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    Saturday, July 20, 2024

    Climate change fanatics practice totalitarianism

    When, in 1955, Rosa Parks, a courageous Black woman, refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, was arrested, and sparked the modern U.S. civil rights movement, the connection between her protest and her objective was clear: to end the racial segregation maintained by the bus service.

    When, in 1960, courageous Black college students sat down at the white sections of racially segregated lunch counters throughout the segregated South and refused to leave until they were served, the connection between their protest and their objective was clear again: to end the racial segregation maintained at of lunch counters.

    In those protests and many others during that era, the demands of the protesters could be easily granted by the targets of the protest without any loss or harm to anyone.

    But what is to be construed from the sort of protest that is erupting in Western Europe and now the United States, like the protest that disrupted the final minutes of play at the Travelers Championship golf tournament in Cromwell last weekend? The protesters, wearing shirts with the legend "No golf on a dead planet," ran onto the putting green and sprayed colored powder on it before police intercepted them, took them away and charged them with criminal mischief.

    The protesters in Cromwell want to eliminate oil and natural gas fuels, in the belief that those fuels are causing devastating "climate change." In other venues such protesters are defacing paintings and statues. But the golf tournament, a major money-raiser for charity, and the defaced paintings and statues have no special connection to fuel use and their operators and custodians have no special responsibility for fuel policy. They don't use oil and gas any more than everyone else does.

    Sometimes fuel protesters block roadways, halting traffic. Of course most vehicles use fuel, but most of their operators of the vehicles being blocked use fuel no more than everyone else does.

    The fuel issue is a society-wide issue but the targets selected by the fuel protesters are not objectionable by the protesters' own standards, and hindering them won't affect fuel policy. The protesters have selected the targets instead for their capacity to cause annoyance when impaired and thus generate publicity.

    But the fuel issue long has been getting plenty of publicity quite apart from the efforts of the protesters. It is a major political controversy in the United States and Western Europe, where it is politically correct to imagine that there are readily available and adequate alternatives to oil and natural gas. But fuel is not a political controversy in most of the rest of the world, and especially not in the developing world, which will be needing not just oil and natural gas but also coal, the dirtiest conventional fuel, for decades to come.

    Calculating the benefits and harms of conventional fuels and striking a balance between them is a task for democratic politics. But the fuel protesters are so sure they are right, and so self-righteous, that they claim the right to nullify the rights of all people who disagree with them or don't heed them.

    These protests go far beyond civil disobedience. They go far beyond criminal mischief as well. They are totalitarian, and any prosecutor who pursues the criminal charges from the golf tournament, and any court that tries them, should keep this in mind.

    More schools crash

    Add Stamford to the list of Connecticut cities whose schools are getting out of control.

    Teachers at Stamford's Turn of River Middle School say they are being abused, bullied, threatened, and even assaulted by students, adding that the school administration has failed to report the assaults to the police.

    The administration says it will make changes, including adding a third security officer to the school. That officer is needed not to protect the school against outsiders but against its own students, since under Connecticut law even the most disruptive students are almost impossible to expel, lest their feelings be hurt and the public notice social disintegration.

    Chris Powell has written about Connecticut government and politics for many years. He can be reached at CPowell@cox.net.

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