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Young, Dumb, and Scared: Big Green and the Existential Protection Racket

Start with The Story of Stuff, a 20-minute "documentary" targeted to children ("get them young") using questionable statistics that most kids wouldn't have the resources to check ("get them dumb"). Continue with the "documentary" Gasland, which makes a number of claims about hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") for natural gas production that, well, turn out not to be verifiable ("get them dumb") or even turn out to be flat out made up, illustrated with video of flaming water faucets ("scare the hell out of them") that turn out to be "gassy" wells that our great-grandparents here in the West were complaining about a hundred years ago.

As a method, of course, it works wonderfullyGet young kids, and present anything you like in an authoritative voice with a teacher behind it, and they'll believe it. With some technical subject, like well-fracturing, their teachers probably don't know much more than what's in the movie, and only rare parents will know any better.

The result is that the environmental activism industry picks up some new foot-soldiers -- by far the majority of the demonstrators at environmental demonstrations are in their late teens or early twenties -- and lots of publicity that pushes the grants, that fund the lawsuits, that pay for the political actions, that lead to more grants.

Underneath it all, of course, it's really a protection racket. "Nice little planet you have here. Be a shame if something happened to it. And, oh, did you hope to have children and grow old? Forget it unless you do what we tell you."

It worked on a particular 15 year old in Colorado in 1970. It was some years before I realized there wasn't any mass famine, that copper and iron and coal seemed to still be available, and that the oil crisis had been political, not an actual shortage of oil.

"Get them young, keep them dumb, and scare the hell out of them" -- and ride it to fame, wealth, and power.