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When The Rich Become Preppers, It's Time To Worry

The social stigma to prepping is fast disappearing
Friday, January 27, 2017, 9:13 PM

For over 10 years now, we've been openly advocating that folks take action to become more prepared should crisis arrive. And for a long time, this advice relegated us to being labeled "tin-foil hat doomsday preppers" (and other less-polite monikers). The media just couldn't figure out any other box to put us in.

But now, the concept of taking at least some responsibility for your own future well-being by increasing your self-reliance is finally moving towards the mainstream.

Of course, government agencies have long ascribed to "situational planning" in case sudden unrest were to happen. Nations around the world have long invested in redundant supply chains, as well as well-stocked disaster 'continuity caves', fortresses and hardened facilities of all sorts.

It's strikes us as puzzling that most private citizens fully expect their government to be prepared for disaster like this, yet don't see similar wisdom in practicing a similar approach to preparation in their own life. In fact, many go so far as to denigrate and even mock their friends and neighbors who do.

Perhaps that gap between what's considered acceptable in a public institution but not in a private home is best explained as abdication of personal responsibility. It happens a lot in our society. Live your life and let the government worry about the scary stuff. They'll take care of us if something bad happens.

We think it's a huge error in judgment (remember Katrina, anyone?), but we understand why it's a convenient and comforting narrative to hold. Plus, it frees up a lot more time to shop at the big box stores and keep up on the Kardashians. Life's more fun and stress-free...right up until some unexpected disruption occurs.

Well, we here at Peak Prosperity deeply believe in shouldering our own personal responsibility. And not just to protect our own private well-being, but also that of the communities we live in and depend on.

After all, Peak Prosperity's mission is To create a world worth inheriting. You don't do that simply waiting to see if the calvary is ever going to show up. You assume responsibility for your own destiny, and inspire others to do the same by offering your support and serving as a living model for others to emulate.

Those expecting/demanding the State to have high emergency preparedness while not practicing the same in their own lives lack integrity. Nobody respects a low-integrity person for very long. (Pro tip:  Don’t fly your personal jet to give a lecture on the importance of addressing climate change.)

A resilient nation is built from the bottom up, starting with resilient households. Enough of those households creates resilient neighborhoods, and those in turn lead to resilient towns and cities. And then counties, and states -- you get the point.

So taking steps to be partially self-sufficient in the basics of life – food, warmth, shelter and water – and have useful experience or skills (medicine, fixing things, building, distilling, to name just a few) just makes sense. You don't have to strive to be completely self-reliant -- it's not realistic or necessary. Just position yourself to reduce your lifestyle requirements during times of strife, and to contribute valued support to those whom in turn you ask for help.

Preparing Is Rapidly Going Mainstream

For years now, I’ve written that the highly wealthy people whom I encounter through conferences, family offices and private consultations all got the “bug out” vibe after the 2008 crash, if not before. Today, many of them are more thoroughly prepped than us regular folks can imagine.

Disaster prepping is now acceptable enough that this week's article in The New Yorker had no trouble finding high-profile executives to talk to on record. I couldn't help noticing that the reporter avoided inferring that these folks were crazy, or implying as much. I guess once a critical mass of super wealthy tech entrepreneurs jumps on the bandwagon it’s suddenly hip to be a prepper?

At any rate, if you haven't already seen the article, it's a real eye-opener:

Doomsday Prep For The Super-Rich

Jan 30, 2017

Steve Huffman, the thirty-three-year-old co-founder and C.E.O. of Reddit, which is valued at six hundred million dollars, was nearsighted until November, 2015, when he arranged to have laser eye surgery. He underwent the procedure not for the sake of convenience or appearance but, rather, for a reason he doesn’t usually talk much about: he hopes that it will improve his odds of surviving a disaster, whether natural or man-made. “If the world ends—and not even if the world ends, but if we have trouble—getting contacts or glasses is going to be a huge pain in the ass,” he told me recently. “Without them, I’m fucked.”

Huffman, who lives in San Francisco, has large blue eyes, thick, sandy hair, and an air of restless curiosity; at the University of Virginia, he was a competitive ballroom dancer, who hacked his roommate’s Web site as a prank. He is less focused on a specific threat—a quake on the San Andreas, a pandemic, a dirty bomb—than he is on the aftermath, “the temporary collapse of our government and structures,” as he puts it. “I own a couple of motorcycles. I have a bunch of guns and ammo. Food. I figure that, with that, I can hole up in my house for some amount of time.”

