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OPINION

The Climate Crisis Frenzy Is a Mass Hysteria Movement

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Ever since the Biden administration promised to eliminate fossil fuels, climate activists have combined their quest to use the government to control society with creating a collective group possessed by illusions and excessive fears that climate change is destroying Planet Earth. This Climatism Collective believes that dismantling society will enable government to prevent the end of the world.

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Researchers refer to such collective fears as mass hysteria. They consider it a psychogenic illness, “a condition that begins in the mind rather than the body.” It involves people feeling anxious, sick or crazed, notwithstanding the absence of any physical reason for their condition.

A recent Lancet study of 10,000 young people, ages 16–25, found that 59% were extremely worried about climate change, and 84% were at least moderately worried. The respondents suffered from sadness, anxiety and anger and felt powerless, helpless and guilty. 

The authors concluded that climate anxiety is so great that these young people believe humanity is doomed, everything they value is being destroyed, and they should refrain from having children. They also believe the government could protect them if it would listen to their feelings, validate and respect their beliefs and demands, and implement policies that eliminate fossil fuel use and “unsustainable” lifestyles.

Mass hysteria episodes have been recorded since the Middle Ages. There have been witch trials, screaming trances and even a “dancing plague” in 1518, with stressed-out participants dancing for weeks, sometimes until they were so tired they died. 

In recent times, we’ve witnessed hysteria over the Covid pandemic, the Red Scare about communism, and the Y2K belief that when clocks struck midnight on January 1, 2000, computer systems would fail to recognize the year, and massive electrical outages would devastate society.

Influencing today’s Climatism Collective is a federal government, media and academic alliance that incessantly promotes the disinformation that society’s use of fossil fuels causes every problem on Earth. If an area of the world is hotter or colder than “normal,” it’s climate change. If there are forest fires, storms, floods or droughts, it’s climate change. Even poverty results from manmade climate change. 

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The “climate crisis” is cited to drive unsubstantiated assertions that the oceans are getting warmer, ocean currents are slowing or speeding up, species are dying and humanity faces worsening health risks. It’s even used to justify programs that offer “eco-anxiety counseling” for federal bureaucrats. 

The fact that our Earth, and especially the United States, has much cleaner air and water today than a century ago is irrelevant to those possessed by climate hysteria. So is the fact that far more people are healthy, well-fed and living longer than ever before. 

Pulling together these disparate report findings is a recent National Institutes of Health study on “Covid-19 and the Political Economy of Mass Hysteria.” While the study focused on how the political system and social media negatively impacted the public mind during the Covid pandemic, its findings certainly apply to situations in which large segments of a population believe they are continuously exposed to dangerous conditions, despite no serious injuries or damages. 

The NIH study authors describe mass hysteria as “a large group of people get[ting] collectively very upset” by negative information. The false or misleading information “evokes fear and spreads in society.” They appropriately call this spread of emotions and anxiety through impacted groups a “contagion.” 

Once an infected group is in a state of mass hysteria, the government can “impose measures on the rest of the population, inflicting almost unrestricted harm,” including abrogating and trampling on civil liberties, all of it justified by assertions that it’s necessary to prevent a catastrophe. 

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The authors describe how the federal government used lockdowns and social distancing to create greater Covid hysteria, decrease psychological resistance and impose penalties for non-compliance. The government's actions, combined with news agencies and social media, promoted massive negative news campaigns that further deteriorated psychic health by intentionally scaring already anxious populations.

The authors conclude that government elimination of information that questions, challenges or competes with its preferred narrative – combined with false or negative information spread by news and social media – makes society more prone to developing mass hysteria.

Having learned from Covid, the Biden administration increasingly resorts to climate fear-mongering, using the “climate crisis” to create anxieties that cause mass anxiety and hysteria. President Biden regularly insists: “Climate change is an existential threat to humanity…. Unchecked, it is going to actually bake this planet. This is not hyperbole. It’s real.”

Mr. Biden claims a “whole-of-government approach” to the “climate crisis” is essential and must be mandated, since it affects every aspect of society and all things made by society.

By implementing a whole-of-government approach, the President makes climate change the top federal priority. Policy changes are made in every aspect of governing to address climate change, including new taxes, electric vehicles, refashioning U.S. military missions, altering the framework of international relations, and regulating appliances, power plants, the electrical grid, oil production and manufacturing. 

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The media follows this climate change narrative to ingratiate itself with the government. By November 2021, U.S. news coverage of climate change reached an all-time high. Key to the coverage increase was a change in describing it: from global warming to “more intense words and phrases” to describe the phenomenon, such as “climate crisis,” “climate catastrophe” and “climate emergency.” 

These new terms are then incorporated into media and social media tracking algorithms, to increase preferred stories by 50% or more. One “expert” says this “helps describe the realities of our world” – or at least the climate collectivist world they seek. Within two years, the Biden administration and its allies have greatly increased mass hysteria about climate change, especially among the young

These young people now believe climate change is so harmful that every aspect of society must be regulated. In fact, the Lancet study finds, the anxiety has become so deep-rooted that even the government’s whole-of-government response is deemed insufficient.

Team Biden and its media, academia and corporate partners in deception have not only acquired enormous, unprecedented power over our lives and living standards. They have created a mental health crisis within a population segment that will soon become leaders in the United States, in nearly every sphere of society. 

Unless we can restore a sense of reality to climate change (today and throughout history) and the essential role of reliable, affordable energy and fossil fuels in our lives, the United States will soon head down a rocky road to Third World status. 

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William L. Kovacs has served as senior vice president for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, chief counsel to a congressional committee, and a partner in DC law firms. His book Reform the Kakistocracy (government by the least qualified, most unscrupulous) is the winner of the 2021 Independent Press Award for Political/Social Change. He can be contacted at wlk@ReformTheKakistocracy.com

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