I haven't dedicated a separate blog post to the "climate school strike movement" founded by Greta Thunberg, (now) a 16-year-old Swedish girl, because it's too sad and the people promoting this stuff are extremely far not only from science but from anything that we could call a rational approach to the world. But because it's still an example of a campaign that greatly influences the kids' education – and it is a good symbol of many other, comparably bad things that are happening at schools – I think that one needs to discuss this sad story.
OK, a girl – who claims to possess Asperger's syndrome – went to skip the classes in order to express her desire to save the world from climate change. This stunt was immediately covered by the Swedish mainstream media – where Greta was promoted to God, a position she still holds – and some two weeks ago, 1.4 million students across the world followed in her footsteps. They skipped the classes in order to save the world from the climate Armageddon. It's possible that the next strike will be much more massive than that.
I am using this language – including the "Armageddon" – in order to mock the people who support this pathology. But it's an example of a social phenomenon in which the differences between the parody and the seriously meant claims have totally evaporated because some of the people could describe it in the same words.
There are lots of questions we should ask and answer if we want to understand why the world has gone this terribly wrong. First, is Greta "real" or "fake"? Well, I find it more likely that she's "fake" and was "programmed" by somebody, most likely her dad (Svante Thunberg, an actor – who just happens to be a relative of Svante Arrhenius, a great chemist who has also written an influential paper about the greenhouse effect [and a eugenicist who planned to upgrade Swedish children by electric shocks]). For a while, she seemed to support nuclear energy. German eco-activists immediately attacked her, her dad joined, and she suddenly decided that she no longer likes nuclear energy.
Given the fact that the girl was already – somewhat unsurprisingly – nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, you could reasonably argue that people like her dad have quite a motivation to "invent such an activist".
But my answer isn't really an unambiguous "she is fake". Why? Because I don't see any beef in her at all. I think that the question is almost completely ill-defined because the girl hasn't achieved anything special in her life (but this nothing will still be enough for a life-long job, I guess). What she has done was to skip the classes – millions of kids have done it for centuries – and she has parroted some hysterical quotes about the looming climate Armageddon – and tens of millions of kids across the Western World are expected to do the exact same thing by the schools that have turned into full-blown indoctrination centers. Her monologue is no different from the "essays about climate change" that tens of millions of kids are supposed to write at school these days.
She just looks like a random girl – who may be genuinely scared because she's been brainwashed and she doesn't have the mental power to see that the hysteria makes no sense – who has said and done some things that are (sadly) completely normal among the teenagers today. So what would be "real" or "fake" about her? Of course everything she has done may be "real". Lots of kids parrot similar nonsense all the time. Even if she were "fake", you could still find millions of kids saying almost indistinguishable things who would be "real".
However, what is completely fake is the idea that she deserves to be covered by the media. She and her attitudes and gestures might be "real" but the idea that they should be widely discussed or even praised by the media is ludicrous. In other words, what is completely artificial is the "selection" of this "story" which must be considered a fabrication by the media. Incidentally, in a monologue, she said "it's amazing, if I can be in so many newspapers by skipping the classes, we can do so many things together". She must have missed that there is nothing amazing about it because some 98% of the media have been conquered by scientifically illiterate far left-wing activists for many years. They still haven't achieved anything except for spreading falsehoods and poisoning the atmosphere in the society. Thankfully, almost all of their credibility has already evaporated.
Thousands of kids in many countries, including our relatively skeptical Czechia, joined the "skip the classes movement" two weeks ago. The European Union "works" in the education system which means that the Czech teenagers are arguably being brainwashed by complete junk that ultimately comes from the European Union and its allied NGOs – and they are being brainwashed as effectively as their German or Swedish colleagues. The European Union is really producing a brain-dead generation on the whole EU territory. Unless the kids see the light, there will really be a "new European nation" on our continent in a few decades and it won't be a nice view.
These efforts don't work for the older generations that no longer attend schools. But that shouldn't make us too happy about the future because the older generations typically die away before the younger ones. At any rate, you may still see that the older Czech generations are still skeptical. Here is an interview with some teenagers that was aired by the Czech public radio, the ČRo Radio Wave station. The video is aptly titled "Fridays for Future: the Highest Time to Panic Is Now".
