We need to talk about Greta Thunberg

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Greta Thunberg is a 16 year old Swedish environmental activist who became famous after media coverage of her habit of skipping school to protest the Swedish government to do more about climate change. Since then she’s been hosted by multiple countries to deliver speeches about her activism and embarked on a 15-day sail boat voyage to New York City to raise awareness of climate change.

Her comments stir up reactions from all along the political spectrum. Some cheering her on for her harsh critique and others questioning how much of this is Greta’s idea or if those in her inner circle are using her as a political pawn for their own agenda. Lately conservative pundit Michael Knowles has been banned from Fox News, according to the Washington Examiner, for calling Greta “mentally ill” in a recent interview. This, although not exclusively, has sparked a debate over how one contends with Greta through the conversation she, herself, is trying to initiate. Broadcasters like John Moore and others on newstalk 1010 along with others on the political left have taken the position that to criticise Greta in almost any capacity is nothing more than a personal attack on her and amounts to bullying a minor.

 

Watch the Washington Post video about Fox News because apparently YouTube’s algorithm will only recommend content through Liberal media:

 

When black face photos surfaced of Justin Trudeau, liberals experienced cognitive dissonance.  Black face is clearly racist. Justin Trudeau was clearly an ally of racial minorities. But then how could Justin Trudeau wear blackface at multiple occasions and still not be a racist? While some of the same broadcasters and journalists who preach to us on a daily basis that Donald Trump’s racism needs to be called out, for this, they were more than keen to “listen” to what people had to say about it. While Trudeau continues to struggle to get his campaign back on track, those on the political left miss the entirety of what made his black face controversial.

Nobody believes Trudeau is a racist. Has he done or said racist things? Yes, we can now definitively say yes, he has. But is Trudeau a racist? No. He is a hypocrite. And this is something those on the left fail to even perceive. Hypocrisy is the main theme among the leftist movement as a whole. And this is why those on the left cannot understand how anyone could disagree with Greta Thunberg. So any critique of her must only be personal prejudice.

Liberals today just don’t understand anyone who disagrees with them. And contrarianism threatens them because it questions them. Maybe reading a news feed that has been 100% tailored to your individual worldview can have that effect on a person. Rationality threatens the cause and so all dissenting opinions must be suppressed at all costs. That is why instead of answering questions or making arguments they merely slander their opposition. That’s why everyone and everything is racist and bigoted. That is why anyone who disagrees with or disapproves of Greta Thunberg is attacking a minor.

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Like everything else, we need context. So I think of the Covington debacle. Nick Sandman was the name of a minor who participated in a pro-life rally called the March for Life. He decided to wear a MAGA hat during the event. After the event had wrapped up and Nick gathered with his classmates to wait for their bus to take them back to their school another group of protestors confronted the group of school children. A native group and a group called the black hebrews were also there protesting that day. The MAGA hats being worn by nick and others had caught the attention of these other groups and they converged on the students.

One native protestor who was playing a native drum had noticed Nick and singled him out. He confronted the minor, banging his drum, within inches from Nick’s face. One of the black hebrews captured this image with his phone and uploaded the photo to Twitter. There for the world to see was a MAGA wearing, white man facing off with a native man. Without any context the image quickly became a symbol and it garnered explosive outrage across social media from all regions of the world. It was received as Trumpian racism and ignorance facing off against a community of marginalized, vulnerable individuals. Even if that wasn’t the reality of the situation, it’s how it was communicated.

Since CBC thinks sharing tweets counts as journalism, I will also share with you some hard hitting, in depth, journal-isms. This was some of the fallout that happened over social media regarding Nick Sandman. Remember, Nick was a minor at this time:

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The highschool had to be shut down for several days because they received multiple threats. The Sandman family experienced a multitude of harassment and had to lawyer up after media decided to feature his face and identity in their news reports. Nick and his family, and the school itself, is still dealing with the fallout of the incident. Twitter, who operates under a self imposed hateful conduct policy, did not ban any of the verified accounts who incited violence or doxing against the students or the school. They have, however, permanently banned Megan Murphy for misgendering Jessica Yaniv. The point is that some of the same people who are condemning people for criticizing Greta today are the exact same people who called for violence against Nick Sandman.

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Watch Viva Frei break down the WaPo lawsuit dismissal:

 

I also think about Omar Khadr. He traveled to Iraq, pledged allegiance to the Taliban and after helping build improvised explosive devices he was arrested and pleaded guilty to killing an American medic and blinding another American soldier with a grenade. He was 15 at the time. To us, here in Canada, he would be legally considered a minor. In Iraq he would be considered a full grown man where many that age would be either starting a family or on track to start one. He committed the worst crime possible and did so under the flag of a terrorist group who has called for the deaths of all Canadians.

Omar Khadr now lives in Canada, enjoying ten million dollars given to him from a settlement out of court by the liberal government. But that’s it’s own story not worth glossing over too many details for the sake the of conversation I’m trying to have about Greta here and now. We are also living in such a different world today than the world we lived in before september eleventh. Both in government policy, socially and technologically.

When I was in highschool I did stupid things like ride the top of my buddy’s car and steal street signs. We would make stupid jokes about everything to try and shock one another. Jokes about everything. Back when “edgy” was something that can get you arrested for today, at least in the UK. But those jokes and that behaviour is not online. Even by adjusting our conduct today to match the standards of the day, we are still the subject of scrutiny from anything that can be dug up and exposed today. In today’s climate, context does not matter.

Justin Trudeau can use his “privilege” as an excuse for a “blind spot” to justify his lapse in judgement but I guess for everyone else whos daddy wasn’t prime minister we get no second chances or get out of jail free cards for our mistakes. We get fired. We get banned. We lose our friends. Maybe rightfully so. This is exactly why we need to be extremely careful about our conduct. Because you never know what will come back to haunt you in an uncertain future.

