The very real danger of turning our backs on modernity - The Orca
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The very real danger of turning our backs on modernity

Rex Murphy
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Rex Murphy: Set aside Greta Thunberg, who should not be judged as an adult. But when many of her supporters say they want to dismantle the underpinnings of the modern world, we should take them at their word.

What a strange and wonderful thing it is. Half the world is – like the Pied Piper fairytale in reverse – listening to a rude teenage scold of what it “owes” to those born 16 years and under.

I should qualify that, half the Western world. Only those swaddled in hitherto unimagined comforts and wealth, insulated from famine, war, pestilence – all the burdens of the less fortunate nations – would so recklessly be seen to be taking guidance from – at best – an immature zealot, whose thoughts, surely, must be the product of highly politicized parents.

It should be recognized as a surrender of reason that millions came out at her beck – and the multimillion dollar foundations behind Greta-madness – to indict their elders and parents for “denying their future.” This is the deepest folly, when wisdom – or at least the presumption of it – bends to the voice of immaturity and teenage righteousness.

What are they teaching in the classrooms where the teachers are the pupils? It is a self-indulgent and cowardly generation that professes to find leadership in those they should be guiding, and genuflects to the vaporous moralizing of a rigid adolescent mind. It should be past shame when a Prime Minister seeks so assiduously to catch a photo op with Saint Greta of the Upper Atmosphere, to burnish his frayed credentials in a general election, and submits to being lectured to by a kid from another country.

The fault lies not with Greta. We do not pass judgement on those who have yet to reach an age of judgement. It is a verdict on the adults so eager to promote the illusion that teenagers, or this particular teenager has anything – anything – to say to the world of consequence.

“The fault lies not with Greta. We do not pass judgement on those who have yet to reach an age of judgement.”

However, this is also the age of hysteria. So, while the Climate March phenomenon should be an occasion of shame, it is also only too explicable. There is nothing that the alarmists will not stoop to, and if that means putting a child in the forefront of a global debate, regardless of what pressures this may bring on her young self, then – sensitive types that they are – they are only too willing to do it.

Absolutely nothing says “the science is settled” more than that a campaign pitched to youngsters and immature minds, a pressure tactic enlisting the fragile resources of someone not yet out of school, is despicably being called upon to “back up the science” and push an agenda meant to cripple or destroy the industrial foundations of modern life.

If the Greta Thunberg movement were just one more illustration of how far modern societies have evolved into ever more strange and intellectually hollow obsessions, its interest would be limited. But it played out in the thousands or hundreds of thousands marching downtown streets, and during an election campaign. And not only Justin Trudeau wanted to be seen there, but inevitably Jagmeet Singh and Elizabeth May. All three are warmists. All three agree that oil and gas are the perturbers of the natural order and a threat, an existential threat, to life on the planet. All three would go the full length of Greta’s angry sermonettes and close down the energy industry, today, if there were not voters to consider, votes to be won.

Elizabeth May can afford to be the most declarative on this point, only because she seeks the full harvest of true believers. Mr. Singh has much the same latitude because the distance from him to the Prime Minister’s office in this election is the same distance as Earth to the Andromeda galaxy. Mr. Trudeau, as is his wont, fuddles and duddles on how quickly he’d like to see the same result, only because he wants to get back the job now on the line. Hence the voice-unrecorded sit-down chat with Saint Greta. My guess is he didn’t want the public to hear him agreeing with all her goals.

“Mr. Singh has much the same latitude because the distance from him to the Prime Minister’s office in this election is the same distance as Earth to the Andromeda galaxy. “

Nor is energy the only industry under menace from left-wing– shall we call it by a familiar name – populism fueled by immaturity. To meet Greta’s panic-swelled concerns would require putting the brakes to all major industrial activity in the West. Do you think building skyscrapers, houses, and roads, or manufacturing cars and boats and planes, running vast food distribution networks or modern farming would escape the zeal of the apocalyptics of Greenism?

No activity which supports modern life, from communications technology to the miracles of 21st century medicine, would be spared. The admonitions of the world-savers always veer to turning back the clock, illegitimating the processes by which we have obtained security and comfort in our time, and of course all the jobs and employment which are the substructure of a functioning technologically empowered society.

The stern under-message of the Greens is “to hell with those jobs” – and the patent lie of “they’ll all get work building windmills and solar panels,” they being the “kulaks” of energy and farming and construction and logging.

“The admonitions of the world-savers always veer to turning back the clock, illegitimating the processes by which we have obtained security and comfort in our time, and of course all the jobs and employment which are the substructure of a functioning technologically empowered society.”

Greenism has no empathy, but its proclaimed empathy for rocks and trees. Should our election produce a minority, and should the green factions of the NDP or Elizabeth May’s personal party end up with leverage, it will be a troubling time for Canada – but a vicious time for the oil and gas industry. As ridiculous as the so-called climate strike was, it was yet one more advance in pushing a destructive ideology – anti-modernism under a green umbrella.

The zealotry that fires climate marches and Climate Extinction is in a real sense dangerous. And every adult Canadian might want to short-circuit whatever enthusiasm they have for the child world-changer, till they measure what it would mean if her verdicts and judgements were to be given actual effect.

How this election turns out could be very worrisome. As for Andrew Scheer, whom I have not mentioned so far, I have one question: Why is he so quiescent and so timid in dealing with the huge pressures brought to bear by the climate lobby, its political vehicles, and its multi-funded pressure campaigns?

He may be better than the other three – but on this threat – not by much.

Rex Murphy has been one of Canada’s most familiar, trusted, and insightful political commentators since the 1970s. 

A former Rhodes Scholar, Murphy built a reputation as a quick-witted broadcaster and reporter in his native Newfoundland, and later throughout Canada on CBC’s The National and host of CBC Radio’s Cross Country Checkup. 

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