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Di Leo: The Little Scold and the Magazine



Time person of the year greta thunberg

By John F. Di Leo –

Having printed its first Man of the Year cover way back in 1927, TIME Magazine has been running these annual attention grabbers for over 90 years now.  It must sell copies pretty well, especially when the choice is controversial…

…As it is this year, with 16-year-old Swedish scold Greta Thunberg having been named their "Person of the Year" for 2019.

She has been in the news an inordinate amount for a 16-year-old, but she wasn’t really chosen for her personal story.  She’s a vegetarian teenager with Asberger’s, who talked her parents into giving up meat and an opera career.  Personally, therefore, the girl isn’t deserving of any degree of global recognition.

But then, TIME didn’t choose her because she deserved to be chosen. 

Unlike world leaders (both good and bad), scientists, generals and freedom fighters who have been chosen for this pop culture honor in the past, this youngster joins a class of activists they have honored occasionally, individuals or groups famous only for their political activism.

As an activist, she is one of a kind. Ignorant of the science or economics behind the subjects she speaks about, she scolds first her own country’s parliament and then the entire world, for robbing her and her generation of the ability to enjoy their childhood, because of the horrible global practices that people have refused to address.

So far, so good.  TIME has used this annual cover to champion the courage of the American soldier (in 1950 and 2003), the futile but incredible bravery of the Hungarian anti-communists (in 1956), and other causes… sometimes as individuals, sometimes as groups.

And there are a lot of horrible global practices that people have refused to address, which a prominent activist might be lauded for spotlighting. 

Such scourges as slavery in Africa, political imprisonment in China, North Korea and Cuba, female mutilation and other human rights abuses in the Islamic world, and abortion in the USA, all claim millions of victims per year, and therefore certainly deserve greater attention.

But she didn’t speak up to champion any of those genuine, gripping issues. She’s just worried about the weather.

Yes, a girl from Stockholm, Sweden, in the very heart of Scandinavia (latitude 59 degrees North) is worried about the possibility of Global Warming, and the irony of such foolishness is lost on her and her entire movement.

If her issue were a real one, this might indeed be impressive.  A 16-year-old who gets the world’s attention, speaking to parliaments and conferences, winning support for causes like ending female genital mutilation or human trafficking, would be non-controversial in the west, and would be an almost universally-cheered heroine.

But her issue isn’t a real one.  The idea of “manmade global climate change” has been utterly discredited in recent years, as the alleged science behind it has been revealed to have been intentionally doctored to support leftist economic and political goals.

This is why this little girl has been given a megaphone.  As more and more has come out, revealing the suspect motives and fraudulent backup for the climate hoax, its champions have gotten more and more desperate for activists who might have special, inherent defenses against the logical arguments of their opponents.

When politicians like Al Gore and Jeremy Corbyn advocate on an issue, other politicians of similar stature can beat them up with the facts.

When a little girl with Asberger’s spouts the same nonsense, opponents are stymied. Attack her positions and you look like a bully. Attack her ignorance and you look condescending. Attack her style and you’re being mean to the handicapped.  The girl has more built-in shields than a spaceship on Star Trek.

But this is exactly why it’s important to attack her anyway.  It takes courage, knowing what will result, to fight this girl.  You will be called every name in the book for doing so. But it must be done.

And so it is that, when Time announced her as their cover girl, President Trump rightly went on the attack, on his Twitter feed, of course, and called her out, and Time as well, for such a choice.  President Trump immediately received flak from the expected corners – the media, the twitterverse, the never-Trumpers… all asking him why he couldn’t resist the temptation to beat up on a little girl.

But this is why President Trump deserves to be complimented for it.  He knew that would be the reaction, and he could easily have avoided the issue, but he had the courage to weigh in anyway, despite the slings and arrows that were bound to follow his tweets.  To leave this cover without remark would be to sit back and allow massive, utterly destructive false indoctrination to go unchallenged.

The climate hoax is one of the most consequential political issues of the age.  It has become the new home for the leftists who were rhetorically and geographically defeated when the Iron Curtain came down 30 years ago.  It calls for the destruction of modern technology, an outright war on energy, manufacturing, human and product transportation, even the food supply.  And it’s all based on scientific claims that are utter rubbish.

The Time cover gives unquestioning, fawning support to not only this little girl, but the issue itself as well – an issue that deserves balanced evaluation and healthy skepticism at a minimum.

Those of us who pay attention know how villains use pawns to effect their objectives.  The drug gangs have their 12-year-old members commit the worst crimes, since they’ll get the easiest sentences.  The mob gives up its most junior members for prosecutions, because as people with the cleanest records, they will be the ones to get leniency.  Hitler used pigtailed adolescent and teenage girls to advocate Naziism.  Saddam Hussein claimed a munitions factory was a baby food plant. Hamas routinely launches rockets into Israel from rooms in clinics, schools and nurseries.

Villainous use of such shields has a long and successful pedigree.  Getting around such shields is hard.  But it must be done.

The right response to seeing a movement use a foolish little kid this way should be horror and disgust.  We should hate the movement that uses such a puppet to deflect criticism, because it is disrespectful to the process and injurious to the brainwashed child. Time Magazine, in particular, should be shamed for such an outrageous action.

An honest world would be one in which Greta Thunberg would be at home playing with her friends, and grownups would be advocating for and against political issues.   That the other side realizes that they need an “untouchable” as their spokesman on this issue should tell us a great deal about the bankruptcy of their argument.

Copyright 2019 John F. Di Leo

John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based import/export advisor, writer and actor.  His columns are regularly found in Illinois Review.

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  1. Thank you John. This is an excellent account of how misinformation and propaganda drives this little political machine. I recall being moved by the acid rain and rising sea water scares years ago. I am not buying into much of this malarkey anymore! Weather is weather, period!