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.
Introduction: The Return of Original Sin 1
Part I The Seductive Attraction of Disaster 5
1 Give Me Back My Enemy 7
2 Have the Courage to be Afraid 24
3 Blackmailing Future Generations 49
Part II Progressives Against Progress 69
4 The Last Avatar of Prometheus? 71
5 Nature, a Cruel Stepmother or a Victim? 91
6 Science in the Age of Suspicion 105
Part III The Great Ascetic Regression 133
7 Humanity on a Strict Diet 135
8 The Poverty of Maceration 149
9 The Noble Savage in the Lucerne 162
Epilogue: The Remedy is Found in the Disease 184
""A sizzling new polemic against apocalyptic environmentalism.""
San Francisco Chronicle
""The best tonic for stale science communications I’ve read in a while.""
Cool Green Science
""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.""