The cult of Greta Thunberg

This young woman sounds increasingly like a millenarian weirdo.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill

Topics Politics World

Anyone who doubts that the green movement is morphing into a millenarian cult should take a close look at Greta Thunberg. This poor young woman increasingly looks and sounds like a cult member. The monotone voice. The look of apocalyptic dread in her eyes. The explicit talk of the coming great ‘fire’ that will punish us for our eco-sins. There is something chilling and positively pre-modern about Ms Thunberg. One can imagine her in a sparse wooden church in the Plymouth Colony in the 1600s warning parishioners of the hellfire that will rain upon them if they fail to give up their witches.

It actually makes sense that Ms Thunberg – a wildly celebrated 16-year-old Swede who founded the climate-strike movement for schoolkids – should sound cultish. Because climate-change alarmism is becoming ever stranger, borderline religious, obsessed with doomsday prophecies. Consider Extinction Rebellion, the latest manifestation of the upper-middle classes’ contempt for industrialisation and progress. It is at times indistinguishable from old fundamentalist movements that warned mankind of the coming End of Days. I followed Extinction Rebellion from Parliament Square to Marble Arch yesterday and what I witnessed was a public display of millenarian fear and bourgeois depression. People did dances of death and waved placards warning of the heat-death of the planet. It felt deeply unnerving.

It struck me that this was a march against people. Most radical protest and direct action is aimed at officialdom or government or people with power. This macabre schlep through London was aimed squarely at ordinary people. Banners and placards made no disguise of the marchers’ contempt for how the masses live. We were told that ‘Meat = heat’ (that is, if you carry on eating meat, you fat bastards, the planet will get even hotter) and that driving and flying are destroying Mother Earth. Of course, it’s okay for them to fly – Emma Thompson jetted first-class from LA to London to lecture us plebs about all our eco-destructive holidaymaking. It’s only a problem when we do it; it’s only bad when we take advantage of the miracle of mass food production and the expansion of flight to make our lives fuller and more pleasurable. They detest that. They detest mass society and its inhabitants: the masses.

In keeping with all millenarian movements, the extinction-obsessed green cult reserves its priestly fury for ordinary people. Even when it is putting pressure on the government, it is really asking it to punish us. It wants tighter controls on car-driving, restrictions on flying, green taxes on meat. That these things would severely hit the pockets of ordinary people – but not the deep pockets of Emma Thompson and the double-barrelled eco-snobs who run Extinction Rebellion – is immaterial to the angry bourgeoisie. So convinced are they of their own goodness, and of our wickedness, that they think it is utterly acceptable for officialdom to make our lives harder in order to strongarm us into being more ‘green’. People complaining about Extinction Rebellion disrupting people’s lives in London over the past few days are missing the point – the entire point of the green movement is to disrupt ordinary people’s lives, and even to immiserate them. All in the jumped-up name of ‘saving the planet’.

And now the green cult has pushed Ms Thunberg into the position of its global leader, its child-like saviour, the messiah of their miserabilist political creed. What they have done to Ms Thunberg is unforgivable. They have pumped her – and millions of other children – with the politics of fear. They have convinced the next generation that the planet is on the cusp of doom. They have injected dread into the youth. ‘I want you to panic’, said Ms Thunberg at Davos, and the billionaires and celebs and marauding NGOs that were in attendance all lapped it up. Because adult society loves nothing more than having its own fear and confusions obediently parroted back to it by teenagers. They celebrate Thunberg because she tells them how horrible they are: it is an entirely S&M relationship, speaking to the deep self-loathing of the 21st-century elites.

Young people, Ms Thunberg isn’t your leader. She’s a patsy for scared and elitist adults. Don’t do as she says. Instead, refuse to panic, mock the blather about hellfire, and appreciate that mankind’s transformation of the planet has been a glorious thing that has expanded life expectancy, allowed billions to live in cities, and made it possible for even the less well-off to travel the globe. Sin against St Greta.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Listen to the latest episode of The Brendan O’Neill Show below:

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Craig Vandertie

13th December 2019 at 8:20 pm

You dolts were you not aware that living in comfort is a privilege reserved solely for the elite, yes I am being facetious.


23rd September 2019 at 11:44 pm


Hugh Johnson

27th September 2019 at 7:49 am

Yes, but none of them resemble Linda Blair in The Exorcist

Gray Area

22nd September 2019 at 3:26 pm

This article has, like, a creepy paedophile feel to it. The image is not decreased with the photo of the author. What’s up with that.

Hugh Johnson

27th September 2019 at 7:52 am

What complete crap. Classic leftist, delusional response to a totally logical and fair assessment of this brat.

Madison Ave

29th September 2019 at 1:39 pm

The title should read Troglodytes Unite! It’s one thing to criticize from the safety of your keyboard. It’s another to tackle this very real issue and raise awareness. A more enlightening article would have been to have a discussion around the facts. Global Warming brings about: Longer and more damaging wildfire seasons | More destrucive Hurricanes | Increased health risks | Destruction of marine ecosystems | Increased pressure on groundwater supplies and food supply to name a few.

Peter Jenkins

10th August 2019 at 8:03 pm

Green-eyed monster- if only you could mobilise so many so quickly. Calling kettle black – cult!? Blue-sky thinking -perhaps young people are leading the way and you oldies should stop interfering. She is not miserable or pessimistic. She carefully considers scientific evidence. She is not trying to save the planet; she is trying to help the human race survive and prosper – egalitarianism rather than millennialism.

Deirdre Toomey

19th August 2019 at 11:53 am

Yes, Spiked’s blinkered rejection of the science of climate change is depressing. Of course too much has been made of this child’s stand. But climate change is real, Brendan, nor all your Marxist-Leninism will erase a drop of it. After all Spiked could also be called a ‘cult’, as any encounter with Claire Fox might demonstrate.

Hugh Johnson

27th September 2019 at 8:00 am

This obnoxious little brat and the people that are using her have not the faintest idea nor do they care for the”science”. This cult ticks
every box that categorises a cult. The sheer hysteria is so comical it’s beyond a joke.

Facts never matter. The so called “science” has been cleverly manipulated, distorted and bastardised by the UN and their IPCC to drive what has now become the biggest hoax ever known to mankind. All your ranting and doomsday carry on cannot change the facts and that is that humans have zero to do with climate change.

Gregory Barton

29th August 2019 at 2:19 am

“She carefully considers scientific evidence”
I wonder what she actually knows about the ‘science’. Does she know how much the earth has allegedly warmed over the last 140 years? Does she know what percentage of the earth’s surface is measured in order to create the fiction of a ‘global average temperature’ to one tenth of a degree? Does she know that the greenhouse effect attributed to CO2 is logarithmic? Does she know the demographic and economic assumptions behind RCP 8.5? I very much doubt it. But she is young and might be intelligent. If she does consider the scientific evidence carefully, one day, she might prove to be an embarrassment to her current cause.

Justin Avery

27th July 2019 at 10:38 pm

Why have all the comments on this been disappeared? I commented 3 months ago, along with many others? Just wondering…

Peter Jenkins

10th August 2019 at 8:04 pm

Free speech …..?

Alcibiades Lecand Harwood

22nd July 2019 at 7:36 pm

I’m growing increasingly disturbed by Greta, especially since the revelation that she can see things we mortals can’t such as carbon dioxide and suchlike. At first I thought she was just a brainwashed kid but now I’m starting to think this girl is a threat. One can only hope her and her closest followers drink some kool aid in their temple soon and spare us the misery of their disturbed rantings.

Peter Jenkins

10th August 2019 at 8:06 pm

Yep she’s dangerous and offensive.

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