“Jane Fonda & the Left's Messiah Complex”
By Elliot J. Nitkin
have always abided the thought that movements are for bathrooms.
Over the years I have come to the conclusion that I do not want to identify with a political side; I want to be open to ideas.
I am, now, however, consciously an outsider to the left.
I am so because I believe they have one overwhelming obstacle to success: they are a "movement" not a cohesive, responsible, sum of individuals.
Once a group of citizens working to educate for change, now it is a religious movement, helmed by leaders seeking messianic devotion.
Case in point: Jane Fonda.
Lately, her actions beg the question: “How many arrested environmental leaders does it take to make a light bulb more energy efficient?”
Ms. Fonda’s efforts have been invested as noble for “raising awareness”, yet the world has known of this problem for decades.
Surely as a democrat, she voted for Al Gore. Has she forgotten his efforts to “raise awareness”? Give the man his due, even if that is an inconvenient truth.
I was made aware of this problem in university when it was called acid rain. I graduated in 1989.
This issue is polarizing the United States, Australia is burning, Canadians and many others are voting for politicians based in great part on their environmental positions.
Millions march screaming their “truth” to power (catchy phrase by the way) blaming big business on the one hand for selling them everything from fossil fuels and soft drinks to deodorant, and government on the other, in equal measure, for failing to make them stop.
Recently, Coca-Cola was named the world’s worst polluter, twice.
Coca-Cola has no control over how someone disposes of a plastic bottle and cannot be solely to blame for the fact that an alternative raw material does not exist.
Oh and by the way, “Norway recycles 97% of its plastic bottles”.
If they can do it, so can the rest of the world who buy Coca-Cola products .... of their own free will.
Oil consumption has been rising steadily since the 1950’s which again is consumer choice: cars are six or seven times more fuel efficient.
Having abandoned reason for emotion, it is fair to say that it is not just the religious right that worships a savior with fire and brimstone.
Some work to induce change by suing governments to make a clean environment a human right.
Fighting government decisions as a human rights' abuse will destroy democracy. Government will meet the needs of one group only by defying the human rights of the opposite group.
The left has proven it cannot exist without the coercive value of messianic worship. Woe betide the fool who questions their “fearless” champions of good over evil. He, she or they will invite furry, even accusations of chauvinism, bullying and of being on the wrong side of history.
In the extreme, their livelihood is threatened.
One of the most pernicious consequences of this demagogic spirit however is that scientists - people Trump thought were lying - are ignored, in retaliation.
Scientists have risked much to bring new technologies to market. Many have paid their way through university and grad school, accumulating student debt in the cause of doing their all too important job.
We should be celebrating those who are inventing options.
But I suppose a scientist's glamour quotient is not sufficient to the task of internet virility, unlike outspoken firebrand UN speech makers.
Let's be clear, I think Ms. Thunberg’s accolades were earned.
They would have been even more useful had she implored her devotees to understand the realities of solving this crisis. A leader must encourage rational discussion, not incite denunciation. A leader must have viable, actionable, solutions.
Sadly, Ms. Thunberg has none.
Yet this does not seem to stop Ms. Fonda’s followers and indeed those who follow Hollywood personalities from hailing her every spoken word as if from the Temple Mount, her photo opportunities sought like the Shroud of Turin.
A contrarian thinker, foolish enough to speak out will be branded a modern day heretic.
The great irony is that these same messianic personalities have created their public personas celebrating a hedonistic lifestyle worthy of a Roman orgy.
Hollywood, thy sewage doth become odorous.
Happily, there are fine examples of effective leaders, even from people in Ms. Thunberg’s age range.
Juxtapose the totality of her actions with those of Boyan Slat. If you are not familiar with his name, my point is made.
Like all messiahs, Ms. Fonda’s leadership has both witting (and unwitting) apostles.
In Rex Murphy’s article “There's no hypocrite like a rich, jet-setting anti-global-warming one”, he details the monstrous excesses of “Google Camp” - a meeting of Hollywood’s “best” (read most egotistical) held to discuss how we plebes can be induced to cure the earth.
Several people arrived on yachts. There was one private jet for every three attendees. They even took over a world heritage site for an evening’s soiree that cost $100,000.00.
I'm sure it was all grain fed organic chicken and Evian watered vegetables.
There was even a fleet of sports cars on hand for guests to “enjoy” - Maseratis’ - very environmental.
I thought the last supper was pricey. This is at least akin to "The Handmade's Tale".
From Ted Danson to Lilly Tomlin to Leonardo Dicaprio, the avaricious nature of Hollywood’s activism is breathtaking.
But the most scurrilous justification for Ms. Fonda’s leadership - I suspect - is the belief that she helped stop the war in Vietnam.
She absolutely did no such thing.
In Ken Burns’ and Lynn Novik’s “The Vietnam War”, (Netflix, Episode 9, "A Disrespectful Loyalty.”) they document the reality that opposition to the war allowed the North to postpone peace talks.
Pressure at home made Nixon vulnerable to the North, prolonging the war by years, killing many Vietnamese and American soldiers.
Without question Johnson, Nixon and the Communist North's leadership were equally responsible, far more so than the anti-war movement.
But many entertainers did not adequately represent the political reality. They propagandized politicians and corporate America alike. They were equally guilty of fomenting decent among the populous, making it even more unlikely that the President would be or could be honest with the American people and that the American people would listen.
Some, like Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman in "Manufacturing Consent", suggest that they used the war to sell newspapers censoring the coverage only when too graphic.
Regardless, American's formed their positions based on coerced and manipulated political affiliation, not efficacy of action. They used photographic iconology as propaganda, disregarding anyone not in support of their world view.
Jane Fonda sitting on a Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun ignited tremendous controversy, but not a day of peace. In point of fact, her efforts and those of other's, lead to the ostracization of Vietnam war vets. Many have suffered their entire lives because of it.
For all of her later statements of regret, she has continued to commit the same one sided propaganda campaign in other countries, like Israel.
It still has not made a bit of difference to peace in the world.
Her climate strategy will never make any difference either.
In the words of Bob Dylan's “Blowing in the wind”, “When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?”.
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