I have long worried about ideology, and ideology being consistent. It is very difficult to come up with a position regarding fellow human beings that takes most philosophical and political dilemma’s in to account. So I came up with a particular way to look at the world, mostly as an answer to Libertarianism, i.e. Planetism. I know there are other people out there already toting that term, but I’ve tried to put a unique slant on it, to make a point.
The world we live in can right now be assumed under a state of emergency. The population of the planet, all humans that live here, deserve a humane standard of living, and most human beings deserve much better. But we have too many people on the planet to make this a possibility with existing technology – in other words – we as a species are morally forced to radically constraint population growth of humans and radically improve technological options in order to allow for more shared comfort, quality of life and personal freedoms. Likewise the same humanity is massively overexploiting an thus degrading the biosphere by causing atmospheric warming, the mass eradication of lifestock and pollution. But not least of all is the simple fact that humans compete with one another for jobs, living space, scarce resources – and if this competition constitutes by itself often an explicitly violent war of all against all through ideology and military conflict, it is often a form, of economic competition that ruins lives and marginalized ever greater numbers.
Planetism is the idea that we have as a species entered a complete state of planetary emergency, and we must do whatever it takes to make sure as many people stay alive and have a dignified life, and we do not go extinct.
The idea of planetism doesn’t have any special authority or compelling character. I am not out to convince people to become “planetist”, and base their actions on that. I am however stating that a range of common ideologies – economy, capitalism, libertarianism, etc. conflict with the values set out above. Right now economists still state we need indefinite economic growth whereas any sane person can clearly see this is no longer possible in years, let alone decades. We are now coming in to an era of rationing, forcible compromise, obligatory collaboration. It is a state of emergency and any state of emergency enforces a strict set of behavioral constraints and imperatives.
The Earth is a constrained environment. Sure – we get a lot of energy and “entropy reduction” from the sun’s energy, but we are stuck in an atmosphere, an van Allen belt, a gravity well and there is no easy way to overcome planetary constraints. If we get lucky eventually we will, and when we have a substantial number of people living outside the gravity well, atmosphere and the protective envelope of the radiation belts we can start thinking about cancelling the aforementioned “state of emergency”. The solar system is full of resources and living space if we only developed the wherewithall to unlock these resources – but we at best decades away from doing so,
This is especially relevant to Libertarian thinking – Libertarians go by a “non-aggression” principle where they demand no one interferes with their freedoms. The problem clearly is that in a constrained environment people are no longer free to do as they please. If a single country decides to massively increase its CO2 emissions for personal gain (sea level rise, unlocking of permafrost tundra as farmland, etc.), then no doubt other countries would suffer considerable adverse effects of such unilaterialism. Right now we are still imprisoned in the self-destructive mindset that the planet is huge, and allows for great freedoms. But with the onset of petrochemical burning of fuel resources we came quickly to the limits of the planetary environment.
With the onset of thorium reactors, fusion, DNA re-sequencing, mass automation and soon – mass life extension treatments, we are well beyond the constraints posed to us by the planetary environment. We must now demand of unilateral thinking, zero sum acting groups, countries or ideologies to immediately cease and desist. You can’t demand your religion trumps any other. You no longer can’t claim your race is superior. You can no longer presuppose your nation has a manifest destiny. And you most certainly can’t demand you can procreate or mass-consume without any sane limit.
Planetism is a problem to be conquered. We need to unlock new material resources, news living environments and new energy sources to progress to a next stage, and we must do so urgently. Planetism is not a friendly, comfortable ideology – it is the ideology of coming to terms with things that are very hard to accept for a lot of people and that the only way to escape those maxims of survival and sustainability is to massively change our industrial systems, our societies, our human nature and our cultures.
Eventually we will hit new constraints – systemism, galaxism and even localgroupism (or lanikeaism) but that is a long way of by our human understanding today. Soon we wil be free again, as we find ourself empowered to do pretty much as we please in outer space. But for now, it is all hands on deck.