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The second coming of the Children’s Crusade

Since socialism is all the rage these days, perhaps a few words of wisdom from the godfather of the socialist movement, Karl Marx, are in order. The German journalist, economist, historian, philosopher, sociologist, political theorist and socialist revolutionary (Phew! With all those professions, one wonders how he found time to sire six children) once wrote, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.”

The 21st-century version of the 13th-century Children’s Crusades seems to be unfolding on the world stage while many of us Americans are being cleverly distracted by yet another nothing-burger political crisis.

For those whose seventh-grade history class is a foggy distant memory, here is a brief refresher on the original Children’s Crusade.

The year is 1212. Stephen of Cloyes, France or Nicholas of Cologne, Germany (or both) claim to have been visited by Jesus who, instruct him/them to lead a Crusade to peacefully convert Muslims to Christianity. The French/German shepherd boy convinces some 30,000 children to join him in a march to the Mediterranean Sea, convincing all those little nippers that the sea would part and allow them safe passage to Jerusalem where they could get on with the Lord’s business of the non-violent conversion of Muslims. Upon their arrival, the sea doesn’t part as expected. So a few ruthless scoundrels (who just happened to be standing around with nothing else to do) offer the children free passage on boats to the Holy Land. Instead, many of the children are taken to Tunisia where they are sold into slavery by merchants, while others die in a shipwreck off San Pietro Island during a storm. The children were duped, their childhoods stolen by whomever was behind the plot to get those children to that seashore to make some cash.

Whatever version — as there are many — of the Children’s Crusade to which one might ascribe, they all sounded nefarious in the seventh grade and they all sound even more nefarious now. While the shepherd watched over his flocks by night, you can bet it wasn’t Jesus whispering in his ear.

My question is: Who is whispering into Greta Thunberg’s ear?

We all know the dour, petulant Swedish teenager who stormed onto the world stage demanding that all the climate change agnostics get on board with the true believers … or else. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” proclaimed the teen during a speech to the United Nations in September. “And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you.”

Yikes. No hyperbole there.

The Most Trusted Name in News declared Greta “the soul of the of the climate crisis.” The Church of Sweden in Malmo went even further, proclaiming her Jesus’s successor. Most Christians were expecting the Second Coming to a much bigger deal and yet, most of us missed it.

“When the Amazon burns, we gather to fight for Mother Earth together.” That’s according to an “official” statement on the Church of Sweden’s websites. To their credit, the Nobel committee passed on awarding Thunberg its Peace Prize.

Let’s face it, the Church of Sweden and the radical activists are using a gullible Swedish child as a catspaw in their fight to convert non-believers to its religion, called “Environmentalism.” Using a child for their own ends is unconscionable, just like it was in 1212. It’s an effort to enslave minds, promulgate victims and consolidate power for those with nefarious intentions. And it can all be explained with one simple three-word sentence — follow the money.

Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated that perhaps Greta should meet disadvantaged children from Somalia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh or even outback Australia before she talks about stolen childhoods. “You know, the fact that young people, teenagers, pay attention to the acute problems of the modern world, including ecology, that is right and very good,” stated Putin on BBC News in early October. “We need to support them. But when somebody uses children and teenagers in their own interest, it deserves only to be condemned. Nobody explained to Greta that the modern world is complicated and complex; it changes fast.

People in Africa and in many Asian countries want to be as wealthy as people in Sweden. How can it be done? By making them use solar energy, which is plentiful in Africa? Has anyone explained the cost of it? But is it an accessible technology for developing economies and countries? Hardly accessible. But people there want to live like they live in Sweden and nothing can stop them. Go and explain to them that they must live in poverty for 20, 30 more years, as well as their children. Explain it to them. Overall, of course, we cannot but support the ideas of developing renewable energy sources. We just need to be realistic.”

As painful as it is to admit, Putin is correct. Equally as painful is admitting that Marx’s profundity, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce” is absolutely playing out before our eyes, albeit the tragedy or the farce. When you’re right, you’re right.

Patra Taylor has been a columnist and features correspondent for the Charleston Mercury since 2002. Please visit her website at

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