Girls, Groupies, and Grim Reapers: The Religious Politics of Mass Response

Following a week at the UN and ensuing climate change “protests” (state-sanctioned, party-approved, media-praised, university-endorsed, “protests”), in which we were yet again treated to another spectacle of a tearful child lecturing adults, Murad Gazdiev presented the excellent critical analysis of climate change eschatology above. We are even called by the media to “confess our climate sins“. Playing a special role in faith-based movements that are meant to keep rational debate, skepticism, and questions at bay, girls have been chosen to occupy the spotlight. Children are representative of all that is pure, innocent, and truthful, and girl children add that extra element of vulnerability and need: the need for urgent rescue. Lighting a candle on the path toward mass hysteria, with the intention of stimulating a mass response, we have had young girls play in similar roles. There have been at least nine since 1990:

(1) The notorious Nayirah al-Ṣaba who lectured at the UN about the infamous and entirely made up “incubator babies” murdered by Iraqi forces in Kuwait in 1990;

Nayirah al-Ṣaba

(2) Severn Cullis-Suzuki, another young girl lecturing at the UN’s Rio Summit on the Environment, in what appears to be the template that has been copied almost to the letter by Greta Thunberg;

Severn Cullis-Suzuki

(3) Malala Yousafzai, who became the figurehead that somehow justified US occupation in Afghanistan and intervention in Pakistan, celebrated by the US State Department;

Malala Yousafzai

(4) Bana Alabed, the Syrian sock puppet of Twitter fame, a darling of imperialists who served as the angel of regime change on the side of foreign terrorists—see Eva Bartlett for more analysis;

Bana Alabed

(5) Now Greta Thunberg, promoted to the world stage declaring that mass extinction is already here, a prophet of doom who will profit certain well positioned investors;

Greta Thunberg

Sharbat Gula

Aisha

And, don’t forget a whole array of other iconic girls featured on TIME and National Geographic magazine covers, such as (6) the famous “Afghan Girl,” Sharbat Gula, whose image was used to champion US support for the Afghan anti-Soviet resistance (an investment with proven blowback value), or more recently (7) Aisha, used as a motif to support continued US occupation of Afghanistan. One girl to oppose occupation of Afghanistan, another girl to promote occupation of Afghanistan.

Neda Agha-Soltan

Not young girls, but rather young women have also been erected to icon status in the Iranian street protests of 2009, and the Libyan war of 2011. In Iran, I refer to (8) Neda Agha-Soltan, whose image was held aloft by anti-government activists. In Libya, we were presented with an iconic woman protester against Gaddafi’s government, (9) Eman al-Obaidi, a woman whose claims have not only been roundly debunked by myself and others, she has since abundantly disgraced herself living in the US, where she landed in jail.

Eman al-Obaidi

At a time when the West is priding itself for its advancements in allegedly fighting sexism, what we see is a return to an antiquated chivalry that gallops to the rescue of these damsels in distress. As a favourite tool of neo-colonialism, US imperialists routinely depicted countries in Latin America as women—women in distress, needing to be “saved” by Uncle Sam. As I have said before, we work with a finite number of cultural materials, and our only “innovations” are in finding new applications and new media for recycling past tropes.

Uncle Sam rescues “Cuba” from the flames of anarchy.

It is no surprise that “women and girls” have been a special focus of US foreign policy, particularly from the time of George W. Bush straight to, and including, even Donald Trump. One reason has to do with the relentless puritanical moralism into which American politics have been displaced for over two centuries. Yet in deploying women and girls as props, using them as human shields, what that usually signals is the approach of either an egregious assault on the rights of others, whether individuals or nations, or a politically bankrupt policy that can find no other means of attracting sympathy other than to remind us, “it’s all about the little children”. Children are meant to be pacified, but in such instances they are themselves used as tools of pacification. Inserting a little girl into the middle of a debate, stops the debate. If anyone continues the debate, they are then smeared for “attacking children“.

