Know your enemy : the foot soldiers.
We wretched dissenters from the climate orthodoxy have been placed under the psychological microscope several times in the last year or so. Since the studies, and I use that word advisedly, were conducted by featherweight academics with warmista rap sheets as long as your arm, the results as you might guess have not been too flattering.
There is a substantial school of thought that these studies were nothing more than crass propaganda mixed up with a substantial helping of hate catharsis, all of which was wrapped up in pseudo academic respectability, rather like a turd artfully concealed inside what looks to be a decent take out chili dog. Such studies were christened Lewpapers by the wits of the skeptic community, after one of their early pioneers, and as the saying goes, many a true word is spoken in jest.
When it comes to anything to do with climate science, academic rigour is very much going through one of its more sordid episodes.
In that great tradition of geese, ganders and sauce, I initially thought it time the favour should be returned, if only to show them how to do a real hatchet job on the reputation of the opposition, but on reflection, it’s not my style and realised a more useful service might possibly be rendered to the skeptic community, by giving some insight into the opposition, or at least my thoughts about them. It’s also much more fun.
I won’t be conducting mysterious snark-like surveys that nobody can quite find a definitive trace of. I won’t be selectively pre-processing, post-processing or mugging the numbers supposedly derived from any surveys. I won’t be running the choicest and fittest cherubic numbers through wholly inappropriate statistical methods and I won’t be drawing totally unwarranted conclusions from the hardy numerical survivors of all the aforesaid methods, all of which means my non-existent survey will be 100% more honest than any one of theirs, and Mac the Knife can sit this one out.
Unlike the bizarrely childish approach taken by the Cook the Books or Lewpaper brigades, I won’t be trying to shoehorn them all into a single lumpy profile; they’re too rich and sumptuous a feast of biodiverse loonies to do anything so rushed and gauche. We’ll enjoy them course by course, tasting the sweet with the sour, the piquant with the bland, the outright insane with the just mildly deranged. Perhaps all washed down with a nice Chianti and a side order of fava beans. It’s a bit like that classic conundrum of how one eats an elephant, and to avail myself of the classic solution, I’ll be tackling it one mouthful at a time.
We’ll start with the foot soldiers of the movement, and though I’ll be covering all the rest of the sub-groupings in turn, it should be borne in mind that none of the various categories are mutually exclusive, as significant overlaps can occur. Also, a particular individual could for instance fall into the scientist category but in reality is more a pure political activist. James Hansen would, in my estimation, be an exemplar of that particular variation. He’s actually worthy of his own unique category, something like mega-loon, not to be confused with Megaluth, though he’d probably get arrested there as well, but anyway that’s a level of taxonomic detail I don’t intend to go down to.
They’re mainly young with not much in the way of thought out politics except a youthful altruism that sees the complex problems of the world in simple ways. In terms of political consciousness, they’re black and white thinkers with no grey shades in between – that’d be seen as selling out. Given such an innocent world view, they are the most easily exploited and are therefore ruthlessly exploited. All youth is, just ask anyone in advertising. All that’s needed is to assure them the science, which is terra incognito to most of them anyway, is rock solid and then take cynical advantage of their youthful enthusiasm by playing on their emotions and appealing to the better angels of their nature.
It is natural for young people to rebel and that need is also being exploited. They get to go on slightly unruly demonstrations, do a bit of chanting, wave a few placards around and get ejected from various premises by security or the cops, who really can’t be arsed going through the whole tiresome procedure of arresting them with a serious view to dragging them up in front of some court. A couple of hours in the holding cells till they calm down and then sling them back out onto the street.
Everyone is happy. The legal eagles are glad the courts aren’t log jammed with misdemeanours, the cops don’t have to do tons of paperwork and the kids have had their very own martyrdom experience saving the planet, which thank goodness won’t appear permanently on their unblemished record. Everyone has a jolly time, even the cops, who occasionally like to dress up like Robocop and always appreciate a bit of overtime.
Mostly it’s harmless fun. A good PR statement has been made for the cause and the foot soldiers are enjoying for once being naughty with the full approval of older more authoritative figures. Most of them are the white offspring of the economic middle to upper classes, many of whom are working through some really heartfelt problems with Memmy or Deddy. It’s a way of swapping them out for more “with it” parental figures, and boy do those new age parental figures get high on that opiate of adulation. Reading over the Facebook pages and tweets of people like Mann, it’s easy to see we are as dust beneath their carbon-free chariot wheels. You do have to wonder how such walnut-sized brains could possibly contain such planetary-sized egos.
