An opinion on the whole Fridays for Future protests that is no doubt going to prove controversial.
For quite some time now I’ve been struggling to express how annoying I find the hipocrisy of Fridays for Future. Until I’ve heard this letter from a listener which controversial Sydney radio broadcaster Alan Jones read out on air1. As someone who went to school in Queensland, now almost twenty years ago, without air conditioning and a private car to drive me to school, I couldn’t agree more.
To all the school kids going on strike for climate change: You’re the first generation who’ve required air conditioning in every class room. You want TV in every room and your classes are all computerised. You spent all day and night on electronic devices. More than ever you don’t walk or ride bikes to school, but you arrive in caravans of private cars that choke suburban roads and worsen rush hour traffic. You’re the biggest consumers of manufactured goods ever, and update perfectly good, expensive luxury items to stay trendy. Your entertainment comes from electric devices, furthermore the people driving your protests are the same people who insist on actually inflating the population growth though immigration, which increases the need for energy, manufacturing and transport. The more people we have, the more forest and bushland we clear, the more of the environment that’s destroyed. How about this: Tell your teachers to switch off the air con, walk or ride to school, switch off your devices and read a book. Make a sandwich instead of buying manufactured fast food. Nah. None of this will happen. Because you’re selfish, badly educated, virtue signalling little turds inspired by the adults around you, who crave the feeling of having a noble cause while they indulge themselves in western luxury and unprecedented quality of life. Wake up, grow up and shut up. Until you’re sure of the facts, before protesting.
Now, the one thing in this that I don’t agree with is the immigration comment. People obviously create the same amount of greenhouse gases, no matter what country they reside in. I do think that, if we’re going as all-in on climate change as these protestors would like us too, we’d definitely need strict birth control rates, though.
I’m as guilty of many of the things mentioned in that piece as the next person. But my approach is to evaluate my own impact on society and the environment and start acting on that. I will try to better myself, instead of going to a protest and shouting for politicians to force other people to do things. I also don’t go around shouting at other people for things I myself can’t or won’t stop taking part in. Because I don’t want to be a hypocrite.
But I also like to make one point crystal clear here: I still support your right to protest for anything you believe in. What I object to is openly stating you want things done “at all costs” and suggesting we subvert the democratic process to do it. You are well within your rights to protest and even go on strike – let’s not mention that these protests aren’t actually strikes under any pre-existing definition of the word. But you also need to respect the rule of law. If the majority of the people don’t want to do what you suggest needs doing, you need to respect that, even if you are convinced we are all doomed. That’s how democracy works.
What I find even more despicable than the clear anti-democratic tendencies displayed by some of the protestors and their leaders, are my colleagues in the press who act like there is only one valid opinion here: to be on the side of these people. There’s nothing more disgusting than members of the press who insist they must have the right to say and write whatever they feel is right and then use that to declare someone else’s opinion to be invalid. You can’t have it both ways.
Now, if you don’t agree with me, I’m happy for you to tell me so. Unlike many other journalists, I’m not afraid to say things that are unpopular and I respect your right to give me feedback on them. You will have to go via this Fediverse thread, though. I don’t want to take this discussion to Twitter. The virtue signalling and holier-than-thou mentality described above is way too prevalent over there to make it worthwhile in my eyes. Luckily, there are many places on the ‘net where it’s very easy (and free in many senses of the word) to get a Fediverse account.
Header image: Joshua Hibbert