The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse

– Lonnie Barnes

Bruckner seems to be critical of all sides of every argument. He begins the book by discussing capitalism and communism, and interestingly argues that the defeat of the latter by the former was actually bad for the former: “it is not credited with any good deed, but it is held responsible for all harms.” (9) Without an enemy on which to blame the ills of world, people started to blame capitalism. Bruckner rejects this blind criticism of capitalism, but is also critical of the neoliberal policies that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

Bruckner then moves on to criticize ecologism. As the title of the book suggests, the view that industrialization is bringing us closer to the apocalypse (“There are only two solutions: either capitalism dies, or Mother Earth dies…” (14))   is a position that he does not agree with. Key to the ecologist view is the idea of an ideal earth, of pristine nature before it was tainted by human beings. This is common when thinking about the Americas being colonized by European powers, however we know now that this was just not true. The land had indeed been altered to suit the needs of the people that lived on it.

I see a parallel argument between nature and language. People often talk about a language’s original form, even though there is no such thing. Languages are created from another, and are constantly changing. The same can be said of nature, it is always changing, and humans are not the only ones who change it.

To me, it seems that Bruckner’s problems with ecologism are the unconditional rejection of industrial processes and romanticization of nature that come with it.  For him, it is ridiculous to argue that industrial processes are inherently bad for the earth. He acknowledges that mistakes have been made and damage has been done, but rather than merely pointing the finger and prediciting the apocalypse, he recommends finding solutions to the problems we have created. For him, “the remedy is found in the disease” (184), which is industrialization.

In short, Bruckner weighs up the pros and cons of various ideologies in this book, and is quite critical of them all while still acknowledging the merits of each one.

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