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Ecological collapse isn’t the only threat to our well-being.

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I’ve been thinking about fanatics. We ignore such people at our peril. But how many of us do anything other than murmur?

In communities everywhere, we take the path of least resistance. Rather than confronting the extremists in local organizations or on volunteer advisory boards, we retreat. Who needs the headache? The conflict? The high blood pressure?

But when reasonable people withdraw, exactly the wrong sort of individuals are left at the helm – and our collective ship veers off into la-la land. Pascal Bruckner’s philosophical treatise, The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse, says this is now happening in spades.

The political left, he says (which includes most academics and journalists), has lost its way. “Instead of being outraged by poverty,” it’s now fashionable to be “offended by the comforts we enjoy.”

Those who used…

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