In “A Fragment of Future History,” a short science-fiction novel, Gabriel De Tarde one of the 19th century’s most extraordinary sociologists, predicts that the world will experience a terrible ice age in the 25th century AD. He portrays a world in which a terrible winter disaster in the year 2489 would bring mankind to the brink of extinction. Those that remain build a new civilization underground, where they sought refuge from the bitter cold. Life as they know it has become entwined in the darkest depths of the underground.
This Utopian novel by French sociologist Tarde, who lived in the period where industrial capitalism crossed over Europe’s borders and transformed into imperialism, was published in 1896. In his book, he depicted the sudden annihilation of a capitalist civilization by a strong blow on the part of nature. The dying sun could no longer cast its rays upon the earth. The narrator in the novel goes on to say that there is no sign of the sun and that “everybody is waiting for daylight.”
Gabriel Tarde, who bore witness to the era he lived in, must have- at the very least- sensed the destructive quality of industrial capitalism. The fact that he wrote such a story at a time when “climate change” wasn’t even on the agenda shows that his powers of perception were stark. Everything aside, Tarde was pointing out that a society living under the spell of speed and pleasure, disregarding its social and public duties was unprepared for possible disasters. As it is, no one in the narrative could ever imagine such a catastrophe. Doesn’t the same ring true today, despite the fact that, for decades now, scientists have been warning of the probable consequences of “global warming”?
Branding climate change as the “crisis on the horizon” in his book “Power in the 21st Century, political scientist Prof. Michael Mann says that global warming is the result of the actions of mankind. He also points out that the road to alleviating its effects lies in humanity altering its behavior. The cause of global warming is the accumulation of greenhouse gases. More than seventy percent of these gases are carbon dioxide emissions. According to Mann, the pursuit of profit in capitalist societies is pouring fuel on the fire of the disaster-to-come. Over the past two centuries, the biggest contribution to the exacerbation of global warming was made by the industries of Europe and America. Humanity has begun to live with the consequences brought on by this very contribution. There is no longer any need for scientific warnings; nature is warning us directly.
For the past few days, the oil-rich U.S. state of Texas is undergoing a winter disaster caused by global warming. A drought and power outages have all but paralyzed life in the state. Turns out that the world’s number one economy is also unprepared for this disaster. Just as the U.S. health system buckled under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic, now it’s clear that the water and electric systems in the state of Texas are also rotten. The capitalist mentality, which saw public investments as a crime, collapsed once again.
It seems that the U.S., which is all too ready to help other countries solve their crises, is defenseless when it comes to its own problems. As many American writers have pointed out, the response of authorities in Texas is an example of a “failed state,” as was the case in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the death of half a million people. Just as Ziya Pasha says, “They try to preach to the world, but all hell is breaking loose in their own backyards,” American leaders have become victims due to their neglect of the real problems in their country.
Great empires, kingdoms and civilizations have withered away because they could not keep up with the challenges of the times, or due to the stupidity of their leaders who chose to ignore warnings. First gradually, then suddenly. Historians say that there is no civilization that did not perish without there being warning signs. American historian Barbara Tuchman gives examples of leaders’ folly from history in her book, “The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam.”
Western civilization, which has made its mark on the last 500 years, is withering away. People are mechanizing; the sense of time, which over time becomes a balm to human beings, is fading away; and as technology becomes divine, humanity becomes polluted. The brink to which the mentality of "less government, less public spending" has brought humanity to today is nothing other than destruction. The warning signs are clear as day, however folly is marching on.