(This is part 4 in the No Time for Utopia series.)

In the previous two episodes in this series I argued that there are two possible futures for mankind and our planet. One is global societal collapse, which may take place within a matter of decades. The other is the “Lesser Dystopia”, a set of policies and adaptations intended to avoid societal collapse and the massive suffering it would cause. The Lesser-Dystopian path is a rather narrow path, however, and significant deviation will inevitably result into a slide towards the Greater Dystopia of global societal collapse.

To some extent, both scenarios could be seen as collapse scenarios, however, because they differ merely in the extent to which that collapse is guided and mitigated, and in what comes after collapse. The Greater Dystopia will result in a largely uninhabitable planet and will kill off up to 90% of the world population before the end of the current century. The Lesser Dystopia keeps at least half the planetary surface inhabitable, and achieves a much less extreme population reduction mostly by peaceful means. It seems that any sensible person would (and should!) choose the Lesser Dystopia over the Mad-Maxian hell of global societal collapse, but currently all signs point towards that hell.

This chapter in the “No Time for Utopia” series aims to clarify who and what are pushing us towards hell – or in other words, it aims to identify the (main) enemies of our children. These enemies can be divided into a number kinds, although there are considerable overlaps between those kinds. Social enemies are social groups (such as classes) that effectively oppose any deviation from the path we’re on (i.e. the path towards hell) and that obstruct any attempt to save a future. Institutional enemies are organizations and institutional sectors of society that are obstructive in the same sense. Ideological enemies are ideas, values, and beliefs with the same effect. Closely related to ideological enemies, there also are certain attitudes that are so harmful that they could (and should) be considered enemies as well, although I suppose that calling an attitude an “enemy” stretches the notion of “enemy” a bit too far.

If a social group is defined by shared values and ideas and those values and ideas are harmful to the extent that they are ideological enemies, then that group could be considered a social enemy, but I’ll only classify groups as social enemies here if they are not (just) defined by shared values and ideas. Consequently, there appear to be only two important social enemies: the rich and the old. However, because the role of the rich cannot be understood separately from the institutions that serve their interests, they are better grouped with the institutional enemies. Because these institutional enemies are most powerful (partially because – by definition – they are organized) I’ll start there, and discuss social and ideological enemies as well as harmful attitudes after that.

institutional enemies

The enemies of our children include all organizations, groups, and ideas that aim to preserve the status quo and to prevent the prevention of climate catastrophe. At the center of that cluster stands the global financial and industrial elite – that is, the rich, and particularly, the super-rich. They are most to blame for climate change,1 and profit from it most. They are the ones who have most to lose from preventing climate catastrophe and who are threatened by climate catastrophe the least (thanks to their air-conditioned fortresses and other safeties and insurances that their money can buy).2

The ruling class maintains it position at the top of the predatory (or parasitical) pyramid through its instruments of exploitation and control. This includes the financial sector, which is the main source of the ruling class’s wealth,3 but also the state, which the ruling class controls either directly or indirectly, and which is its tool of direct control over the rest of society. The main means of indirect control (of both the state and the rest of society) is propaganda, spread through education and the mainstream press (but note that effective propaganda is never recognized as such). This includes mainstream economics,4 but also the continuously repeated mantras that there is no alternative and that the status quo is “natural”.5 The following diagram shows some of the key power relations in the web of money, power, and death.

The rich (or the global financial elite, or the super-rich, or whatever you want to call them) directly control the financial sector (FIRE) as well as the fossil fuel industry and most of the mainstream press. Although a few news publishers and media are nominally independent, almost all mainstream newspapers, TV stations, and so forth are directly or indirectly controlled by the rich.6 The line is dotted because their control over the mainstream press is not complete.

In the last decade or so, FIRE and the fossil fuel industry have become increasingly intertwined,7 and FIRE also controls mainstream or “neoclassical” economics. Virtually all influential (mainstream) economists – including those employed by universities and the state – are (or were) also on the payroll of FIRE. FIRE also controls economic policy (and many other policies) by the state, partially through mainstream economics and partially directly. So-called “independent” bankers are only independent from democratic control, but not from control by FIRE (and thus by the rich).8 And most bureaucrats and administrators with power over or influence on economic matters have very close ties to FIRE as well (many of them are former FIRE employees, for example).9 Through FIRE, the rich own the state. (The fossil fuel industry’s control of the state tends to be more indirect and depends more on brute economic power. The whole economy – and much more – depends on fossil fuels,10 so the industry providing that has the leverage to get what it demands.)

