Yeah, right, energy is like the 30 years war

The actual energy analysis is that bad. But the surrounding argument is nonsensical.

The energy \”war\” is going to lead to global conflict like the Thirty Years\’ War that devasted Germany.

Umm, right.

Never heard of trade then?

Sigh. The Thirty Years\’ War was, at heart (and whole libraries have been written about the causes so allow me to simplify) about \”who rules\”? This is a binary decision: if you do I don\’t, if I do you don\’t.

You can indeed think of energy as being such a binary decision: I get it, you don\’t and vice versa, so let\’s fight over it. But to think that way is to be an idiot. For if we have a method of producing energy (say, solar PV, tidal, whatever) then we\’ve a system by which all can have it. \”Trade\” we call this system. It can be trade in the actual product, energy (the UK gets some 2% of its electricity from France today) or it can be trade in the materials used to produce energy (I think I\’m right in saying that the UK gets all of its solar cells from abroad) and it can be trade in the manufacturing of such materials (First Solar is a US company with large factories manufacturing solar PV systems in Germany), it can be trade in the machinery to make such materials (Can\’t remember the name but a US company sells the silicon slicing machines to China which are used to them make China\’s solar cells) and it can even be trade in the ideas about how you build the machines that build the systems which produce the energy (licences on patents too numerous to mention).

Trade means that human innovation is not a zero sum game, is not a binary decision. Therefore we don\’t need to go to war over it. Thus using the analogy of war to describe the future path of such innovation is nonsensical.

17 comments on “Yeah, right, energy is like the 30 years war

  1. The war also turned on ideology: Roman Catholicism vs the rest. Compare with Greenism vs the rest.

  2. I am with dearieme. It was an ideological war over what religion was to dominate Germany. Each side used force to impose their own religion as far as their cannot shot could reach. Leaving behind a denuded, barren, wasteland over much of Germany.

    Just like the Energy wars we are likely to have – except all over the West, not just Germany.

  3. The Thirty Years War was the culmination of the rising of a fanatical fundamentalist movement in Christianity called “Protestantism”. We’re seeing something similar in Islam right now. I wonder how long they’ll take to reach their Westphalia?

  4. What’s our equivalent of the fanatical, heretic-burning, reactionary movement that was the Roman Catholicism of that day?

  5. “Who does “our” mean”: us, nowadays.

    “is that an accurate picture of Roman Catholicism prior to the Reformation”: you haven’t read about the Albigensian Crusade then?

    (And, come to that, why would it matter about “prior to the Reformation”: you’re surely not going to play the old “It was them Protestants wot made me do it, yer honour” card? Not in light of “The first auto-da-fé was held in Seville on February 6, 1481: six people were burned alive. From there, the Inquisition grew rapidly in the Kingdom of Castile.” (WKPD)

  6. I don’t understand. I was comparing Protestantism to radical Islam, so I thought the “our” somehow applied to Islam. Your question doesn’t make any sense to me. What is “our” equivalent of mediaeval Catholicism? I don’t think there is one. I wasn’t talking about “us”.

    On the other thing; our history is a distorted picture in which Luther rides to rescue us from evil mediaeval Catholcism. My argument is that instead Protestantism was a reactionary fundamentalism which made matters worse not better. I’m not suggesting that Catholicism was some kind of liberal utopia, merely that the story is a distortion of reality. The Protestants were violent extremists who plunged Europe into a catastrophe; liberalism arose as a reaction against that, and that remnant extremist Protestant absolutism drives Western authoritarianism to this day.

    The Inquisition? Not nice, but exaggerated by, well, by Protestant historians. It’s worth remembering that it was “Spanish” because it was set up to purge newly recovered Spain of non-Christians, particularly the Jewish collaborators with Islam. Not acceptable in today’s morality, but not an unreasonable strategy back then. Christendom had been fighting for survival for centuries, after all.

    Anyhoo, if I had to choose a bad guy out of the two, it’s got to be the Protestants, for the same reason as the radicals are the bad guys in Islam right now. It’s the choice between bad and even worse.

    I don’t have a dog in the fight btw. I’m an atheist.

  7. I’m an atheist too, from an extended family of Protestants, Roman Catholics and Atheists. The tales of Roman Catholic kin make me no warmer to the Roman Catholic Church, then or now: trying to teach a cousin to hate Protestants, indeed!

  8. ‘The Thirty Years’ War was, at heart (and whole libraries have been written about the causes so allow me to simplify) about “who rules”?’

    Not correct – its basis was instead ‘who dictates how prayers shall be made’, stated in Latin as ‘cuius regio, eius religio’.

