Time magazine recently named its Person of the Year for 2019: Greta Thunberg. In case you have never heard of Ms. Thunberg, she is the 16-year-old climate activist who refuses to attend school because she is so concerned with striking for her pet cause of climate change.
The world has truly been turned upside down when a teenager who didn’t graduate high school and has the audacity to lecture the rest of us on a topic she knows little about is literally recognized as the most influential person on the planet.
According to Time, the Person of the Year is awarded to a person, group of people, idea, object, etc. who/that “for better or for worse … has done the most to influence the events of the year.”
In truth, Time magazine’s person of the year has not been absent of controversy. The first winner of the once-esteemed award was Charles Lindberg in 1927. That year, Lindberg completed the first solo transatlantic flight, which was an unbelievable accomplishment at its time.
Over the next 10 years, Time named truly significant figures such as Mahatma Gandhi and President Franklin D. Roosevelt as Person of the Year.
Then, in 1938, the magazine put Adolf Hitler on its cover and named the monomaniacal Nazi dictator its Person of the Year. (In Time’s defense, this was the year before Hitler invaded Poland, which initiated World War II).
In the decades since, Time has named other mass-murdering dictators as its Person of the Year. Although we can all agree that these monsters all fall into the “worse” category, the point is that they were monumental people who wielded great power and were indeed “influential”—albeit for the terror and suffering they caused.
In the 1980s to the 2000s, this standard was generally upheld. The list of winners during this era mostly included American presidents and other heads of state. In 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was named Person of the Year. She was followed in 2016 by newly elected President Donald Trump. Whether you like or dislike these leaders, we can all basically agree that they were surely among the most influential people when they won this award.
However, in 2019, Time decided to name a 16-year-old child who travels around the world complaining about climate change as the most influential human being. Never mind that Thunberg has no expertise in what she talks about. We should also apparently overlook the fact that her own teachers and parents think she would be much better off attending school than giving hollow speeches about an extremely complicated topic.
What Time magazine’s decision really shows is that the periodical and its so-called Person of the Year award has lost any and all remaining credibility. No wonder Time’s readership is dwindling faster than a snowman in a greenhouse.
There are several people, groups, objects, ideas, etc. who/that are much more deserving of this once-prestigious honor. How about the freedom fighters of Hong Kong (who were on the shortlist), who are bravely defying the outright oppression of mainland communist China?
Or the Kurds, who have valiantly fought against ISIS and several other enemies who are hell-bent on their utter demise?
2019 was full of people who stood against tyranny; why did Time choose to ignore their heroics and bestow its honor on Ms. Thunberg?
Could it possibly be that Time magazine has an agenda? I’m willing to bet that the editors at Time overlooked several people (and things for that matter) who/that were infinitely more influential than Ms. Thunberg because they did not embody the magazine’s political agenda.
The real question is, why is Time magazine so enamored with this adolescent as to ludicrously name her Person of the Year?
Chris Talgo is an editor at The Heartland Institute.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.