It appears that the conservative side of politics in many nations is trying a balancing act between appearing to be ‘acting on climate’ whilst putting the breaks on action as much and for as long as possible. One strategy is to brand young people desperately trying to get the message out as terrorists, as in the video linked below. That’s in the UK, and it’s no different here in Australia. So what’s the truth here? First up, what’s the definition of ‘terrorism’? It depends on which definition fits the agenda of the government defining it, but generally in security studies the accepted definition is, ‘the use of fear to force modification of behaviour’. Causing a mass casualty event, for example, to force a government to withdraw from an overseas conflict. Blocking a motorway cannot be classified as terrorism because where it might annoy motorists, it doesn’t result in a mass need for a change of underwear.
Is blocking a motorway, or throwing soup at a painting an effective strategy? My opinion is that it is not because most people couldn’t give a rat’s arse about a painting and tomato soup, and given how people identify with their motor vehicles, they say ‘I had a flat tyre’, and not ‘my car had a flat tyre’, any hindrance to their car experience is to them an attack on their person and so the anger they experience overshadows any mental ability they might have to see the point the young people are trying to make. I do get it that soup on a painting gets more media coverage than the climate emergency, but the general public only see in such an action another reason to dislike climate activists and therefore a justification to continue driving a gas-guzzling SUV, as a cheap way of ‘punishing’ climate activists.
Are governments right in cracking down as hard as possible in a democratic society on climate activists? The answer to that can only be in the affirmative if as appears to be the case, governments legislate in the interest of the economic aristocracy they rely on to remain in power. It’s well known that someone such as Rupert Murdoch can set the outcome of an election, and a car manufacturer can threaten to move a factory to another part of the world and leave a government with a loss of export dollars and maybe tens of thousands of extra people lining up for unemployment benefits. Today is not so different from the Middle Ages when a king was nothing without the support of the aristocracy. It’s something climate activists need to think about; the ‘government’ is only in power for as long as it does what it’s told
If the climate activists need to think about the reality of things, then so does the government, and including all three of its estates. The young people are showing great restraint in only using non-violent strategies that unfortunately make them easy targets for political leaders too weak to legislate in the interest of the people, and news media which could better be described as propagandists for the government of the moment, and corporations.
That we are already experiencing a climate crisis is beyond dispute even to the dumbest of citizens, and this crisis can only grow to the point where it causes mass life extinction. Here’s the thing – people initially most affected will not simply lie down and die with a shrug of the shoulders, they will do whatever they can to survive including taking over a less affected region and eliminating its population if it dares try to resist the invasion. In developed nations civil unrest will also become a problem when people realise the young people were right to believe what scientists have been saying for decades, especially when there are food and drinking-water shortages, and will as people do, seek to enact revenge on those they not incorrectly blame for not having addressed the problem in time. The executive? The military? I don’t believe many would be prepared to defend the lives of billionaires, climate change deniers, and politicians who for their own selfish reasons, denied their children the right to life as well.