Survivalism, the practice of preparing for a crackup of civilization, tends to evoke a certain picture: the woodsman in the tinfoil hat, the hysteric with the hoard of beans, the religious doomsayer. But in recent years survivalism has expanded to more affluent quarters, taking root in Silicon Valley and New York City, among technology executives, hedge-fund managers, and others in their economic cohort.

Last spring, as the Presidential campaign exposed increasingly toxic divisions in America, Antonio García Martínez, a forty-year-old former Facebook product manager living in San Francisco, bought five wooded acres on an island in the Pacific Northwest and brought in generators, solar panels, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. “When society loses a healthy founding myth, it descends into chaos,” he told me. The author of “Chaos Monkeys,” an acerbic Silicon Valley memoir, García Martínez wanted a refuge that would be far from cities but not entirely isolated. “All these dudes think that one guy alone could somehow withstand the roving mob,” he said. “No, you’re going to need to form a local militia. You just need so many things to actually ride out the apocalypse.”

Once he started telling peers in the Bay Area about his “little island project,” they came “out of the woodwork” to describe their own preparations, he said. “I think people who are particularly attuned to the levers by which society actually works understand that we are skating on really thin cultural ice right now.”

In private Facebook groups, wealthy survivalists swap tips on gas masks, bunkers, and locations safe from the effects of climate change. One member, the head of an investment firm, told me, “I keep a helicopter gassed up all the time, and I have an underground bunker with an air-filtration system.” He said that his preparations probably put him at the “extreme” end among his peers. But he added, “A lot of my friends do the guns and the motorcycles and the gold coins. That’s not too rare anymore.”

Tim Chang, a forty-four-year-old managing director at Mayfield Fund, a venture-capital firm, told me, “There’s a bunch of us in the Valley. We meet up and have these financial-hacking dinners and talk about backup plans people are doing. It runs the gamut from a lot of people stocking up on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, to figuring out how to get second passports if they need it, to having vacation homes in other countries that could be escape havens.” He said, “I’ll be candid: I’m stockpiling now on real estate to generate passive income but also to have havens to go to.” He and his wife, who is in technology, keep a set of bags packed for themselves and their four-year-old daughter. He told me, “I kind of have this terror scenario: ‘Oh, my God, if there is a civil war or a giant earthquake that cleaves off part of California, we want to be ready.’ ”

(Source)

The message here is clear enough: The wealthy have caught onto the idea that the probability of a major social disruption is high enough to merit serious action.

Prepping is now becoming “a thing.”

And that makes it increasingly OK to talk about in the open. That's a great development; we at Peak Prosperity have been waiting for this milestone for a decade now. But it comes with a cost: the more people who awaken to the risks we face, the faster the peaceful complacency society has slumbered in will dissipate.

From here it’s only a hop, skip and a jump for the newly-awake to start losing faith in our debt-based fiat money system and the massive unsustainability of the economy built on top of it.  As our readers know very well, once you understand how these systems are structured, it's hard not be shocked by their fragility (not to mention their deep unfairness). 

For example, our food distribution system relies on a lot of moving, integrated parts.  If any one of these breaks down, the shipment of food (and pharmaceuticals, and many other components of daily life) simply stops. Cities only have about 3 days' worth of inventory at any given time.  Should a shock occur to the system, even a minor one like a winter blizzard, supply can dwindle out in a matter of hours as people scramble to get what they can.

Here’s an image of shelves at a Wal-Mart in Charlotte NC taken as a relatively minor snow storm was approaching the area on January 6th 2017.

bare-wal-mart-shelves

(Source)

The line between “well stocked” and “stripped bare” is merely a matter of public awareness.  Once people become worried about the possibility of scarcity, their mad scramble to hoard what they can  actually creates the very scarcity they dear. That's because our system is deliberately run on a just-in-time basis, in order to maximize profit. Excess inventory incurs storage fees; so we "optimize" our supply chains to avoid it. But it begs the question: perhaps the human suffering costs of quickly running out of essentials during an emergency is higher than the dollars saved by keeping inventory levels minimal?

