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'The Most Dangerous Show on Netflix'?

Progressives criticized Ancient Apocalypse because it challenged their most basic assumptions.

In this photo illustration a Netflix logo seen displayed on
(Photo Illustration by Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Just weeks after its release, Netflix series Ancient Apocalypse has been the subject of popular acclaim and critical scorn. Instantly rising to the video giant’s top ten shows, the series was branded “the most dangerous show on Netflix” by the Guardian. Progressives have excoriated it for being “anti-intellectual” and promoting “dangerous conspiracy thinking,” going so far as to tie the show and its presenter, journalist Graham Hancock, to what the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “close encounters of the racist kind.” 

However, Hancock’s claims aren’t “dangerous” or “racist.” They are countercultural. These vile smears are the thrashings of a runaway monoculture that suppresses the discussion of any ideas that challenge prevailing narratives, especially from sources outside of mainstream, credentialed, left-of-center media and academia. By stifling vigorous debate and intellectual flexibility, this monoculture deprives mankind of the greatest tool it has to overcome the growing challenges to our continued existence, from global famine and energy shortages to, yes, even an apocalyptic asteroid. 

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In his new series, Hancock explores evidence for the existence of human civilization before a comet strike 12,900 years ago is hypothesized to have destroyed much of the planet. One example he presents is 12,000 year old Gobeki Tepli, an astrological temple complex of 20 large stone buildings, whose surrounding sites archaeologists believe could predate the comet’s impact. Hancock argues that precise, large stone buildings such as these, detailed with carvings demonstrating advanced astronomical knowledge, simply could not have come out of nowhere. 

Though Hancock’s claims are open for debate, Hancock’s fundamental assumption that human civilizations existed before ours is not unreasonable. Modern humans have existed for an estimated 300,000 years, apocalyptic asteroids hit the planet roughly every 10,000 years, sea levels were 400 feet lower during the Ice Age, and humans gravitate towards living near the coast. Given how long humans are estimated to have existed, along with the vast and geologically frequent changes to our planet, this conclusion seems more plausible than believing no previous civilizations have existed at all.

The show’s success demonstrates that humans across the world are curious about mankind’s past and excited about what truth we might uncover. You would think honest academics who have long called for the “democratization of science”  would use this moment to foster sustained public interest in archaeology, rather than slandering competing ideas as “racist.” 

Even so, the reactions to the series’ contradiction of left-of-center academia is disproportionate to Hancock’s claims; there is something deeper at play. More than just challenging left-wing academia’s consensus, the series challenges progressives’ fundamental belief that society is evolving towards perfection. The idea that creative and intelligent human civilizations have risen to grandeur and fallen out of memory in our species’ hundreds of thousands of years of existence is a fundamental threat to the progressive narrative that justifies their every decision.  

Think about it: if humans are nearly wiped out by asteroids every 10,000 years, then there is obviously no moral arc of history inextricably bending towards “progress.” In this existential schema, we are just the lucky ones, who have had enough time without astronomical apocalypse to develop industrial civilization and be spared from the frequent solar flares that would render our electricity-dependent civilization inoperable

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And if civilization is so precarious, then the measures we are taking to actively destabilize our own civilization in the name of this progress myth—from self-imposed food and energy shortages to intersectionality-driven race and gender politics—should be publicly challenged and put to an end. Thanks to progressive policies, our civilization faces an apocalypse right now.

Disastrous progressive policies of today will cause mass deaths by cold and global famine that previous societies would only have faced by natural disaster. In the push for local decarbonization, Europe shut down its refineries and local fossil fuel production and became reliant on Russian energy (ignoring the fact that shifting carbon dioxide emissions from one side of the world to the other does not reduce overall emissions). In Europe, killing local energy and relying on rivals means cold deaths in the European Union could outnumber combined casualties from the conflict in Ukraine.

Even worse, the E.U. insisted on sanctioning Belarussian fertilizer after that country allowed Russian soldiers to enter Ukraine through its territory, despite the consequences for global food security. Combined, Belarus and Russia produce 40 percent of the world’s potash, an essential fertilizer in the production of grains such as rice, wheat and corn, and a key component in preserving juice and canned goods. Though the E.U. had left sanctions carveouts for fertilizers, they insisted on sanctioning Russian potash as well, because in the progressives’ world, even enemies need to be treated equally. As a result of European idealism and the targeting of Belarussian and Russian potash, global food output is projected to decline precipitously, producing widespread famine. In Africa alone, output could decline by at least 20 percent, starving millions. 

These crises are the recent product of ostensibly well-meaning but insufficiently challenged progressive policies. It’s not too late to reverse course and help bring them to an end, but this would require having a culture open to challenging progressive orthodoxy. It would require having a culture where “objective, rational linear thinking” isn’t decried as “whiteness” by national museums, or advanced math classes aren’t removed from schools for being “racist” when these skills are essential to saving humanity from being obliterated by a comet. And it most certainly would require having a culture where one man’s exploration of ancient history isn’t called “the most dangerous show on Netflix.” 

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