By now those who are aware of this pattern should be on alert whenever a new incarnation appears, because it is a signal that certain powerful political, economic, and cultural entrepreneurs are trying to provoke an instantaneous mass reaction that might not otherwise be possible with reasoned, calm debate where all of the facts are presented, analyzed and discussed. Typically, this pattern appears when actions are being entertained that might otherwise shock ordinary individuals and make them balk at such drastic measures. Women, and particularly young girls, are meant to stimulate panic, a sense of emergency, requiring urgent and always exceptional action. As the Mayor of Montreal said about the climate march and Thunberg’s appearance, she hopes everyone will remember that day when the time comes to make some “hard decisions”. This is how one goes about creating the psychological basis for a state of siege, and ensuring that the siege mentality is instilled in a manner that makes it seep down to the furthest reaches of the social fabric.

It was Karl Marx who wrote the following about the state of siege as it,

“enmeshes, controls, regulates, superintends and tutors civil society from its most comprehensive manifestations of life down to its most insignificant stirrings, from its most general modes of being to the private existence of individuals; where through the most extraordinary centralization this parasitic body acquires a ubiquity, an omniscience, a capacity for accelerated mobility and an elasticity which finds a counterpart only in the helpless dependence [of the people on the state], in the loose shapelessness of the body politic” (The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. New York: International Publishers, 2004, p. 62).

One of the landmark developments of what was announced as the “New World Order” by former US president George H.W. Bush on September 11, 1990, which joined the “globalization” babble, has been this recurrent series of “crises” that have been used to train masses into globalized mass reaction. One was the now laughable Y2K bug, a fraud of epic proportions that few mention any longer just out of sheer embarrassment (or possibly due to the kind of amnesia induced by mass culture); another was the SARS emergency, which resulted in few deaths and ended up amounting to nothing. Then we were supposed to be struck by Ebola at one point, and then a Middle Eastern version of SARS…and in the 1970s all the talk was about African Killer Bees making their way toward the US. Nothing regiments a society like fear, and once fear is unleashed it can be harnessed to any ends.

This is humanitarian abduction on a grand scale.

On the topic of climate change, Larry Kummer at Fabius Maximus has been diligently compiling a series of extremely useful analytical reports that should make any reasonable, intelligent person pause and take note. In particular, among the most recent, I recommend:

Until recently I was quite open to accepting most of the propositions put forth by climate change scientists (I have no time for activists). However, when I started to see that the authorities who marshalled this science were now actually presuming to speak to us through a little girl, that gave me reason for pause. Why are they resorting to such a crass, infantilizing tactic? It strongly suggested that perhaps their arguments were not so iron-clad after all, not as well founded on solid bedrock as some believed, and that even though they control all the media of communication and have effectively “won” the argument by closing off all channels of dissent and institutionalizing echo chambers, they still had to resort to this silly little trick. Now that means there is something really wrong in their camp, something definitely stinks over there. Nobody with a solid argument needs to resort to moral blackmail, character assassination, insults, and threats–that is not what a winning side does. This trope of using a little girl was the final straw, and those who are sincere in their research and advocacy around climate change are being done no favours by her stage-managed activism.

Finally, let me close with another Caribbean anecdote. In Trinidad this past June, I was surprised to find how little the heat was affecting me, especially as I just came out of a winter which stretched late into spring. I marched at a funeral, in a wool suit (it’s all I have), under a blazing sun, and even that was bearable. Yet I am a person who feels hot in winter snow. Something was indeed wrong. What really took me by surprise however was Trinidadians complaining about the heat. These were the same Trinidadians I knew who would sleep with no fan at night, covered by a blanket; who would wear a jacket in the morning because it was “making cold” (cold meaning 22° Celsius); in air conditioned libraries they would wear sweaters, making for a Canadian scene in the tropics. They were the same people who used to mock my incessant sweating. Now I was dry, and they were complaining about the heat, and it was only 29° Celsius, not the usual 32-34° which I associate with Trinidad’s daytime temperatures. What happened? They asserted it was “climate change” that had them feeling hot. What they did not explain is why they had all made a mass transition to air conditioning their homes, places of work, and public transport vehicles–the famous Maxi Taxis of the Eastern Main Road, throbbing with music blaring from their speakers, bouncing hot boxes…were all now firmly sealed, dark and quiet as they sped by carrying their air conditioned passengers. So was it in fact climate change that had them feeling hot, or was it first the cultural change of switching to an air conditioned mode of existence? To me it appears they have been acclimatized to a new artificial climate, while becoming alien to their natural environment. Then I returned to Canada a few weeks ago, flying around Hurricane Dorian–when I mentioned this fact to friends, their reaction to Dorian was “look at all this damn climate change“–referring just to a single hurricane, in a region and during a season when hurricanes are normal. Now just regular climate is becoming climate change, and that is a sign of the work of inculcating mass hysteria and irrationality.

