4 min read

The Collapse Will Be Normalized

As civilization collapses, the media will attempt to normalize things like war, famine, and genocide. Don't let them.
The Collapse Will Be Normalized

The other day, I found myself watching an uncensored video of Aaron Bushnell self-immolating by fire in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington D.C. Normally, I avoid watching graphic videos of any kind. But in this case, I felt compelled to watch again and again—even though doing so made me cry.

Many people are saying he was mentally ill, but what exactly is “mentally ill”? Is it mentally ill to shoot children? Is it mentally ill to bomb ambulances? Is it mentally ill to torture detainees? Is it mentally ill to murder thousands of civilians? Is it mentally ill to systematically starve 2 million people? Is it mentally ill to laugh about all this?

Is it mentally ill to learn about these things, shrug it off, and continue on with your life because it’s not your problem?

In January, the US sent an American Air Force unit to help Israel with its bombing campaign in Gaza. So, as an active member of the US Air Force, Aaron Bushnell understood that he had a choice: Be complicit in genocide, go AWOL and have his life ruined, or make a statement that would shock people and hopefully bring an early end to the atrocities in the Middle East.

He chose to sacrifice his life in hopes that doing so would save countless others. He knew his death would be excruciating, but he did it anyway, not hesitating for a single moment. Once the flame was lit, he managed to keep standing for 45 agonizing seconds as charred pieces of clothing fell from his body.

It’s extreme, but as he said, “Compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hand of their colonizers, it’s not extreme at all.”

I don’t normally write about what’s going on in the Middle East. Although I know more than the average person, I’m not particularly well-educated on Middle Eastern history, and I don’t have anything to say that writers like Indica and Caitlin Johnstone haven’t already said.

The reason I’m writing today is because Aaron Bushnell said something that really stood out to me. Referring to the genocide in Gaza, he said, “This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal.”

I often wonder how people will react as the collapse of civilization unfolds. What will they do when countries start fighting over basic resources such as water? What will they say when power grids fail and tens of thousands die in heat waves? Will they finally wake up and demand an end to the system that is destroying our planet and making it uninhabitable for billions?

Maybe, but probably not. Why? Because war, famine, and mass casualty events will be normalized. In fact, they already have been. Just think about all the crazy things happening in the world that are now considered normal.

The national debt is going up by over a trillion dollars a year, something that is obviously unsustainable and will end in disaster. I remember how worried everyone was when the national debt crossed the $10 trillion mark back in 2008. But now, it’s normal.

2023 was by far the hottest year in recorded history. Thousands of high-temperature records were broken all around the world, and records continue to be broken every day. When we first learned that July was the hottest month ever, people were shocked. But now, it’s normal.

2023 also had multiple record-breaking wildfires. Canada’s wildfire season was particularly bad, burning nearly 50 million acres. This was a huge story last summer, especially when New York City was shrouded in smoke. Canada is still burning. But now, it’s normal.

Ocean temperatures have been off the charts for over a year, a clear sign that climate change is accelerating. When ocean temperatures first skyrocketed last year, climate scientists struggled to find the words to explain how unusual it was, resorting to terms like gobsmackingly bananas. But now, it’s normal.

The Covid-19 virus has killed at least 3 million people and is still killing hundreds of people every day. I remember when then pandemic began and how horrified everyone was to learn that hundreds of people were dying daily. But now, it’s normal.

The U.S. and Russia are pouring billions of dollars into a war over country that just happens to be rich in resources like natural gas and good farmland. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people have died. When the war in Ukraine began, everyone was terrified it would lead to nuclear armageddon. But now, it’s normal.

And of course, the IDF—using bombs from the US—continues to kill children whose only crime was being born on a piece of land that Israel wants for itself. When Israel first started indiscriminately bombing the Gaza strip, most people were surprised. But now, it’s normal.

There are dozens of other examples, but you get the idea.

I used to think that once the collapse became obvious, society would wake up and change. But right now, the fact that our civilization is in the early stages of collapse is pretty goddamn obvious, yet most people look at the world today and consider it perfectly normal. Even when a flood wipes out half a country’s breadbasket and displaces millions of people, government officials still say things like, “It’s called weather.”

So I guess that’s how it’s going to be. No matter how bad things get, it will be normalized.

The first time a heatwave knocks out the power grid and millions of people die, the media will find a scapegoat. They’ll blame green energy, climate activists, terrorists, anyone but the capitalists who are destroying the planet for their own gain. The second time a heatwave kills millions, it will be normal.

The same goes for every other catastrophe we’re about to witness. Apocalyptic floods, category 6 hurricanes, breadbasket failures, widespread famine, wars over water, genocides over the fossil fuels… As Aaron said, “This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal.”

They know their policies are destroying the planet and causing untold suffering, but they don’t care. As long as those policies keep making them richer, they’ll never stop, and they’ll do everything in their power to convince you that this is the way of the world, and that you should shut up and get back to work.

Don’t let them. Never forget that this is not normal. This is not how things should be.

While it’s too late to prevent climate breakdown and the collapse of civilization, it’s not too late to prevent more violence and brutality like what we’re witnessing in Gaza and many other places around the world.

Keep protesting. Keep resisting. Keep standing up for what’s right, no matter how much it hurts. That’s what Aaron Bushnell did, and that’s why he’ll never be forgotten.