H/T Bishop Hill for this Climate Wars essay by Pointman:
The problem the alarmists had, was that there was never anything substantial to hit back at. They had the equivalents of the big guns and the massive air support but there never was a skeptic HQ to be pounded, no big central organisation, no massed ranks of skeptic soldiers or even any third-party backing the resistance. Every one of the skeptics was a lone volunteer guerilla fighter, who needed absolutely no logistical support of any kind to continue the fight indefinitely. The alarmists never understood this, preferring to think that there simply had to be some massive hidden organisation orchestrating the resistance. While they wasted time and effort attacking targets that only existed in their head, each of the guerillas chewed on them mercilessly in their own particular way.
The closest thing they had to a target were the skeptic blogs but these were invulnerable, because they weren’t owned or funded by anyone and were run by unpaid volunteers. The best they could do was vilify the bloggers and send occasional waves of trolls to disrupt the debates, which gradually but inexorably tore the heart out of the pseudo-science, which underpinned global warming.
As ever, it translates almost word for word to the Tobacco Wars. The difference maybe is that Pointman seems to think that the climate sceptics have “won”, while I doubt that anyone in the Tobacco Wars would say that we’ve won too. In fact I think Pointman is a bit too optimistic about the success of the climate sceptics. For as far as I can see, the climate orthodoxy is rolling on regardless, as if there weren’t any sceptics at all.
In the Tobacco Wars, in 2005 the general staff at Tobacco Control (H/T Rose) weren’t inclined to declare victory:
After achieving breathtaking successes in securing state and local restrictions on smoking in public places and restricting youth access to tobacco products, the tobacco movement faces difficult decisions on its future strategic directions. The thesis of this article is that the tobacco control movement is at a point of needing to secure its recent successes and avoiding any public retrenchment. …
there is an inevitable tendency to say “we’ve won”…
The paper argues the case for, among other things, consolidating successes, maintaining a volunteer grass-root base, and pushing for voluntary non-smoking policies.
Seven years on, I’m not sure what’s left of the grass-root antismoking base. Tobacco Control appears now to be a fully professional army, mostly funded by smokers’ taxes. And since when is anything voluntary with Tobacco Control these days? The sledgehammer of the law is their first and last resort. And instead of consolidating on their successes, they’ve gone pushing for further bans. On tobacco displays and packaging, on outdoor and in-car and even home smoking. They’ve even begun to diversify into anti-alcohol and anti-fast-food campaigns.
To me, it all looks like over-reach. Success has gone to their heads. They think they can’t lose. They’re like some ‘liberating’ army that doesn’t know when to stop, but just keeps steamrollering onward, and committing terrible atrocities in the process.
Yet they still think they’re the Good Guys, when for growing numbers of people they’ve become the Bad Guys, as they bludgeon entire populations into conformity, careless of people’s personal choices. Resistance is mounting to the monster that Tobacco Control has become, now that its fanaticism is becoming ever more apparent.
One thing’s for sure. They’ve lost the moral high ground. It fell out of the window with Elena Brennan, and was evicted along with (the late) 97-year-old Jane O’Grady. Even some doctors can see their wanton, wicked, cruelty.