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 Our politics is an outdated guidebook to a place that won’t exist.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.