Our fractional reserve banking is structured the same way: it only works if everyone doesn’t show up at the same time demanding to withdraw their money.  If that ever happens, there isn't nearly enough supply for everyone. Once the illusion is exposed, then people get panicky and start grouping into angy mobs

Think it can't happen here? Just talk to folks in India. Two months ago they would have agreed with you. Today, the most they are allowed to withdraw for their bank is a few hundred dollars worth of banknotes per week. Here's a video of a run on a bank there where the swaming masses quickly stampede over the security guards, trampling elderly patrons in the process:

And it's even worse in Venezuela. There, the limit is US$5 per day. If you had US10,000 of savings in the bank, at that rate, it would take you 5 and half years to withdraw it all.

Playing the Odds

Of course, most truly catastrophic events are quite rare. Rather than worry about them, it usually makes sense to simply ignore these tail risks and carry on with your life.

I do this rather than stress out about a large asteroid impact or a Yellowstone supervolcano eruption. While either of these *could* happen in my lifetime, the odds are incredibly low and there’s virtually nothing I can do to prepare for or predict such an event. So I don’t even try.

Other potential threats to our well-being, however, have much higher probabilities. And yet, most people are quite content to ignore the need to prepare, no matter how high the risks. Few people maintain a deep pantry, which is why the store shelves invariably get stripped as a big storm rolls into town. And only a small minority of people living along California's active fault lines have put together a well-stock earthquake kit.

But more cadres of thinkers are embracing the wisdom of investing in an ounce of prevention today. In the New Yorker article, the techies from Silicon Valley seem more inclined to ‘do the math’ and follow logic:

Yishan Wong, an early Facebook employee, was the C.E.O. of Reddit from 2012 to 2014. He, too, had eye surgery for survival purposes, eliminating his dependence, as he put it, “on a nonsustainable external aid for perfect vision.” In an e-mail, Wong told me, “Most people just assume improbable events don’t happen, but technical people tend to view risk very mathematically.”

He continued, “The tech preppers do not necessarily think a collapse is likely. They consider it a remote event, but one with a very severe downside, so, given how much money they have, spending a fraction of their net worth to hedge against this . . . is a logical thing to do.”

As we've advised for years, even if something has a low probability, if its result would be catastrophic, then buy insurance if you can. Prepping for a major "grid-down" power outage is simply a no-brainer for those who have decent math skills. The calculation is eminently rational, as there a number of potential causal factors (weather, sabotage, squirrel) and the downside could be quite large.

So, with all the potential looming risks out there -- economic shock, social disorder, supply chain failure, to name just a few -- what are practical, affordable, achievable steps a prudent person should take?

In Part 2: Preparing Prudently, we present a specific list of the most useful preparations, along with links to helpful resources and services for carrying them out. Nearly anyone can implement these, and nearly everyone should. The more of us who prepare wisely today, the more of us who will be in a position to be of service when the next crisis arrives.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

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60 Comments

pat the rat's picture
pat the rat
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
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Posts: 93
yellowstone

Churchill said "this is not the beginning nor, it is the end but perhaps it is the beginning of the end ". Yellowstone has been changing lately, keep one eye on her.  

Sane's picture
Sane
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Posts: 1
Zuckerberg

Great post Chris.

Long time reader here, but never commented.

A trend I am watching closely from my vantage point on the other side of the world:

Rich people buying farmable land and self sustaining estates on *islands*.

The islands bit is key because social uprisings can be better controlled and anticipated on small tropical islands. Food supply can be relatively plentiful, living costs are cheap (no heat required, and little electricity), the reach of central governments is limited, and the ratio of angry peasants to landed aristocracy can be tightly controlled. Take for example Mark Zuckerberg's recent purchase of a massive piece of land on a Hawaiian island.

Of course, that's the most press worthy example but there are thousands more, mostly on smaller islands with agrarian and fishing economies.

By the same token: Cities are actually the last place anyone is going to want to be. There the ratio of angry peasants to landed aristocracy is so high that true "zombie land" scenarios are highly possible. Combine the rising purchases of tropical island estates with the sudden (and ongoing) collapse in luxury urban real estate and this trend has a clear vector: A desire to be in a controlled (controllable) society which is self sustaining, and where the numbers of pitchforks and torches is naturally limited.

To the extremely wealthy, the danger is us. 

They are creating compounds where that threat is naturally limited by geography, demographics, distance from government authority and availability of resources.

Thanks for the great reads over the years, Chris.

Stay safe.

