Merry Christmas from Greta Thunberg!

Just in time for Christmas, everybody's favorite censorious elf, courtesy of the Babylon Bee:

Can a Senator Karen doll be far behind?

The Shape of Things to Come

Our rulers have recently completed another greendoggle on foreign shores, flying in on their private jets to congratulate one another on their plans to deprive us of liberty and property; life, too, if they’re all up for it. How much easier it would be for them if we all just died.

The primary job of any politician is communication. Communications nowadays are instantaneous and global. No reason exists for this gathering to disgorge thousand of metric tons of GHG to gather to communicate about excess GHG. If our entire $20 trillion economy can work from home and on video-calls for well over a year, these few penny-ante taxpayer-and-corruption-funded millionaires can, too.

If they must get together, if drinking maskless and telling happy lies and sitting around watching the same old PowerPoint presentations they heard last year and the year before (which can be emailed to them) are critical to their well-being, well – again, as comms are global (and if they absolutely refuse to videoconference) they can take the train, or a ship and then a train, all of which emit less GHG per passenger than Gulfstreams and Lears and Cessnas and 85-car motorcades. The longer they are in-transit, the less harm they are to the productive middle classes. If they want to extend these ridiculous and childish meets to 24 x 7 x 365, who are we to complain? As long as they are out of our hair and pocketbooks.

Look who's here.

If Congress wanted to pass a useful bill and work seriously on revitalizing friendships with our European “allies,” and do the world a favor, they could strip the citizenship from Uncle Joe while he’s gone, sell Air Force-1 to the French in exchange for screwing them on the Aussie sub deal, and purchase an abandoned castle somewhere in the U.K. for President Brandon to live out his daze.

But – they seem to think they know best, so let’s take a brief look at some of the scare stories in the media being drummed-up by our betters, and the reality behind them. After all, if we’re going to have our liberty and property taken-away extra-judicially, it’s a good idea to understand the problems causing our unprecedented loss of freedom by those who would rule us without our permission. Normally when people are asked to sacrifice, there’s a good reason for them to comply. Invasion, Global War, stuff like that. So let’s take a quick look at some of the things for which our sacrifice (is it a “sacrifice” when it’s not voluntary?) is demanded.

Arguably the biggest problem of Baby Boomers in government (other than they’re not retiring and just going away to prattle amongst themselves and stop damaging the rest of us) is that they have this childish idea that nothing changes – ever. That everything has been the way it has been over their pampered, safe, wealthy lives enriched by the Industrial Revolution they now demand to reverse;  that the world they see through Disney’s lens is the real world. For the rest of us to listen to them is absurd. Seas rise, mountains slump and volcanoes volcano.

Here in the real world, actual data show none of the “ills” with which our betters were entertaining one another in vodka-fueled stories around the Glasgow campfire at COP26. The Lancet, in fact, (via the WSJ) a journal the elite rely on when it tells stories they like, reports that, no, we’re not all going to die from the heat in 12 years.

The Lancet published what is arguably the largest study ever to examine excess mortality associated with temperature. The study’s authors, 68 scientists representing universities and research institutes in 33 countries spanning all regions of the world, came to two clear conclusions: cold temperatures contribute to far more deaths each year than warmer temperatures, and deaths associated with extreme temperatures, hot or cold, are declining. Referencing data on more than 130 million deaths from 43 countries, located in five continents they found that 5,083,173 deaths were associated with non-optimal temperatures per year, with most of these excess deaths tied to cold temperatures.

Maybe our betters are complaining that we aren’t dying fast enough? Perhaps we’re reading the entire global warming fantasy incorrectly and they want us to get colder so we can die more quickly?

Who needs heat?

It’s also what those searching for extra-terrestrial life are saying by looking for an off-world home that is five degrees C warmer than earth for optimal conditions for human life. And, of course, all food plants thrive at warmer temperatures and increased CO2, thus allowing the poor to be fed. I guess the elites don’t really care about the poor.

I’m with 'em – let’s find a warmer place and ship Davos Man there. Better for them. Better for us. Less hot air, too.

St. Gaia's Academy for Brainwashed Children

Another day, another example of children being indoctrinated by Green ideologues. This one is out of London, Ont., where John Paul II Secondary School has proclaimed itself "Canada's first self-sufficient, carbon neutral high school." JPII spent $9.7 million installing a geothermal heating and cooling system as well as 2,700 solar panels to provide electricity. According to the school, this will "reduce greenhouse gas emissions to near zero, and remove almost 277 tons of carbon every year."

