In an excellent article on the revelatory encounter twixt prophet Greta Thunberg and treasury secretary Steve Mnuchen in Davos, Switzerland this week, economic journalist Rex Nutting asks the question: “Who knows more about economics? Steven Mnuchin or Greta Thunberg?” I would add: Who knows more about what it means to be a human being? Who knows more about morality? (And do they teach morality in business departments in colleges these days? Have they ever? Did they do so when Mnuchin went to college?)
Nutting also makes the point that “Mnuchin and his ilk are betting everything that we’ll survive climate change without breaking a sweat”—quite a different message from that of two DM’s ago when we honored the word sacrifice as being integral to a life of generosity. Just maybe Generosity is at the heart of being a human being.
Nutting points out that “a guy who still insists that the 2017 tax cut ‘will pay for itself’ should not be lecturing anyone about economics, but there’s something about being in Davos that brings out the arrogance in people who think money and power confer wisdom.” Ah! There is that word again—wisdom. Arrogance vs. wisdom.
After predicting days before that the tax cuts “would start working any day now…and flood the treasury with tax revenues,” Mnuchin “had the gall to patronize teen-age climate activist Greta Thunberg” who declared that the world should immediately stop using, subsidizing and investing in fossil fuels. “The facts are clear, but they’re still too uncomfortable for you to address,” she warned. “You just leave it because you think it’s too depressing and people will give up. “
Let us consider further the arrogance of Adultism at work here. Is ours a society that worships the god Chronos? Chronos was the father of six children who sat by his wife Rhea as she gave birth and ate each of the first five children to emerge from her womb. Chronos was the ultimate consumer determined to consume all his children because he was afraid of losing his throne to one of them.
Is Chronos the god of climate change deniers who are willing to consume and waste youth along with Mother Earth? Ultimately Chronos vomited up all his children who, after a fierce ten-year battle, overcame him. (That ten year war is telling since scientists today inform us we have ten years to turn back climate change.) Ecocide also leads to suicide which is very much on the rise especially among the young who are losing hope.
Adults like Mr. Mnuchen ought to start acting adult and instead of pooh-poohing the facts about climate change should learn to love truth and put truth first. Become generous and take your talents and resources to stand with the young against this common enemy—the destruction of the planet. What an opportunity—to be part of the solution instead of the problem!
Is this too much to ask?
Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, p. 185.
Queries for Contemplation
Are we worshiping the god Chronos when we refuse to face the reality of climate change?
How important is truth and the love of truth and how do we fall more deeply in love with truth? (Remember: Truth is another name for God.)