But by all means ignore this—surely somewhere there is a little girl beckoning your attention.

25 thoughts on “Girls, Groupies, and Grim Reapers: The Religious Politics of Mass Response

  1. John Allison

    Perfect timing, Max. This is a subtly worded and visually rich representation of a major social disorder, and shared/promoted mental disorder made major by the media opportunists.
    You make it very clear.

  2. Shea

    Hey Max

    Really good post, especially your point about the pattern of girls being thrust in front of the media as damsels in distress. It’s like they expect us to respond as though we imagine ourselves to be Arnold Schwarzenegger in an action film or something. I had never properly looked in to the climate change issue until today, though it always smelled bad to me.

    I read in a book once about a psychological phenomenon called the Availability heuristic. From wikipedia:
    “The availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to a given person’s mind when evaluating a specific topic, concept, method or decision. The availability heuristic operates on the notion that if something can be recalled, it must be important, or at least more important than alternative solutions which are not as readily recalled.[1] Subsequently, under the availability heuristic, people tend to heavily weigh their judgments toward more recent information, making new opinions biased toward that latest news.[2][3]
    The availability of consequences associated with an action is positively related to perceptions of the magnitude of the consequences of that action. In other words, the easier it is to recall the consequences of something the greater those consequences are often perceived to be. Most notably, people often rely on the content of their recall if its implications are not called into question by the difficulty that they experience in bringing the relevant material to mind.[4]”

    It came up in a book I was reading in a discussion about why people sometimes let their emotions be affected by negative news stories. Specifically, he (Steven Pinker) writes “It’s easy to see how the Availability heuristic, stoked by the news policy ‘if it bleeds, it leads,’ could induce a sense of gloom about the state of the world.” It seems to be relevant to the climate change alarmism. I would not be in the slightest surprised if the propagandists that dominate the mass media messaging are trained to “weaponize” psychology to get their their messages as deep as possible in individual’s conscious.

    PS. This isn’t related to the post, but did you see the speech Emmanuel Macron gave? https://www.elysee.fr/emmanuel-macron/2019/08/27/discours-du-president-de-la-republique-a-la-conference-des-ambassadeurs-1
    He dropped some pretty serious bombs, such as “Nous sommes sans doute en train de vivre la fin de l’hégémonie occidentale sur le monde.” and “Regardons l’Inde, la Russie et la Chine. Elles ont une inspiration politique beaucoup plus forte que les Européens aujourd’hui. Elles pensent le monde avec une vraie logique, une vraie philosophie, un imaginaire que nous avons un peu perdu. ”

    Pretty shocking statements for a Western leader.

    1. Maximilian C. Forte

      Thank you Shea, as always, for both the thoughtful comment and the very interesting information and news. Macron (it’s a surprise to me) seems to be both capable and willing to recognize reality, at least for a moment. What he is talking about is almost inescapable. None of the three countries he mentions is plagued by any of the useless internal divisions that drive media-dominated public discourse in the West.

      1. shea05

        Max

        Since that last comment I’ve experienced the “useless internal divisions” up front and personal.

        On Sunday night before I typed out that comment I posted a facebook status that drew attention to the statement sent to the UN by 500 scientists and professionals. I also posted a couple of full paragraphs from your article (with the links). My sole point was “there is no reason for panic”. I am no stranger to posting thoughtcrime on social media, but I was absolutely not prepared for what happened next. I was dogpiled by my own friends, rabidly eager to signal their virtue. One guy (an acquaintance) simply said “thanks for the fox news points” looking to score some likes from internet strangers. Another friend responded with nothing but emotional language to statements I did not make, but statements she imagined. One of my closest friends, a perfectly intelligent person, claimed “we could potentially go extinct” even though I know for an absolute fact he simply fabricated the idea in that moment because it sounded correct to him. Another said “that’s right-wing talking points” like that was the end of it. Incredibly, I have another woman (someone I barely know from high school 10 years ago) waiting for me to accept a friend request because she is that desperate to get on my page and join the fray, like I am going to let a stranger try embarrassing me in front of everyone I know. Naturally, nobody sought to click my links and engage with me or the information in a good faith manner. I am shocked and disappointed to admit that I have some semblance of the feeling that one would have had if a crowd of his peers had shouted “HERETIC” at him in the midst of an 11th century moral panic.