I am, of course, skeptical of those numbers -- projects like this tend to be at least partially eye wash, running the place on solar panels until, you know, it rains, at which point they plug into the local power grid and keep the juice flowing just like everyone else. And then there is the fact that solar panels themselves require many times more mined materials to produce compared with machines that run on hydrocarbons. Plus they need to be replaced every 25 years or so, and are nearly impossible to recycle, often ending up in landfills where they leach chemicals into the ground.

But whatever -- it's the school's money! (Or, half of it is -- the rest comes from the government, that is to say, tax-payers). If you think of this as a giant science-fair experiment, equivalent to generating an electrical current by poking a bit of zinc and a piece of copper into a lemon, then it isn't so grating.

But what I find concerning is the way the students speak about the project -- "I've watched as the world has slowly deteriorated and I want so desperately to be part of something that I know will cause good change," said one. And another, "I believe that it's very important to be part of this project in order... to help our Mother Earth who is suffering right now," a creepily pagan image for a student at a purportedly Catholic school.

I don't mean to mock these kids. They're obviously just parroting what they've been told. And if their high school is anything like the one I attended, for every go-getter involved in a project like this, there are likely ten kids rolling their eyes or just happy to miss calculus to go to the solar panel ribbon-cutting.

Still, I can't help think of the poster child for eco-anxiety, Greta Thunberg, who has her parents and teachers around her to blame for her seemingly compromised psychological state. Sure she's famous -- maybe that's part of the problem -- but her worldview is extremely bleak. And, what's more, she's traded any semblance of a normal childhood to become an activist in a cause whose end goal -- net-zero carbon emissions within a few decades -- just isn't going to happen. It's a grift, and she is a victim more than a perpetrator.

Greta, and her confreres at John Paul II, would have been better off if they'd had a few sane adults around them to keep them on the straight and narrow.

The War on Cis-Normality

I avoided finding out what the term "cisgendered" meant for a long time, because I knew that it would annoy me. Unfortunately, I did find out eventually, and I wasn't wrong -- it did annoy me. If you're luckier than I am and you've managed to not know, well, you might want to stop reading here. But if you want to find out, there's no better definition than that of the late Norm Macdonald -- cisgendered is when, for instance, "You're born as a man, and you identify yourself as a man." Which is to say, Macdonald continued, "it's a way of marginalizing a normal person."

This is, of course, a pretty good encapsulation of modern ideological leftism. The leftist instinct is always to mock and belittle the interests and concerns of ordinary people, which they believe pale in comparison to their abstract utopian ideas. Worried about inflation making your food more expensive or the supply chain making it impossible to get your kids' new shoes? According to the White House, you're a fat cat suffering from "high class problems." Concerned about the increasingly racialized and sexualized content of your kids' education? Most likely you're a racist, and a domestic terrorist to boot. And on and on.

I thought of all of this while reading about Greta Thunberg's recent speech at the U.N.'s Youth4Climate summit. As Dan McTeague explains, in the course of her speech, Thunberg decided to crack a few jokes at the expense of those who aren't 100 percent on board with her proposed program of ending civilization as we know it:

Thunberg’s address.... mocked the concerns of older generations – concerns like whether people will have jobs. In a parody of a politician speaking on climate change Greta said, “When I say climate change what do you think of? I think of jobs.” And the room of youths laugh. Haha. Putting job security over climate change policies? What backward idiots those adults are, according to Greta.

McTeague goes on:

If Greta’s address at the Youth4Climate summit made one thing clear it is that no climate policy will ever be good enough for her. Indeed, it seems that Thunberg will only be content if all fossil fuel usage is immediately and completely eradicated. The climate kids want climate justice.

For Thunberg and her ilk, worrying about your job, about providing for your family, these are bourgeois concerns. And, like her French and Russian antecedents, she sees that the bourgeoisie -- normal people -- really do stand in the way of her utopia. Hopefully neither she nor her disciples ever acquire the kind of power that Citizen Robespierre or Comrade Stalin did to try to, you might say, overrule their concerns.

