Utopia Justifies the Means - TV Tropes


Energy and the Human Journey: Where We Have Been; …

By the 1850s, Germany was , and seminal discoveries and achievements came from German labs. As agriculture became industrialized, two nutrients were identified as key limiting resources as per : phosphorous and . Until 1909, humanity’s source of nitrogen for agriculture was manure. Guano was even the main source of nitrate for gunpowder when World War I began in 1914. After a century of failure by many eminent chemists, in 1909 made one of history’s most momentous breakthroughs when he . That energy-intensive process is responsible for half of humanity’s food supply today. It is also partly responsible for a great deal of water pollution, , and proliferation of weaponry. Haber has also been called the father of chemical warfare, as he was instrumental in , but he nevertheless won his Nobel Prize in 1918 for his nitrogen breakthrough. Phosphorus, which forms the , is the sole element that humanity has not found a substitute for in industrial civilization. Energy makes nitrogen and other elements more available or allows for substitution, while phosphorous must be mined or recycled. German chemical wizardry continued after World War I, and Germany was the center of science in the early 20th century. Relativity and quantum theory, the two pillars of today’s physics, were developed in Germanic nations, and Einstein, , , , , , and dominated physics in the early 20th century, with relatively minor contributions from American, British, and French scientists. From the first Nobel prizes awarded in 1901 to the rise of Nazi Germany in 1933, more than a third of the awards in and went to Germans, and if the Swiss, Dutch, Austrian, Danish, and Swedish laureates are added, they amount to well more than half, particularly for their theoretical work.

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and noted that Eurasia was spread along an east-west axis, while Africa and the Americas were north-south, which made Old World diffusion easier, but that idea also has problems, as Fertile Crescent crops did not spread to East Asia due to rainfall timing differences (winter rains in the west and summer monsoons in the east). Mesoamerican and Andean civilizations had dramatic geographic limitations, which was their greatest contrast with Eurasian civilizations. However, like the migration of or the exchange when , it was easier for cultural innovations to spread along the same latitude, as they would move through similar biomes. North-south diffusion is far more difficult, as it moves through different biomes, such as tropical forests and . Eurasia's geography was more conducive to communicating innovations, which made it more cosmopolitan than sub-Saharan Africa or the Americas, which helped them technologically advance at a faster pace. Isolated peoples are usually culturally and technologically backward compared to nearby peoples who are more cosmopolitan, and people isolated by mountainous geography, such as those of the Scottish Highlands, Balkans, Appalachia, and Southeast Asia were relatively primitive compared to those around them. and are classic instances of isolated peoples keeping their cultures intact, which provided a window into the human past, but their cultures also did not "progress," which included their technology.

When historians debated the causes of Rome's decline and fall, for instance, they were merely debating proximate causes, which was understandable, as the science of energy did not yet exist when . Once scientists began to study the issue, running out of energy became seen as the ultimate cause, even though scientists still argue over environmental causes, for instance, but what some seem to miss in their arguments is that they are all just ways of saying that the civilization ran out of energy, whether humans contributed to the environmental failure (and declining and surplus energy) or not.

Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, January 4, 1880

Today, a few voices are calling for just this kind of renewal of Islamic political theology. Some, like Khaled Abou El Fadl, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, challenge the authority of today’s puritans, who make categorical judgments based on a literal reading of scattered Koranic verses. In Abou El Fadl’s view, traditional Islamic law can still be applied to present-day situations because it brings a subtle interpretation of the whole text to bear on particular problems in varied circumstances. Others, like the Swiss-born cleric and professor Tariq Ramadan, are public figures whose writings show Western Muslims that their political theology, properly interpreted, offers guidance for living with confidence in their faith and gaining acceptance in what he calls an alien “abode.” To read their works is to be reminded what a risky venture renewal is. It can invite believers to participate more fully and wisely in the political present, as the Protestant Reformation eventually did; it can also foster dreams of returning to a more primitive faith, through violence if necessary, as happened in the Wars of Religion.

How A German Historian Predicted The Decline Of …

One powerful attraction of political theology, in any form, is its comprehensiveness. It offers a way of thinking about the conduct of human affairs and connects those thoughts to loftier ones about the existence of God, the structure of the cosmos, the nature of the soul, the origin of all things and the end of time. For more than a millennium, the West took inspiration from the Christian image of a triune God ruling over a created cosmos and guiding men by means of revelation, inner conviction and the natural order. It was a magnificent picture that allowed a magnificent and powerful civilization to flower. But the picture was always difficult to translate theologically into political form: God the Father had given commandments; a Redeemer arrived, reinterpreting them, then departed; and now the Holy Spirit remained as a ghostly divine presence. It was not at all clear what political lessons were to be drawn from all this. Were Christians supposed to withdraw from a corrupted world that was abandoned by the Redeemer? Were they called upon to rule the earthly city with both church and state, inspired by the Holy Spirit? Or were they expected to build a New Jerusalem that would hasten the Messiah’s return?

Is Western Civilization in Decline

I have to give 1940s commentators credit; they understood the , and better than I often see it today. They understood that if there was an abundant source of energy, Utopia was possible. Socialists quickly understood that the "free energy" that nuclear energy could make possible would undermine capitalism, as the profit motive would be a poor one for denying prosperity to all of Earth's people, and would not be tolerated. One socialist tract argued that the soaring standard of living that abundant energy would make possible could ensure that no child on Earth would "carry the grime of poverty on his face and soul." Socialists also realized that atomic energy would be a disaster if controlled by military and capitalist interests. Other commentators disparaged the prosperity that nuclear energy would bring, as people would simply have too much time on their hands, which could "doom" civilization.