"I figure if you can go about your normal routines on a daily basis and not realize nukes fell/zombies arose/the Rapture occurred/aliens invaded/bird flu killed everyone, then you've done your job."
While I'm sure your tongue was firmly in cheek when you wrote this, I think it illustrates what I'm talking about. A lot of folks seem to focus on apocalyptic scenarios to the exclusion of more likely possibilities. By definition, the apocalypse doesn’t happen very often. Natural disasters and economic crises happen all the time, and are happening around the world right this very moment.
This focus on TEOTWAWKI scenarios tends to focus people on a particular type of solution: a fortified retreat out in the boonies somewhere. If you believe that cities will turn into burned out wrecks ruled over by gangs of murdering cannibal looters, there’s not much point in building up a six month food supply in the basement of your suburban home. In turn, this kind of all or nothing attitude seems to discourage a lot of people from making preparations right now and lead them towards ‘armchair survivalism’. They have detailed plans for the fortified retreat they’re going to build someday, but don’t have well balanced preparations in case a hurricane or an earthquake hits today.
For folks that do have a well stocked rural retreat, on the other hand, there seems to be a tendency to believe, “If I’m prepared for the apocalypse, I’m prepared for anything.” As FerFAL has pointed out in other posts, in a situation like the one in Argentina living out in the countryside can be more dangerous than living in the city. This is a big part of what really clicked with me when I read his older posts because it tallies very well with what I’ve read about the horrible things that have happened to people on isolated farms in South Africa and Zimbabwe (both recently and during the Bush War when it was Rhodesia). An economic collapse is not going to be a great time to be a small farmer.
This focus on TEOTWAWKI also tends to get people who are interested in preparedness painted as tin foil hat types. Gabe Suarez recently threatened to get rid of the Disaster Preparedness subforum of Warriortalk “because of all the doom-gloom, we're all going to die, negativism”. Doug Ritter has a big disclaimer on the Equipped to Survive Natural Disasters & Large-Scale Emergencies subforum prohibiting any discussion of “economics, politics, or sociology”. This sort of thing tends to create a big gulf in places to talk about preparedness online. There are places like the ones I’ve mentioned where talk doesn’t go much beyond a bug-out-bag or 72 hour kit, and there are places to discuss building a fortified retreat to survive the apocalypse, but there’s a dearth of places to discuss something in between. The bug out bag places discourage discussing longer term planning to keep the TEOTWAWKI folks away and the TEOTWAWKI folks tend to be rather dismissive of anyone who isn’t interested in preparing for the apocalypse. That’s a bit part of why I was so excited to read FerFAL’s stuff. It really seems to fit right in that middle ground I was looking for.
March 10, 2009 10:24 AM
Thanks Blackeagle for the well articulated response.
I’m posting it here too because I feel the same way, even thought sometimes I can’t put it into words as well as you did.
Preparing for TEOTWAWKI , scenarios where civilization as we know it no longer exists, is very different from preparing for what happens all the time and will continue happening through history.
Some think that by preparing for the worst possible scenario you cover everything. Not so.
What’s the point of investing in real estate or valuing the proximity for good schools and hospitals if you think that it will all soon cease to exist?
Why prepare financially? Why expect to keep on needing to pay taxes, medical and insurance, and worry about having money to do so?
The two situations have a few things in common but big essential differences.
I don’t dare say what will happen or not. If I had that power I’d be buying lots of lottery tickets.
But I do prefer to plan for something that, event though bad, is well within the odds of possibility and has already happened before.