        I’ve hardly been able to think of anything else the last two days.

        First, nearly my entire social circle witnessed the facebook disputes. I am under no illusions that at least some of them saw me as “climate change denier” and nothing else. I am a heretic. This bizarre new reality is difficult to process, but like all red pills the feeling will pass.
        Second, after the facebook episode I cannot help but think that this climate change thing has been embedded deep in people’s cores, where they hold their dearest aspects of their identity, possibly having settled more easily than it should have by filling a gaping void in our culture that is the result of this civilization having abandoned its spiritual roots. As Jordan Peterson wrote “You see, it matters whether people around the world understand these ancient stories. It deeply matters. We are becoming unmoored, because we no longer share the structure these stories undergird. This is psychologically destabilizing. It’s producing a pathological and desperate nihilism that is increasingly common and, at the same time, a pronounced proclivity for the ideological certainty that mimics but cannot replace true religious belief. Both consequences are bound to be, as the evidence certainly indicates, divisive and truly dangerous.”
        Third, some of my brief amateur research indicates that at least part of the climate debate contains misleading language and questionable science. Exampls: the “97% of scientists agree humans are causing global warming” statement gets thrown around everywhere including placed front and centre on NASA’s website is misleading because it’s 97% of *climate* scientists that “agree”, not 97% of *all* scientists, I still remember National Geographic getting me with that one years ago. Second example: climategate. https://www.lavoisier.com.au/articles/greenhouse-science/climate-change/climategate-emails.pdf Though I have yet to go too far down the climate science rabbit hole. Regardless, now that I see that some major players in the “pro” climate debate are willing to mislead and be dishonest, now I have been given reason to doubt any thing that comes from them at all. At a very minimum, the need to “act like the house is on fire” (in other words – panic) is outrageously false.
        Fourth, a grave uncertainty for the future. If in fact lies have been used to construct this new reality, it would go pretty far in explaining as to why regular people are voluntarily taking on the mentality of a doomsday cult. I am sensing fear in my friends, the aforementioned female friend straight up told me “she fears for her future”. I think we can guess at what’s coming next from the media: they’re going to build on the Greta Thunberg momentum with a relentless assault on our psyche with extreme weather events (a discussion on whether the extreme weather events existed before the “warming” will be omitted), complete with wreckage and maybe even images of some dead children for good measure. As the fear increases, all bets are off. Nobody knows what happens next whether it’s looting; tyranny; gulags; more war; or all of the above. I sincerely hope I am just being paranoid, but my gut feeling is that we’ve just taken a turn for the worse.

      2. Maximilian C. Forte

        Excellent points Shea. Briefly put: they are the apocalypse that they imagine we are facing.

        I have no problem being banished as a “heretic”: that has been the case for quite some time, and I now see it as my duty to be as much of a heretic as possible, at all times. North American social media is little more than a sewer for deeply unhappy, very lonely people, the kind who are ready to listen to some 16-year-old with all the facial mannerisms of an Adolf Hitler as if she were some great Oracle of Delphi.

        “Listen to the scientists,” they command, implore, or plead. In a state of perpetual panic and permanently helpless dependence we turn to the authorities–authorities such as these (enjoy):

        U.N. Predicts Disaster if Global Warming Not Checked
        Associated Press
        June 29, 1989

        and a follow up on that story:

        Flashback 1989: UN Predicted Global Warming Would Destroy Entire Nations By 2000

        Plus this grand collection of classics–I am not endorsing the site, but their clippings are all from mainstream news media and from scientists’ own statements, including scientists at top US universities:

        Wrong Again: 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions

        We can leave aside the “eggs are bad, all the cholesterol,” Y2K, and the current panic that has people believing “vaping kills”, as just some of the other Great Moments in Science. I personally do not deny that climate change is real, but I do reject the emergency-level panic and hysteria and the ridiculous “solutions” that are being trotted out to “treat the problem”. I understand that small island states are pressing “climate change emergency,” for good reason, as it may be an assured avenue to obtaining greater levels of development aid–they are smart in doing whatever they can for the benefit of their citizens. However, in few if any cases have they actually gone as far as removing their citizens from living alone shore lines, despite all the alarm at “rising sea levels”.