The four red arrows in the figure represent control that is ideological more than direct or ownership-related. Mainstream or “neoclassical” economists determine what is “common sense” and what is “nonsense” in economic policy, and thereby set the limits for what can be decided, what can be taught, what can be propagated, and what can be thought. They determine the margins between which politicians must operate (to avoid being called “populists”), the margins of what is “possible”, and so forth. All of that is based on a nonsensical “theory” that really has only one real (albeit hidden) purpose: serving the interests of FIRE and the rich.11 But even if their “theory” is nonsensical, their power is real.12

The main role of ideological power or influence isn’t shown in the above figure, however. That role is to spread the hegemonic values and beliefs – that is, the ideas that support the status quo – throughout the rest of society. (More about this below.) This is the main function of the mainstream press (and to a lesser extent also of education): to make the belief that there is no alternative “common sense”, to make compliance and acceptance the norm, to minimize and marginalize protest and dissent. Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky famously (and very appropriately) called this “manufacturing consent”,13 but is is also the essence of what Antonio Gramsci earlier called “hegemony”.14

A second use of color in the schematic diagram distinguishes sectors that are entirely parasitic and/or toxic (in black) from those that are at least potentially forces for good rather than evil (in blue). The press could be a valuable source of information, if it wasn’t so busy spreading the hegemonic worldview and other propaganda. The state could be very useful for all citizens, if it wasn’t so busy benefiting just a few (a few that don’t need any further benefits, moreover). And education is obviously of great value, if it would instill a critical and inquisitive spirit and a thirst for knowledge, rather than just be a factory producing (office) workers and obedient citizens.15 The black/blue distinction is of great importance strategically: while the black sectors/groups need to be abolished or eliminated,16 the blue sectors/institutions need to be brought under the control of those who wish to create a future for our children.

social enemies

The position of the rich as the “head” of the web of money, power, and death, invites the identification of a hypothetical struggle to prevent climate catastrophe with a class war, but such an identification may obscure more than it clarifies. Certainly, there are aspects of or similarities to a class war (for example, it seems quite justified to see those who effectively defend the interests of the rich – such as soldiers, police officers, and many others – as class traitors), but climate change is not just an issue of diverging class interests but also of diverging generational interests (and consequently, soldiers, police officers, etc. are traitors of our – and their (!) – children even more than class traitors).

Anyone over 50 – or perhaps even over 40 – has much more to lose than to gain from a significant deviation from the path to hell. For everyone under (roughly) 30 it is almost certainly the other way around. Those who are over 40 or 50 now would only suffer the negative consequences of the Lesser Dystopia (and of the insurgency that might be required to establish it), but would die of old age before the worst of the Greater Dystopia (i.e. the hell of climate catastrophe and global societal collapse) becomes reality. For those who are young now, on the other hand, the horrors of that Greater Dystopia must be prevented at all costs. Hence, the Lesser Dystopia and the struggle to achieve it are in the interest of the young, while avoiding or preventing any deviation from the current path towards collapse is in the interest of the old. (Wherein “old” means over 40 or 50.) And consequently, a hypothetical struggle to prevent climate catastrophe is likely to be an inter-generational “war” as much as a class war, which makes such a conflict considerably more complicated.

Partially because of this, the climate struggle will not be fought across the traditional political left/right boundary. Pensions and retirement are nonnegotiable achievements for the traditional left, for example, but in conditions of economic decline, energy shortage, and rising costs of disaster and refugee management, neither will be affordable. Furthermore, they would constitute a further transfer of wealth (and of survival chances) from the young and their children to the old, to those who already had much more than the young can even dream of. If the hypothetical climate insurgents want the Lesser Dystopia to succeed (that is, if they want to avoid the barbaric Greater Dystopia), then they will have no choice but to abolish pensions and retirement, and thereby alienate themselves from the traditional left.