Vignettes From the Cultural Revolution

Have you heard the big news? Superman is now LGBT! Or, is that LGBTQ? Or perhaps, as Justin Trudeau would say, 2SLGBTQQIA+. Whatever the case may be, he's out and he's proud. But more importantly for our purposes, he's gotten really into Greta Thunberg:

I love the guy holding the "There's no Planet B" sign. Didn't Superman himself flee his home planet to come to Earth, gaining super powers in the process? Seems like emigrating to Krypton B worked out pretty well for him.

From the story:

Since becoming Superman, [Clark's son] Jon Kent has battled real-life issues in the DC Universe. Thus far, he's fought wildfires caused by climate change, stopped a school shooting from happening, and has protested refugees being deported.... Jon Kent joining the fight against climate change shows that he gets what being Superman truly means: inspiring and making the world a better place in the process.

Sounds about as exciting as an afternoon watching CNN, and roughly as fanciful. This should really help 10-year-olds escape the drudgery of their mask enforced school days and the impending cancellation of Christmas due to a virus that barely effects them.

In other news, Ford Motor Company is attempting their own Green reinvention, as they launch an electric version of their F-150 pickup, the F-150 Lightning. Year in and year out, the F-150 outsells its competitors due to their superior product and name recognition. As Car and Driver mentioned in their write-up on the best selling cars of 2019, Ram, Chevrolet, and GMC have each significantly redesigned their truck offerings, but the F-150, with hardly a change, still beats them out easily.

So why go electric? Well, it's largely an attempt to chase status and good publicity, and the hope that greenbacks will follow. As Kevin Williamson explains in his write-up on the F-150 Lightning, entitled 'Here Come the Electric Rednecks,'

If you want to know who is really packing the heat on the great American scene A.D. 2021, consider that Elon Musk could, on a good day, personally buy the Ford Motor Company three times over, even though Ford sells about twelve times as many vehicles a year as Tesla, which still loses money on its automobile business — its profits in the first quarter of 2021 came from Bitcoin investments and from selling emissions credits.

That is, Ford generates real money and Tesla imaginary money. These days the latter is preferable to the former. How long that will last, however, is anyone's guess, especially as the entire automotive industry is struggling under the global chip shortage which has stalled production and shocked the market worldwide.

Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth II has now officially joined her fellow elderly monarch and religious leader Pope Francis in naming the "environmental crisis" as our most pressing political concern. The Queen, of course, rarely speaks about contentious topics, but this time she seems to have decided that there is no harm in being publicly on the side of the great and the good. And her move in this direction seems to be responsible for at least some healing, specifically that of the troubled royal family. Environmentalism is reportedly helping bring them together, from her accused sex-trafficker son to her brainless celebrity-hound grandson.

Still, with Britain being roiled by an ongoing energy crisis which is at least partly caused by the environmentalist enthusiasms of her ruling class, one wonders whether this was a prudent course of action by Her Majesty. It might not be long before her subjects come to believe that, like her uncle Edward, she'd chosen the wrong side.

So what do all of these things have in common? They are examples of venerable institutions bending over backwards to gain the approval of the environmentalist movement, and risking the good will of those who have kept them going for so long. Moreover, they're doing so at a time when the Green movement seems to be in real danger. The global energy crisis has environmentalism struggling to keep it's own head above water, but they're acting like it is their life preserver.

At the same time, they are instances of the cultural revolution, which completed its long march through western academia decades ago, colonizing a new host, like some parasitic bacteria. The revolution, which can produce nothing of it's own, is attempting to live off of the cultural capital of its newest targets. Once it's sucked them dry, of course, it will move on, leaving an empty husk in its wake, as it has with education. Before long, kids will stop buying comic books, Americans in rural areas will stop seeing F-150s as an identity marker, Catholics will become (more) alienated from the Church, and patriotic Britons won't go out of their way to speak up for the Queen, and certainly not her heir.

My advice to whoever is making decisions about the future of these institutions: Beware.

The Church of Global Warming Will Now Come to Order

Intercessional prayers at my local Anglican church never fail include asking for God’s help in tackling climate change. Suppose I was to ask those expressing concern about climate change whether their concern was related to increased water vapour in the atmosphere, caused by warming engendered by CO2 emissions from burning hydrocarbons fuels; and which, in turn, markedly multiplied the initial warming effect of CO2. If I were ever to ask this question, the odds are that I would get a blank look.

Understandably, people have little knowledge of climate science. And when I say people, I include most politicians, media commentators, Greta Thunberg, Prince Charles, David Attenborough even and, being brutally honest, me too.