      3. shea05

        “North American social media is little more than a sewer for deeply unhappy, very lonely people, the kind who are ready to listen to some 16-year-old with all the facial mannerisms of an Adolf Hitler as if she were some great Oracle of Delphi.”

        HAHA

        Thanks for the links, I have now learned that this just seems to be a normal cycle in the insanity asylum of mass media culture. Truly, I feel better from your comment so thanks for that. Happy blaspheming.

  3. Jeannette

    I have been surprised that in all the many articles and comments I’ve read about the Greta phenomenon, the majority extremely negative, no-one has analysed or even mentioned the influence of the fictional teenage heroine who leads other young people in a fight to save their world from a dystopian future.

    The most familiar would be Katniss Everdeen (age 16) who leads a youth rebellion against a dictatorship in North America in ‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins (2008), and its sequels. These books have become a highly successful film series. In North America, The Hunger Games is the second highest-grossing film series based on young adult books, after the Harry Potter series, earning over $1.4 billion. Worldwide, it is the third highest-grossing film series based on young-adult books after the film series of Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga, respectively, having grossed over $2.9 billion. In the Australian book ‘Tomorrow when the War Began’ by John Marsden (1993), Ellie Linton (age 16) leads a teenage resistance to the invasion of Australia. The ‘The Day the War Began’ was less successful as a film but the seven books in the series have been widely read and translated (the first book was translated into Swedish in 2000, so it’s likely that Greta has read it). In 2013, ‘Tomorrow, When the War Began’ was voted Australia’s favourite Australian book in a poll run to encourage Australians to read.

    Of course it’s not only young girls who save their world. The young trio in the Harry Potter series, the most successful young people’s series, Harry, Hermione and Ron start off at age 10-11 in the first book, and remain teenagers for most of the series.

    These fictional heroes are the model for youth action. They say, yes, the world is scary and dangerous, but if adults (muggle or wizard) cause the problems or don’t do enough to fix them, then it’s up to children and young people. In these stories, young people don’t just sit around being afraid, they take action. In the fictional dystopias, young girls fight physically – in The Hunger Games, there is a mixture of old and new technology, but Katniss is an archer; in Tomorrow, Ellie and her team turn a petrol tanker into an anfo bomb to blow up a bridge. In the real world such individual action would be terrorism; speaking on a world stage is a more effective way to try move the world to action.

    Anthropologically, there’s something very interesting going on here. The commentary, including this article, focus on the idea that these girls are naive, manipulated ‘sock-puppets’ of evil adults. As you say the image of innocent women and children who need to be rescued by men, preferably Americans, has been used as a propaganda tool. But given the influence of Ellie, Katniss, and Harry and friends, that’s not the way young people are seeing Greta’s actions, and ultimately they are the ones who will be around in the future.

    I read your iconoclastic blog with interest, though I rarely comment. This time I have, because I’m disappointed that you’ve fallen into line with the mob. Perhaps stand back and think like an anthropologist? There’s much more to this than just the machinations of a cult of warmist hoaxers. (Disclaimer: I’m not young, late 70s; I’m a scientist/archaeologist).

    1. Maximilian C. Forte

      Interesting comment (apart from “think like an anthropologist” which assumes a single way of thinking “like an anthropologist,” and can easily be devoid of actual content). I certainly was standing back: I am in no way immersed in and among such actors, thankfully. Standing back and thinking like an anthropologist might also mean not thinking like a teenage girl consuming the products of corporate popular culture, and assuming that we should see Thunberg the way *some* young people see her. More importantly, it’s not young people that had her invited to speak at the UN, EU, Davos, Financial Times, etc., etc. Also, just to restate the obvious, this article is not about Greta Thunberg. It is about nine young women and girls that form part of a pattern. Seeing the patterns in culture is also what anthropologists do, rather than just being led to obsess about a single individual.

      1. Jeannette

        I have only heard of two of the other young women listed in the article, Malala Yousafzai and Sharbat Gula. Perhaps they have all been less influential world-wide because the Middle Eastern wars and suffering has been going on so long that we’ve become desensitised. Even with the greater awareness of and risk of terror attacks, it doesn’t affect most people in the world directly. For anyone under 30, it’s been in the background (and for some unfortunate people in the foreground) all their lives. But, then, so has the climate change debate.

