The planet is sick. Human beings are guilty of damaging it. We have to pay. Today, that is the orthodoxy throughout the Western world. Concern about the environment is legitimate, but catastrophism transforms us into cowering children. 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. Bruckner locates the predecessors of today's ecological catastrophism in Catholicism's admonishment to give up joy in the present for the sake of eternal life and in Marxism's demand that individuals forsake personal needs for the sake of a brighter future.
Modern society's susceptibility to this kind of catastrophism derives from what Bruckner calls the 'seductions 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.
The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse is a sharp and contrarian essay on one of the great issues of our time will be widely read and discussed.
"As stylistically gratifying as he is intellectually lucid, Bruckner presents a clear alternative to the accepted thought on one of this era's hottest topics."
- Publishers Weekly
"A sizzling new polemic against apocalyptic environmentalism."
- San Francisco Chronicle
"Pascal Bruckner is a brilliant writer – astute, learned, broad-ranging, mordant, sometimes mischievous, and sometimes prophetic. He is one of the handful of writers around the world who define the intellectual history of our time."
- Paul Berman, author of The Flight of the Intellectuals
"With his usual verve and eloquence, in The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse Pascal Bruckner offers a bracing and provocative critique of an ever-more-pervasive and fanatical Green politics and ideology. For Bruckner, the ecological catastrophism the latter promotes constitutes less a salutary call to action than a return to the politics of guilt encouraged by exhausted ideologies, religions, and religious institutions, the Catholic Church in particular. This book will please some and consternate others, but its intelligence and originality make it an important book for our times."
- Richard Golsan, Texas A&M University
"For anyone who has had enough of being harangued for single-handedly destroying the planet for future generations, Pascal Bruckner's new book will come as a welcome breath of fresh and unpolluted air."
Introduction : The return of original sin
Part One: The Seductive Attraction of Disaster
Chapter One: Give me back to my enemy
Chapter Two: Have the courage to be afraid
Chapter Three: Blackmailing future generations
Part Two: Progressives against progress
Chapter Four: The last avatar of Prometheus
Chapter Five: Nature, a cruel stepmother or a victim?
Chapter Six: Science in the age of suspicion
Part Three: The great ascetic regression
Chapter Seven: Humanity on a strict diet
Chapter Eight: The poverty of maceration
Chapter Nine: The noble savage in the Lucerne
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Pascal Bruckner is the author of many books including The Tyranny of Guilt , Perpetual Euphoria and The Paradox of Love . He writes regularly for Le Nouvel Observateur .