Endgame, Vol. 2: Resistance - Derrick Jensen There’s some murky morality in Jensen’s second volume of Endgame. The first couple hundred pages are, again, somewhat rambling and continuation of a call to conscience. But then it starts to become more focused and we finally get to the purported title of the book. Assuming everything is fucked, what’s the endgame?

Jensen’s basic premise is that preservation of a healthy landbase is the primary ethic which should guide our actions. The current threat to a healthy landbase is civilization. The Therefore statement is then pretty obvious.

Jensen makes a point of side-stepping any direct suggestions, but his endorsement of violence is clear. Much of his writing is designed to counter the objections of those he has encountered in the activist sphere. He rejects pacifist arguments, attacks the historical efficacy of non-violent actions and relates some of his efforts to learn what that next step should look like. Desperate times and such.

But this is where it falls apart for me. Jensen wants to tear it all down, return us to a state of nature and then let society reorganize itself in small clusters of eco-conscious communities. But the problem is just as obvious. There is no definable entity which he is resisting against. He is rebelling not against a thing or a group, but against our own natures.

We can’t go back. Despite all the sanitized nostalgia for existing in a pre-civilized state, we couldn’t get there even if everyone wanted to. Unless there is some catastrophic circumstance, humanity is not going to unlearn what it knows. Someone, somewhere (or many people, most everywhere) will eventually continue to produce, consume and build. Civilization comes out from innovation and innovation is the story of our species. And I’ll assume we are trying to save our species along with the planet. Like it or not, it has to be about responsible civilization, not destroying civilization. Otherwise, aren’t we just immersing ourselves in fantasy? A blood-soaked, ultimately oppressive, fantasy?

Jensen’s passion is engaging. He wants action. He wants results. He wants courageous stands and justice for those that plunder the future. Unfortunately, his endgame looks just as ineffective as the current game.