The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse
Save the Earth, Punish Human BeingsBook - 2013
The planet is sick. Human beings are guilty of damaging it. We have to pay. Today, that is the orthodoxy throughout the Western world. Distrust of progress and science, calls for individual and collective self-sacrifice to ‘save the planet’ and cultivation of fear: behind the carbon commissars, a dangerous and counterproductive ecological catastrophism is gaining ground.
Modern society’s susceptibility to this kind of thinking derives from what Bruckner calls “the seductive attraction of disaster,” as exemplified by the popular appeal of disaster movies. But ecological catastrophism is harmful in that it draws attention away from other, more solvable problems and injustices in the world in order to focus on something that is portrayed as an Apocalypse.
Rather than preaching catastrophe and pessimism, we need to develop a democratic and generous ecology that addresses specific problems in a practical way.
Author Bruckner has written a lively and thoughtful essay on the damage done by ecological catastrophism, the belief that humans have severely damaged the earth and must pay the price. It is an attitude he traces to what may seem an unlikely combination: Catholicism (give up joy today for eternal life) and Marxism (give up personal needs for a better future). One obvious example is the popularity of disaster movies, which he seems to see as an embrace of catastrophe and pessimism. His message is that it is time to drop that destructive mindset in favor of developing a more constructive ecology that actually solves problems. Distributed by Wiley. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)