In a recent opinion piece published by Sweden's leading daily Dagens Nyheter, 71-year-old Torbjörn Tännsjö conjured an apocalyptic image of a world about to go under as a consequence of man-made climate change. To prevent this downfall, a world government should be put in place, the liberal left thinker argued.
According to Tännsjö, the 'climate disaster' may be prevented by a 'global democracy' with a 'global parliament designating a global government and legislates for the entire globe'.
However, Tännsjö noted in the same breath that it may already be to too late to try to solve the problem 'in a democratic way'. A 'global democracy', he argued, would work if humanity had 'hundreds of years at its disposal'.
'However, we don't have the time we need. Something has to happen quickly. A global government may be established through a coup, a kind of existential leap, where sovereign nations forcibly cease to exist. A global government in the form of global despotism takes over. Democracy can come later, as a long-term reform project, much like it is being established today in existing non-democratic states', Tännsjö argued.
Furthermore, he argued that this dictatorial change is not merely a recommendation, but a 'prediction'.
'If humanity is going to be saved at all, which is highly uncertain, this will happen with the help of an enlightened global despotism', Tännsjö elaborated, voicing his hope that this change of leadership will be spurred by rising sea levels, migrant crises in some parts of the world and supply problems becoming all the more acute.
Publicist Johan Hakelius is one of those who have reacted strongly at Tännsjö's publication. The Expressen columnist called Tännsjö a 'climate despot' who shares the same 'totalitarian dream' about a global dictatorship.
'Sweden's most well-known living philosopher appeared in Sweden's biggest morning newspaper pinning his hopes on enlightened global despotism. Nobody reacted', Hakelius wrote.
Hakelius then went on to ask questions about what methods the new 'climate colonialism' will use against rebels and non-believers.
'What should be done about nationalists and independence leaders of the same kind that put former colonialism to an end? How will they be silenced? Prison? House arrest? Death?' Hakelius wrote.
Hakelius argued that despotism was merely a more refined word for dictatorship.
'Will farmers have their cows slaughtered? Will the roads be patrolled to arrest unauthorised drivers?' he inquired further, asking whether the new despots would introduce censorship and, perhaps, even shoot those deemed a burden for the climate.
'Well, Torbjörn Tännsjö is an old leftist and a 68'-communist. Freedom of opinion and democracy has never been their forte', a Twitter user commented.
'Climate hysteria begins to resemble a propaganda campaign paving the way for a climate dictatorship', another one mused.
Torbjörn Tännsjö is a Swedish professor of philosophy and a public intellectual. He has been a research fellow at a number of the country's leading institutions and has held a chair in practical philosophy at Stockholm University since 2002. His distinctly utilitarian ethical views have made him a controversial figure.
Tännsjö has also been an influential member of the Left party since the 1970s, which was then known as the Communist Party. In 2015, at the height of the migrant crisis, he made ripples by calling on the Swedish government to open borders. Although detrimental for the Swedish welfare, this step, he argued, would maximise living standards across the globe.