        The case of Greta Thunberg seems to be rather different. The world, one way or another is obsessing about this single individual. Millions of people, especially young people, have been motivated to go on strike, march, protest publically. The other young women (or the campaigns behind them) did not have this effect. As well, there’s been an extremely intense negative reaction towards Greta from many people, mainly men (at least in the media) but also women. Did that happen with regard to the other young women? (For example, see http://theconversation.com/misogyny-male-rage-and-the-words-men-use-to-describe-greta-thunberg-124347).

        So my thoughts were about the cultural patterns that might throw some light on what has led the world led to obsess about a single individual. What made this individual touch a world-wide nerve (or nerves) when the others didn’t? I was even more intrigued when I realised that no-one else seemed to be considering this, at least I haven’t come across anything in my fairly wide reading.

      2. Maximilian C. Forte

        Thanks again Jeannette,

        you probably will not like my response–not because it is aimed at you, which it is not–but because it likely goes very much against some of the sources you have been reading and citing. You are certainly correct that there has been a reaction against Thunberg that was largely absent in the earlier cases (relatively speaking, since the sceptics back then were simply marginalized, even more than now). One reason has to do with the mounting number of cases of girls screaming fire. At a certain point people say “enough”. Emergency fatigue sets in. The reaction is rooted in neither “misogyny” (a word that is carelessly bandied about these days), nor “male rage” (whatever that is, but perhaps those concerned about it should stop stoking it). Rather than let the entrepreneurs of the “culture of complaint” opportunistically generate new “victims,” we should be asking: how is it that the icons of emergency and despair are never little boys? If the promoters consistently resort to girls as tools, then that is the culturally significant phenomenon. Writers for The Conversation will not address, or even think of raising that question, because that is a hegemony-enforcing neoliberal product, backed by banks, corporate foundations, and university administrations–the demand for conformity is built in from the outset.

  4. Gaby

    I wonder if you’ve had the chance to read Cory Morningstar’s series of articles entitled “The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg for Consent” http://www.theartofannihilation.com/category/articles-2019/. I tend to agree with her: it’s more about the “green new deal” and new markets while defeating any chances for real changes. I believe a lot of scientists are seeing this mass movement as a positive step forward, rather than questioning its real aims.

    1. Maximilian C. Forte

      Thanks, both to K. Freeman and Gaby: yes, I have definitely been thinking about “the wrong kind of green,” but neglected to first see what Cory Morningstar had written, only because of limited time. I am going there next, and I appreciate the links. Unfortunately it was the mere presence of links in your comments that had WordPress sidetrack your comments (luckily, I found them).

  5. K Freeman

    Your assessment of the cultural/emotional response to the “damsel in distress” scenario is spot on. I would refer you and your readers to the following somewhat lengthy but very detailed and heavily referenced analyses of the current mass hysteria. Some points that stand out: the sudden “grassroots” mobilization making use of the young female archetype (obvious comparison to Joan d’Arc) is demonstrably backed by huge corporate interests which have been planning this for decades; the “climate change” argument, which depends in part on accepting that significant amounts of warming can be attributed to human activity and that CO2 is the primary culprit, seems to pointedly ignore facets of environmental degradation that can be undeniably attributed to human activity (industrial pollution, pesticides, herbicides, plastics, etc.). For the purposes of understanding where the funding and impetus for this escalation of socially engineered crisis response is originating, see the following…

    https://nowhere.news/index.php/2019/04/01/astroturfing-the-way-for-the-fourth-industrial-revolution/

    http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/01/17/the-manufacturing-of-greta-thunberg-for-consent-the-political-economy-of-the-non-profit-industrial-complex/

    Keep up the good work.

  6. Pingback: Girls, Groupies, and Grim Reapers: The Religious Politics of Mass Response – Astute News

  7. nyolci

    Dear Max,

    I usually agree with you, and I do agree with much of your characterization of the Greta Thunberg phenomenon. She is a damsel in distress, the last in a long row of similar young ladies. Furthermore she is Swedish, and the Swedes are cute, they are doing things right, they are environmentally conscious while at the same time they have a good industry with fashionable products like Volvo, so the middle class crowd can easily “relate” to her. She is white (blond, blue eyed, Germanic!), so even the racists can support her without the usual objections. Politicians and journalists are rushing to get the fraction of the limelight that falls on her. “Supporting” her is a good method nowadays for virtue signalling and proving that one is prepared to lead the people to the Green Promised Land (without actually doing anything), and even making some money. This is all true.