The two kids, Miss Lucie "Lála" Myslíková (who looks like Leonid Brezhnev, many commenters have pointed out) and Mr Petr Doubravský, reveal that they don't have time to study or learn something because "they have the last 12 years to do something". (Great to learn that the end of the world is in 2031 now – it should have been in 2010 and many other years.) Instead, they need to panic because the roof is burning above our heads. We've had the time to panic for some time and we still have the time to panic. Also, they said that they're not interested in any opinions of their parents' generation that has destroyed the world. There are some other terrible things over there – these kids are really messed up.
You know, it's been normal for teenagers to revolt against the system – but "the system" primarily started with the authorities at school. Too bad, the contemporary teenagers don't show any rebellion in this traditional sense because they seem to be proud about having become mindless slaves of their brainwashers. Greta did most of her pieces in Stockholm – the phrase "Stockholm syndrome" seems quite appropriate here.
Over 80% of the votes under the Czech video are negative. Commenters point out that the kids speak like some "pioneers" during the brutal years of the totalitarian communism – youth that needed to express their unconditional loyalty to the communist leaders. I can't be certain that the kids really believe what they say but the appearances surely suggest that they have been more thoroughly brainwashed than any kids I have met during the communism of the 1980s. Maybe these present kids could be compared to some kids of the Stalin era. But I wasn't alive yet. I find it rather likely that their loss of common sense probably exceeds that of any kids from the Stalin era, too.
(Incidentally, especially because Greta and kids are being framed as antagonists of their parents, there is a striking similarity between the Thunberg symbol and a notorious martyr in the Stalinist propagandist mythology, Pavlik Morozov who lived near Pilsen's twin city of Yekaterinburg – which I visited in 1988. The 13-year-old boy was a fanatical fan of the communist collectivization of farms but his father, a communist official, was actually a closet supporter of private farms and "kulaks". Well, in 1932, Pavlik reported his father as a "fraudster" to the Stalinist political police, GPU. According to the legend, the village people – officially led by Pavlik's granddad – killed Pavlik. And because Pavlik represented the victory of the Stalinist morality against the Christian one [where one is supposed to respect the parents], he was promoted to a martyr by the Stalinist propaganda. In a "happy end", the GPU-led firing squad has exterminated the village – with the exception of an uncle. Imagine how sick the Stalinist morality actually was and don't overlook the similarities with the so far less violent climate hysterical ideology.)
Also, if the kids compete for the most unreasonable, hysterical quotes about the climate, why is Greta Thunberg the leader? Why didn't they pick Lála and Petr, or millions of other kids in Czechia or the rest of the world? I don't see any difference. Millions of kids have been robbed of their common sense – and, in many cases, of the psychological stability.
Numerous people have criticized Greta for her hypocrisy. She likes to eat tropical fruits which had to be delivered from far away. She feeds her big dogs and greenhouse gases are created along the way. She is using lots of plastics. And so on. I agree with these observations but in some sense, I think it's counterproductive to exert this pressure on her because she's doing what almost every person in the Western civilization does. There is nothing wrong about it. What's wrong is the idea that this normal behavior should be demonized.
Three hours ago, an old Gentleman named Roberto Savio wrote an incredible text, The Campaign Against Greta is an Index of the Loss of Values. All the people who dare not to worship Greta and her idea to skip the classes have become heretics who have "lost values". These heretics belong to four groups, Savio argues: the stupid, the jealous, the purists, and the paternalists. He indicates that these sets are complementary but – if you kindly ignore his offensive terminology – I surely belong to all these four groups. And many more – groups and reasons to criticize her and her champions that he apparently can't even envision.
I am "stupid" because I find it absolutely appropriate and desirable to mock her for the self-evident lack of realism or inconsistency of her plans and/or for her hypocrisy. Also, I am "jealous" because I believe that the scientifically literate and experienced people should be listened to, not some random emotional teenagers. Interestingly enough, some alarmist climate scientists have been clumped along with me to the "jealous" class by Mr Savio.
