By David Futrelle
There have been a lot of terrible things said in recent days about environmentalists in general and Greta Thunberg in particular. Even our dear impeachable president got into the action, mocking the 16-year-old climate activist in a tweet that Thunberg quickly appropriated ahs her new Twitter bio. Meanwhile, a host of creepy online commenters suggested that Thunberg just needed a good spanking.
But the most unhinged attack on Thunberg I’ve seen so far comes not from some anonymous Tweeter with four followers and an anime avatar but from a writer for The Federalist, Sumantra Maitra, who argues that “Saint Greta” has become the Joan of Arc of a new pagan cult of environmentalism that is trying “not only to turn back time but essentially to destroy the entire current edifice” of Judeo-Christian civilization itself. “The pagan barbarians from the north,” he writes ominously, “are back circling outside the citadel.”
He’s especially perturbed by the protest group “Extinction Rebellion,” which he describes as
an apocalyptic cult that wants to radically end every thing around you, from your private cars to the burgers you eat and the plastic chairs in your yard. It is a cult that was formed after its founder took psychedelic drugs … Members have blocked D.C. and London intersections, “twerking” the way people in a pre-civilized era would perform a fertility dance to pray to Gaia.
And above it all, Maitra writes, floats the spirit of the pagan “Saint Greta, our perpetual teen of sorrow,” whom he compares, in what he sees as a devastating blow, to Joan of Arc — apparently forgetting that Joan wasn’t the product of paganism but of the Judea-Christian civilization he is purportedly defending.
To Maitra , the anger in her voice during her recent speech to the United Nations was evidence of an “emotional meltdown.” Yet, he laments, she was “hailed … as a brave savior as well as a vulnerable, autistic teen who shouldn’t be bullied.” (Evidently he’s a bit chagrined that anyone would speak up against bullying.)
And so, Maitra complains, the allegedly rational forces of climate change denial — sorry, “skepticism” — find themselves up against “barbarians” engaged in
Sexualized dances, psychedelic hallucinogens, worshiping nature, confessing sins in pagan animism, worshiping purified teen saints, and throwing them up on an altar, bereft of their childhood, to promote a greater cause. …
The strangest part of the whole rant is Maitra’s weird paean to old-timey Stalinism. Unlike the new environmentalist pagans, Maitra notes, the old left understood that the earth was there for humans to exploit as ruthlessly as they could. And there’s no way that Stalin would have put up with those awful environmentalist twerkers!
For all the Marxists’ faults, the old left at least wanted to conquer nature instead of turning subservient to it. Of course, that went to its own extremes, but one can imagine Joseph Stalin putting all twerking climate fanatics as mentally ill people in a forced labor camp to build railroads in Siberia.
Apparently Maitra wishes he could do the same. Why is it always the ones who rant about the barbarians who turn out to be the least civilized?
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