As nearly every standardized test is showing, our schools are doing an abysmal job teaching kids how to read or do math. In some cases, kids graduating from high school can barely read their diplomas.
But the schools are wildly succeeding with their climate change indoctrination program. When I speak to kids on high school and college campuses and ask what the greatest threat is to their generation, the answer isn’t China’s aggression. It isn’t a drug abuse problem that is becoming the leading killer of our children. It isn’t the failed schools or the corrupt government or the more routine violations of freedom of speech. It isn’t the $32 trillion national debt soon headed to $50 trillion. (I always remind the kids, “I won’t be paying for this Mount Everest-sized debt burden. YOU will.”)
No, they almost all raise their hands and moan that they are most worried about global warming or “climate change.” We are raising a generation with millions of Greta Thunbergs. A Daily Telegraph poll found that more than half of teenagers surveyed believe that the world “may end in their lifetime” because of climate change. No one has ever told them that the climate has been changing for as long as the planet has existed. They’ve apparently never heard of the ice ages. The earth has gone through centuries of warming — and that was before air conditioning, which the climate czars want to take away from us to combat warming. Figure that one out.
I’m not here to argue about “the science” of global warming. What I do know is it’s only “settled science” because anyone who dares question the “experts” is written off as crazy or a quack. Meanwhile, the people who warned us about “the population bomb,” nuclear winter, mass starvation, running out of energy, global cooling and a future so polluted that everyone would have to wear gas masks in cities are telling us to just trust them as they are busy at work erecting a multitrillion-dollar climate change industrial complex that revolves around our planetary savior — the windmill.
But scaring the bejesus out of our kids to score political points is a reprehensible practice. Our school kids are being terrorized with misinformation. This, in turn, is leading to all sorts of maladies, including a rise in teen depression, suicide, lower productivity and drug addiction.
Worst of all, we are seeing the opposite of a population bomb. We are experiencing one of the most severe birth dearths in American history. The birth rate is plummeting, and no surprise: Who wants to bring kids into a world that will be uninhabitable in 50 years?
Psychologists are attributing these dysfunctions to a new syndrome called “eco-anxiety.” It’s a fear that Mother Earth is going to punish us in a brutal way — and very soon.
The irony of all this is that today’s children and teens are inheriting a living standard, a cleaner planet, and a level of goods and services and technologies and medical care that is far superior to anything anyone in history — even the richest kings and queens — had access to even 100 years ago. If kids think climate change is worrisome, they should try dealing with the bubonic plague, which killed one-third of Europe’s population, or polio or tuberculosis — or fending off barbarians or working 60 hours a week in a coal mine.
If my parents were part of the “greatest generation,” living through two world wars and a great depression, then this must be the psychotic generation. Are they to blame? No, we — their parents — are. We are the ones who have passively sat by as the Left turned our kids into neurotic Green New Dealers. Death to the machine. Turn the lights out. No more cars. No more flush toilets or washing machines. What’s next to save the planet? Euthanasia?
That’s what happens when you teach your children that they aren’t inheriting the Earth but a fiery hell.
Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a co-founder of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. His latest book is “Govzilla: How the Relentless Growth of Government Is Devouring Our Economy.”