Poor sods like me are easily bamboozled by science. The IPCC brigade know that. You might recall “the science is settled” catchcry being used to quell dissent among the hoi polloi. However, such a contradiction in terms proved to be too laughable to survive and it’s now never heard. Nevertheless, to put it mildly, debate is not encouraged. Scientists in institutional settings risk being cancelled for questioning any aspect of the received wisdom. Best to be retired before voicing a discordant opinion.

So we're all agreed then?

The problem is that climate science is no longer in the backroom; delving into esoterica remote from the everyday lives of people in the street. The catholic church stuck too long with Ptolemy’s geocentric theory of the solar system. But, really, did this matter much for trade and commerce? No, it didn’t. That doesn’t apply in this case. In this case, science is in process, through the agency of governments, of upturning the world. And we are told not to ask awkward questions.

After a while, I thought, let them have their theory. The important thing is what’s being done about it. If they would support nuclear energy, then let’s swallow hard and go along with it. For example, you can easily come away with that point of view from reading Michael Shellenberger’s Apocalypse Never. It is a grave mistake.

We are not dealing with rationale beings. For instance, consider AOC and her fellow supporters of the Green New Deal. To them, climate change is a gateway to a brave new world. And that’s not to a world of efficient, affordable, zero-emission nuclear energy. That’s anathema to them. They want to remake society into an inclusive (white men excepted), equitable, diverse, green, nirvana. In reality it would be a Marxist-like hellhole but, hey, they have the best of intentions. Hmm? I wonder. Did Stalin have good intentions?

Our calculations are irrefutable!

For us there is no option. We must go back to the beginning and do “violence” to their inviolable scientific premise. With this in mind, I was attracted to a recent essay I might otherwise have put into the too-hard basket. By Christopher Monckton, it was put up on the site Watts Up With That?

Albeit colourful, Monckton’s a clever guy. Saw him speak in Sydney maybe fifteen or so years ago. I believe, at the time, he described global warming as a monstrous hoax. I don’t think he’s changed his mind. But to his essay. I can’t warrant its worth. I can say, with approval, that it tackles the science. I found it interesting. This is his thesis in summary point form for easy digestion.

In a nutshell, Monckton’s claim is that all of the heat of the earth is complicit in generating feedback warming not just the 8.5 K down to greenhouse gasses. It would explain why model predictions have overegged anthropogenic warming and markedly overshot actual temperatures. Does he have a point? I might have mentioned. Science is not my forte. However, I do believe that science is the turf on which the battle must be reengaged and fought.

Global warming alarmism is like a deep-rooted infection. You’re not going to cure it by trying to make its manifestation more benign. As we speak, parasite upon parasite is gnawing on the supine body-politic of our peerless civilization.

That's the ticket!

Want evidence of these parasites? Look at gargantuan wind turbines, at massive solar farms, at electric cars, at zillions of lithium batteries, at pumped-hydro ventures, at green hydrogen escapades. And what about replacing gas for heating tens of millions of European homes with wind and solar driven electric heat pumps supplementing geo-thermal energy extracted, say, from flooded disused underground coal mines. What could be simpler?

Parasitical boondoggles one and all. Sucking on the taxpayer teat. None able to stand on its own two feet in the marketplace. They will enfeeble us and eventually may lead, one way or another, to our demise.

The received scientific wisdom is wrong. We know that because all of its predictions have been wrong. Normally that would have been sufficient to down the theory. Not this time. Vested interest is at play among institutional scientists, politicians and the aforementioned commercial parasites.

Vested interest is powerful. Some churchmen and papal-court astronomers kept Ptolemaic theory on life support. But it eventually succumbed. Got to keep on. Truth will out. And hopefully, before it is too late.

Toolkits of the Trade

Spontaneous protests are among the most powerful forces in our politics, which is unfortunate because they are, generally, bunk. We've written about this before, as when we discussed a leaked protest organizer job posting with an $85,000 salary. That's a lot of green if your job is just waiting around to hear the voice of the people speak.

For the latest example, here's Helen Andrews on an ongoing political tumult in India. It all started with a tweet from well-known environmentalist/truant Greta Thunberg supporting some anti-government protestors in that nation, with a link to a Google docs file included. According to New Delhi police, Thunberg shortly thereafter got a text message from her Indian counterpart, Disha Ravi, saying "Shit shit shit … Can you not tweet the toolkit … Our names are on it." Thunberg quickly deleted the tweet, and put out an "updated" statement, but the damage was done.

