I have been thinking about the Greta Thunberg story and what it says about why conservatism is ineffectual or even counterproductive.
It’s the job of the left to be outraged and offended, and it’s the job of the right to take great pains to show how not racist and sexist it is. But other times, the right plays the role of being outraged. Case in point: the Greta Thunberg story, which blew up two weeks ago and is one of the biggest of the month, second only to the Trump impeachment inquiry. I became aware of it after she was excoriated on numerous right-wing podcasts and YouTube shows. Same for Tucker, who tore into her. This story united the right in a way that few stories have. Agree, she is naive and wrong, and she is not a kid, but rather a 16-year-old young adult who willingly embarked on this path of activism. Anyway, the problem is, the right yet again fell into the trap of hoping that by being outraged and angry and exposing the hypocrisy and stupidity of the left, that enough people would see the error of her ways and either disavow the left or join the ranks of the right. But who are conservatives trying to convince? This story divided the nation across predictable and long-standing ideological divides: either you thought it was a good speech and she raised some good points, or it was a travesty. There just aren’t that many people who will be swayed either way. But the bigger problem is, the right , by being outraged, only substantially raised her public profile/visibility and extended the shelf life of the story. Had conservatives went against their instincts and just ignored the speech, the story would have died a week ago, but now it’s still going on. We saw this with the Sandra Fluke story in 2013, and many other examples. For all the talk of how powerful the liberal liberal media is, conservative media is pretty big and influential too, especially Fox News, talk radio, and popular conservative websites. Conservative media made Greta’s speech more newsworthy by opposing it and her so strongly, which became newsworthy in and of itself rather than the content of the speech or the event, which was secondary. It transformed it from a policy story to a human interest one, which is when it blew up. But also the ‘donor class’ will double-down by giving her more support and increasing funding for dubious climate change science and NGOs, than had she not been attacked.