Doubtlessly, the traditional left will protest and claim that the old built up everything we have, and therefore, deserve our solidarity. However, previous generations didn’t built up everything we have, but rather burned up everything they had, leaving future generations with nothing at all. Furthermore, this defense of pensions and retirement misses the point because the reason why those will have to be abolished has little to with “inter-generational solidarity” (which really is a euphemism for obligatory redistribution from the young to the old), and everything with the fact that there will be no choice. I’m well aware that this is horrible for someone who worked his or her whole life for a meager subsistence wage, just making some rich bastard even richer, but there are future generations who need the money much more (or actually, they need what can and should be done with the money). If inter-generational solidarity is the solidarity of wealthier generations with poorer generations, then it requires abolishing pensions and retirement in favor of the young and future generations.17

ideological enemies

Inspired (among others) by Machiavelli’s use of the centaur – half human, half beast – as a metaphor for the two faces of power, Gramsci argued that power or authority rests on two pillars: (the threat of) force, and acceptance or consent. The latter is created through the spread of values, beliefs, and other ideas. The ideas that create acceptance and/or consent and thereby support the status quo and the people profiting from that status quo are usually called “hegemonic”. The hegemonic values and beliefs that perpetuate the current socio-economic system and that keep the enemies of our children in power are characterized by a kind of callous egocentrical hedonism that I called “cultural psychopathy” before.18

The hegemony of psychopathy empowers the rich, promotes exploitation, and undermines the solidarity and empathy that are needed to avoid sliding towards Mad-Maxian hell. Its ideological allies and expressions are manifold, however, and are rooted deeply in modern culture. Neo-liberal capitalism and its ideological underpinnings provided by the pseudo-science of (mainstream) economics (see also above) is inseparable from the hegemony of psychopathy. In fact, mainstream economics promotes an image of man as a psychopath.19 But most other liberal ideologies are similarly based on a celebration of individualist autonomy and hedonism – the highest good for virtually every form of liberalism is the happiness of the individual. Liberalism breeds narcissism, and the differences between narcissism and psychopathy are subtle and mostly irrelevant on a cultural scale.20

The danger of individualism is, perhaps, best illustrated by the individualist response to the threat of climate change: “prepping”. Rather than considering how to make one’s community more resilient, how to cooperate, how to face and survive disaster and collapse together, the individualist’s response is to stock up on weapons, build a shelter, and prepare to fight a war against everyone else. This response reminds of a question that was often asked and answered affirmatively in the second half of the 20th century when many Americans built fall-out shelters to protect themselves in case of nuclear war: “If my neighbors didn’t prepare for nuclear war and try to get into my shelter, am I allowed to shoot them?” Individualism in a time of disaster can only lead to Hobbes’s “state of nature”: a war of all against all in which life is “poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.21 And consequently, individualism and varieties of liberalism (as well as some varieties of anarchism) built on individualist foundations are an ideological enemy of the Lesser Dystopia.

Equally threatening – for very similar reasons – are racism, nationalism, patriotism and the like. Often these are distinguished, but effectively they are all the same: they prioritize some arbitrary group over outsiders. A nationalist or racist community “defending” itself from an influx of climate refugees is no different from an individualist defending his shelter from his neighbors. Any ideology that refuses help to the needy – regardless of who those needy are and where they come from – can only hasten collapse. Let me quote Mark Lynas again:

In a situation of serious conflict, invaders do not take kindly to residents denying them food: if a stockpile is discovered, the householder and his family – history suggests – may be tortured and killed, both for revenge and as a lesson to others.22

Avoiding global societal collapse requires compassion, cooperation, and generosity. Any ideology that restricts those will only hasten and deepen collapse and further aggravate human suffering. Any ideology that arbitrarily restricts compassion, cooperation, and generosity is an enemy of our children.

Probably more harmful even than cultural psychopathy and nationalism or racism is the widespread prioritizing of the interests of the old (i.e. adults and older) over the interests of the young (i.e. adolescents and children). One expression hereof is “adultism”, the idea that adults are in some relevant sense better than young people and are, therefore, entitled to control young people without their consent. And there are many cultures in which seniority commands respect and often translates into power. Such values and ideas are toxic, however. Prioritizing the old (i.e. adults and older) over the young (i.e. adolescents and children) effectively justifies dumping waste, debt, and suffering on future generations. This must be reversed, because if we do not start prioritizing the young and future generations soon, there may not be many future generations at all.

