Child Prophets and Proselytizers of Climate Catastrophe

The full story is highly complex, see footnote 17 for much more, yet this doesn’t invalidate applicability of the same set of questions. For a), ‘yes’, spiritual beliefs including ancestor worship and blended with elements of Christianity. For b) ‘yes’, in that the pitch came directly from ‘ancestors’, who appeared to Nongqawuse by a river. For c), ‘current’. For d), ‘yes’, Nongqawuse dictated a dramatic solution and a hard date. For e), ‘yes’. Notwithstanding complexity and some disputed secondary aspects17, historians view the Xhosa cattle killings as the millenarian response of a stressed society18. Nongqawuse’s irrational solution could only ever have made things far worse, to the point of mass fatalities. For f), sacrificing the personal resources plus economic basis of the entire nation, can only be viewed as astronomical.

‘Children in charge’ summary
Very likely reality
Malala
Nongqawuse
Greta
Very likely cultural
a) Child morally sponsored by a culture?
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
b) Pitch driven by above culture’s main narrative?
n/a
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
c) Pitch represents current or future wrongs?
Current
Current
Current
Future
Future
d) Child dictates specific solution (& timescale)?
No (no)
No (no)
Yes (yes)
Yes (yes)
Yes (yes)
e) Does the above solution seem irrational?
n/a
n/a
Yes
Yes
Yes
f) Is the solution astronomical?
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Comment
Ideally a = no, but ->
b) = no, negates a).
c) = current, but solution highly irrational.
c) based on un-founded projection.
Same as Greta’s score.

These simple checks are not without value judgements21. Nevertheless, the above table indicates that Malala’s pitch is reality based, and Greta’s is cultural. Notwithstanding the wrongs to Nongqawuse’s society were current, her pitch is cultural too (highly irrational solution). There are striking parallels between the cases of the latter two girls, who are both essentially prophets of salvation demanding full and strict compliance to a narrow cultural (and astronomical) ‘solution’, which they say is the only way to escape dire calamity. In Nongqawuse’s case, the solution is a cultural invention; in Greta’s the emergency is a cultural invention, the corresponding imminent global catastrophe being unsupported by mainstream (and skeptical) climate science. In both cases their leaderships were strongly primed by the relevant cultural narrative22, which when reiterated in distilled form from the mouths of innocent girls, formed a critical means to invoke the cultural fears and hopes that override objectivity, plus unite a wide spectrum of public belief22a. The power of guilt in such pitches is noted by Greta herself22b. In comparison, Malala’s pitch characterizes her as an ambassador for the wronged, presenting serious pleas but not astronomical demands. And yes, spurred by (positive) emotion and some cultural context, but not pitching acutely urgent existential stories carrying an overwhelming weight of emotive (false) persuasion.

From the platform of socially protected mouthpieces of cultural expression, the young girls Greta and Nongqawuse urge swift elimination of what’s been the relevant society’s main means of sustenance and success for generations. While the sacrifice doesn’t necessarily have equivalent impact for very different societies, there’s an equivalent emotive conviction to irrational heritage rejection. In dictating absolutes, both girls effectively command this rather than plead24, albeit in performance of long emergent cultural narrative23. While Greta talks of her own idiosyncrasies being an advantage for her self-perceived role, the personal (including her courage, passion, dedication) isn’t a unique key. Without Greta there’d be a Hreta or Ireta or… to Yreta or Zreta and so on. And not necessarily young and female20. Strong cultural movements create conditions which will surface, from an immense diversity of humanity and numerous adherents, those who’ll most closely identify with the culture and most effectively wield its narrative as commands.

While much of the mainstream media has lauded or at least not explicitly criticized Greta, a millenarian19 angle has not gone unnoticed at more fringe outlets, which also cover the dangers (exampling Greta) of adults over-reacting to messianic children, the major issue stemming from the taboo nature of challenging a school-girl, which results in gross over-simplification, plus the irrational response of adults (UN leaders included) to an uninformed delivery from an (inappropriately) scared child demanding that we all panic. The millenarian sense of a critical change-point for everything can encompass a ‘renewal’ in which the old must be rejected, is somehow contaminated. This angle comes across strongly in the Xhosa case, and potentially explains why many ardent adherents of climate catastrophism reject emission free nuclear25, or natural gas as a ‘bridging’ solution, or indeed anything that smells even vaguely of pre-renewable energy infra-structure25a. The nuclear issue may eventually cause a heretical split within climate catastrophism25b.

Next page (4) for more…

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