  9. “What’s our equivalent of the fanatical, heretic-burning, reactionary movement that was the Roman Catholicism of that day?”

    Fat, bearded public sector pensioners writing libertarian guff in comboxes, perhaps?

  10. Good grief, Bill, you’re on a roll! Letting it all hang out, are we?

    “you haven’t read about the Albigensian Crusade then?”

    Yes, just as I’ve read of Henry V’s persecution of the Lollards. Your point is?

    IanB,

    “The Protestants were violent extremists who plunged Europe into a catastrophe; liberalism arose as a reaction against that, and that remnant extremist Protestant absolutism drives Western authoritarianism to this day.”

    Don’t agree, it was instead a reaction to absolutism, which was ecumenical; the Bourbons were Catholics, the Hohenzollerns Calvinist (see Christopher Clark ‘Iron Kingdom’), and the Romanovs Orthodox. Indeed, students of the career of Cardinal Richelieu would be able to tell you that absolutism per se was a French, Catholic creation that spread. The concept of ‘nationalism’ as we now understand it, in the sense of sense of ‘nationhood’, with individuals using the ethnic nation, in Lord Acton’s words, as ‘the mould and measure of the state’, is sometimes confused with this absolutism, when it stems from the early 19th Century, as a reaction against Bonaparte. The word ‘nationalism’ was coined by Balzac, I believe.

  11. The Inquisition? Not nice, but exaggerated … it was set up to purge newly recovered Spain of non-Christians, particularly the Jewish collaborators with Islam. Not acceptable in today’s morality, but not an unreasonable strategy back then. Christendom had been fighting for survival for centuries, after all.

    I’d never heard a defence of the inquisition on the basis that it was a sound and effective tactic for “defending” “Christendom” from “Jewish collaborators with Islam.” First you’d have to think there was a meaningful threat from these evil jewish collaborators, and then you’d have to think burning some individuals alive was a meaningfully useful tactic.

    Actually, it’s just nuts, out of a fascist racist asylum.

    But then i think this is the same guy thinks male infant circumcision is the moral equivalent of child rape.

    we’ll be on fluoridation next.

  12. I’d never heard a defence of the inquisition on the basis that it was a sound and effective tactic for “defending” “Christendom” from “Jewish collaborators with Islam.” First you’d have to think there was a meaningful threat from these evil jewish collaborators, and then you’d have to think burning some individuals alive was a meaningfully useful tactic.

    The competition between Christendom and Islam wasn’t a polite religious debate between professors, it was a bloody military struggle that lasted for centuries. Stop looking at history through modern eyes, it won’t get you very far.

    The reality is that violent executions, however distasteful to ourselves, is indeed a “meaningfully useful tactic” which is why history is full of them.

    The question of whether it was a Good Thing or not that Islam was pushed out of Europe is an entirely separate issue.

    Anyway, the Jews in question were Berber Jews who had arrived with the Moors. After Christendom won, many of them converted to Christianity (“conversos”) rather than leave on the last boat back to Arabia; there was an understandable suspicion that they were not genuine in their faith and the Inquisition was an attempt to root out those who weren’t. Unsubtle and bloody indeed, but nothing to do with “fascism” or “racism”.

    Whatever, taking back Spain was a major win for European Christianity. Don’t knock it. If the Muslim conquests hadn’t been halted and reversed, the consequences really don’t bear thinking about.

    But then i think this is the same guy thinks male infant circumcision is the moral equivalent of child rape.

    Yes, it’s the same guy. Baby mutilation is something that needs to go the same way as the auto da fe- a barbarism at which we now shudder, from a time which has thankfully passed.

  13. What a ridiculous parallel. All I can say is that if you are ignorant about one subject then that is perhaps forgiveable (and should be expected in the pages of the Grauniad) but to be so woefully ignorant about both legs of the argument is not.

    The 30 years’ war was essentially a proxy conflict, fought between France and Spain, but in Germany. It nearly stopped out of simple exhaustion several times. Only Swedish intervention gave it the momentum to carry on.

    The whole article is utter bollocks. And as for some of the CiF comments, words fail me. But nothing new there…

  14. Robert,

    “The 30 years’ war was essentially a proxy conflict, fought between France and Spain, but in Germany. It nearly stopped out of simple exhaustion several times.”

    That comment is such shit, really just stinking shit, that it defies analysis. Please provide sources and references. Let’s get this right. The Spanish Habsburgs (Catholic) conduct a religious war against the French Bourbons (also Catholic) in Germany. I will do you the credit of believing that you weren’t sober when you wrote this. Sources and references, please.

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