Nihilism is the philosophy that life has no intrinsic meaning. Nihilism commonly then leads to conclusions like:
- Let’s just kill ourselves now.
- Let’s have a life of hedonism and enjoying yourself while you can.
- Actually, you’re probably going to enjoy yourself more if find some sense of purpose.
But the common narrative around nihilism tends to a personal sense of purpose – about the individual’s lack of intrinsic meaning or purpose.
With the election of Donald Trump, and its repurcussions regarding action on climate change, demonstrating how apparently stupid, selfish, ignorant or self destructive a huge chunk of our society is, I think a more deep seated nihilism is seating in.
That is – when talking about combating climate change, from the perspective of the human race as a whole, it’s seen as a good thing for humans to survive, or for things not to be unpleasant for us in the near future.
But given the apparent selfishness and stupidity of people, I do start wondering maybe it really doesn’t matter if it all goes to custard. Of course I care – but from a nihilistic perspective things might be easier for me if I just didn’t.
This College Humor video sums it up well:
In the early 2000’s the anarchistic left held anti-globalisation and anti-free trade as one its core issues.
You had events like the 1999 Seattle WTO protests.
More recently the attention has been on the TPPA – the left generally opposing it.
Commentators have pointed out that perhaps the only issue that Donald Trump has been consistent on, is his isolationist stance.
In the 2016 US Election, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton said they oppose the TPPA, though in the case of Hillary, I can’t help but wonder if this is a political compromise on her part. Bernie Sanders also opposed the TPPA.
I don’t really understand why people oppose the TPPA. The main argument I’ve seen is that it gives corporations the power to sue governments if they pass legislation that contravenes the treaty. However, my understanding is that this would only allow corporations to sue if the countries government is passing legislation that in contravention to the trade agreement. I’m not sure that the trade agreement is anti-environment and anti-workers-rights itself.
Given that TPPA also takes place in the a context of governments trying to make progress on climate change (Barack Obama supports the TPPA, and is clearly for making progress on climate change) – I don’t think there’s a conspiracy that makes the TPPA a fundamentally anti-environment conspiracy.
So the question I have for those on the anti-globalisation left – that Donald Trump says he’s going to rip up NAFTA and opposes the TPPA – is that in itself a good thing for the world?