TIME magazine has named its Person of the Year, a teenager who skipped school to travel around the world telling people that they are horrible and the planet is doomed. It’s a living. Perhaps her Malthusian visions will be fulfilled by future experience. But it’s not very likely.
In fact, her position is at odds with what we know: that a more responsible approach to climate requires action from China and India, not the West. But that makes for less convenient judgmental events, what with having to ride a catamaran across the Pacific instead of the Atlantic. She sticks to challenges with less risk, like speaking to groups of people who entirely agree with her.
Henry Luce’s 1920s prospectus for TIME magazine included this “list of prejudices”:
-A belief that the world is round and an admiration of the statesman’s view of all the world.
-A general distrust of the present tendency toward increasing interference by government.
-A prejudice against the rising cost of government.
-Faith in the things which money cannot buy.
-A respect for the old, particularly in manners.
-An interest in the new, particularly in ideas.
In keeping with that mission, the Person of the Year we ought to hail is the protester in Hong Kong.
In defiance of the most powerful authoritarian regime in the modern world, the protester in Hong Kong has stood against the authority of Red China with courage and dedication.
They have not bowed to the brutality of the police, who have murdered, raped, and abused them. They have not run from the tear gas or the hoses. They have refused to back down. And because of that, their message has been heard.
It is a protest that cuts across the lines of age and class. While the protesters are younger, they are supported by their parents’ generation, which feels guilt over not asserting themselves earlier. So their mantra is: Be water.
Hong Kong has enjoyed freedoms never present in mainland China. They see those freedoms slipping away. And rather than bow to that inexorable betrayal, the thuggish assertion of the murderous state, they stood, and they fight.
There is no bigger fight. And so, the Hong Kong protester is the Person of the Year.