Global warming is still a “maybe,” but in the Swiss Alps the visual evidence is undeniable. The glacier I used to ski on has disappeared, and man-made snow is pumped out daily in its place. The once-small alpine village from where I write this column is now a Mecca of the nouveaux riche and vulgar—snow and manners have gone with the wind.
In my own little way I do what I can against global warming: I drive a tiny Mini, use only a sailboat rather than those polluting stinkers the oil-rich Arabs favor, and charter only propeller planes when I occasionally fly around Europe. However, I’m reluctant to believe the climate Cassandras because their prophetic gifts have been found wanting. Prince Charles predicted the end of the world some time ago, but he’s been flying a private jet around the globe for the last 20 years. Meanwhile, that Swedish teenager who accuses us of killing her future is a publicity freak of Meghan Markle proportions.
More depressing than the disappearing white stuff are the manners of the people who warn us nonstop about global warming. Never have I met a ruder kind: young, usually bearded in both sexes, and like all annoying types, holier-than-thou. Mind you, some of us oldies think that the hot air emanating from the climate warriors who protest at the drop of a hat are the real cause of the snow’s disappearance. My son, who as a teenager used to lean left, has finally seen the light and now enjoys annoying the ritzy-glitzy youngsters he runs into by asking them what pronouns they use.
What’s undeniable is that we have produced a generation of young people who pride themselves on being eternal pessimists. “Life will deliver less,” is their message. I can’t suppress a wry smile when I hear this stuff. I grew up during the last world war, something these darlings are traumatized by when they merely see it on TV and in the movies.
Like many in my age group, I have memories of almost daily bombings during the war. My family’s house north of Athens adjoined a small airport used by the Greek royal family. The occupying Germans parked their fighter planes there. Although my German nanny and my parents had forbidden it, our favorite game was to run outside during air raids in order to catch falling chaff—the silver foil Allied bombardiers would dump in order to confuse the radar used by the German anti-aircraft gunners. It sounds more dangerous than it was. During three years of bombings, there was not a single casualty caused by this childhood game. Today’s youth has no such luck. They’re being bombed daily with exaggeration, intolerance, and falsehood on Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp, with millions of mental casualties.
No wonder they’re all so angry. Had I lived my life in the grip of social media, I’d probably be an inmate of an insane asylum by now. Abused, trolled, bullied, incapable of having a relationship, today’s youth have made celebrities their heroes, including the ghastly Kardashians and that pachyderm Lena Dunham. Social media are an echo chamber where their own prejudices are fed back to them. This electronic consciousness tells them everything’s the fault of the oldies, people like myself who don’t care about the future. Bad, bad Taki!
Yet when communism collapsed 30 years ago, its subjects rejoiced for the restoration of the values they had been denied: free speech, dignity, and tolerance. The irony is that 30 years later, newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post, TV networks, and social movements like #MeToo want to revert to the social controls used by communist dictators. The Donald promised to drain the Swamp, but the Swamp seems to be winning, with help from the above-mentioned, zombie-like people attached to their machines, who shout at others on the Internet. These are the people who practice the not-my-president, hands-over-ears screeching in reaction to the results of democratic elections.
Back in 1969, President Richard Nixon went over the heads of the so-called elites and the Eastern establishment to tell the American people that America would not be humiliated by North Vietnam. He called on the silent majority of Americans to back him, and they sure did. His polls went through the roof. I have a pleasant recollection from this time of watching New York men wearing construction hard hats beat the crap out of some effete Harvard types for burning the American flag on Fifth Avenue. Irish cops looked on, smiling. Well, we all know how that period ended! The Swamp brought down a great president who had won a landslide of 49 states.
We’re in the same situation now, except Trump is no Nixon. He’s listening to lying Saudis and Likudists and picking a fight with Iran. He’s on the right path where immigration is concerned, and when and if that is finally restricted, the U.S. can start rebuilding harmony among its communities, particularly in the inner cities. But I’m not holding my breath.