Ideological enemies include any idea, value, or belief that opposes the Lesser Dystopia and thereby locks in global societal collapse. This includes many more or less Utopian political ideologies (such as socialism, anarchism, liberalism, and so forth) that are unlikely to accept the Lesser Dystopia because it deviates too much from their vision of the ideal society, but it also includes various ideologies of growth. The worship of economic growth that has spread widely throughout the political and economic elite is an obvious example, but ideologies of population growth may be at least as widespread. Most religions vehemently oppose any kind of population control, for example. But mankind is already overshooting planetary boundaries and a very significant population reduction is necessary. If we don’t do that ourselves (in a controlled and peaceful manner), than natural disasters and global societal collapse will do it for us. Hence, any ideology that opposes population control (including both contraceptives and abortion) is an enemy of our children.

attitudes that kill

There is no sharp boundary between ideological enemies and harmful attitudes. Fatalism, for example, could be classified as either of the two. Fatalism is an enemy of our children because it is an excuse to not do anything. If we’re doomed anyway, then there is no point in trying to avoid global societal collapse. As has been pointed out by several climate scientists and activists before, in practice there is no difference between apocalyptic fatalism and climate change denial.

Denial is one of the ways in which humans respond to existential threat. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross famously distinguished five stages in the response to impending death,23 but reality is a bit messier than those neat stages: not everyone goes through those stages in order, and there are other responses that Kübler-Ross doesn’t mention. Robert Buckman suggests that there are 11 emotions that play different roles in different people (depending on their character) in response to a medical prognosis of impending death,24 and most of these emotions have equivalents in common attitudes with regards to the climate crisis. Denial is one of the 11; the others are fear (of death), anxiety, shock, disbelief, anger, guilt, humor, hope, despair, and bargaining. Almost all of these are counterproductive, and therefore, harmful. Of these attitudes only anger is likely to motivate someone to act25 – (most of) the others lead to inaction or to what Robert Lifton calls “psychic numbing”, which is probably one of the most common responses to the threat of climate change. He writes that:

psychic numbing . . . is a human equivalent to the way animals “freeze” (sometimes called “playing dead”) when threatened and lacking a path of either resistance or escape. The widespread numbing created by nuclear and climate imagery of extinction can be understood as playing dead on the part of the majority of people on earth.26

Perhaps, even more common than this psychic numbing are variants of disbelief or a refusal to seriously think things through. I’m not referring to downright denial here, but to the mixture of hope and lack of belief or understanding that is often expressed in statements like “we won’t let it happen”, wherein “we” really stands for some abstract “they” – the belief is that things really aren’t that bad and that “they” (whoever they exactly are) will somehow fix it. So – conveniently – we don’t have to do anything. This is self-deception, of course, and it is a harmful kind of self-deception as it leads to inaction and thus prevents the necessary action to achieve the Lesser Dystopia. This is true for most varieties of hope, moreover – hope is almost always hope that things will somehow magically improve or that others will fix it. Hope often stands in the way of action. Hope – or at least this kind of passivity-inducing hope – is an enemy of our children.

Of all the harmful attitudes, probably the most widespread, however, is a kind of vulgar, non-political conservatism. This attitude is not an ideology built on tradition and conservative values, but the much more ordinary refusal to give up things and privileges people have and have grown accustomed to. Smart-phones, cars, big houses, and various other luxuries and conveniences all require more energy and resources than we can afford. Many – if not most – of those things will have to go. But few people seem to be willing to even consider that they might have to give up their car, smart-phone, or refrigerator. It appears that the vast majority of people – including young people – will rather descend into hell with their smart-phones (etc.) than live in the Lesser Dystopia without them. There is no future without personal sacrifices, however, and a lack of willingness to make personal sacrifices is a threat to us all. (This doesn’t mean that you have to give up your smart-phone or computer or freezer or car right now – because that would be rather pointless – but it does mean that you have to accept that you’ll have to give up these things soon if there is to be a future for our children.)

the enemy is us

This overview of enemies of the Lesser Dystopia – and thus, enemies of our children – is sketchy and incomplete, but it wasn’t my aim here to be comprehensive. Rather, I merely wanted to point out that opposition to saving humanity and our planet is much more widespread and much more deeply rooted than often assumed. What I wanted to show is that the enemy is us – or most of us at least.

While the previous episode in this series showed that avoiding global societal collapse will be very hard (and quite Dystopian), this fourth episode adds another problem: almost no one really wants to change course, and this may be the biggest problem of all. (It’s certainly the problem that I find most disconcerting.27) Nevertheless, this shouldn’t be a reason to give up – fatalism was listed as an enemy above – but it does make it rather hard to see a way forward.28

appendix 1: some suggestions for further reading

(June 2, 2019) — The already classic study of how the fossil fuel industry, neoliberal “think tanks”, and their allies spun their web of lies and deceptions is Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway’s Merchants of Doubt (2010)29.

