our society see fit to accommodate her is something else. Serious countries would not involve teenagers in the setting of public policy, especially foreign ones. Serious countries would never find themselves even being asked to.