TO avoid being accused of “discriminating against a person with a disability” or “political incorrectness,” I expressly omitted mention of Greta Thunberg’s “health issues” when I wrote about her becoming the new face of climate change (“Obituary on climate alarmism, new face of global warming,” The Manila Times, Sept. 17, 2019).
I should have disclosed also that the Swedish teenage climate activist faces a host of developmental issues. She has been diagnosed as having Asperger’s syndrome, selective mutism or autism, and being undersized for her age.
In the words of New York magazine, “By the time she stepped off the yacht in New York on August 28, two weeks after she’d set sail from Plymouth, England,…she had become something even more unusual than an adolescent protester or even a generational icon. She was the Joan of Arc of climate change, commanding a global army of teenage activists numbering in the millions and waging a rhetorical war against her elders through the unapologetic use of generational shame.”
On Friday, September 20, Ms. Thunberg launched the Global Climate Strike in New York City and scores of cities around the world, to the wide approval of the United Nations and tens of thousands around the world.
It has not been all hosannas, however. Thunberg and the climate strike have come under heavy criticism, not only from climate skeptics, but also from climate activists like herself.
Regardless of what new scare UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres springs on the world at the Climate Action Summit in New York City, I want everyone to ponder carefully the words of one climate activist who has blasted the global climate strike as totalitarian.
Global climate strike
Over the weekend, Tyler Oneill posted an article on PJ media, “Climate activists slams Greta Thunberg’s totalitarian climate strike.”
I reproduce the article below because of its priceless information on the climate alarm movement. Coming from the movement, it demands to be listened to.
“On Friday, thousands mobbed New York City and other cities across the world (including Jakarta, Indonesia and Dunedin, New Zealand) as part of a ‘Climate Strike’ organized by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg. Yet Robert Colvile, himself a believer in the necessity of fighting climate change, warned that the Climate Strike statements and ideas are ‘fundamentally illiberal’, ‘fundamentally misguided,’ and unworkable.
“If we’re going to save the planet, we do need to unite behind the science. But that includes the science of economics,’ Colvile, director of Britain’s conservative think tank the Centre for Policy Studies, wrote in a long Twitter thread about Thunberg’s movement.
“I’ve worked as a science journalist. I devoted an entire chapter of my book [The Great Acceleration: How the World Is Getting Faster, Faster] to the impact our faster lives are having on the planet. I believe that climate change is a pressing and urgent problem,’ he explained. ‘But this manifesto would make things worse.’
“Colvile took a close look at the Climate Strike demands and came to the conclusion that they are ‘actively anti-science.’
“He wrote: ‘One of the key demands of Greta Thunberg et al. is that people respect the science, and unite behind it. I completely agree. But the manifesto for the climate strike movement isn’t just unscientific, but actively anti-science — and hugely dangerous as a result.
“If you go to the Global Climate Strike website, and look under ‘What are we asking for?’, you find these demands.
“Already, then, this isn’t just about saving the planet — it’s about ‘climate justice.’ Including ‘reparations.’ This presumably means that since Britain invented the Industrial Revolution and has bumped X million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere since, it should pay Y percent of the cost,’ he noted. ‘But if you then follow the link that defines ‘climate justice’ you get taken to the ‘People’s Demands’ (the people in this case being a coalition of left-wing global activist groups).’
“Colvile suggested that ‘if the millions of people marching were told about them, I suspect they’d have a very different take.’
“Colvile started with the Climate Strike goal of banning fossil fuels. He supported phasing out fossil fuels and claimed that decarbonizing the economy by 2050 would cost £1 trillion overall: about £33 billion per year, or 1.5 percent of GDP.
Thunberg’s climate strike demands
“Yet Thunberg’s Climate Strike demands a zero-carbon economy by 2030, which ‘would be insanely expensive. (In fact, pretty much just insane.).”
“Decarbonizing the UK economy will cost £1 trillion…Britain cannot put off reducing greenhouse gas emissions but must be aware that the £1 trillion cost to the economy will limit other desirable public investment, finance minister Philip Hammond said.
“But it gets worse: the Climate Strikers don’t just want to phase out carbon; they want to do that while solving all of history’s injustices. This amounts to forcing an energy revolution ‘with our hands tied behind our backs,’ Colvile argued.
“The Climate Strike rejects what it calls ‘false solutions’ such as: geo-engineering; carbon capture and storage; “techno-fixes” more broadly; carbon trading; biofuels or bioenergy; and smart agriculture.
“In other words, we cannot use market mechanisms, economics or technology to cut carbon emissions. We need trees, not factories,’ he explained. Yet there are even more demands: the rejection of nuclear power; an insistence on ‘non-market approaches;’ the exclusion of corporations; and buzzwords like ‘agro-ecology’ and ‘food sovereignty.’….
“Colvile, who believes in the threat of climate crisis, rightly warned that the Climate Strike manifesto ‘would make things worse. Because it is not asking ‘What is the most cost-effective way to prevent or protect against climate change?’ — or indeed ‘How do we grow the maximum amount of food, as cheaply as possible, with minimum emissions?’ It is instead telling us that market mechanisms like carbon taxes — by overwhelming consensus the mechanism favored by serious economists — have no place at all in fighting climate change. Nor do drought-resistant crops, or plants engineered to withstand seawater.
“Colville explained: ‘In my book, I diagnosed what I called ‘utopian authoritarianism’ — the idea that the only way to save the planet is for people on the Left to command others, in the developed and developing world, to live poorer, meaner lives.’
“This totalitarian grasp for control justifies activists taking over every aspect of life in the name of averting crisis and solving historic injustices. It is a recipe for power and it is not a serious response to the threat of a climate crisis. Instead, it uses the alleged crisis as a tool to control others.”
I will only add to this the textbook definition of totalitarianism from the legal dictionary:
“Totalitarianism is a modern autocratic government in which the state involves itself in all facets of society, including the daily life of its citizens. A totalitarian government seeks to control not only all economic and political matters but the attitudes, values and beliefs of its population, erasing the distinction between state and society. The citizen’s duty to the state becomes the primary concern of the community, and the goal of the state is the replacement of existing society with a perfect society.”
The classic work on totalitarianism is the 1977 book, The Totalitarian Temptation by French socialist Jean-Francois Revel. The book is an essay in heresy. Its central challenge is to the accepted wisdom of European intellectuals who discovered that socialism and communism are but differing sects of the same orthodoxy. He declared, in the very first sentence of the book, that “the main obstacle to socialism is not capitalism but communism,” and he proceeded to argue, in the teeth of all fashion, that the whole communist world is Stalinist at the core.