Halloween is just about my favorite time of year. I love the holiday in all its aspects and forms, from the horror to the kitsch to the nostalgic, from the childlike to the adult. Give me the Halloween season, and I’m a happy man. Judging from candy, costume, and decoration sales, many people share my enjoyment of the season, and for kids, except perhaps for Christmas morning or the first day of summer, Halloween is possibly the most joyous day of the year.
Unfortunately, apocalyptic climate scolds seem intent on robbing me and, based on the number of children exhibiting eco- or climate-depression, a generation of youth of the joys of celebrating Halloween for its fantastical and fun elements. Hardly a day, and certainly not a week, goes by without a hysterical series of news headlines proclaiming the end of the Earth is near due to the supposed climate crisis based on a “new study” or a “groundbreaking” alarming report. Every report says the world is worse off than so-called climate experts had previously claimed. The end is always closer than they thought.
The horrors detailed in these headlines and reports are all as mythical as the vampires, werewolves, and shambling mummies, and zombies that stalk our streets on Halloween. Yet unlike those fictional monsters, the people and institutions pushing these stories are actually dangerous because, as spokespersons for the United Nations, staffers of prominent American politicians, and youth climate activists have revealed time and again, the whole made-up climate crisis—or, as we at The Heartland Institute like to call it, “the climate delusion”—is not truly about saving the planet or stopping climate change (a hubristic and impossible task in any case). Rather, it is about controlling how average people live and directing their lives and lifestyles.
Climate alarmists’ recent actions remind me of a song from when I was young: “They’re coming to take me away, Ha, Ha!,” by Napoleon IV (Jerry Samuels). Radical watermelon greens (green on the outside, red on the inside) have said often enough they would like to take climate realists like myself away, trying us for climate apostasy—a political show trial like those conducted in the socialist dictatorships they often openly admire. More importantly to the average person, they are coming to take away people’s choices about where and how they will live, how they will move about, what they will be allowed to eat, whom they can vote for (or even whether or not they have a vote), and robbing people of perhaps the most basic choice they are born with, aside from whether to continue to live: whether they should have children.
Increasingly in recent months, climate fascists, having already pushed “smart” growth policies dictating how people can develop their land or build single-family homes, have pushed for cities to ban new natural gas hook-ups in homes and for an end to natural gas heaters and stoves—forcing people to replace them with less-flexible, less-efficient electric stoves and water heaters. These “upgrades” would presumably be powered by wind or solar power, unless the electricity is shut off, as it was for nearly a week in California, the leading state for all this climate authoritarianism.
News reports have also covered the push by environmentalists for people to stop eating meat, telling everyone they should be satisfied to live like rabbits or dine on faux meat products. Climate alarmists are also demanding airlines end their airline mile programs, so people will fly less. Of course, this won’t stop self-proclaimed climate saviors like Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio from flying in private jets to accept awards for their work preventing Average Joes and Janes from flying.
Environmental radicals would even limit people’s choice of toilet paper—that’s right, you can’t even be comfortable in the privacy of your bathroom—saying everyone should be willing to accept butt burn, rear rash, or chapped behinds as a penance for causing climate change.
Environmentalists openly admire the ability of dictators in China to get things done, without the messy complications of people’s democratic choices, not having to take into account people’s feelings on matters like where to live and work, and most importantly, whether or not to have children or how many children to have.
Radical leftists of an eco-bent have argued since the late 1960s and early 1970s the world’s problems all basically come down to population size and growth, with climate change being the most recent excuse for pushing population control policies. Environmentalists argue we must scrap U.S. family planning policies and force U.S. taxpayers to promote and pay for abortions abroad. They have even, on occasion, spoken glowingly of China’s soul-crushing one child policy, which has all too often resulted in forced abortions and preferential female infanticide.
In the end, for environmentalists, it’s not fundamentally climate that is the problem, it is people, their choices, and their freedom. The pretend horrors of Freddie in your worst nightmare or Jason, Michael Myers, Pinhead, or other pretend Halloween creeps and killers pale in comparison to the evil designs climate catastrophists have for average people’s lives. Now that’s spooky!
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D.(firstname.lastname@example.org)is a senior fellow on energy and the environment at The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research center headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois.