The media have been ablaze in recent days with pictures of bright eyed, enthusiastic students marching in uniform support of “saving the earth” as it spins inexorably towards a proclaimed fiery death in 12 years. Much of this activity has been here in the U.S.

However, in Sweden a solitary sixteen-year-old has become an international media star as she skipped school and boycotted outside the Swedish parliament building in Stockholm, and conducted a protest against what she perceives as her government’s slow movement on climate change. “I will sit there every Friday until Sweden is aligned with the Paris agreement,” she told enthralled attendees of the United Nations Conference of the Parties 24 (COP24) in Katowice, Poland this past December. Diagnosed with Asperger’s and ADHD, she is the daughter of Swedish opera singer Malena Ernman and actor Svante Thunberg.  Perhaps the theatrical flair runs in the family as this updated Pied Piper of Hamelin lures modern youth into the streets in colorful protest to “do something.” That same image is echoed at the adult level by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as her siren message enraptures the members of Congress, old and young alike, while she leads the mesmerized into climate salvation before the 12 remaining years of earthly existence expire.

Have these youthful concerns arisen de novo from their own reasoned studies of climate history and classroom science classes…or is there a guiding hand pushing fear and loathing of capitalism and fossil fuels at an early age of education? A recent essay documents the idea of using children to promote climate angst as part of a 2012 conference in La Jolla, which promoted the use of tobacco lawsuit related arguments to be used by children in climate change legal strategies.

Pitching to an even younger cadre of innocent children were efforts by the climate alarmists to insert climate change concern (known as global warming at the time) into the cartoon world inhabited by children. “The Endless Summer”, June 2005, was advertised as a  SpongeBob SquarePants  educational short. A more balanced view might have called it a propaganda short. The story line begins, “SpongeBob is on his way to the Krusty Krab when he spots a large factory pipe mounted on the restaurant’s roof. Inside is a parked boat pumping carbon dioxide up into the pipe and out into the atmosphere.” Later,”…Mr. Krabs is seen in his office, playing with tiny wax figurines of himself and a customer of the Krusty Pool. However, the figurines suddenly start to melt as a result of the raised temperature. When Mr. Krabs exits his office and demands who turned up the heat, he sees seventeen boats pumping carbon dioxide into the air.”

The imagery is set in our youths’ minds. The linkage is factory/carbon dioxide/atmosphere/people melting. In August 2011, the U.S. Department of Education was all aboard at an event in D.C. promoting reading where children were given this SpongeBob SquarePants book that “promotes the idea that global warming is manmade.” Subsequent public schooling agendas have served to reinforce the imagery, and no alternate scientific viewpoints are permitted as the urban legend known as consensus shuts out debate. The end result is now world-wide media shows of climate activism.

Children have been subject to this one-sided indoctrination on manmade climate throughout their education. It is no wonder that they are easily enlisted in media campaigns. They are the pediatric equivalent of the peer/pal review approval process; they support the doctrine which their trusted teachers have said is the truth.

Reaching further back in time, this public fixation on climate change as a catastrophe rather than a timeless characteristic of Earth, was a topic of interest for economist Julian Simon. He reflected upon the failure of the news media to report his factual debunking of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “vanishing farmland scam” in his 1999 book: “Hoodwinking the Nation.” Most of the rest of the book deals with the conundrum of the public’s propensity to accept “false bad news,” and includes a chapter on global warming scares. In the intervening 20 years there is little evidence that this peculiar human trait has changed; bad news still sells; bad news still drives charitable public donations, research grants, and media attention.

Further insight may be found in Charles Mackay’s studies of mass human follies: “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.” First published in 1841, his book chronicles in sixteen chapters examples of crowd psychology with some of the notable economic and social foibles of the past. The Preface includes his observation that: “We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds on one object, and go mad in its pursuit: that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion and run after it, til their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.” One colorful example became known as Tulipomania. Current climate change hysteria fits that same observation. We can wonder what the next mass wave of catastrophic concern might be. Today the internet and social media provide the tools of instant mass incitement to a public sensitized to emotional impacts rather than scientific argument.

Mr. SpongeBob is laughing his square pants off.

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