Ecology: the fanatics of the climate Apocalypse

In his work on The intellectual origins of Leninism (Gallimard), the historian Alain Besançon had this famous formula: “Lenin does not know that he believes. He thinks he knows. » Wondering about the nature of modern political ideologies, he noticed that they combined two usually opposite characteristics: belief and knowledge. As knowledge, they claimed to be rationally argued and demonstrated theories; as a belief, they claimed to bring certainty and salvation.

The power of attraction of ideologies remains incomprehensible without bringing to light their mythical core, the deep emotional resonance of which explains the highly contagious character.

The proliferation of extremist environmental movements and the fascination they seem to exert on more and more young people cannot be explained by the over-mediatization of the cold analyzes of the IPCC. They proceed above all from the transformation of ecology into a doctrine of collective salvation against the backdrop of an apocalyptic interpretation of History.

Whether it is “biological annihilation”, “hecatomb of the living” or even “mass extinction”, the ecological discourse announces a world close to destruction and which will perish if men do not convert. to the new green doxa.

As noted in the early 1980s, sociologist Danièle Hervieu-Légerecological catastrophism presents itself as the inevitable punishment of a collective fault and opens onto a problem of salvation.

As part of the tradition of revolutionary millennialisms, this ecology considers that a brutal rupture is necessary to bring about a new reconciled world on this Earth. It is not a question of improving the situation but of obtaining the radical transformation of reality. Redemption comes through the destruction of the old and the advent of the new.

Movement Earth Uprisingswho was one of the organizers of the demonstration on the site of the ” mega-basin in Sainte-Soline, at the end of October, proclaims it on its website: “Between the end of the world and the end of their world, there is no alternative. »

The movement indicates that it is composed in particular of “young rebels” who grew up “with the ecological disaster in the background” and who fought “against the Labor Law, police violence, racism, sexism and the climate apocalypse”.

In their action program, they add: ” We are at the crossroads. Ecology cannot be an accompaniment to the extinction of life, in the form of a “less worse” eco-district. It must be an ecology of struggle against all destructive projects. The times demand it. The next world must come. »

The hope of a regeneration of the cosmos is at the heart of these ideologies which announce the advent of a new society rid of all evil after the destruction of the existing political and economic order. Movement Extinction Rebellion claims to rebel “to replace the current system which leads to the extinction of life with a system which places life and its regeneration at its heart”.

The unleashing of violence observed at the end of October in Sainte-Soline shows that this apocalyptic imaginary is not without danger. He always ends up legitimizing the worst in the name of the salvation of humanity. Let’s wipe the slate clean of the past, proclaimed Lenin, Trotsky, Mao or Pol Pot, who had no doubt that they were leading their peoples towards brighter tomorrows.

The apocalyptic syndrome manifests itself historically in moments of crisis. When a rupture seems to occur in time. The more the world becomes chaotic and threatening, the more the feeling of the end of time becomes pregnant and the more the need to find meaning and coherence is essential in order to rebuild society around a new order.

This syndrome can affect small sectarian groups and not spread, or else, from these small groups that are initially very marginal, a process of contagion can develop and transform the movement into a mass phenomenon.

Ecology could then become the matrix of a new political religion which, according to the definition given by Raymond Aron in his time (The age of empires and the future of France, Ed. Defense of France, 1946, p. 288), would take the place of vanished faith in the souls of our contemporaries and would situate here below, in the form of an order social to create, the salvation of mankind.

Ecology: the fanatics of the climate Apocalypse