    BUT the sad thing is that she is completely right. She primarily wants us to listen to the scientists. She also claims that people in power (and actually most adults) act not just irresponsibly in the face of an extremely dangerous situation but they act like clowns, peddling petty and ridiculous interests. As if everyone has lost any common sense. She clearly speaks for herself and her generation, and this is a clear difference with the other damsels you mentioned, they were downright frauds. Greta Thunberg is expressing the feelings of her age group, in a language that is characteristic of them. Young people has already told me things like this much before and independently of her. Actually, these things are commonplace among the “millennials”, there are tons of material about “late stage capitalism” and the like.

    Here I have to raise the issue of anthropogenic climate change. Whether you like it or not, whether there are people eager to exploit “Green” or not, science (natural science) in this topic is unambiguous (I’m an engineer, this is my advantage in this situation, I can read and understand the publications). There’s consensus in this topic, scientific consensus, not the kind that needs “warm, nurturing environment” (from “Trees talk…”). Most people get staggered by the fact that there’s room for consensus in natural sciences with all those mathematics, but yes, there’s. Where maths breaks down they – we – have consensus. For example the Law of Conservation of Energy, a very basic law of modern Physics is consensual, ie. empirical truth, thus it gets expressed as an axiom in the mathematical models of Physics. For climate science, the maths is extremely complicated and, for intrinsic reasons, it’s hard to handle analytically (That’s why computer modelling is so important). Climate science is basically the science of estimates, estimates in the future and in the past (reconstruction). Scientists are extremely good at it, and getting better every year, and they have their hard earned consensus (made with endless debates). They say that the problem is big, and we have to do something very profound very soon.

    Yes, climate always change, and yes, we can adapt (also from “Trees talk…”). But for adaptation, it DOES matter how big and sudden the change is, and the scientists are telling us this one will likely be very big and very quick, in the scale not seen in literally millions of years. Actually, in geological sense what we can observe now is a major extinction wave that kicked in out of nothing, extremely quickly in geological terms. And another thing. In “Trees talk…” you said: “Hopefully no climate scientists are arguing that climate change would not happen, were it not for us—such an assertion would be theological, not scientific.”. You are actually mistaken here. And I don’t even argue for the theoretical possibility for saying things like this (in symbolic logic, this is the stupidly named “counterfactual conditional”). Much more specifically, climate science now is able to reconstruct past climate extremely well and it could account for most of the external factors (called “forcing”, for no obvious reason), and they discovered that the “natural” (ie. non human influenced) climate would be quite slow but continuous cooling, mainly for astronomical reasons.

    As for the solutions, I agree that all the proposals are rather stupid and unconvincing. But this fact doesn’t invalidate the PROBLEM, that is existing. Actually, the real problem is most likely capitalism itself, we have to change THAT first for any meaningful solution. The Greta Thunberg phenomenon may be one in a long row of neoliberal pseudo affairs, but the thing is that she is right and the problem is really immediate. We have to change capitalism, that needs (whether we like it or not) a revolution. If we don’t do anything, the result will be inevitably worse, that’s what science says. Of course it can get bad in many other ways (like a nuclear war), but climate will surely change to the worse.

    1. Maximilian C. Forte

      Thanks nyolci,

      When consensus is made to appear so rapidly, in an emergent area of scientific research, then yes the apparent consensus does appear to be suspicious, and as we saw last week several hundred scientists wrote the UN to stress that there is no “emergency,” and calling for an open debate. Fabius Maximus posted the essays of other scientists who likewise express serious doubts. Even the UN’s own panel asked that Greta Thunberg please stop exaggerating, and that her generation would hardly feel any of the effects of what is occurring. And that is just a short list from what I can immediately recall, without being someone immersed in this field.

