Here’s what’s wrong with declaring Greta Thunberg Personality of the Year – Reason.com
The designation is quite arbitrary – how exactly do you quantify the influence? – and should not be taken too seriously (at least not after 2006). And although the tone of TimeThunberg’s article on Thunberg is very hagiographic, the designation is not necessarily an approval of the winner: Adolf Hitler was Person of the Year in 1939. All this to say that it doesn’t matter who wins Person of the Year, therefore no one Shouldn’t be too upset that this year, he’s a 16-year-old climate change activist.
And yet, the award reinforces the idea that Thunberg is someone whose righteous anger should automatically be translated into public policy. As Nick Gillespie observed in an article on his activism, Thunberg is an avatar of “catastrophic thinking” and wrongly pushes a message of doom:
Greta Thunberg’s stories are probably candid, but neither they nor the deplorable responses they evoke are a guide to good environmental policy in a world that gets richer every day. For the first time in the history of mankind, half the population of the earth is middle class or richer and the death rate from natural disasters is much lower than it used to be still a few decades ago. Protecting everything that is just as important as protecting the environment and, above all, these two objectives are hardly mutually exclusive.
After decades of treating children as pets, the media now gives too much weight to the views of teen activists, especially when protesting against issues such as climate change, gun violence in schools, inequality income, etc. Like Ilya Somin did. written, young people, even those who can credibly claim to have been particularly affected by a crisis, generally do not have special knowledge or in-depth knowledge of public policies. According to Somin:
Young people, as a rule, know less about government and public policy than other age groups. Because of this, they are also less likely to have valuable ideas on how to solve difficult problems. …
It would be a mistake to reject political proposals out of hand, simply because of the age of their members. But it is also a mistake to attribute particular political wisdom to young people. The fact that a large number of young people support a political cause adds little, if anything, to its merits.
Thunberg is TimeNobody of the year, but that doesn’t make his claims about the future of the planet any less false: we are not “at the beginning of a mass extinction” and the world is not going to end in the next 10 -12 years without the adoption of his radical ideas.
To learn more about teen activism, check out my book, Panic Attack: Radical Youth in the Trump Era.