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Welcome to project Worldview's Worldview Watch
periodic commentary and analysis on news items from a worldview perspective

 previous issue                                          issue #10,  posted 7 / 04 / 2010                       archive of all  issues

 Technology, Disasters, and Moralistic Apocalypticism

in the news "The disaster in the Gulf is no anomaly.  It's an arrow pointing toward future disasters" writes Michael T. Klare in a June 22, 2010 article entitled "Energy Disasters--What's Next?"  After recounting some recent history involving oil company efforts to vigorously pursue extracting oil from difficult places, Klare goes on argue that until this industry changes course and pursues "an alternative energy future, more such catastrophes are inevitable, no matter how sophisticated the technology or scrupulous the oversight."  The rest of his lengthy article has apocalyptic overtones.  It is largely about four energy-related disasters waiting to happen: 1) an iceberg hits an oil drilling platform off Newfoundland, 2) rebels disrupt the flow of oil from Nigeria to America and the war results, 3) a cyclone hits Brazil's offshore oil field, and 4) China and Japan go to war over a natural gas field in a disputed area in the East China Sea. 

commentary and analysis (by Stephen P. Cook, founder and manager, project Worldview, www.projectworldview.org)

Those whose worldview has a place for Apocalypticism (worldview theme #9B) believe that the end of the world, or some catastrophic event after which life won’t be the same, is near.  The disasters it connects with typically take three forms: 1) religious-- where either God's wrath or the Devil's victory over God brings the end of the world, 2) some manmade global catastrophe —perhaps all out nuclear war or irreversible environmental disaster, and 3) cosmic catastrophesevents happening in space or objects arriving from there that conceivably could end life on Earth.  

Those who share their apocalyptic visions often do so in a heavy handed moralizing way.  The accompanying message is often some variation of: "certain behaviors of yours are not how I feel they ought to be and unless you change there will surely be a disaster."  Those with a moralistic religious agenda--and valuing the Moralistic God (worldview theme #14B)--have been doing this since before the day an angry Old Testament God destroyed the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  The spring 2010 earthquake in Haiti brought suggestions that the island's inhabitants were being punished by God for past sins.  

The Gulf Oil/BP spill falls into the (second) irreversible environmental disaster category.  Such incidents or fears of them can bring moralizing.  Often this involves those whose worldview values themes in Group B below doing some "preaching" to those whose worldview values themes in Group A. 

Pro Economic Development Worldview Themes Pro Appropriate Technology/Deep Ecology Worldview Themes 
#19   Economic Individualism #23A  Sustainability  
#22A   Expansionism   #23B  Enoughness
#22B  Imperialism #27   Belonging to Nature
#25   Anthropocentrism #29   The Self Restrained Person  
#26B The More is Better Mentality #40   Environmental Economics
#43   Seeking Wealth & Power #42   Ethical Orientation
#46A   The Technological Fix Mentality #47A   The Attitudinal Fix Mentality 

Many see economic development vs. environmental protection issues as deeply dividing society, as the above table suggests. Klare's article--which I much enjoyed and did not feel I was being preached at, but rather gently reminded--emphasizes  environmental or natural resource-related disasters possibly lurking out there.  Other commentators have recently focused on possible economic disasters.  Certainly the global economic recession has sparked some moralistic apocalyptic preaching.  Seems I've read a few articles in which those valuing a Pay As You Go Approach  (worldview theme #45B) got after the reckless behavior of those with a  Borrowing Mentality (worldview theme #45A).  

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