WASHINGTON –In his recent Wall Street Journal “Editor at Large” column, “St Greta Spreads the Climate Gospel,” Gerard Baker compares the rapturous US reception of
global warming climate change children’s’ crusade Pied Piper Greta Thunberg to that accorded youthful Roman Catholic Saints of old. (Link might reside behind WSJ’s paywall. Italics below via this columnist.)
“In the iconography of traditional religion, children have often played a central role. The revelation of universal truth to an innocent child is an inspiring story that is very effective in both offering role models and propagating the faith. There’s a reason the European faithful used to venerate St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Bernadette of Lourdes, the children of Fatima in Portugal: The testimony of a guileless child is a powerful weapon against skepticism.
Enter St Greta Thunberg, patron saint of
global warming climate change
“Enter the Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, now come amongst us in New York for Climate Week. Her story is compelling: It recalls that of St. Bernadette, exposed to the truth as a child and animated with a passionate mission to share it with the rest of humanity. As with child saints of the conventional type, Ms. Thunberg has overcome and indeed channeled personal challenges (she calls her autism a “superpower” rather than a disability) and has proved a remarkable inspiration to fellow teenagers throughout the world.
“Like the children of Fatima, she has a simple message that, if followed, promises to save the world from catastrophe. And now we have the near miraculous spectacle of her sailing across the Atlantic without emitting a molecule of carbon dioxide. Well, almost: It seems that perhaps there was some climate-altering emission involved after all. But it was a brilliant stunt. She could not have made a bigger impact if she’d walked across.”
The paradox of Asperger’s syndrome
Aside from his accurate religious analogy, Baker tastefully notes, but then moves on from a little-discussed but disquieting aspect of St Greta and her Climate Change children’s crusade. Her “autism.” Or, more correctly, her affliction with Asperger’s syndrome.
At some point, Greta was diagnosed as suffering from Asperger’s (sometimes “Aspergers”) syndrome. Generally, scientists and members of the psychiatric community regard Asperger’s as a milder form of autism. But many also regard this condition as manageable and potentially life-affirming as well. We explore this phenomenon more fully below.
Despite its absurdly long and overtly worshipful biography of St Greta elsewhere on its site, Wikipedia does provides a fair description of Asperger’s syndrome.
“As a pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger [sic] syndrome is distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than a single symptom. It is characterized by qualitative impairment in social interaction, by stereotyped and restricted patterns of behavior, activities and interests, and by no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or general delay in language. Intense preoccupation with a narrow subject, one-sided verbosity, restricted prosody, and physical clumsiness are typical of the condition, but are not required for diagnosis.
“The syndrome is named after the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger, who, in 1944, described children in his practice who lacked nonverbal communication skills, had limited understanding of others’ feelings, and were physically clumsy.”
Watch the left weaponize Greta Thunberg’s condition
Baker fails to go into such details. He instinctively seems to know he would face the instant wrath of the left for allegedly holding a 16-year old girl’s condition against her. Indeed, precisely this reaction unfolded for Michael Knowles after he mischaracterized this issue on Fox News. Fox network rival NBC gleefully trumpeted Fox’s hasty perma-ban of yet another conservative voice the Peacock Network doesn’t like.
“Fox News has apologized for a guest who called environmental activist Greta Thunberg mentally ill, and said he would never appear on the network again.
“Michael Knowles of ‘The Daily Wire’ made the comment Monday during a segment on a Fox evening newscast, also saying Thunberg was being exploited by her parents and the left wing.
“The network said in a statement that Knowles’ comment was disgraceful.”
Fox overreacted. Knowles used the wrong term on the spur of the moment and paid for it, as all conservatives do in our era of instant demonization. As we’ll note below, Asperger’s is a borderline diagnosis that needn’t be disabling. But in the case of afflicted children, parents and medical personnel needs to handle such patients delicately and with respect.
Wrong terms are bad, but exploitation of the vulnerable is good?
Which leads to the current issue of Greta Thunberg and her inflammatory public remarks. Her exploiters chose to incorporate her vulnerability as an organic part of their latest PR stunt. This possesses the hallmarks of a well-funded, worldwide propaganda movement that chose to exploit Greta Thunberg and elevate her to the level of secular saint. These evil clowns have clearly taken advantage of a vulnerable young woman and have managed to weaponize her condition. That’s considerably worse than what got Michael Knowles exiled to Fox News Purgatory for life.
Even worse, far from any opponent using Greta’s Asperger’s condition as an opening for ad hominem attacks, at least one hard left publication – The Guardian – chose to shamelessly exploit the situation to add even greater levels of virtue signaling to this already appalling case of child exploitation. The Guardian piece bears the following title:
“Greta Thunberg teaches us about autism as much as climate change”
“Greta Thunberg is an impressive individual. Just 16 years old, she has been nominated for the Nobel peace prize after sparking environmental protests around the planet. There is a glorious simplicity to her arguments that makes them hard to refute. What, she asked, was the point of pupils like her learning anything if politicians ignored the glaring facts on climate change? So she sat down outside the Swedish parliament with a hand-painted banner declaring a school strike – and eight months later, is a global icon who has helped to fire up a resurgent green movement.