So what is in this "toolkit"? Here's Andrews:

[It] describes methods for capitalizing on the farmers’ protests that have wracked New Delhi since November, after [Indian PM] Narendra Modi’s government passed a package of laws liberalizing agriculture markets.... The linked document included sample tweets, suggestions for in-person rallies, and a timeline for an escalating protest campaign climaxing on January 26. Unfortunately, the January 26 protest in New Delhi proved a little too climactic. Roads were swarmed, cell towers were destroyed, and one farmer was killed when, ramming a police barricade, he capsized his tractor. Farmers rushed police lines on horseback with swords.... Hundreds of policemen were injured and many hospitalized.

It was, in short, an instruction manual for disorder, composed -- apparently -- by experienced international activists. And to the Modi government it seemed to be just a part of a wider, coordinated international campaign. They've pointed out, for instance, that not only have leftist political figures like Ilhan Omar and Trevor Noah made public statements in support of the protestors, but even vacuous celebrities like Rihanna. As one government spokesman put it, “These are very concerted efforts... I don’t think [Rihanna] can even point out on the global map where India is!”

Rihanna, you are here.

But what do agriculture protests have to do with environmental activists like Thunberg? Nothing, except for their potential to harm the image of Modi, a figure much despised by correct-thinking lefties in the west. On that score, they've failed, as 80 percent of Indians approve of the government's response to the protest. This importantly includes farmers, for whom the protestors claim to speak.

For her role in all of this, Disha Ravi was eventually charged with sedition, an act which Andrews concedes is probably an overreaction. But in the context of a post-Raj India, ever sensitive to rich western nations meddling in her internal affairs, it makes rather more sense.

Always be suspicious of supposedly leaderless groups attempting to influence public discourse through apparently "spontaneous" public protest. Chances are, they're trying to manipulate someone. Don't let it be you.

Making an End-Run Around Democracy, Part Three

[Third in a series. Parts One and Two at the links.]

I paused my last posting on this topic—let’s call it “Democracy Circumvented”—after a quotation from Dr. Roslyn Fuller, head of a progressive pro-democracy Non-Governmental Organisation, to the effect that many progressive NGOs in networks funded by billionaires were not participating in traditional acts of charity or philanthropic research but rather using their investors’ resources to “flip an entire political culture on to a different track by amplifying some voices and drowning out others.”

That may strike you as sinister. But it’s fine as long as it’s open and above board and not financed by public or tax-exempt money. But what if the NGOs are in fact not engaged in a vigorous public debate between opposing parties but are instead players in a Potemkin play of debate in which the “debaters” on both sides, the expert witnesses they call, the judge who sums up the arguments, and the panel of jurors who determine the result are all on the same side, reciting lines written advance to reach pre-determined conclusions?

When that happens in public, political, commercial, or intellectual life—and it does—the term for it is “astroturfing.” Astroturf was coined by Texas senator Lloyd Bentsen, the Democrats’ vice-presidential candidate in 1988, and a wit, and it’s defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as organized activity that is intended to create a false impression of a widespread, spontaneously arising, grassroots movement in support of or in opposition to something (such as a political policy) but that is in reality initiated and controlled by a concealed group or organization (such as a corporation.)”

Sharyl Attkinson,  a brave and unbuyable investigative journalist, who has made a special study of astroturfing, explains its general importance and (alas) effectiveness in modern marketing and political campaigning in several appearances across the internet, impressing even skeptical audiences:

Its specific application to progressive networks of NGOs, as outlined in Dr. Fuller’s Spiked article, is that wealthy investors have created a chain of institutions in which each link receives assistance or information from one level which it endorses and then passes onto the next level, and so on and so on, it sometimes feels, ad infinitum.

There are primary research bodies that assemble information on, say, the Green New Deal; secondary research bodies that endorse the “correct” information or point of view (and the think tanks that produce them) and undermine rival ones; motivational research groups that advise on how to tailor their emotional appeal to key constituencies; information technology panels that advise on how to ensure your message is placed before others in internet searches;  media outreach groups that package its messages in easy-to-use op-ed or soundbite forms; political education institutes that recruit potential election candidates to carry the torch in elections; and “activist” organizations that organize public protests, sit-ins, occupations of congressional offices, riots, and other civil disobedience events to suggest that a powerful movement of public opinion is backing the Green New Deal or some other "progressive" cause de jour.