The whole reason why there are publication bans on court cases involving minors is purely to protect the identity of those minors. So nothing can be held against these individuals before they enter adulthood. Where they will be held accountable for their actions. Their actions as adults. But social media has made that an impossible standard because everything we do online is now saved, archived, recorded and sold to anonymous third parties. On a regular basis.

Raising a child in this environment in a way that won’t affect their future is almost impossible. You can’t just cut your child off of technology until they’re an adult. You’d be raising an illiterate mess who is incompatible with almost any workplace they will enter. let alone damage their ability to socialize with others. You also can’t expose your child to everything without scandalising them. The parental tight rope gets thinner and thinner every year. So it’s easy to see how so many people view Greta as a victim.

I do not know Greta and I am not trying to speak on her behalf. I, like most everyone else, is trying to just understand where we stand today as a society. Is Greta a victim of child abuse? Is she being used by those around her? Will everything she says and does be held against her in her future? She has admitted to having aspergers and we know that people’s mental illnesses work against them in job interviews. So I think we can say there is evidence that her inclination to polarize may work against her in certain situations. And I think we can all agree that she’s too young to really appreciate the implications of that. So I think there is actual credibility in peoples concern for her.

Ultimately we will need to wait and see what becomes of young Greta. Where she ends up. If she ends up becoming some politician, this will serve to her advantage. But what if Greta kills herself? Some of us rejoice in hearing her brutal critique of governmental indifference but some also hear a hysterical young girl who has become too cynical about the world in a time when she should be smiling and laughing with friends. Does she at least have a therapist to help her cope with her cynicism, depression and celebrity status? What do you think goes on in the mind of a girl who says, “you’ve stolen my dreams and childhood from me”? Or when she talks about extinction?

There is value and developmental benefit of children having a chance to lead happy, fun, worry-free lives before entering adulthood. That may be too late for Greta and I think we could all agree we would rather our children be competent than just simply safe and you don’t do that by raising a naive child. But I can’t help but feel like some people are using Greta to help them struggle with their world view, is anyone helping Greta struggle with hers?

 

Watch Emma Gonzalez speech at the “March for our lives” rally:

 

It also reminds me of David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez. The two main student activists that rose to fame with their appearances after the parkland school shooting. In an interview with 60 minutes Emma Gonzalez mentioned that when they first gave their speech before the Parkland community they had no conceptualization that they were being broadcast for the entire world to see and react to. Now they find themselves thrust into the public spotlight. The whole thing felt coerced to me. A local rally could serve to be a part of the healing process but it’s another thing to have CNN hold a town hall and get children to go on stage and yell at politicians. And then later be given an award for journalism. It’s no wonder so many people are confused about the reality we’re living in.

There’s no doubt that Greta has achieved a certain type of celebrity status and maybe that itself is healing to her. But It sure comes with a boat load of implications that need to be considered. The reality of the situation we are faced with is simple. You cannot enter discourse without expecting there to be discourse. We can all agree that discourse should be civilized and much of it is. But as always you have liberals taking the fringes of discourse and using it to write off the whole conversation.

Regardless how you feel about Michael Knowles referring to her as mentally ill, that is actually what she is. Aspergers is now considered part of the autism spectrum and is in fact a disorder. He didn’t call her deranged or crazy, he called her mentally ill. And it brings into question the conduct of parents of children with mental illness. Parents who seem to have no problem subjecting her to the world stage. I have no doubt if this were regarding a social conservative cause such as pro-life these parents would have their children taken away. You know, like when Kathleen Wynne made it a removable offense for parents to misgender their own children. And made it so teachers must exclude a student’s parents from discussions around sexual identity. And no I can’t find a citation right now so take it or leave it.

 

Watch Matt Walsh discuss whether climate alarmism is child abuse:

 

My take on all of this is that it is absolutely wrong to attack this girl on any superficial level. She is asking for debate, so contend with her ideas. Leave out the comments about her appearance or her gender or age. We can all appreciate young people becoming more engaged politically than ever before. But it is equally as uncivilized to refuse to participate in the debate she is literally asking for. To disqualify any argument or opinion as nothing more than attacking a minor is a lazy response to genuine reaction. What it’s actually saying is that their ideas and arguments are above scrutiny. Nothing is above scrutiny. Not even Greta herself.

You can’t treat Greta like an adult when she wants to speak and then infantilize her when it’s her turn to listen. The only way we’re going to navigate our way through this culture war is by doing as much listening as we do talking. Questioning climate activism isn’t climate denial and propping up children to take the place of science only hurts climate initiatives. A child can never be the face of the public relations battle for trust. And by hurting real conversations around actual change, we are working against Greta’s ambitions, not towards them.

Trudeau’s blackface isn’t a question about racism but of integrity. The concerns around Greta Thunberg doesn’t actually revolve around the environment. And in hypocrisy the only thing you will ever find is comedy and that’s why hypocrisy hurts trust. I disagree with Greta that the environment is our number one issue. Not because the environment isn’t an issue. Because she claims we are doing nothing about it. We are. At least here in Ontario, Canada where we currently have more forestry today than we did two hundred years ago. These issues aren’t solved overnight and as long as you keep demanding they are, we’ll never find a solution.

 

I disagree with Greta but I do admire her. I am glad people are becoming more engaged with issues that impact our daily lives. I just hope Greta can live a happy life. You know how it goes, childhood celebrities never ever develop any issues into their adulthood.

 

 

 

“The Earth is what we all have in common.”

-Wendell Berry

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