I’ve been playing Rome Total war with the kids … OK, I’ve been playing Rome Total War. For those who don’t know, this is a computer game where you direct the operation of your army against the computer. Each army consists of a number of units, and each Unit has its own level of moral, and if it is attacked too much or sustains too heavy a loss … or sees other units nearby routing, then it will rout.
So, the battle normally starts with two armies in position opposite each other, they then engage, the fighting becomes hand to hand and it becomes very difficult to disengage units and so the battlefield is bogged down. But sooner or later, and quite suddenly, one of the units from one side will start routing, and from then on it is extremely difficult to stop the whole of that army routing resulting in victory.
If I were to characterise the fight sceptic vs. alarmist, the sceptics would have at its core a bunch of stalwart seasoned fighters battle hardened and so almost undefeatable surrounded by a nebulous group of enthusiastic but disorganised individualistic troops hidden in the forest. The alarmists would be a mass hoard of evangelical troops ready to engage anything and anyone in battle “for the cause”, but whose fighting skills (and sense) leave everything to be desired, but who have been skillfully brought to bare on the small but stalwart group of sceptics by some seasoned general. (And circling overhead there are the
For a time, the battle over global warming was very heated, we were heavily outnumbered, lacking effective support and there was hardly time to look beyond the massed troops arrayed against us before the next wave of insults would descend upon us. But now, the alarmist troops have ceased serious engagement, some of the zealots still stand on the hill trying to frighten us by their mooning, but as I look beyond the zealots all I can see is masses and masses of their troops making their way off the battlefield.
As the annoying voice over on Rome Total war would say: “the enemy are fleeing, it is time to press home the advantage” … a suggestion that quickly results in total massacre of your troops if you leave the advantage of a defensive position for a small number of troops and try to “press home the advantage” (i.e the troops get surrounded, the massed troops opposite all suddenly stop being cowards and attack, and whilst their weapons are useless, your troops probably get killed literally in the crush.)
The only tactic that works, is to wait, and wait and wait, seeing the frightened and useless enemy swarming around sure in the inevitability of winning but unwilling, unable and to be frank, incapable of pressing home an attack … until enough “brave” units have been stupid enough to try, and given up … then suddenly, and it is always very suddenly, after all the waiting and having missiles picking of one at a time your troops, there is usually one last push by a few of their troops and then as they get massacred, they all start routing.
Well before climategate, there was absolutely no doubt that they held all the high ground: the main stream press, public opinion, the politicians, Wikipedia, the “scientific journals”, the climate “scientists” (fanatical druids!) and other scientists (who didn’t bother to check the facts) … all we had was the evidence that it wasn’t warming – a rock of a defence, but was that enough of a defence against the shear weight of the opposition?
Well, first we had climategate, and that put off the Main stream media, and to be frank the rest of the scientific “units” just wondered off the field in disgust. Then we had the token victory of William Con-alley on Wikipedia which clearly ruffled the feathers of those at the heart of climategate (but who have since come back in disguise). Now the courts look like throwing out the global warming cases as “too political”, which after Jokenhagen and the trimming of the EPA’s flight feathers, was the last hope of the eco-zealots.
Now, this is all happening at a time the “level of engagement” on global warming is at at all all time low and regularly in the 6000 news stories. Their moral is at an all time low. Their willingness to engage us has disappeared, the global temperatures are against them, more and more evidence is coming out against their nonsense. The only thing that still keeps the alarmists from routing is their belief that there is still is an overwhelming “consensus” against us.
What they clearly can’t (don’t want to) see is the masses and masses and masses of troops who are/have deserted the field and left the zealots to it. I sincerely believe, the situation is now so finely balanced, that, like the butterfly effect, it could take something very very small, e.g. one alarmist suddenly changing their mind, suddenly leaving the fight, and that action would trigger others to do the same, and still others, until sufficient people are suddenly routing that the whole alarmist camp starts heading off the field.
That is the time many of the “bystanders” (MSM) may suddenly change sides and in a flash become “life-long” sceptics. A rout triggers a mass defection triggers a slaughter of the opposition or perhaps they too will just wonder off the field, who knows?
But this endgame is by far the most dangerous time in any battle. When faced by overwhelming forces, as the troops opposite begin to rout one can easily miss the troops of zealots who have come late to the battle and are just ready to “have another go”. Whilst it is tempting to pursue the fleeing enemy, the danger as you pursue the enemy away from a strong defensive position, is that in comes a new wave of zealots who catching you out in the open have the advantage of numbers and suddenly your victory is lost.
That centre ground is the battlefield of “politics”. We always had the facts on our side and had a secure defensive position (unless mother nature was unhelpful and had had more upward variation), but real victory can only be won by driving off the opposition from the field of battle. We cannot simply let them wonder where they will, so, that whilst in reality they are defeated, they wonder the battlefield of politics unimpeded giving the appearance of being victorious. So, we must drive them off the battlefield of politics and securely remove them from political life but how?
We have no generals to organise our troops, we rely on our strong defence of real data and not the open ground of political campaigning. But can we risk taking the fight to the enemy, trying new tactics to organise politically so as to try to drive them off the political field? Or do we stay defensive sticking to the hard facts and ignoring the messy half-truths of politics and risk letting the eco-zealots, who have no fear of half truths, free to dominate this area and by simply remaining on the field in enough numbers suggest that they are still winning the fight?
The very characteristic that makes a sceptic is that they don’t “go with the crowd”. And I suppose it is typical that I don’t really count the heartland institute or its ilk as real sceptics … they are more self-interested mercenaries who if it made them money would just as quickly fight for the other side as ours, indeed both sides have such people as most of the wind industry don’t care tuppence about global warming and only follow the money. And to use the Rome Total War analogy, they are “loose canons” (routing elephants) who are just as capable of wrecking a victory as gaining it: they are in their element fighting in the battlefield arena of politics and half-truths!
A very interesting analogy! What has also just happened to influence the course of the battle, as it were, is the damage to the nuclear reactor at Fukushima, a black-swan type event which has come straight out of the blue and has, on balance I think, done quite a bit of damage to the AGW proponents, as it has dramatically widened the division between the greens who are pro-nuclear (e.g., George Monbiot, Mark Lynas) and the rest.
In Rome Total War terms (I haven’t actually played this but have read up about it on various gaming sites) I suppose it would be like members of an opposing faction suddenly developing traits that prove negative to their cause and creating schism and disarray in their ranks. Could this be a game-changer?