Which Doomer Are You? A New Political Map

Dave Pollard has been clanging to doom bell for a while. He made a ‘new political map’ in 2015—back when I would have called him crazy—but now I’m crazy too. When the world goes mad, only a madman stays the same.I have modified Pollard’s map above. Nothing wrong with the old design, this is just how I understood it.

The most interesting thing about Pollard’s map is how exploded it is. Everythingwe consider politics as usual is confined to one corner and called Deniers. It’s as if someone took the X and Y axis that bounds normal political thought and wrenched it apart.

Which is what nature is actually doing, IRL. The sea levels are rising, the forests are disappearing, and the planet itself will become unrecognizable within decades. The territory is changing but the political map has not. This is why Pollard’s New Political Map is so important. Like Dante following Virgil through Inferno, let me take you through this circle of hell now.

We Are Here

Most of us start in the world as we know it, which is increasingly gone. We’re left holding train tickets to the ocean, visiting future ruins. Our politics is an outdated guidebook to a place that won’t exist. It’s like picking up a copy of Lonely Planet, Atlantis.

Liberals, neoliberals, conservatives, socialists, progressives, libertarians, these are all borders on a map. Meanwhile, the very Earth beneath is irreversibly shifting. Pollard calls all of these old political camps Deniers. All of these ways of organizing a civilization are based on some sense of planetary stability, which is gone.

When the sands shift, even pyramids fall down. All of these pharaohs of the possible will be entombed in their ignorance forever and us—their servants—buried with them.

Here Be Dragons

If we go off the usual map of what’s possible, we can confront the impossible: the end of the world as we know it. People have different ways of dealing with collapse—some bargain, some rage, some grieve—but it’s all weird from here on out. As ye olde maps say, here be dragons.


Some people—who Pollard calls Salvationists—believe that this global civilization can be saved. Some think institutions will save us, some think it will be new tech gods. Some think a new age is dawning, some think we’ll reason our way out. Old-timey religions say ‘I told you so’ and wait for the rapture to come on.

Globalists, Technotopians, and Integrals

Globalists think that current institutions and governments will somehow save us. Technotopians think the geeks will inherit the Earth, that some incredible invention will save our butts. Many believe that their mechanical Mahdi is already here and worship Elon Musk as their TechnoKing. Meanwhile, the bearded prophet Jack Dorsey roams the Earth, promising world peace through BitCoin.

I honestly don’t understand Integrals, let’s leave that one out.

Whether the messiah is bureaucratic, mechanical, or metaphysical, these people all believe that some sort of cavalry is coming.

Rapturists and Humanists

Meanwhile, Rapturists are laughing. They’ve been ready since Jesus was crucified at Calvary, at the beginning of the common era.

A more difficult place to be is in the Humanist camp, where I think a lot of you are. This is the idea of a collective messiah, that if we all just think this and do that [insert Medium article here] we’ll be saved. That human reason will lead us out.


Now we cross the Rubicon, or at least dip our boots in it. Some people have gone past bargaining with fate to accepting it. These are those Pollard calls Collapsniks, and those on the border between bargaining and acceptance are as follows:

Resilience Movement and Neo-Survivalists

The Transition/Resilience Movement thinks that getting ready together might save us. They’re like Humanitarians that are more prepared to accept heavy losses. Neo-Survivalists also think they can get ready, but in a more combative, Walking Dead sense, ie inflicting heavy losses. They likely have disturbingly detailed opinions on cannibalism.

Communitarians, Existentialists

Then we get Communitarians, who are like Humanists with more realistic expectations. Rather than expecting everyone to change their minds and change everything, they hope to gather a few like-minded people and change a few square kilometers. Existentialists are, I assume, the more lonely types, who would prefer the people to be fewer, and those few kilometers to be on a hill.

Near-Term Extinctionists

Now we get closer to Mt. Doom itself. Near-Term Extinctionists think that we’re fucking ourselves to death. They’re preparing not so much for a new beginning as the end.

Voluntary Extinctionists

Now we’re nearing the end, where people really believe in the end. Voluntary Extinctionists not only think we’re going extinct, they think the sooner the better. They’re like basically every Marvel villain, who in a cosmic sense might actually be the heroes.

Deep Green Activists

Then we get to the Deep Green Activists, the Children of Kali, who think not only that civilization is crashing, but that it should be smashed. We’re destroying the Earth of ages out of sheer inertia and laziness. We’re melting continents of ice floes for a few quarters of cash flow. Might as well stop the party now and get to the clean-up.

Where Are You On The Map?

In truth, I don’t really know where I fall on the map. I guess I’m still falling. I’m Deep Green in terms of what I think, but still take a nice sedative dose of Humanism to take the edge off. I’ll try growing some karapincha as a step towards Resilience, but then the dog digs it up and I feel like I’m headed for Near-Term Extinction. I can’t even protect a weed from a Beagle, I’m surely not long for this Earth.

Maps make no sense at times of war or turmoil, and that’s where we are. Maps make even less sense when the Earth itself is shifting, when coastlines will be erased, when populations will migrate, and when God only knows what will remain. The only constant in Climate Change is change, and this can only be experienced as incomprehensible collapse.

To a degree, no map makes sense. We’re all just clinging onto a rock for dear life, still hurtling outwards from the Big Bang. Drawing lines across this molten spinning ball makes little sense and drawing lines across our shared mind space makes even less. The only thing sure is that we’re going to die, and how is perhaps not the most important question.

This is why the Buddha didn’t answer questions about the start and end of the universe. Not necessarily because he didn’t know, but because it wasn’t relevant.His purpose was to show a way out of suffering, and these answers wouldn’t make anyone suffer less. They just make us suffer differently.

At some level, our opinions of the world are the world, but at another level, they’re completely meaningless. Humans are both the center of the observableuniverse (by definition) and also completely insignificant. We both know lots of things and are completely lost.

This is the paradox of existence and even if I knew the answer I couldn’t communicate it to you. Whoever said that the universe needed to fit into a meat sock anyways? It’s simply beyond the rendering power of the water-cooled, Dorito-powered simulator we call the human brain. It just does not compute. Why would it? The maze wasn’t meant for you.

Where are we? Where are we going? I don’t fucking know. I have a strong sense of falling, but I have no idea where we’ll end up. Dave Pollard’s New Political Map is fascinating, but it’s about as usable as a map of Wonderland, as he well knows. He doesn’t tell you what he chooses, he doesn’t believe in free will at all. The only advice I can give you is to hold onto your pettiskirt, and follow the white rabbit.