Ho hum, global warmists plan a march in New York.
By JAMES TARANTO THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
September 16, 2014
"Climate Change Is About to Have a Populist Moment," the New Republic's Rebecca Leber informs us breathlessly. What does that mean? "On September 21"--this coming Sunday--"organizers of the largest climate change march in history expect at least one hundred thousand of [sic] people to join the People's Climate March in New York City." The Weather Channel predicts sunny skies with a high of 80 degrees. We blame global warming.
If, like this columnist, you live on the east side of Manhattan, you'll be happy to know the entire march will take place on the west side. Not that that's much consolation for those of us who are denizens of Turtle Bay, the neighborhood that includes the United Nations headquarters. With the annual General Assembly session opening next week, this weekend our neighborhood--peaceful and lovely the other 51 weeks--starts going into a virtual lockdown.
That's relevant to the People's Climate March because it ostensibly aims to influence the world leaders who'll be gathering in our part of town. "Happening just before the United Nations holds a summit on climate change, the real goal of the march is to show convening world leaders that climate change isn't just a policy issue that matters only to scientists and policy wonks," Leber writes. "The idea is to show that climate action is a populist movement, too--and one that's capable of making some noise."
We are confident the marchers will make plenty of noise. We are even more confident no one in Turtle Bay will be able to hear them.
Anyway, just having "People's" in its name doesn't make the PCM populist. After all, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is neither democratic, populist nor republican (though, to be sure, it is Korean). Leber reports the march is "bringing in religious groups, labor unions, students, and social justice organizations." The PCM website lists other categories of participant: "community groups," "anti-corporate campaigns," "environmental organizations," "indigenous, environmental justice & other frontline communities." If they had any wit, they'd trot out Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn for a Weathermen reunion.
In other words, global warmism is merely the theme of another gathering of the usual left-wing protest crowd. What sets this apart from, say, the 2000 protests in Washington against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund? We attended that one, where, as will be the case Sunday, a vast security apparatus ensured the protesters and their targets were kept entirely separate.
Protesters in Copenhagen Associated Press
For that matter, try to tell Sunday's protest apart from this one: "Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Copenhagen today as part of a global protest to demand governments across the world agree a binding new global deal to tackle climate change. The march and rally in the Danish capital, the world's largest ever protest about global warming, comes at the halfway point of the United Nations' climate summit in the city." That's from London's Guardian, Dec. 12, 2009
Leber graduated from college in 2011, so we suppose this all seems new to her. And hers isn't the first generation to evince nostalgia for the highly effective protests of the 1960s civil-rights and antiwar movements. But the protest culture has become so institutionalized and routinized that we'd be hard-pressed to think of an example since in which an American protest had any serious effect on national or international politics. Remember when Occupy Wall Street was going to change the world?
This column has noted more than once the absence of antiwar protests since President Obama began waging war against the Islamic State in Iraq. Well, so much for that: ThinkProgress.org has a photo of a Code Pink scofflaw disrupting a Senate hearing today by holding up a sign that reads "MORE WAR = MORE . . . EXTREMISM." We expect the self-reference is unintentional.
The noteworthiness of the absence of protests illustrates how routine they have become in a society that regards free expression as a constitutional right. No doubt protesting has some psychic rewards for those who engage in it, but it isn't going to change the world. Not even by half a degree between now and 2100.