1. Dynamists are people who see 21st century modernity as a basically successful civilization advancing toward a future that ’s better than the past. They do not deny that problems exist, but they believe we can innovate our way through them while staying on an ever-richer, ever-more-liberated course. ¶ Dynamists of the left tend to put their faith in technocratic government; dynamists of the right, in the genius of free markets. But both assume that modernity is a success story whose best days are ahead.
2. Catastrophists, on the other hand, see a global civilization that for all its achievements is becoming more atomized and balkanized, more morally bankrupt, more environmentally despoiled. What’s more, they believe that things cannot go on as they are: That the trajectory we’re on will end in crisis, disaster, dégringolade ¶ Like dynamists, catastrophists can be on the left or right, stressing different agents of our imminent demise. But they’re united
in believing that current arrangements are foredoomed, and that only a true revolution can save us.
— Excerpted from Ross Douthat’s “Pope Francis’ Call to Action Goes Beyond the Environment” for The New York Times.