Monday, December 26, 2011

My Random Thoughts on Preppers, Part One

I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and as such this is sort of a train of thought experiment than something well-constructed.

Firstly, why are some people preparing, and others not?

I'm going to make a broad statement here: We are almost all A+ personalities. We are independent minded people who when presented with a problem, they confront it. When there may be a problem, we try to prevent it. I have yet to hear a prepper say 'it won't/can't happen to me'. That, I think, is our greatest strength. We are stubborn, we have foresight, and we act. That's the important one, we act. We don't just let things happen.

This also a list of our greatest weaknesses. We're independent and stubborn, which means we don't exactly get along too often. We think we can go it alone, and we tend not to listen to others unless provoked. This is really prevalent in the less desirable elements of survivalism and prepping. The odds of a Red Dawn survival situation are limited, and even then, what would retreating to the mountains do? Why stockpile firearms and not food?

The more I think about it, the more I tend to reject retreat-based ideology. Having a retreat won't make things better if the economy collapses. In fact, that is the number one thing we should be preparing for. A global economic collapse will definitely mean riots and shortages, but more so, a period of scarcity. Your everyday problems will involve feeding your family and friends, keeping them out of trouble, not Soviets in the street. Preppers need to go back to their roots and figure out what they should be worried about all over. For me, I'm worried about economic collapse and flu pandemics, and the problems stemming from that.


  1. You read John Robb's stuff on Resilient Communities? I agree a retreat won't work, mostly because you limit yourself to much. A community of folks can get back through most anything.

  2. I haven't. Honestly, I'm not entirely sure a community of preppers would work. Too many A+ personalities, in addition to the other problems with groups of people. When I think about my ideal survival group, I think of a half-dozen families, no more. Maybe a largish clan. Actually, a large extended family would be almost ideal.

  3. The resilient community model reminds me too much of a combination of The Tea Party, and a Home Owners Association, both are great- until you have to pay for them.

    I wouldn't mind having a like minded group of neighbors with differing skill sets, and no aversion to getting dirty. But unfortunately they are the exception and not the rule.

  4. Welcome back, Des.

    Not that I don't want to go off the grid, because I do-but retreat survivalism is not going to be an option for most wage earners. The emphasis on the distant retreat will only work for those that can afford it and whose jobs are not tied to population centers, which is a tiny fraction of the population.

    The average citizen is better off stocking enough food and water that they aren't a drain on the emergency services when a full blown disaster occurs and networking with fellow preppers on a local level to provide security. You don't have to alter your lifestyle that much to pull it off, and you won't be staring at your empty cupboard wondering how much food the neighbors have laid by when the shit goes down.

  5. I've been trying to move into a different sort of mindset. Or at least trying some different approaches. Essentially, there's stockpiling and there's prepping and they are not the same thing. Stockpiling is just accumulating stuff whereas prepping is acummulating articles useful in certain situations. I've been reworking what I do more along the ability to function with disruption in particular systems. These being Without Rule of Law, Extensive Power Grid Outtages, empty shelves due to Hyperinflation. Then I've been trying to think more in terms of readyness rather than preparedness. Even though I may have a thousand pounds of supplies, can I put my hands on a flashlight the exact moment I need one? Is my backup heating system all ready to be fired up in case we have another ice storm with rolling blackouts?