Greta has no doubts, but we should
I have never seen a girl so young and with so many mental disorders treated by so many adults as a guru.
Thunberg, who has inspired student strikes around the world to demand more action on global warming, has been invited by many of the world’s most powerful politicians and tycoons to rip into them with her Old Testament warmist message — repent, for the end of the world is nigh.
The elite at the World Economic Forum had her in to rage that “the house is burning”.
“I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day and then I want you to act.”
The European parliament had her in to warn of the “end of civilisation as we know it”.
The United Nations had her in to tell a climate conference: “Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. We are running out of time.”
The UN secretary-general even invited her to a personal meeting so she could tell him to his face that she so feared the end of the world that there was no point in going to school: “Why should I be studying for a future that soon may be no more, when no one is doing anything to save that future?”
French politicians last month invited her to accuse them of making a martyr of her and other warmists: “We are being mocked and lied about by members of parliament and journalists.”
What is so fascinating about this Thunberg cult is not just that she’s believed so fervently even though she’s wrong.
(The evidence does not suggest that humanity faces doom. The world has recently posted record grain crops and record life expectancy.)
Far more interesting is why so many adults — including elected politicians, top business leaders, the Pope and journalists — treat a young and strange girl with such awe and even rapture.
That’s in part because they are self-admiring frauds, of course: adults who simply reward a clever child for saying exactly what they want to hear and what they taught her to say.
But Thunberg has something very rare as well — a sense of absolute certainty. She shows not the slightest doubt and forgives not the slightest compromise. This allows followers who are tormented with doubt and burden of freedom to relax into her totalitarian certainty.
And in Thunberg’s case, that certainty comes from what normally would be seen as a disability.
If we can believe a book by her mother, opera soprano and Eurovision contestant Malena Ernman, Thunberg went two months without eating when she was 11.
She suffered years of depression and anxiety attacks and was finally diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, high-functioning autism, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Her intense fear of the climate is not surprising from someone with disorders which intensify fears.
Thunberg even has selective mutism, an anxiety disorder which can make her unable to speak to anyone except her parents and younger sister, who herself has a spectacular range of mental issues.
Thunberg herself told a Swedish TV show that her Asperger’s is actually an advantage because it helped her to see things in a “different way” from others — in “black and white”.
In fact, it is normally a fault, and a dangerous one, not to see the greys between the black and white and to have zero patience with alternative facts, opinions or values.
But for followers of a religious figure, a Messiah, such absolute certainty is a must. They need a leader who seems absolutely sure of the right way — no matter how wrong that way and irrational that leader.
And Greta Thunberg has all that certainty that unreason can possibly give.
Originally published as Bolt: We must doubt disturbed teen’s climate dogma