Several books present more or less in-depth analyses on how corporations, the rich, the fossil fuel industry, and their institutions and ideologies (i.e. neoliberalism, which is often called “conservatism” in the US30) have obstructed and continue to obstruct any attempt to avoid climate catastrophe. Two noteworthy examples of this literature are Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything (2014)31 and Bill McKibben’s Falter (2019)32.

Klein’s book may very well be the most thorough analysis of the nature of the enemy and its stranglehold over society. She points out that neoliberals/conservatives cannot possibly recognize the necessity of action to prevent climate change for a number of reasons. Most importantly, avoiding catastrophic climate change (i.e. avoiding collapse) requires regulation and other kinds of government intervention in the economy, which conflicts with the core belief of neoliberals that the state is bad and everything must be left to the free market. But recognizing climate change also conflicts with the dominant business model (i.e. creating “shareholder value”), as well as with the widespread belief in human mastery over nature.

McKibben’s book doesn’t just deal with climate change, but also discusses artificial intelligence (AI) and biotechnology. All three pose serious threats to the future of mankind in his opinion, but the root of that threat is neo-liberalist capitalism and the culture associated with it – that is, what I called “cultural psychopathy” elsewhere.33 A few years have passed between the publication of Klein’s and McKibben’s book and in those years the tone of the more journalistic literature on climate change has changed. Klein’s book is representative of a more angry and accusative, but also more hopeful period in that literature. Recently, more and more people seem to be losing hope and loss and grief are becoming more prominent than anger. McKibben’s book fits in that trend.

(This appendix may be further extended in the future.)

appendix 2: additions and amendments

(June 2, 2019) — Above I (briefly) discussed institutional enemies on the sub-national level, but when such enemies of our children within a country are particularly strong, deep-rooted, and interconnected, then countries can become enemies as well. This doesn’t imply that all the citizens of such a country are enemies, of course, or at least not for that reason. In the contrary, it implies that such countries are enemies of much of their own citizens as well.

Probably, the two best examples of countries that are enemies of our children are the United States and Russia, albeit for very different reasons. In the US the institutional enemies mentioned above are extremely strong. They have an iron grip over politics and have been effectively unopposed for decades. In addition to that, virtually all the ideological enemies mentioned here are cornerstones of American culture: individualism, neo-liberalism, a masculine belief in the human mastery over nature,34 pro-growth fundamentalism, anti-population-control extremism, racism, nationalism/patriotism, rising authoritarianism. If you’d make a checklist of all the enemies listed in this article and look at the US, you’d have to check off every item on the list. This is problematic for a number of reasons. Firstly, it makes the US an enemy of our children – but of course, most of us were already well aware of that. Secondly, it also makes it very unlikely that the US is resistant to collapse. Even if other societies can manage to avert societal collapse, the cultural enemies (i.e. the various harmfull -isms) are so deeply rooted in American culture that widespread civil war and complete societal breakdown may very well be unavoidable, especially if the glorification of violence, another hallmark of American culture, and the lack of gun control are added to the already volatile mix. To put this a little bit more bluntly, I fear that there is no future for North America other than barbarous chaos and death. But perhaps, I’m too pessimistic. I certainly hope so.

Russia is an entirely different case. Russia’s economy depends on the mining and export of fossil fuels. Furthermore, on the short and mid-term Russia is likely to be among the countries that are least affected by climate change. On decadal time scales, climate change may even be advantageous for Russia. So, for Russia it is advantageous to obstruct any kind of climate action in any way it can. By making sure that neoliberals/conservatives stay in power, for example. Or by creating and reinforcing dissent and polarization to make it impossible to enact legislation to protect the climate and to weaken governments and international organizations. Or by spreading fake news and doubt to feed distrust in science and government. Or by doing all of that. Well …, Russia is doing all of that, and it is fairly obvious why it is doing that. It should be equally obvious that this is not going to stop anytime soon. It is in Russia’s interest (at least on the short and mid-term) to continue to obstruct any kind of action to avert climate catastrophe, so Russia is and will remain an enemy of our children (bur also of Russian children, of course, but they may not realize that until it is too late).

(This appendix may be further extended in the future.)

