I believe the children are our future. One child in particular: the unidentified teen who celebrated kiddie-climate-panic day or whatever it was last week by taking the day off from high school (with the full blessing of Bill de Blasio’s Department of Education) and getting high in a park in Manhattan. The kid skipped the marches and protests and general clamor. Who wouldn’t? “I thought about it, but what could I really do for the climate?” the teen told the New York Post. “What do marches really do?”
This kid gets it. Give him an A in Reality Studies. Maybe someday he’ll learn that spending Friday afternoon smoking weed in a park doesn’t do much of anything either, but one step at a time.
The kids who don’t get it are the young’uns with that Village of the Damned fire in their eyes, the Millenarian Cult of the Thunbergians. Their Jesus/MLK/Kardashian figure is 16-year-old climate brat Greta Thunberg, a second-generation diva (mom is an opera singer, natch) who wants what all 16-year-olds want: attention. The time-tested response to teen tantrums is to try to defuse them (Okay, honey, I apologize sincerely that they were all out of the caramel macchiato, can you ever forgive me?), yet the world media are stimulating Thunberg instead, throwing barrels of pixels and airtime on her rage-fire, because they think they can get some use out of her demented message that we’re all going to die in eleven years.
At any given moment tens of millions of teens are throwing tens of millions of tantrums about tens of millions of things — I want the iPhone 11XC3PO! I want a hot-pink Mustang! — yet the one CNN deems worthy of being taken seriously is the one who says, “I want to restructure the world economy, and I want it done yesterday, you jerks!”
Thunberg — think Lisa Simpson crossed with Bane — told the United Nations, “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.” Nah. On the contrary, Thunberg’s life has coincided with what are almost certainly the 16 best years in the entire history of humanity. If she wants to talk hard times, wait till she hears about my childhood, when grown-ups thought it was perfectly fine to move millions of machines around that spewed lead into their kids’ lungs. And mine of course, was the luckiest of all generations to that point.
Thunberg sailed to the U.S. on her famously eco-friendly yacht Publicity Stunt, which we later learned required two Europeans to fly over here to retrieve it. In the gonzo math of climate change, two flights plus a water crossing produce fewer moral emissions than one flight. The Thunbergians declared she would make up for this by buying climate credits, which is also what Al Gore and Leo DiCaprio say when they’re getting on a Gulfstream to fly to their next conference. If she just wanted to deliver a speech, though, why didn’t she spend the time it takes to cross the Atlantic planting trees instead and then speak unto us all from her bedroom? Maybe because “teen uploads YouTube video” is a stretch for even CNN to label BREAKING.
Like many a 16-year-old before her, Thunberg merely skimmed her assigned reading and has only a Cliff’s Notes understanding of the IPCC report on climate change, which she incorrectly characterized as giving us eleven years before the start of “an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control.” The report just doesn’t say that. The Thunbergians are to science what the Branch Davidians were to religion.
“We are in the beginning of a mass extinction,” Thunberg thundered. “And all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.” Alas, no, dear child, Ayn Rand is not the ruler of Earth, and people actually talk about things other than money and economic growth. Thunberg might have consulted the calendar in the building where she was speaking if she wanted to learn about some of the other things people are working on: Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers . . . Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities . . . Commission on Narcotic Drugs . . . Then there’s my favorite, Committee on Conferences.
A kind word for the Thunbergians is that they’re “dogmatic” or “reductionist.” Less kindly, one might say they are fantasists. So were my friends and I. Yet the kids I grew up with knew that Dungeons and Dragons wasn’t real. Thunberg seems to think the world lacks only a little kick in the pants to figure out how to rejigger itself to work on solar and wind.
“We will not let you get away with this,” Thunberg proclaimed. “Right now is where we draw the line.” Or else what, she’ll hold her breath till she turns blue? Refuse to do her homework? Sixteen-year-old girls don’t get to issue ultimatums. A kid who is nine years shy of being responsible enough to rent a car is probably not qualified to steer the world economy.