As Secret Agent Maxwell Smart from the Get Smart television show would say, “Missed it by that much!”
The Left was almost close to getting young conservatives and libertarians to start jumping onto the climate alarmism bandwagon.
Then came Greta Thunberg’s temper tantrum at the United Nations.
The 16-year-old media darling became famous for leading children around the world in climate change strikes to stay home from school. Greta’s rallying cry: radical government action is needed to prevent a so-called “climate crisis.”
Her speech at the United Nations this past week was supposed to be the climax of her weeks long journey across the Atlantic in a boat – all to avoid using carbon dioxide emitting air travel.
It was supposed to be her crowning moment, the moment when the climate skeptics were backed into the ultimate corner on the world stage: How could anyone attack this passionate, young girl who cares so much for our planet?
But that’s not how it went.
Greta’s speech was passionate, for certain, but it was angry. Instead of appealing to the world’s compassion in asking for climate action, Greta chose to attack even those at the United Nations who were on her side.
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”
Within minutes after her speech, young conservatives and libertarians were criticizing Greta’s angry rant across social media with memes.
For those unfamiliar, a “meme” is a humorous image or video that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by internet users. When someone is “turned into a meme” it is typically not a flattering thing.
“Greta memes” began spreading online like wildfire.
As Director of CFACT’s Collegians program, I am connected with many young leaders in the conservative and libertarian movements on social media. Almost without exception, every one of these leaders were posting their criticism of the angry young girl who wanted them to install global socialism to save the environment.
Young Americans who still have a penchant for liberty don’t like it when anyone angrily demands them to give up their freedoms – whether its in the name of saving the planet or not.
The Left’s climate plan blew up in their face – just when it seemed to be going so well.
For years, the Left has transformed American public education, from kindergarten through college, to instill radical beliefs about the climate and the environment into children.
No dissent is allowed in most textbooks and curriculums. Even those students on the political Right now grow up believing that if we do not do something about the climate, our planet is in grave danger.
I’ve heard this expressed firsthand to me from numerous young conservatives and libertarians in my work with the Collegians program.
Yet, after the election of Donald Trump and his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, the Left had to regroup; and they did so faster than I thought they would. Within months they had recruited their American poster child for climate action, now Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The Democrats took back the House of Representatives, and there seemed to be a new climate march every other week.
New organizations like the Sunrise Movement played the PR game masterfully by performing sit-ins in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office to call for radical climate action.
Ocasio-Cortez also became the darling of the media, and her Green New Deal plan was adopted by every Democratic candidate for president.
As Greta’s celebrity status began to soar in Europe, the Left could see the time was right to introduce their child propaganda star to the last remaining obstacle to their global climate plan: The United States.
The fields were ripe for rallying the American public, including the Right, onto the climate doomsday parade.
It is unclear if Greta’s handlers thought that this angry speech would actually play well in the United States, or if Greta wanted to say these things herself. Regardless, the young activist came off as entitled, arrogant, and, for lack of a better description, like a spoiled brat.
It didn’t help when the internet also went wild over her angry glare at President Trump as he walked past her in the United Nations without giving her the time of day.
It is obvious that Greta cares for the planet. It is unfortunate that she has been led astray by those pushing climate alarm. If she would have been calling for better management of plastic, cleaning up litter, or demanding access to electricity for the developing world, I would be fully behind her. She would have been an excellent spokesperson for those real problems. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Greta’s anger and perceived entitlement to global attention has given young conservatives and libertarians the cover they needed to ridicule the Left’s use of child spokespeople to shield their ideas from criticism.
The climate plan has hit another, serious setback.
But now is not the time to rest easy and think the Left has torpedoed themselves forever.
The Left still has a strangle hold on American education. Even though the Right has rejected Greta’s calls for socialism, some conservatives and libertarians are already trying to justify carbon taxes and mini versions of the Green New Deal.
Whether Donald Trump wins reelection or not, there may come a time very soon when the American electorate, completely indoctrinated by years of leftist education on the environment, allows for radical government action on climate change.
The United States dodged a bullet with the mishandling of Greta’s UN speech. The longer the Left has complete control of our education system, however, the less likely we’ll dodge the Left’s next climate power grab.