“The system” and capitalism are the only ways to save the planet, Greta
I met a well-known Swedish folk musician the other night, who said she had met Greta Thunberg, a pale teenage harbinger of the apocalypse, a few times. I asked how she was and was surprised to learn that, according to the folk musician, Thunberg is “very nice.”
In a way, it was sad news, as it brought to light something seriously wrong with Thunberg, the better angels of his nature being pulled in all the wrong directions by fanaticism and paranoia.
Its environmental campaign has always been imbued with an unsettling end-times quality mixed with a 17th-century-style puritanism befitting the extreme disorder of our times. But last week, Thunberg entered even more sinister new groundin which her true political colors – and those of the movement for which she is Joan of Arc – have been made crystal clear.
Speaking in London at the launch of The climate book, her compilation of essays on the climate “catastrophe”, written by a variety of scientists, historians, philosophers and “indigenous leaders”, as well as the famous anti-capitalist economist Thomas Piketty, Thunberg embarked on the anti-Western plot. She’s self-proclaimed and hailed as a great lifesaver, but her words were threatening and full of ill will to, well, everyone who lives in what she scathingly called “the so-called global north.” .
“We’re never going back to normal again because ‘normal’ was already a crisis,” she said, to which one might wonder what period, if any, Thunberg considers crisis-free. It is assumed that she imagines an era before advanced capitalism, therefore before the 19th century. But before the 19th century, there was slavery and mass death in the “global north” through disease and war. Life was mean and brutal and short, but then again, that’s how green fanatics like it because when we’re dead, we’re the most eco-friendly. If they really loved life, they might, as American author Michael Shellenberger has pointed out, be more interested in the fact that “the whole capitalist system” has increased the average human life expectancy from 30 at 70 years old.
“What we call normal is an extreme system built on the exploitation of people and the planet,” she continued. “It is a system defined by colonialism, imperialism, oppression and genocide by the global north to accumulate wealth that still shapes our current world order.”
Ah: “the world order”. Double ahh: “the system”. What cannot be defined as the result of the harmful functioning of the “system”?
Unfortunately, it was only a matter of time before Thunberg fell into the muddled but seductive lines of thought shared by many who worship her, that the climate crisis “has its roots in a racist and oppressive extractivism that exploits both people and the planet.” maximize short-term profits for the few”.
Of course, none of this makes sense – you can tie almost anything to almost anything else if you want, and it’s equally absurd to make an amoral, complex system , extremely dynamic and never pure like bogeyman capitalism. whose strings are pulled by a few “few”.
This kind of language should seriously concern us. It’s unverifiable, it’s conspiratorial and it has authoritarian tendencies. The climate disappears entirely from view, except as an unassailable gateway to politics. It should also set off alarm bells to hear the duck of “benefits” for a “bit” dark. Such talk has often ended up being the model for murderous anti-Semitism. I doubt Thunberg explicitly goes down this path, or even wants to, but the fact that she’s not aware of what she sounds like when she talks like that is unsettling.
This paranoid anti-profitism is shared by Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil, Insulate Britain and others, but it has nothing to do with “science”, or the planet, and certainly not with “life”, as they claim it. Rather, it is the overthrow of the system – which happens, in Europe and the Anglosphere, to be democracy – that, led by Thunberg, they all want.
“There is a lot of [things we can do], but as we do those things that we can do in our current system, we need to realize that we need system-wide transformation,” the child prophet said. What could that mean? Extinction Rebellion gives us a pretty clear direction: control of every spasm of human consumption, with a parliamentary government subordinate to the virtue police. Indeed, it is a question of reorganizing society around ultra-bureaucratic citizens’ assemblies, unelected groups that will ensure the “democratic” deliverance from the end of capitalism and the “system”. This has grim historical echoes: reminding us of revolutionary situations in which parliaments are overtaken by extra-political bodies, aka the mob.
Then there’s the frightening messianism: she sincerely seems to think that she and her followers are working alone to save “the future of humanity and the future of our civilization.” I would be more inclined to believe that “the future of humanity” hinges on preventing Putins and Xi Jinping from gaining the upper hand than on how quickly we give up central heating.
If climate scientists really cared about climate and life, as they say, they would be looking to the market – not its overthrow – as the provider of the best, fastest and most sustainable solutions. Electric cars, electric planes, passive houses: everything that will allow people to continue to live as they should in the 21st century, while degrading the environment less, will go through the market.
Snarky anti-capitalism, which blames everything on elite capture, has nothing to offer the planet – but the greens don’t care, because they’re more interested in overthrowing “the system” than climate.