THE GLOBAL NEWSSTAND

Stories that matter from near and far.

Angry Adolescents: The Case of Greta Thunberg

The Swedish climate activist and perpetually-angry teenager Greta Thunberg has announced that’s she’s going to Alberta where, no doubt, she will deliver a stern lecture. Theodore Dalrymple, writing in The New English Review, argues that Greta’s transformation into a celebrity is the work of infantile adults who have turned her into the Ayatollah Thunberg, the Khomeini of climate change.

Angry Adolescents: The Case of Greta Thunberg

The Swedish climate activist and perpetually-angry teenager Greta Thunberg has announced that’s she’s going to Alberta where, no doubt, she will deliver a stern lecture. Theodore Dalrymple, writing in The New English Review, argues that Greta’s transformation into a celebrity is the work of infantile adults who have turned her into the Ayatollah Thunberg, the Khomeini of climate change.

The Archive

Apocalypse Fatigue: 50 Years of Failed Predictions

Back in 1841, Charles Mackay noted in Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds that crowds are swayed not by facts but “emotional feedback loops” that confirm their delusion. He was onto something. Myron Ebell and Steven J. Milloy survey the past 50 years of scientifically predicted environmental apocalypses – none of which has materialized.

Take Meghan Markle…Please

Britain’s large appetite for American imports has its limits. Writing in the inaugural issue of The Spectator, U.S.A, Rod Liddle pleads with America to take back Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle. For Mr. Liddle, the departure of the virtue-signalling, sanctimonious Duchess of Sussex can’t come soon enough.

China Goes to the Movies

China has become the worlds’ largest and most important movie market and Hollywood is anxious to cash in. Yet heavy-handed censorship from Chinese authorities reveals a harsh truth: the ideology promulgated by the Chinese Communist Party subverts bedrock Western ideals, including the rule of law, respect for private property and, above all, freedom of expression. Martha Bayles, writing in The Atlantic, scrutinizes the long arm of Chinese censorship and American filmmakers’ craven submission in the pursuit of profits. What ultimately is at stake, writes Bayles, is nothing less than artistic freedom.

Amazonian Rhetoric

What’s a climate obsessive to do when the data suggested wildfires worldwide are declining? Or when the Earth’s forested areas are increasing? Or when the rising productivity of agriculture and increasing crop yields mean we now need less land to feed more people, and so are sparing massive amounts of wild land? For climate alarmists the answer is obvious: ramp up the rhetoric and recruit some celebrities. Matt Ridley, writing in The Spectator, argues that the recent preening and preaching prompted by the Amazon fires was primarily an attempt to garner attention in a competitive media market.

Post-human History

Few intellectuals can match the extraordinary popular success of Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari. In two best-selling books, Sapiens and Homo Deus, he tackles the big questions about the human condition and its future. Harari’s wide-ranging, macro-histories have clearly struck a nerve with the public. Yet his account of our collective past assumes that the biological, scientific version of human nature provides the true and full explanation of what we are. Writing in City Journal, Sir Roger Scruton notes that Harari’s reductive view of history skirts the rather gaping matters of human self-consciousness and self-awareness. In the end, writes Scruton, Harari’s histories are about homo without the sapiens.

Rebel Weather

The renowned Canadian physician Sir William Osler once observed that “the greater the ignorance, the greater the dogmatism.” No issue fits Osler’s words better than climate change. Contrary to global dogma, climate science is far from settled. Among the basic challenges facing climatologists is securing accurate records of the Earth’s temperature. John Steele Gordon, writing in Commentary, reports that when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration installed 114 state-of-the-art weather stations in 2005, it didn’t quite confirm global warming. As Mark Twain summarized, “Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.”

The Good Intentions Paving Co. Visits the City

Urban America is experiencing a widespread breakdown in public order. Cities such as Chicago and San Francisco are marked by homelessness, violent crime, an epidemic of drug abuse, housing shortages, a decaying infrastructure and a general erosion of the human ecology, while others, such as Portland, have added ongoing violent protests to the mix of woes. Among the major reasons for urban decline, believes Steve Malanga, was the championing of progressive social policies reflecting the cultural revolution of the 1960s. Writing in City Journal, Malanga argues that however well-intentioned such policies were, their practical effect was to produce a chaotic, dangerous, urban netherworld. Fortunately, the remedies are well-known; tragically, we appear to lack the political will to enact them.

On The Need for Accuracy and Nuance

Paul Valery, the great French poet and philosopher, held that, “It is impossible to think seriously with such words as Classicism, Romanticism, Humanism, Realism, and the other-isms. You can’t get drunk or quench your thirst with the labels on bottles.” Precisely so. Nor can one think seriously with labels such as feminism, liberalism, communism, populism or conservativism. Douglas Murray, writing in the Spectator UK, warns against the ideological lumping which conflates conservative parties with “far-right” policies. The commentariat needs to adopt a nuanced and intellectually robust political lexicon, Murray argues, one capable of delineating the requisite distinctions among parties on the right.

Cleaning the Window to let in the Light

When President Trump described Baltimore as “a disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess,” and criticized Congressman Elijah Cummings, a predictable Greek Chorus arose from the Democrats and their enablers in the media: Trump is a racist! “King” Cummings is black, so naturally, any criticism of him or his leadership could only arise from racist motives. Writing in American Greatness, Roger Kimball argues that Trump’s twitter assault was calculated to make the Democrats own the problem of urban decay. And he may well be elbowing open the famed “Overton Window,” the range of ideas and rhetoric permissible in public discourse.

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