And, yes, even activism can be astroturf activism.

Put so baldly, this argument sounds a little like a conspiracy theory. Well, why not? Bear the following points in mind. First, conspiracies exist, sometimes succeed, and even have serious consequences. The First World War was triggered by a conspiracy of students to murder the heir to the Austrian throne. They succeeded, and one can’t deny that the Great War amounted to serious consequences.

This conspiracy went off like a Clockwork Orange.

Second, claiming that a hostile criticism is no more than a discredited conspiracy theory is Exercise One in the conspirator’s handbook. So please test any such denial against the evidence. Third, Dr. Fuller examines  the evidence about four organizations in the food chain in detail, checking what they do, how they cooperate, and how they’re financed. What she discovered please read for yourself. It’s partly comic and partly sinister, half stage army, half octopus. But it ain’t chopped liver. And, fourthly, the most damaging accusations against the networks of billionaire-financed NGOs is made by those activists and investors who are running them in the form of enthusiastic pep-talks (quoted below).

If it’s a conspiracy, it’s what used to be called “an open conspiracy” which almost anyone can join, read about, or listen in on via the internet. Dr. Fuller listened in on a webinar in which the leaders of two of the organizations discussed here, namely Sunrise and Momentum, which are respectively a movement of young activists and a political training operation, outlined their purposes and activities. She writes:

Speakers stressed the need to become ‘the dominant political alignment’ which ‘defines the common sense of society’ and ‘directs social and economic policy’. Having realized that this would require ‘tak[ing] over the entire United States and all the institutions in it’, they began ‘finding and developing our first leaders’. This involved moving activists into ‘dorm-style Sunrise Movement Houses for three to six months’ in order to create leaders who had a deep level of commitment ‘for everything that would come afterwards’.

Dr. Fuller concedes that some of this training offers advice that is “not bad” but adds that the “entire impression is of a very steered, technocratic process that attempts to achieve theoretical concepts (‘3.5 percent mobilisation’, ‘dominant political alignment’) through a kind of brute-force factory production.” It’s a very well-funded factory production at that. And noting that a disproportionately large number of the activists and of those recruiting the activists are young and inexperienced people, from teens to postgraduates, she offers the following balanced judgment:

On one level, it is great that young people are taking part in politics. But on another level it is incredibly fake. The youthful participants aren’t so much being empowered as instrumentalized. After all, they are part of the portfolio of an investment fund that is using them to ‘shift power’, with part of the strategy being to shame politicians for not being nice enough to hysterical children.

Dr. Fuller doesn’t mention Greta Thunberg here, but for some reason Ms. Thunberg leaps to mind.

Ride of the Valkyrie.

In instrumentalizing the young activists, these well-funded progressive networks are also instrumentalizing democracy. They are seeking to manipulate the usual democratic tools—information, debate, controversy—not to create a national conversation on political goals and methods but to construct a simulacrum of that conversation in which its conclusions are determined in advance. And when those tools break in their hands—as sometimes happens when others intrude into their staged debates—they use “activism” to de-platform the intruders and to close down a debate escaping their control. We are likely to see much more of such extra-democratic politics in the future.

Indeed, just recently,  Time magazine described how such an open conspiracy of corporate executives, labor union leaders, and progressive activists employed some of these methods and some of these troops to “prevent Donald Trump stealing the election” (i.e., to help the Democrats win the election.)

This is the inside story of the conspiracy to save the 2020 election, based on access to the group’s inner workings, never-before-seen documents and interviews with dozens of those involved from across the political spectrum. It is the story of an unprecedented, creative and determined campaign whose success also reveals how close the nation came to disaster. “Every attempt to interfere with the proper outcome of the election was defeated,” says Ian Bassin, co-founder of Protect Democracy, a nonpartisan rule-of-law advocacy group. “But it’s massively important for the country to understand that it didn’t happen accidentally. The system didn’t work magically. Democracy is not self-executing.”

That was very much a “macro” operation. And whatever the reason, it certainly didn’t fail.

