LEYZERVYCH: Usage of children as political tools is no new tactic, but raises serious questions
Column: American Insights
“My message is that we’ll be watching you.”
There is nervous laughter and applause from the audience. That is how the speech of Greta Thunberg began at the recent United Nations Climate Action Summit.
There is something incredibly sinister about that initial statement. If George Orwell was alive, he would surely check for potential wax in his ears before re-listening, just to make sure his nightmarish fiction was not crawling out of “1984.”
The speech by this 16-year-old Swedish environmentalist was something in between and at the same time encompassing a temper tantrum, snooty academia and the words of a god, all wrapped in a hearty helping of totalitarianism.
Following the first sentence, paradoxically to the age difference between her and the audience, Thunberg took on a parental role, wagging her finger in the faces of the world’s adults, declaring that “we are in the beginning of a mass extinction,” and profusely scolding those that talk of “money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.” The words “How dare you!” sounded four times over the 4-minute speech, hammering Thunberg’s astonishment at the apparently corrupted world view on climate change.
Although Thunberg seemed disgusted with today’s leaders’ attempts to solve the climate issue with only “technical solutions,” she herself provided no alternative. Well, not explicitly anyways.
She mentioned world-wide carbon dioxide megatonnage and the notorious 1.5°C global temperature rise threshold that allegedly, if crossed, will bring havoc on the scale of Hollywood atrocities a la “2012” or “Geostorm.”
That is unless, as strongly implied by Thunberg, a new world order emerges, where there is no variation of opinion in the imposed new truth that the world is on the brink of destruction and can only be salvaged by radical environmentalism.
What I think Thunberg does not understand or ignores altogether, is that for her view of the future to be put into action, all Americans and billions of others around the world would have to lose their fundamental human rights of liberty and the pursuit of happiness to a new totalitarian environmentalist regime. They would not have a choice to not participate in this ideology.
In modern America, the suppression of opposition and fear-mongering regarding environmental destruction are both purely Leftist agendas. And I am appalled by the Left’s audacity to use a child as a shield to promote their propaganda.
I am more saddened when I see parallels of the manipulation of Thunberg in rather recent history. Because the propagation of children as prophetic figures, speaking out of a place of unadulterated enlightened minds of quasi-divine prophecy to promote totalitarian governments is not a new strategy at all.
My Soviet grandparents and parents all went through the stages of youth manipulation. They were all forced to be members of the Little Octobrists, the Pioneers and Komsomol, all youth leagues with respectively increasing age categories that infiltrated the adolescence of Soviet generations with Communist education, media, industrial collaboration and the evil belief that the party’s word is the only word.
The irony remains that the nation that so deeply despised the Soviet Union implemented the same corruption upon its own young. From 1933, upon reaching their 10th birthday, German boys of Aryan descent were mandated by the Nazi Party under Adolf Hitler’s rule to join Deutsches Jungvolk, where they would remain for three years before joining the Hitler Youth that would keep them for another five years.
There they would yet again be exposed to the reality of a single, domineering truth — truth to them, but in reality a pseudoscience of eugenics and the superiority of the Aryan race.
Let us also not forget Mao Zedong’s Red Guards, paramilitary groups comprised of Chinese youths that were used to enact the Chinese Cultural Revolution that ravaged the nation in the 1960s and '70s. Those adolescents were tasked with the elimination of revisionist authorities that were not up to par with Zedong's understanding of a true revolution.
What emerges is the modern American Left’s grab for power through a fabricated environmental hysteria. That by itself would be a bare nuisance. But the Left is not stopping there, and is instead repeating the atrocities of the past by utilizing today’s youth as a dissemination mechanism, perverting by the fear of the virtually unverifiable the beacon of purity and vision for the great future of human civilization.
Thunberg’s speech at the United Nations Assembly should thus be a warning signal of the growing neuroticism of Generation Z and its historically destructive tendency to submit to an authority of fear.
Yan Leyzervych is a Rutgers Business School first-year majoring in Finance. His column, “American Insights,” runs on alternate Tuesdays.
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