“Thunberg’s parents say their daughter, once painfully introverted, was always a bit different to other children. Four years ago, she was diagnosed with Asperger’s, on the autism spectrum, which helps explain her remorseless focus on the core issue of climate change after overcoming depression. “Being different is a gift,” she told Nick Robinson when interviewed on Radio 4’s Today programme. “It makes me see things from outside the box. I don’t easily fall for lies, I can see through things. If I would’ve been like everyone else, I wouldn’t have started this school strike for instance.”
“She admitted her passion was partly down to viewing the world in stark terms. The result of her simplistic approach, fuelled by her condition, is that she has presented this issue with more clarity and competence than almost any adult activist or politician in recent years.”
With its uncritical, drooling reportage, the Guardian gives it away. All the enumerated virtues of St Greta were certainly on display during her arrogant, offensive, and asinine tirade at the UN Monday. In it, she blamed everyone, including you and me, for having completely and totally ruined her 16 years’ residence on this planet because,
global warming climate change.
Greta Thunberg’s embarrassing and tragic rant
If you don’t believe this, check out the following Twitter-embedded video excerpting St Greta’s self-righteous, narcissistic global warming rant.
”People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth.” Watch Greta Thunberg speak at the UN Monday morning. https://t.co/Akkxm9sXdr pic.twitter.com/ahHKlhbYaE
— WIRED (@WIRED) September 23, 2019
This is a put-up job of the first order by the tag-team of globalists and climatistas that fronted big money for this stunt.
The amoral left will victimize anyone, even a teenager, to advance its totalitarian cause
The sad thing is that in the end, Greta’s shameful, hubristic and ultimately embarrassing UN stunt is not really her fault. The fault lies with those adults who took advantage of her condition and put it to propagandistic use by harnessing her intelligence, coupled with her inability to multiprocess conflicting religious, moral and political signals, to program her train of thought with laser-like intensity to defend, with great indignation and passion, the fake science cover globalists are using to create a New Feudalism in the 21stcentury.
What Greta’s backers – and her collusive parents – are really doing amounts to a blatant case of child abuse. This is shameful beyond belief, and borders on being a criminal offense.
We can see visual evidence of this very much abused young woman’s moral confusion in the following unrelated tweet. She apologizes after discovering that wearing an Antifa t-shirt may signal the wrong message.
— Ryan Maue (@RyanMaue) July 26, 2019
Many of those afflicted by Asperger’s become a little bit like Marvel’s X-Men
Psychiatrists and psychologies don’t believe those suffering from Asperger’s must endure a dysfunctional existence throughout their lives. A fine example of this is Tim Page, the former music critic for the Washington Post. At that time, I served the same function at the Washington Times. Tim and I met over lunch from time to time to discuss literature, anecdotes and amusing bits of opera gossip.
I was surprised to later learn, first via his New Yorker article and later in his memoir, that he’d been troubled all his life by Asperger’s. He wrote that the condition could make it difficult for him to relate deeply and personally to others. That was never obvious to me.
Yet as an Asperger’s sufferer, Tim later noted its sometimes wondrous side-effects, which in a way can transform those burdened with Asperger’s into beings possessing unsuspected powers. In a way, like Marvel’s X-Men. Tim’s observations on these Asperger’s positives appeared in his 2012 letter to the editor of the New York Times.
“‘Social disability” does not begin to sum up my lifelong history of insomnia, anxiety, depression, cluelessness and isolation, little of which was assuaged by Emily Post. Nor, in all modesty, does it address the singleminded, fiercely exclusive energy I can bring to a project that has captured my attention, the immersion in an otherworldly ecstasy that music, writing and film provide, and the very occasional but no less profound joy in my own strangeness.'”
Choosing the light? Or doomed to dwell in a Marxist, Socialist Dark Side?
Now teaching at a large West Coast university, Tim still enjoys a uniquely insightful life. He endured the slings and arrows of Asperger’s to become a great writer, biographer and acutely insightful music critic. Better still, he unlocked the “profound joy” of his “own strangeness.”
One wonders. What happens later after St Greta’s cynical and abusive programming falls out of fashion? Will Greta’s rage-filled and self-serving soul eventually seek out and find find her own “profound joy” as well? Perhaps not. The amoral left has already programmed her to dwell forever somewhere in the Marxist, Socialist Dark Side. A parallel universe where true believers endure lives haunted by fear, dread and hatred. Where all adult humans remain hateful, yet clueless as to their essential wickedness.
Those on the left who now abuse St Greta will ultimately discard her when she’s served her purpose. Much like they did Mother Sheehan and plan to do with Boss Hogg. Abandoned and forgotten, she will resume her life journey essentially alone and without Marxist and globalist PR flacks to run interference. Alone in a world offering no possibility of profound joy and inner peace.
But not before she leads lemming-like legions of mentally abused and terrified children off the cliff and into the dark and endless abyss.
— Headline image: Greta Thunberg promotes her Climate Change crusade at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos.
Screen capture of YouTube video, licensed as CC 3.0 unported.