Links to articles in this series:
No Time for UtopiaSeries introduction. Against “ideal theory” and Utopianism.
On the Fragility of CivilizationPredicting global societal collapse within decades.
The Lesser DystopiaWhat is necessary to avoid that collapse?
Enemies of Our Children – This episode.
The Ethics of Climate InsurgencyOn violence as a means to prevent catastrophe.
The Possibility of a RevolutionCan a revolution establish the Lesser Dystopia?
The 2020s and BeyondA scenario for the coming decades.
What to Do?Some closing reflections on what we should and can do.

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  1. For example, the amount of CO₂ emitted directly or indirectly by the global 0.5% richest people is roughly similar to the amount of CO₂ emitted by the global poorest 50%.
  2. There is a whole industry now that promises the super-rich safety and assistance in case of climate-related disaster.
  3. See: Rent, Debt, and Power.
  4. See: Economics and Psychopathy, Economics as Malignant Make Believe, On Free Trade Ideology, and Rent, Debt, and Power.
  5. See: Lajos Brons (2017), The Hegemony of Psychopathy (Santa Barbara: Brainstorm).
  6. The same applies to social media.
  7. See, for example: Matt Taibii (2009). “The Great American Bubble Machine”, Rolling Stone July 9-23: 52-61 & 98-101.
  8. See also: Crisis and Inertia (4) – Economic, Political, and Cultural Crises.
  9. Goldman Sachs has been especially successful at positioning its former employees in key positions.
  10. See the previous chapter in this series for more about this dependency and the energy problem in general.
  11. See: Economics and Psychopathy, Economics as Malignant Make Believe, On Free Trade Ideology, and Rent, Debt, and Power.
  12. See: Brons (2017), The Hegemony of Psychopathy.
  13. Edward Herman & Noam Chomsky (1988). Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (London: Vintage).
  14. See, for example: Brons (2017), The Hegemony of Psychopathy, as well as: Crisis and Inertia (4) – Economic, Political, and Cultural Crises. See also below.
  15. On the press and education, see the sections “The Mass Media and the Culture Industry” and “Education for Compliance”, respectively in: Brons (2017), The Hegemony of Psychopathy. I haven’t mentioned the military here yet. I’m not sure whether the military would really be beneficial, but it is almost certainly necessary. On the role of the military in the Lesser Dystopia, see the previous chapter in this series.
  16. Note that “eliminating” does not imply killing! A social group can also be eliminated by taking away whatever defines that group. Dispossessing the rich eliminates the rich (as the rich). And re-educating mainstream economists eliminates them as mainstream economists.
  17. There is a reason why I use the label “Lesser Dystopia” – that future sucks; it just sucks less than the alternative.
  18. See Brons (2017), The Hegemony of Psychopathy. For some edited excerpts, see here.
  19. See: Economics and Psychopathy.
  20. On psychopathy vs. narcissism, see: Crisis and Inertia (4) – Economic, Political, and Cultural Crises.
  21. Thomas Hobbes (1651). Leviathan, XIII.9.
  22. Mark Lynas (2007). Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, (Harper Collins), chapter 5.
  23. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (1969), On Death and Dying (Routledge). See also: Fictionalism – or: Vaihinger, Scheffler, and Kübler-Ross at the End of the World.
  24. Robert Buckman (1993). “Communication in Palliative Care”, in: Doyle et al., Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine (Oxford: Oxford Medical Publications).
  25. Although anger is unlikely to be sufficiently motivating on the long run.
  26. Robert Jay Lifton (2017). The Climate Swerve: Reflections on Mind, Hope, and Survival (New York: The Free Press).
  27. Which is part of the reason why it took me so long to write this article.
  28. One thing that must be kept in mind is that even if we cannot avoid global societal collapse, our actions in the near future will make a big difference with regards to the world after collapse. The closer we can get to the Lesser Dystopia, the lesser the carnage and the more inhabitable our world. So even if collapse turns out to be inevitable, there still is a lot to fight for.
  29. Naomi Oreskes & Erik Conway (2010). Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming (Bloomsbury).
  30. But the term “conservatism” means something else in continental Europe. (European “conservatives” are often communitarian and traditionalist and are not necessarily opposed to government interference in the economy.) There the term “liberal” is often used to refer to what is called “conservative” in Anglophone countries, while in the latter the term “liberal” tends to refer to the enemies of conservatism/neoliberalism. “Liberals” in that sense are usually called “progressives” in continental Europe.
  31. Naomi Klein (2014). This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate (Knopf).
  32. Bill McKibben (2019). Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? (Wildfire).
  33. See Brons (2017), The Hegemony of Psychopathy.
  34. See also Death, Masculinity, and Hegemony.