Political Scholar Warns: ‘Collapse of Civilized Social Order Is a Near Certainty’ From Climate Change and Nuclear Weapons
Human civilization as we know it is careening toward collapse due to climate change and the proliferation of nuclear weapons and modern society lacks the ability and will to save itself, political scholar and author CJ Polychroniou wrote in a sobering Common Dreams editorial on Saturday.
Polychroniou’s reasoning is simple – that unfettered Western Capitalism, which he dubbed “a highly irrational system for meeting human needs and wants” – has created an unsustainable culture wherein “a tiny percentage of the population is wealthy beyond imagination” which “compromises democracy, subverts the ‘common good,’ and promotes a culture of a dog-eat-dog world.”
The system of “representative democracy has fallen completely into the hands of a moneyed oligarchy that controls humanity’s future. Democracy no longer exists in any meaningful sense,” Polychroniou wrote. “The ‘common good’ is dead, and in its place, we have atomized, segmented societies in which the weak, the poor, and powerless are left at the mercy of the gods.”
The two biggest threats to our way of life and our collective futures are climate change and the spread of access to nuclear weapons, Polychroniou explained.
Man-made global warming “threatens to lead to the collapse of much of civilized life if it continues unabated. The extent to which the contemporary world is capable of addressing the effects of the climate crisis— heatwaves, frequent wildfires, longer periods of drought, rising sea levels, waves of mass migration — is indeed very much in doubt. Moreover, it is also unclear if a transition to clean energy sources, which is slow to emerge, even suffices at this point in order to contain the further rising of temperatures. To be sure, the global climate crisis will produce in the not-too-distant future major economic disasters, social upheavals, and political instability,” he lamented.
“If the climate change crisis is not enough to make one convinced that we live in ominously dangerous times, add to the above picture the ever-present threat of nuclear weapons. In fact, the threat of a nuclear war or the possibility of nuclear attacks is probably more pronounced in today’s global environment than any other time since the dawn of the atomic age,” Polychroniou continued. “A multipolar world with nuclear weapons is a far more unstable environment than a bipolar world with nuclear weapons, particularly if we take into account the growing presence and influence of non-state actors, such as extreme terrorist organizations, and the spread of irrational and/or fundamentalist thinking, which has emerged as the new plague in many countries around the world, including first and foremost the United States.”
Although Capitalism “has demonstrated an uncanny ability to evolve, and can easily co-exist with different types of regimes, ranging from social-democracy to dictatorship,” Polychroniu concluded, “it is ruining the Earth, and unless we can tame this irrational economic system and, above all else, do away with its addiction to fossil fuels, the collapse of civilized social order is a near certainty. Then the floodgates of barbarism will be wide open.”