      The issue, however, is not even whether or not Thunberg is right. The question is who stands behind her to exploit the opportunities presented by “emergency”. The work of Cory Morningstar abundantly answered this question, starting here:

      THE MANUFACTURING OF GRETA THUNBERG – FOR CONSENT: THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF THE NON-PROFIT INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX [ACT I]

      From what I can tell, at least from the earlier reports in the series, Morningstar admires Thunberg, essentially agrees with her propositions, and yet is still able to point out the serious dangers that lurk behind those whose agendas are responsible for marketing and branding Thunberg in the first place.

      Do you honestly think that we would ever be here discussing what some 15 year old kid doing a lonely protest at her school thought, had it not been for such powerful interests to push her under our noses. Come on now.

      1. nyolci

        “When consensus is made to appear so rapidly…”
        This is actually interesting ‘cos to me it’s obvious that consensus is an old thing, and scientists have been telling us these things consistently for a long time. Consensus goes back (with a little exaggeration) almost to the 70s, the danger and the basic mechanisms were known even then, and they had quite good projections (eg. an Exxon study, buried immediately, but with still valid results). The most well known artefact of this science, the “hockey stick graph” has just turned 20 this year, and that was kinda the summary of at least 1,5 decade of work in the field.

        “Do you honestly think that we would ever be here discussing what some 15 year old kid doing a lonely protest…”
        :) of course not, but in this topic we have to be careful, young people seem to be really fed up with the current situation (not just climate politics but the world as it is now). I’ve recently read a lot from young people (mainly “reddit” forums, good input for anthropological research too :) ), and I can tell you they love Greta, and they feel she represents them. This is of course completely independent of the “powerful interests” who push her, and about whom you (and Cory) are most probably right.

        “we saw last week several hundred scientists wrote the UN to stress that there is no “emergency,” and calling for an open debate”
        We have to be extremely careful again. Those “powerful interests” definitely do exist at this end of the spectrum, and this is very well documented. It means any “climate sceptical” voice gets amplified out of proportion immediately. (I don’t claim these scientists are in the pocket of the oil industry, honestly this is the first time I hear about this letter(?) to the UN, I’m gonna check this out of course.)

        “Even the UN’s own panel asked that Greta Thunberg please stop exaggerating”
        Unfortunately the IPCC has been involved in (completely bogus) “controversies”, so they try to get as far as they can from even remote possibility of another one. This is frankly a cowardly attitude (“warm, nurturing”), they did that in the past too. They should’ve “stood their ground”.

      2. Maximilian C. Forte

        Today on Fabius Maximus:

        Confessions of a climate scientist:
        https://fabiusmaximus.com/2019/10/01/confessions-of-a-climate-scientist/

        “Climate simulation models are fine tools to study the climate system, so long as the users are aware of the limitations of the models and exercise caution in designing experiments and interpreting their output. In this sense, experiments to study the response of simplified climate systems, such as those generated by the “state-of-the-art” climate simulation models, to major increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases are also interesting and meaningful academic projects that are certainly worth pursuing. So long as the results of such projects are presented with disclaimers that unambiguously state the extent to which the results can be compared with the real world, I would not have any problem with such projects. The models just become useless pieces of junk or worse (worse, in a sense that they can produce gravely misleading output) only when they are used for climate forecasting.

        “”All climate simulation models have many details that become fatal flaws when they are used as climate forecasting tools, especially for mid- to long-term (several years and longer) climate variations and changes. These models completely lack some of critically important climate processes and feedbacks, and represent some other critically important climate processes and feedbacks in grossly distorted manners to the extent that makes these models totally useless for any meaningful climate predictions. …”

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  11. Cyndy Hill

    A large part of the debate that is not allowed to happen with regard to the emergency of climate change, is the very real and documented issue of geoengineering. Most folks are not aware that intentions to control and weaponize the weather began in the 1950s. In LBJ’s infamous address in 1962 he said publicly: “ From space, the masters of infinity would have the power to control the earth’s weather, to cause drought and flood, to change the tides and raise the levels of the sea, to divert the gulf stream and change temperate climates to frigid…..It lays the predicate and foundation for the development of a weather satellite, that will permit man to determine the world’s cloud layer, and ultimately to control the weather. He who controls the weather will control the world.” The Geoengineering Watch website of Dane Wigington, an expert in solar energy, conservationist, and activist would be a good place to learn about the devastating impact weather manipulation developed over the last 70 or so years has done to our planet.

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