The Art of War Applied - Part 1

It's Not Easy Being Green Having trouble with ""Environmentalists?""

Dec. 01, 2004 By Norm Lenhart

War is hell. A great man uttered those words long ago, and they will always ring true. War is something that no sane person ever wants, yet it's something in which many sane people have found themselves enmeshed from the dawn of time.

War wears many masks. We immediately think of guns and bombs - tanks and planes - entire armies mobilized across some foreign shore. Soldiers giving their lives in the pursuit of freedom, and leaving a swath of destruction and death in their wake.

War is in fact fought on many levels. Violent confrontation is of course its most obvious face, yet war is not won on violence. War is won behind the scenes through strategy, careful planning, and intrigue. War can be the greatest of teachers, and the lessons learned are often quite harsh.

We in the outdoor recreational community have been fighting a war of our own for decades against the forces of environmentalism gone awry. We face opposition to our activities, in fact our most basic rights and freedoms, from a number of adversaries. We are attacked repeatedly, both physically, and philosophically for those activities and beliefs. We have been the targets of political machinations and intrigues. We have lost both land and freedom.

War has been declared upon us.

The outdoor recreational community has only begun to accept this as a very real truth. Sadly, many of us are still caught in the throes of denial over such basic reality. Our opponents in the green movement suffer no such denial. They long ago accepted that the fulfillment of their agenda, an agenda which runs counter to the most basic thoughts, beliefs, and aspirations of a civilized and free society, would require nothing less than war to achieve.

Propaganda. Subversion. Strategy. Political intrigue. Control over the substance and flow of information. Organization. Manpower. Leadership. Violence.

These are the tools of environmental warfare.

Over 2000 years ago, a Chinese General wrote the seminal work on war. To this day, Sun Tzu's "Art of War" is taught at military academys throughout the world. It's strategies and concepts have been the basis of successful battles ranging from the conquests of Napoleon, to the beaches of Normandy.

The Art of War has since served in capacities outside the bounds of traditional warfare. It's teachings have been put to use in such diverse environments as the corporate board room, political campaigns, and by the green groups themselves as a guide for fulfilling their agenda.

What does that mean to us?

Throughout the years, the outdoor recreational community has repeatedly set itself up for failure because outside the ultimate goal of victory, there has never been a cohesive, coordinated battle plan to bring the goal to fruition.

To the point, we simply don't know "how" to fight, much less how to win.

Sun Tzu tells us that there are 5 circumstances in which victory may be predicted.

1. He who knows when he can fight, and when he cannot, will be victorious.
2. He who understands how to use both large and small forces will be victorious.
3. He whose ranks are united in purpose will be victorious.
4. He who is prudent, and lies in wait for an enemy who is not will be victorious.
5. He whose Generals are able, and not interfered with by the sovereign will be victorious.

Applying the Concepts

1. We must pick our battles wisely. With limited resources, the outdoor recreational community cannot match the financial, or legal resources of the green groups. Conversely, we can easily overwhelm them with our sheer numbers in situations that do not require massive resource outlays, providing we do so in an organized manner.

Traditionally, we've approached our land use battles on a "re-act", rather than "act" basis. It is of prime importance that we develop a concrete set of goals and guidelines to work with, and fight from PRO-ACTIVELY.

2. Land use battles are fought on many levels. On one hand, there are the "national monument" sized land grabs, and on the other, there are the local / individual issues. Each requires a separate approach and each requires a different plan of attack. Currently, our lack of organization and a solid plan precludes any efficient use of our resources.

We must develop and coordinate our resources so that our leadership knows what it has to draw from, and work with. Only when we know what we have to work with can we begin to make progress in our battles through effective use of the resource. This must be item #2 on the agenda. As for Item #1?.

3. This is the most basic principle of all. A house divided cannot stand. Before any action of any type is taken. The outdoor community must be congealed into an army that acts with one voice, and one purpose. That can only happen through communication, and cooperation between our diverse aspects.

To date, the largest impediment to our unification has been a clash of ego. Ego has no place here. All it has accomplished thus far is to promote divisiveness, and by association, the green agenda. Those out to promote themselves serve only to hinder progress. In short, if you're looking to make a name for yourself, look elsewhere. Our own stubborn reluctance to come together has been one of the greatest weapons that the greens have, and it has been used against us with devastating effectiveness.

4. Traditionally, the outdoor recreational community has been blind to the actions and activities of the greens until it's too late. This has allowed them to instill sympathetic / devoted persons into positions of power and influence throughout the political / media / management structure. As a result, we are often caught with our pants down, and again, are forced into a position of "re-action" rather than "action". This places us at a significant disadvantage.

On the whole, the outdoor community needs a good lesson in assertiveness training.


5. While the outdoor community must adapt the concept of centralized leadership, (whether a personage, or a board), the "Generals" , I.E. leaders of the various groups, must be competent, assertive, and be able to make decisions that will benefit the whole, without the constant need for authorization from the top. Often in land use issues, time is of the essence. If a board cannot be convened, or a singular leader contacted, we lose the element of surprise, or at minimum, the advantage of quick response. Despite pur soon to be found unity, we are a collection of groups with individual causes, needs, and activities.

Competence in leadership is the all important factor. To quote Sun Tzu's contemporary, Wang His, "If one ignorant of military manners is sent to participate in administration of an army, there will be disagreement and frustration. The entire army will be hamstrung.

Compromising Our Way To Failure

Of all the mistakes we have made in our past dealings with the greens, "compromise" was the greatest.

Taking a look at land closures around the country tells us that compromise has resulted in the closing of millions upon millions of acres of once "public" land.

When one begins with 4/4ths, and compromises half, he has 1/2 left. The greens return a time later fighting for the other half, but we agree to compromise again, and feel good knowing we have retained 1/4 of what we once had. Then the process continues until the 4/4ths are now redesignated a "Wilderness area."

Sadly, we have been shamed, nay, scared into compromise by the propaganda of the greens. In our fear of being portrayed as "the bad guy", we have simply rolled over in a high number of situations where we should have held firm, fighting tooth and nail.

I challenge you to show me one instance where compromise with any green group resulted in a gain for anyone but the green groups themselves. Just one. The whole idea of compromise with the greens has a lot in common with the idea of "Bipartisanship" as practiced by the political left. The leftist believes that the definition of "Bipartisan" is that the right must give in to the left. Likewise, "compromise" to a green means that an outdoor enthusiast must give in to their demands.

So we must wholly abandon the idea that we will ever make progress through compromising our rights, our lands, and our way of life. It has never resulted in mutual progress, only setbacks for the OHV community. It has never gained us any land, only lost it. It has never meant victory, only defeat.

Remember, when "we" are forced to compromise, access to public land is lost to "future generations". When the Greens are forced compromise public land remains accessible to future generations.

In Part 2 of "The Art of War", we'll take a look at propaganda, the media that acts as it's conduit, and how the green extremists can be beaten at their own game Newsletter
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