Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate “activist” alarmist Greta Thunberg is all the rage right now. Thunberg, who has indubitably benefited from no shortage of formal public communication training, speaks with the moral certitude and dripping condescension so characteristic of the broader pagan cult that is “climate change” alarmism. Oppose the proposed totalitarian, socialist “remedies” for such a purported pandemic and one is called a “climate denier” at best — or a depraved madman at worst. While evidence is thus far lacking, the circumstantial totality suggests the real possibility that, much like the well-organized Left during the Kavanaugh confirmation imbroglio, there may be a “well-orchestrated and well-funded P.R. campaign” here whose over-arching goal is the shaming of free market-oriented dissenters into submission at the pagan altar of enviro-statism.
The notion that policymakers ought to consider proposing policy due to the fraught and hysterical pleas of a 16-year-old is, naturally, insane. And the use of Thunberg herself — who apparently began suffering from depression as a child — as the leading global enviro-statist prop is, as Amanda Prestigiacomo put it, downright unethical.
My Daily Wire colleague Matt Walsh is correct that the deification of Thunberg amounts to child abuse. Indeed, the use of Thunberg as an emotionally compelling prop for zealous socialists foaming at the mouth for any excuse to enact anti-capitalistic policy ought to harken us all back to the last time leftists glommed onto malleable teenagers for use as political props: The aftermath of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Then, as now, the Left cynically decided that the easiest means by which to accomplish its ends was via the public trotting out of minors as spokespersons to emotionally manipulate a gullible public.
But such a tendentious use of minors for the promotion and advancement of a political agenda is not just wrong. It is affirmatively evil.
One can tell a lot about a society by how it treats children. In the United States, the eradication of mass legalized child labor via the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act represents that rare FDR/New Deal-era policy achievement about which even conservatives can be proud. Contrast that with the ubiquitous child labor that still exists in much of the Third World, and one sees a paradigmatic example of what sets apart the more advanced from the more barbaric civilizations. The darker world of child sex trafficking is, of course, far more harrowing still.
The innocence of children is something that every proper society ought to cherish and nourish. Tim Lott described well this sort of innocence for The Guardian in 2013: “Innocence goes deeper than ignorance. It is some mysterious operation of the imagination, the part that can enter into mental universes from which one is soon to be forever excluded.” Societies that aim to maintain the pristine nature of childhood — with its lack of adult responsibility, simplicity, carefree nature, and purity all remaining intact — are societies that ought to be lauded. Societies that disabuse children of their innocence and foist upon children the responsibilities and sundry pitfalls of adulthood are societies that ought to be chastised. Even Hollywood, with its longstanding lionization of the child actor, is worthy of no small amount of scorn.
By all means, teenagers ought to be encouraged to think deeply about issues of global importance. They ought to be encouraged to educate themselves on current events and begin the slow, lifelong process of discovering the nature of truth. But to cynically prop up a teenager as an avatar for a political movement so as to better emotionally manipulate the masses as to the correctness of your political position is no act of valiance. It is an act of cowardice, an act of innocence deprival, an act of evil.