This is a very cute observation that deserves two special paragraphs. Well, Savio has seen some climate scientists who have promoted the climate hysteria for years and who feel "jealous" because an uneducated teenage girl has "superseded them" as the source of the key statements in the fight against climate change. On one hand, as I mentioned, I have some understanding for these adult alarmists because the switch from scientists like themselves to a teenage girl – as the main source of wisdom about climate change – indicates an intellectual deterioration to a new low.
On the other hand, I find this evolution rather logical because the climate hysteria has never been about proper scientific research. It was a classic example of a fake science pushed by the conclusions – that were always convenient to special groups for ideological and financial reasons. When this movement with its wide network of misconceptions about science was just growing, it needed some credibility and the people pretending to be scientists – even though they were mostly hired guns defending predetermined conclusions – were helpful. But the climate hysteria has transitioned to a new stage. It no longer needs the credibility because it has hijacked a huge majority of the powerful institutions in the society – schools, universities, mainstream media but also the Pentagon, influential Silicon Valley companies, and more. And this fact has consequences: The would-be scientists are no longer needed – because those who have had scientific reasons not to take the hysteria seriously have already been "defeated" at the political level. An indoctrinated, terrified teenage girl is equally good if not better! Finally, all the redundant aspects of the religion – like the illusion that it has something to do with science – may be thrown away.
I am called a "purist" because I am annoyed by the fact that Greta doesn't fight against some real problems, instead of the fake ones. And I am also a "paternalist" who is very sad that kids are being psychologically tortured by similar falsehoods.
OK, the EU-controlled education system has adopted new standards in which skipping the classes is the best thing that a teenager may do in order to connect himself or herself with the important scientific questions. How is it possible? The hysterical delusions about the climate – just like many other pieces of the EU-sponsored propaganda – have become so widespread that their champions no longer need to pretend that they have something to do with the proper and impartial scientific research, with the proper learning, or with any kind of hard work. The proponents of this new de facto religion already feel so self-confident that they may serve the emotional pseudoscientific myths in their pure, naked form – through girls who haven't studied any atmospheric physics but who have already been persuaded to be terrified which is more valuable according to the EU and its school system than any knowledge or the truth today.
It's really sad and it's obvious that things have deteriorated so far that there doesn't exist any "marginal fix". The cure of this mess cannot be described as a small perturbation. It isn't possible to discuss with the people who represent this kind of evolution of the schools. The potential for any mutual understanding between them and the sensible people is almost non-existent. Schools and teachers who have aligned themselves with this trend must be treated as rotten apples, thrown away, and the schools must be basically rebuilt from scratch.
And that's the memo.
Bonus: The Greta Thunberg movement sheds a new light – light that is more flattering towards the former communist leaders – on this famous video from the 1989 Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. A few days after the Velvet Revolution began in November 1989 (because the university students were beaten in the street and lots of people – starting with actors – expressed their dissatisfaction about the violence), a regional boss of the communist party in Prague Mr Miroslav Štěpán visited ČKD, the largest factory in Prague, in order to collect some support for the communist leaders from the working class – that should have been on their side.
OK, he said that the fundamental pillar is the opinion of the working class... "In no country, neither in a developing country, nor a socialist country or a capitalist country, there 'exists' the situation (his rhetorical skills couldn't hide that he was a simple man) that 15-year-old children decide when the president should leave and who he should be. And that has unfortunately taken place."
The rest was history. The workers started to whistle and shout "We Are Not Children! We Are Not Children!" When other people learned that even the ČKD workers seemed to be disobedient, the rebellion began to spread among all occupations in Czechoslovakia, indeed. Although it had seemed almost impossible to many of us just a few months earlier, the Czechoslovak communism collapsed like a house of cards.
The workers' reaction had several aspects. First, the communist boss just wanted the workers to mindlessly support his party – which didn't work too well and it was his main problem. On the other hand, there was really something true about his suggestion that 15-year-old kids shouldn't decide about the essential questions from the adult world. He deserves some sympathy for that common sense 30 years later (he died 5 years ago) – from some viewpoint, the communist leaders did have more common sense than the EU "elites" have today. Just to be sure, the (university) students who kickstarted the Velvet Revolution were really 19-24 in most cases, not 15. Well... but your humble correspondent was (almost) 16. ;-)