Our house is still on fire

Two of the smartest humans on the planet are both women and are, in age, about sixty years apart. First there is the highest ranking woman official in American history, Nancy Pelosi, age 79, Speaker of the House of Representatives. She is the force majeure behind the impeachment of Donald Trump, and is doing her part to keep the planet safe from his destructive evil. The second is climate activist and 2019 Time Magazine Person of the Year Greta Thunberg, age 17, who is doing her part to keep the planet safe from everyone else.

While the Madam Speaker was ably and cannily expounding upon her quest on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Greta was at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, addressing the usual suspects of occasionally well-meaning but slow-moving and slow-witted billionaires and world leaders.

That this remarkable young woman has detractors at all is a testament to how effective she is as an activist and speaker, and how repellent they are as human beings. Hers is the wisdom, intellect and eloquence of a gifted and educated woman of middle years. She frightens people with the truth. The dumber Greta’s detractors are, the more frightened of her they become. Having learned from Drs. Dunning and Kruger all we need to about how people of lesser ability negotiate their inherent inferiority, it ought to surprise no one that they blame Greta for it, when instead they should blame themselves and people like them for allowing us to get in the mess we are in.

Ms. Thunberg began her remarkable speech by reminding everyone that when she last came to Davos she had warned everyone that our house is on fire. “I said I wanted you to panic. I have been warned that telling people to panic about the climate crisis is a very dangerous thing to do. But don’t worry, it’s fine. Trust me, I’ve done this sort of thing before. It doesn’t lead to anything.”

I understand what she means from a little bit of personal experience. On a much smaller stage I try to tell the truth even when people don’t want to hear it. It’s not the quickest way to win a popularity contest. But my personal insistence on painting pictures of doom impels me to do it.

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