Survivalists and preppers are nuts.   6 comments

As I’ve said many times before, I grew up in a cult like environment, though not a cult. One of the things my parents got really excited about was the end of the civilization. I think within their peer group of religious fundamentalists this was totally normal, so it’s not like they were bizarely fixated on it, with in that group.  It’s just that group was (and I’m sure still is) bizarely fixated on it.  I think it adds a lot of unnecessary unpleasantness to your childhood/adolesence when your big concern in choosing a girlfriend is someone who is really pumped about living in a crawlspace with your family while you wait for the radioactively of the fallout to decline to safe levels.  In short, my parents were a little…um…touched.  On of the interesting things that has happened recently is that being a bat shit insane survivalist has gone mainstream.  There’s even a show about it.  These otherwise normal people buying pellets of freeze dried food so when the “big one goes” they will be living it up in MRE luxury. It makes me laugh, honestly.  Societies don’t fall apart on their own.  They fall apart when the social and physical infrastructure that hold them up rots out.  You have these people who think they will be fine in the total collapse of society because they have an AR-15, a 1000 rounds of ammo, and a 55 gallon drum of cracked wheat, but it just ain’t so.

Under normal circumstances if you use lethal force, the strong arm of society comes in and applies due process.  Unless you want to go jail for murder for the rest of your life, you’d best call the cops after you shoot a thief, even better before you shoot him.  Even under circumstances where the society is near breaking point, police still make an effort to investigate homicide, and you can be certain that Billy Badass’s mom or brother or girlfriend knew he was going out to your place, and will send the cops out there when he doesn’t come back.  If Billy is crow’s food, or burried in a shallow grave, you are going to jail for a long time IF society is functioning well.  If its not, you might just be shot there for “resisting arrest”.  Remember? Society is failing?  The cops are being given more latitude to keep the peace.

“No, man! I don’t mean like society is failing. I mean it’s totally destroyed! No cops. No phones. Nothing!”  So their idea is, society fails to point where you can just use lethal force with impunity, law of the jungle, everyman for himself.  Here’s why that A-15 and barrel of wheat are going to amount to jack squat.  Because if the law of the jungle is really in effect, there are people who can exploit that much more effectively than the average gun savvy home owner.  Like the police, who are already armed to the teeth, wearing body armor, and trained to work together.  Or the military, whose first action will be to sieze fuel stores and make sure that they control who has the capacity to project force using mobile infantry and who doesn’t.  Tell my how that AR-15 works against an enemy who has air superiority.  Oh…also both those groups will have the support of the locals because people crave legitimacy and authority MORE, not less, when times are bad. It gives them a sense of order.

If you really want to survive doomsday show up at city council meetings and have a good middle of the road, pro-everybody, pro-community attitude, and volunteer for every police related volunteer function available.  Power keeps power.  Always. The people in charge, and the people legally allowed to utilize force will have it the best.  If your mayor likes you and the cops like you…you will be the first one to get stuff and the last to have stuff taken away.  Read history if you don’t believe me. This survivalism stuff is self-congratulatory BS for grownups who want to live in an adolescent fantasy world: “I don’t need you!  I DON’T NEED ANYBODY!  I’m going to run away with my friends and we’re going to be HAPPY. I’ll show you! I’ll show EVERYBODY!”

All that said, preppers and survivalists are onto at least one truth: the world changes in unexpected ways, and preparation can help ease the transition.  So my wife and I have developed a simple principal to be as prepared as possible without becoming wack-jobs: joy.  When survival preparation adds to our self-worth and joy we do it. When it doesn’t, we don’t.  Fuel supplies can be erratic at random times, and fireplaces are beautiful.  So we want a fireplace.  Electricity can save lives, but solar is insanely expensive, so we’re just powering a small freezer with solar.  Home made food is delicious, and food supplies can be erratic, so we will have a garden, and some ducks.  Above all, no one survives or thrives alone, so we are going cultivate relationships with people.

I think that might be what survivalist get wrong, above all.  They draw back and hide in the hills, because they think that’s safer.  But it’s not.  Community is an evolutionary development.  At it’s most basic, human survival is calorie problem.  Calorie output is required to cause calorie input.  The input must excede the output, or you starve to death.  Community was adopted as a strategy before humans existed because it works.  Communities generate more calories while expending less to do so, than the same number of individuals collectively.  If they didn’t, societies that embraced community would die out from the evolutionary pressure of societies that didn’t.  The ultimate survival tool is a community.  People who pull away from that increase their risk, not decrease it.

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6 responses to “Survivalists and preppers are nuts.

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  1. I concur! 🙂

  2. I concur with your concurence!

  3. So you have personally spoken with all of the survivalists and preppers and know that they are convinced that they can survive by themselves? That’s pretty funny because all of the preppers I know place much emphasis on networking, teamwork and cooperation.

    I grew up in a cult too as a matter of fact, the cult believed that nothing bad ever happened to good people (in North America at least), banks can magically create money from thin air, food comes sanitized in celophane wrap and politicians with nice suits have everything under control so you should really just pay attention to things more befitting your measure… like American Idol or Kim Kardashian.

    Maybe you people tacitly assume everyone lives in a condo unit with a cappuccino bar and pilades center beneath? Well guess what, people die of exposure, hypothermia, altitude hypoxia, falls or bear attacks and more every year in my neck of the woods. And I mean “woods” in a very literal sense. I guess most of the people who went west past the Appalachian Mountains after 1800 must have been real kooks and nut-jobs hey! I mean what type of gun-toting kook would want to do that when they could have just rented in Jersey?

    Please get a clue, or a life… which ever comes first.

  4. I’m all for anything that builds community, and thinking about possible failure modes of complicated things like society is a good mental exercise. We seem to agree that community and networking are one of the most important things. So, I’m guessing the cause of your butt hurt is my dismissive tone to the straw man I created. Well, tough cookies. You’re right. There are model citizen preppers out there who are really awesome, mentally healthy people who are into community and asking important questions. They have my support and approval. There are also preppers out there vastly more crazy than the straw man I made there. I DO personally know people who think with the power of their deer rifle and foxfire books they are good to take on a modern military. Being the civilian death toll on the “War on Terror” is minimum of 1200% the military casualties, how do you think that’s going to work for them?

  5. You have taken the words right out of my mouth, everything that I’ve thought about this stupid fad has come to life in your writing. Thanks man for really speaking your mind, unlike 90% of the people out there, you know what you’re talking about it, and you’re sane. Thank you, really.

  6. I think he makes a great point actually. And he still is a “prepper” or “preparing” –notice. It’s true a lot of kids who grow up this way of life may be missing out on some normal interaction. Single parents tend to make kids their confidants instead of realizing they are just “kids”. I often find myself in the middle of articles that go to extremes and while I enjoy some outdoor survival skills training- also have a few individuals in my circle that aren’t well adjusted socially AT ALL. Good people? Yes! Sometimes people get fixated on one thing. Ie: solar flares, EMP, civil unrest. There’s nothing wrong with planning I suppose but some people do get miserable in the process.

    I just enjoy learning and also enjoy my beautiful America. We are so blessed here. We have a gorgeous land and amazing creation. I am aware of politics and no I am not happy with the decisions always made in congress, however this is my country- my home. I will do everything I am able to to protect her and live free. I will also still take cruises and enjoy my life in the meantime! Balance…

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