What unites Greta Thunberg and Andrew Tate

World

Brendan O’Neill

Andrew Tate and Greta Thunberg (Photo: Andrew Tate/ Getty)

Brendan O’Neill

31 December 2022

8:21 PM

So, are you Team Tate or Team Thunberg? Do you side with the muscled misogynist who has convinced tragic TikTok incels that he’s a ‘real man’? Or with the pint-sized prophetess of doom famous for scaring the world witless about the coming climate apocalypse?

I say neither. I can’t be the only person who finds both of them annoying. The world will be a better place in 2023 if we hear less from woman-hating Tate and future-fearing Greta and their clashing armies of wide-eyed followers.

Dogmatic devotion to a leader is never a good idea. Which is why the Tate mob and the Thunberg mob unnerve me equally

This is the news that Andrew Tate, a bald pick-up artist, has had a Twitter run-in with Greta Thunberg, a Swedish doom-monger. What a Christmas gift for the Very Online! This was the Rumble in the Jungle for social-media saddos, the clash of giants they’ll be gabbing about for years. Not sad at all, nope.

It started when Mr Tate tweeted Greta about his dazzling collection of cars. He offered to send her ‘a complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions’. Thunberg rose to the culture-war bait and tweeted: ‘Yes, please do enlighten me. Email me at smalldickenergy@getalife.com.’

No one can deny that Thunberg’s reply was funny. And probably accurate. Nothing screams ‘small dick’ more than a bloke droning on about his Ferraris. Yet still the gushing over Greta has been irritating. You’d think she had defeated fascism or something. ‘Slay, queen!’, actual adults the world over have been saying. These people are as cringe as any sexless Tate fanboy.

For me, that’s the most striking thing about this daft spat – just how similar these two battalions in the Culture War are. On one side you have a squadron of lonely blokes who hang on Tate’s every word as if he were the messiah of masculinity. And on the other you have a platoon of middle-class eco-worriers who treat Greta as Gaia made flesh, the sainted green come to wash away mankind’s sin of industrial hubris.

Dogmatic devotion to a leader is never a good idea. Which is why the Tate mob and the Thunberg mob unnerve me equally.

This is not to say there is moral equivalence between Tate and Thunberg themselves. I deeply disagree with the Thunberg view of the world. But Greta is clearly a better, more normal person than Andrew Tate. What a piece of work he is. A proud misogynist. And now he’s been arrested on suspicion of human trafficking. A lowlife, if you ask me.

Yet there’s no denying the commonalities between Tate’s online dominion and Thunberg’s. Both are nihilistic. Tate and the edgelords that love him eschew the idea of community entirely, preferring the fleeting comforts of meaningless sex and hyper-consumerism. Thunberg and her followers view society as a toxic, polluting, dangerous thing, and fantasise about returning to a pre-industrial state of eco-innocence.

In different ways, both the Cult of Tate and the Cult of Thunberg encourage their followers to fear and reject modern society and to retreat into utterly unattainable dreams of ‘utopia’. Owning a Ferrari is as unachievable for the average Tate disciple as unwinding the industrial era is for Thunberg’s fearful apostles (thank God). The end result of both Tateism and Thunbergism is a nihilistic fleeing from reality into the bunkers of consumption or conservation.

Then there’s the demagoguery of both camps. It always makes me laugh when the right-on middle classes slam ‘low-education’ voters for being lured into the demagogic trap of Brexit, when I don’t know a single Brexit voter who idolises pro-Leave politicians the way they idolise Greta. They brook no blasphemy against St Greta. They treat her every utterance as gospel. Politicians fall at her feet and lap up her reprimands. It’s like political S&M.

The green-leaning commentariat loves to mock the adoration and credulity of Andrew Tate’s sad fans. They don’t realise that they’re the saddest fans of all. If someone can explain why gushing over a young woman who says ‘The world is coming to an end and it’s YOUR fault’ is more sophisticated than fawning over a bloke who says ‘I have lots of cars and YOU don’t’, I’m all ears. Aren’t they both just species of self-loathing? Greta lectures us for leaving too big a carbon footprint, Tate mocks us for not having a big enough carbon footprint. It’s two cheeks of the same derriere of anti-humanism.

Here’s the controversial bit: while Thunberg herself is nothing like the nefarious Tate, the cult that swirls around her is arguably more dangerous than Tate’s cult. His reach is limited. He enjoys virtually no validation in mainstream media and politics. In contrast, Thunberg’s crusade against modernity is all the rage. Her contempt for industrialised society, for man’s supposedly arrogant interference in nature, enjoys effusive political support. And that worries me a great deal more than some ridiculous online braggart talking about cars and conspiracies to a few million teenage boys who will grow up eventually.

Three billion human beings still live in dire poverty. To oppose economic growth in such circumstances – as the Greta-inspired green movement does – is far more reckless and threatening to humanity than Tate’s posturing could ever be.

Let’s have less of all this in 2023, please. Less online demagoguery, less virtual nihilism, fewer pantomime showdowns. Let’s get back to talking about what constitutes a good, meaningful life, and how we can ensure that everyone has the opportunity to pursue such a thing. That is something which neither Tate nor Thunberg has much to tell us about.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Published by Nelle

I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

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