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Wed Jan 24, 2018, 06:18 AM

Is this the end of civilisation? We could take a different path (George Monbiot)

From George Monbiot's column in The Guardian:

Environmental breakdown, coupled with the self-destructive behaviour of governments, has set us on a road to ruin. And we’re blocking off all means of escape.

It’s a good question, but it seems too narrow: “Is western civilisation on the brink of collapse?” the lead article in this week’s New Scientist asks. The answer is, probably. But why just western? Yes, certain western governments are engaged in a frenzy of self-destruction. In an age of phenomenal complexity and interlocking crises, the Trump administration has embarked on a mass de-skilling and simplification of the state. Donald Trump may have sacked his strategist, Steve Bannon, but Bannon’s professed intention, “the deconstruction of the administrative state”, remains the central – perhaps the only – policy.

Defunding departments, disbanding the teams and dismissing the experts they rely on, shutting down research programmes, maligning the civil servants who remain in post, the self-hating state is ripping down the very apparatus of government. At the same time, it is destroying public protections that defend us from disaster.

Full article: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/24/end-civilisation-take-different-path







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Reply Is this the end of civilisation? We could take a different path (George Monbiot) (Original post)
arenean Jan 2018 OP
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Nitram Jan 2018 #3

Response to arenean (Original post)

Wed Jan 24, 2018, 08:48 AM

1. No, and for the same reasons people hurtling at

death-defying speeds down crowded highways don't drive into each other. The same reasons a nuclear world didn't self destruct. And the same reasons across the planet people are working smart, long and hard to improve the wellbeing of others.

A quadrupling of the planet's wealth since the 1970s didn't just produce dangerous billionaire classes, even dreadfully unequally distributed it has still enabled a wellbeing for billions of people never dreamed of before. And we can do so much better.

I'm reading an old biography by journalist James Reston, and I liked something he said in the intro when speaking about all the terrors and wars the planet came through to 1991, when he published. "And in America, while the extremists of the Right and the Left made the most noise, the moderates made most of the laws." The eager zealots and seditionists who unite in believing the center must be destroyed are nothing new.

That was Reston looking back. It wasn't quite so clear looking forward, as we are now. "In 1919, Lord Grey, the British foreign secretary, said, "The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime." He was wrong, of course. "But just as I came to the end of my journey, Uncle Sam turned them on again."

It's worth pointing out that our long traditions of democracy and stability of government are very different from Germany and Russia, which had none when they self destructed again and again.

Not to diminish climate change. It's going to be devastating tragedy upon tragedy. It will cause many wars and deaths. It will require us to change how we live and to build and rebuild. But even a brief scan of history since the time of Lord Grey shows that that is what we do. And there are far too many books now to burn.

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Response to arenean (Original post)

Wed Jan 24, 2018, 09:16 AM

2. At the very time when extraordinary

international cooperation and massive efforts are required to face up to and cope with devastating climate change, the exact opposite is happening in the US and inadequate responses elsewhere.

Humankind is in grave danger; civilization / life as we know it is toast. Something much better may come from it, after cataclysmic losses, but it is certain to be very different.

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Response to arenean (Original post)

Wed Jan 24, 2018, 01:57 PM

3. We, and our democracy, will survive this.

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