Somewhere between Mad Max and Pollyanna lies a balanced view of emergency preparedness, survivalism, and self-sufficiency. Critics and prophets have been saying the world is going to end for thousands of years. In the most simplistic terms it is a competition between the full-on “Rapture-End Times” scenario crowd and the more secular “decline of Western Civilization” camp. In the former the world ends in flames, purged by God, while in the latter the flames might still be there, but it’s a result of man’s own decadence, hubris, and hunger for power - which by the way is what the fundies think are at the root of God’s anger.
If some major world changing event were to come about, the earth will survive, but the modern realities of human civilization will change. It could be that we come through the current environmental, economic, and political upheavals with our civil liberties intact, our food and fuel supply chains still functioning, and our money still worth enough to support and feed our families. I hope that this is the scenario in the end. Whatever the case, we aren’t worried about the earth coming to an end, but rather our own lives and standard of living. In our minds, the earth is worthless without us on it. Sadly, from our perspective, this is true.
A growing distrust of the US government and mainstream news sources can quickly lead one into an online maze of conspiracy theories, end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI) speculations, and all manner of apocalyptic thinking. The fear that this stimulates can be paralyzing and overwhelming. Loss of control, fear of the inability to provide for and protect one’s family, and everything that comes with considering a return to 17th or 18th century living from where we are now can bring on an obsession with preparation for the worst case scenario. I know. I fight this preoccupation and work daily to not let my fears for the future take away from the continued happiness I enjoy as a result of my current standard of living.
When you venture into the online world of survivalists and preppers you find a wide range of views and political perspectives. Many are very well informed and have deep insights into the macro factors moving our economy and global politics. You also find numerous religious nutjobs, racist pricks, right-wing radicals, and all manner of like-minded folks who are convinced the New World Order is behind every tree and minor event, that the President/government is always wrong and can be faulted for all current problems, or that we are a matter of weeks from the total collapse of western civilization as we know it.
I’ve been following these conversations online for 10 years. The same people are saying the same things now that they were when I started looking in 1999. However, this is not to say that the events and trends they are addressing are without merit or consideration. Just because I don’t agree with their political alignment, their speculation on the root causes, their religious views, or their assessments of how one should interpret the daily news does not mean that their arguments hold no water. In much of the speculation there are disturbing trends that continue to remind me of the old adage “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire”.
Our planet is reeling from a century of all manner of abuses. We see this play out daily across the globe as weather patterns, glacier melt-off, droughts, flooding, crop failures, and massive bird, fish, and animal deaths show the impact of our reckless pursuit of profit. Sure, it has happened all along, but the impact that industrialization has had on our environment is undeniable. Our global ecosystem is a system, and major trauma to critical sub-systems will cause errors throughout the whole.
The worlds supply of oil is reaching, or perhaps has already passed, it’s peak level of production and everything that depends on fossil fuels for it’s sustenance will feel the impact as it becomes clear to even the mainstream that the expenditure of a barrel of oil to extract a barrel of oil is cost prohibitive and unsustainable.
The global financial horizon, despite the propaganda of government analysts, skewed statistics, and continued temporary fixes, reveals an almost insurmountable chasm of federal debt, a steadily weakening reserve currency, and staggering state and local deficits. Not to mention soaring commodity, fuel, and food prices across the board.
Couple this with an ever growing endorsement of the governments infringement on civil liberties and individual privacy, the perpetuation of an environmental of fear of the “Other”, misdirection of our attention from real threats to manufactured ones, and an obvious inability to provide even the most basic emergency support in times of disaster and it seems to provide a “perfect storm” of destabilizing elements not seen since the Great Depression. Except that now the ramifications of a Depression are not simply contained or influenced primarily by the United States, but by all players in the intricate web of global politics, finance, and power.
The smallest dictators and terrorists pose as big of a threat as that posed by Russia during the Cold War. And yet it is that same threat that is used to further justify the continued infringement on our Constitutional rights and continued expenditures of trillions of dollars on fruitless foreign oil wars.
We’re stretched dangerously thin and 50 years of complacency and convenience contribute to a normalcy bias that works to the advantage of those trying to keep peace and order while continuing to extort and abuse the poor while protecting the rich and powerful.
This is not about politics. It’s about power and money. The majority of politicians, regardless of their party affiliation, will pander to their constituents through lip service while selling them out to the lobbyists of every financial institution, arms dealer, and palm-greasing corporation that steps through the doors of their office. Those that don’t follow this pattern will either give up or merely stem the flow of “business as usual”. This is nothing new and I can’t imagine it’s much different than the state of politics has been for thousands of years except that it’s a much more polished, established, and streamlined process now after centuries of perfection.
So, with all this bleakness, what is there to celebrate? How do we deal with the very real threat of Electromagnetic Pulse attacks, the possibility of the failure of the dollar as the reserve standard, and the myriad of other scenarios that could result in a culmination of factors that could bring about wide-scale collapse in services and supply?
Don’t. Lose. Your. Head. Remain calm. Forget about the root causes. It’s like trying to decide if God exists or if there could be life outside our solar system. There’s no way to prove one root cause over another. It’s speculation based on the facts we have available to us. It doesn’t matter what’s causing it; the effects and ramifications are all that are important.
If things go south, how likely is it that X will happen? Given the current rate of X events, taken in light of past events, and given new factors Y & Z, where does that put us? Rational, logical analysis separated from political and religious biases is the primary strategy. Using information as the tool of choice, strip away speculation and look at facts. Interpretation is unavoidable, but what really matters is identifying trends and pattern recognition.
I honestly don’t care if the New World Order or increasing demand in China is at fault for food riots and hyperinflation. I just care that I can take care of my family if that happens. If it never does I’ll be so fucking happy. I like the comfort of my modern life and perhaps that’s what the powers that be are counting on to keep me in my place.
Still yet, I’m a country boy who grew up off the grid much of the time. However, while I may have redneck ways, I’m not a redneck in the derogatory sense of the word. I’m all about tolerance for others who are not like me, compassion for those who have less than me, and am a champion of your right to say what you believe even if I disagree in every possible way and hate your guts for it.
I have a BA, an MS, and an AK. I dip snuff but can write at length about Neitzsche’s perspectivism and the vagaries of Buddhist religion. I can skin a buck, raise my own food, discuss modern art, and recite Yeats poetry. My southern, rustic roots define and enhance my character, but in no way limit my intellect or inhibit my ability to see beyond common prejudices and take every individual as they come.
In the end I don’t care about anything but protecting and providing for my wife and children. I think there may come a time when that will be much more difficult than it is now. Like any of the various types of insurance I now have, I have taken care to have “insurance” in the case of an emergency, major disaster, economic depression, or the end of the world as we know it. Much like with my life insurance, I’ll be happy if I never have to cash it in. But I have the peace of mind in knowing that should I need to, I’ll be ready.
Think for yourself. Question everything, even things you assume to be absolute. Love and protect those who depend on you. Keep hope alive, but prepare just in case. Don’t be so fucking sure of yourself. Chances are you’re wrong about some things - just like I am. Quit being so damn hateful.
Fear of the End can be healthy or debilitating. Moderation, preparation, and planning are the key to controlling it. Take out your “insurance” and once you’re prepared you won’t have to worry about it. Peace of mind comes with preparation.
I’m going to present information from lots of sources here. I don’t agree with the worldview that some of them support, but there are a great many folks doing deep research and presenting facts in sets and identifying trends that bear serious consideration. Like I said, I’m less interested in the cause and more focused on ramifications. I can’t change the powers that be, but I can change how I’m prepared for the future. THAT is within my control.
Read critically and Enjoy…