The foot soldiers have successfully been sold the romantic dream of a grand mission to save the planet and a coming pastoral living in tune with nature fantasy, and the only thing stopping that happening is some vast pervasive but never quite defined conspiracy by big business, money, right-wing politics, and most especially those well-funded and overwhelmingly powerful Panzer divisions of that evil skeptic Wehrmacht. They’re all totally prepared to hurl their pink little bods into the path of advancing but frankly non-existent Tiger tanks.
When you look around the skeptic blogs, you can see how devilishly well they’re camouflaged. It’s all a cover and that impression of a game rooster, flailing away against overwhelming odds and that fiendishly clever touch of them looking like it’s all a Boulting Brothers Ealing comedy amateur lash up kept going by nothing more than the odd nail, a few elastic bands, spit and a judiciously placed wad of chewing gum. Any fool can see through that, except of course revolting youth, to use that ambiguous adjective, because their sentience is still in so many ways a work in progress.
Youth, of course, is always the prized demographic to capture, hence so many environmental projects in junior schools, which in a number of cases are in reality nothing more than touchy feely political indoctrination programs. The none too subtle message being hammered home into formative minds, is that we’re harming the planet, which means we humans are somehow innately evil, but we can be saved by giving ourselves to Mother Gaia. Given the absence of not much in the way of any religious education in so many schools these days, it’s their first brush with the green version of original sin. Vacuums always get filled.
If it sounds like a youthful fashion thing, that’s because it is. Like all fashions and crazes, it builds up to a frenzied peak and then disappears just as quickly as it appeared. They’re on to the next fashionable thing. It’s like a massive flock of starlings spontaneously coming together to make those strange attractor shapes in the evening sky, before splitting up and going their separate ways. The gigunda flocks broke up in the aftermath of the Copenhagen fiasco and nowadays there’s only the hard-core flockers left.
And speaking of them, a small but significant sub-demographic of the foot soldier is the personality defective. In the real world, they’re the ones working out their issues at the front of demonstrations, who’ll make sure it ends in some sort of civil disorder. They’re just into relieving their frustrations by doing a bit of smash and burn, with the adrenalin rush thrown in as a bonus. Irrespective of the issue, they’d be using it to the same end. If I were looking for a Luca Brasi or two as shock troops, I’d be recruiting a few of the more stable ones, but I would be very selective.
In the cyber world, they manifest themselves as trolls. Essentially, the supposed anonymity of the internet allows them to be personally offensive to people in a manner they’d be too afraid to do in real life. The classic advice is don’t feed the trolls and it’s very true. Ignore them and they give up, like a petulant and badly behaving child seeking attention who’s being ignored. In practical terms though, they specialise in giving real offense to people, who run out of patience trying to ignore their often tasteless and juvenile comments. Around here, I just drop the ban hammer on them, because I’ve seen too many good debates and even discussion forums destroyed by a single pathological troll. They can be someone else’s problem.
They’re the lineal descendants of those anonymous grubby people who used to make life miserable for women with their heavy breathing phone calls. They disappeared as soon as the phone system became digital, which meant all calls were immediately traceable. The internet is also digital. I used to track them down but so often what I found was some really pathetic cheese dick creature hunched over their keyboard who really needed to get a life, so I usually don’t do it anymore.
The one remaining significant segment of the cannon fodder, would be the grassroots political activist, but I’ll cover them in a few paragraphs in the piece about the higher-level political activists, who’re much more interesting beasties.
Given the heavily depleted numbers of climate foot soldiers nowadays, the alarmist propaganda machine is working hard to big up the numbers on the internet, with the low-level activists wearing their stubby little fingers to the bone commenting everywhere under multiple handles and even trying to auto spam blogs, but after a succession of climate conference attendance flops and big Al’s climate events turning into what can only be termed non-events, it’s all looking distinctly last days of Disco.
Perception is always important in politics, and around the time of Copenhagen in 2009, it was the foot soldiers who saw themselves making an important though in retrospect an ineffectual move to protest against the climatic end of the world. The current but same youthful demographic now looks at all that sort of hysterical saving the planet stuff with indulgent derision.
Personally, I always grudgingly admired their enthusiasm to actually do something for what they felt strongly about, despite my deep loathing of the causes they thought they were espousing. I suppose there are too many echoes of my own youth for me to dislike them. For one or two of them, there’s now a sense of betrayal and the feeling they should have achieved something more lasting. It all turned out to be a silly waste of youthful energy. They were just being exploited, as we all were as young people, but we all grow up. It was just a shadow we were chasing.
As Private Murphy, the poor man’s Marcus Aurelius of military life observed, it’s not the guys shooting at you that you have to worry about, it’s the maniacs on your side giving the orders.
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