But how do these tactics work at a “micro” level—at the level of getting a parliamentary bill passed into law, ensuring that a government report conforms to progressive orthodoxies, or manufacturing a “Green” public opinion when most voters are skeptical. Next time I’ll examine a case in which the U.K. parliament found itself playing the role of junior partner to a group of progressive NGOs in manufacturing a large astroturf carpet of public enthusiasm for Net-Zero policy.

Skeptical? It seems to have persuaded Boris Johnson. Don’t miss it!

Making an End-Run Around Democracy, Part Two

[Read Part One here.]

To achieve their grand goal of social engineering, the billionaires and their activist agents create a chain of institutions in which each link receives assistance or information from one level which it endorses and then passes onto the next level, and so on and so on, it sometimes feels, ad infinitum.

There are primary research bodies that assemble information on, say, the Green New Deal; secondary research bodies that endorse the “correct” information or point of view (and the think tanks that produce them) and undermine rival ones; motivational research groups that advise on how to tailor their emotional appeal to key constituencies; information technology panels that advise on how to ensure your message is placed before others in internet searches;  media outreach groups that package its messages in easy-to-use op-ed or soundbite forms; political education institutes that recruit potential election candidates to carry the torch in elections; and “activist” organizations that organize public protests, sit-ins, occupations of congressional offices, riots, and other civil disobedience events to suggest that a powerful movement of public opinion is backing the Green New Deal or some other cause de jour.

If this is activism, it’s astroturf activism.

They might be giants.

Put so baldly, this argument sounds a little like a conspiracy theory. Be aware of three points, however.

If it’s a conspiracy, it’s what used to be called “an open conspiracy” which almost anyone can join, read about, or listen in on via the internet.

Dr. Fuller listened in on a webinar in which the leaders of two of the organizations discussed here, namely Sunrise and Momentum, which are respectively a movement of young activists and a political training operation, discussed their purposes and activities. She writes:

 Speakers stressed the need to become ‘the dominant political alignment’ which ‘defines the common sense of society’ and ‘directs social and economic policy’. Having realized that this would require ‘tak[ing] over the entire United States and all the institutions in it’, they began ‘finding and developing our first leaders’. This involved moving activists into ‘dorm-style Sunrise Movement Houses for three to six months’ in order to create leaders who had a deep level of commitment ‘for everything that would come afterwards.’

Dr. Fuller concedes that some of this training offers advice that is “not bad” but adds that the “entire impression is of a very steered, technocratic process that attempts to achieve theoretical concepts (‘3.5 percent mobilisation’, ‘dominant political alignment’) through a kind of brute-force factory production.” It’s a very well-funded factory production at that. And noting that a disproportionately large number of the activists and of those recruiting the activists are young and inexperienced people, from teens to postgraduates, she offers the following balanced judgment:

On one level, it is great that young people are taking part in politics. But on another level it is incredibly fake. The youthful participants aren’t so much being empowered as instrumentalized. After all, they are part of the portfolio of an investment fund that is using them to ‘shift power’, with part of the strategy being to shame politicians for not being nice enough to hysterical children.

Dr. Fuller doesn’t mention Greta Thunberg here, but for some reason Ms. Thunberg leaps to mind.

Patron St. Greta

In instrumentalizing the young activists, these well-funded progressive networks are also instrumentalizing democracy. They are seeking to manipulate the usual democratic tools—information, debate, controversy—not to create a national conversation on political goals and methods but to construct a simulacrum of that conversation in which its conclusions are determined in advance. And when those tools break in their hands—as happens when others intrude into their staged debates—they use “activism” to de-platform the intruders and to close down a debate escaping their control. We are likely to see much more of such covertly manipulative anti-democratic politics in the future.

Indeed, Time magazine has described how such an open conspiracy of corporate executives, labor union leaders, and progressive activists employed some of these methods and some of these troops to “prevent Donald Trump stealing the election” (i.e., to help the Democrats win the election.) That was very much a “macro” operation. And without being conspiratorial myself, I can assert that it certainly didn’t fail.

But how do these tactics work at a “micro” level—at the level of getting a parliamentary bill passed into law, ensuring that a government report conforms to progressive orthodoxies, or manufacturing a “Green” public opinion when most voters are skeptical. To examine how progressive activism can turn democracy into a ventriloquist’s dummy, I’ll be looking at Ben Pile’s monograph on the U.K.’s Climate Assembly, funded by Parliament to tell MPs what the people thought about Net Zero. It’s a fascinating story. Join me then.

 

Enemies of the People: Greta Thunberg