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
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Posts: 335
Great Article

Thanks Chris for the excellent post. I think this is an important trend. I saw a stat that said that the top 1% own 38% of the stock market. If the wealthy start to move their money, it could start a massive trend.

Survivalism going mainstream is positive in that more are prepared, but also negative in that it may speed up the recognition of our broken systems. (Maybe that recognition is also positive in the long run.)

The last thing I did before I moved out of an urban area in early 2008 was to get my wife laser eye surgery. Like the tech guys, it was one of the first things I thought to do.

aggrivated's picture
aggrivated
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Posts: 496
Walls from A to Z.

The everyday run of the mill citizen views walls with suspicion and resentment----the indigenous especially react this way. Walls always create us vs them scenarios.

Arizona, home for part of the 'Great Wall from Mexico' may well be the center of a new Standing Rock type resistance. The Tohono O'odhan Nation is saying it will not let the US build a wall along the border that lies inside its border.....and then there is the anti Zuckerberg wall demonstrations going on in Hawaii. The Kupuna Elders of the indigenous people of the area do not want their ancestral land walled of and excluded from them by security guards.Zuckerberg's retreat is getting heat from more than the sun. Even tropical islands have deep pockets of resistance toward the self proclaimed rights of the rich.

Wisdom for good prepping includes friendship and cooperation with neighbors + a gray man low profile in the community.

pgp's picture
pgp
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The Reality of Prepping

It's ironic how the very elite responsible for economic collapse end up having the best resources to survive it. I wish I could buy an island to fortify.

The missing truth of course is that "the mob" won't appreciate being left for dead. No elitist army will have the numbers to survive the bloody revolt of many angry and hungry downtrodden. The best place to hide therefore is in plain sight not in an isolated ivory tower.

aggrivated's picture
aggrivated
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One more thing on the rich inside walls

If we are actually in resource overshoot, which I think is at the root of many current predicaments, then many of the rich who escape to compounds may well end their days there. As things break down their power to generate or even sustain wealth will become disingaged form its base, the 99%. When this happens conditions inside a compound will probably deteriorate quickly. Mercenary guards don't work for loyalty's sake. I'm casting my lot somewhere in the 99% crowd.

Nate's picture
Nate
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Posts: 544
More wall building..........

aggrivated wrote:
The everyday run of the mill citizen views walls with suspicion and resentment----the indigenous especially react this way. Walls always create us vs them scenarios.

"It turns out Barack Obama does believe in building protective walls — for himself."

and

"Obama, of course, is not the only liberal politician to oppose a wall for America’s protection, but erect one for their own security.

During the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton was exposed for building a huge wall around her Chappaqua, New York property."

http://www.theamericanmirror.com/photos-crews-build-wall-around-new-obam...

thc0655's picture
thc0655
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Posts: 1331
Casting my lot with the 99% too

I'm casting my lot somewhere in the 99% crowd.

Me too!  I'm trying to get far enough away from "the system" and the crazies not to be so easily sucked down into the depths by the sinking ship or overrun by savages, but I'm staying somewhere with the 99%.  The alternatives the uber wealthy are gravitating toward have some serious vulnerabilities they don't seem to be factoring in.  For instance: New Zealand and other western Pacific locations (especially small islands).  Years ago I read the story of the wealthy American couple who, in the mid 1930's, saw world war coming and made plans to avoid it and survive.  They cashed out of everything they owned in the US and escaped to an "unknown" part of the world: the Solomon Islands!  If you know your WWII history you know they found themselves literally in the middle of the most vicious fighting of the war in the Pacific theater.  Idyllic?

Has it occurred to anyone going to New Zealand (Australia, Solomons, Japan, Phillipines, Indonesia, etc.) who will dominate the western Pacific region once the collapse happens?  I think it's safe to say it won't be the US and that Pax Americana will be history.  China will be the big dog in the western Pacific after the collapse!  Shoot: they've ALREADY laid claim to the whole South China Sea and are deploying "coral aircraft carriers" to defend it and expand from there once the US goes over the cliff.  

Just like imperial Japan in the 30's simply and quickly took whatever they wanted in that region, China will take whatever it wants/needs.  Gold stored in a vault in Singapore?  Productive farmland?  Western trophy wives for Chinese officers' "clubs?"  Airports and remote airstrips?  Good luck with that, even if you have a net worth of $10 billion (or especially if you have a net worth of $10 billion).

The only islands I would consider are Greenland and Iceland, but I don't have the wealth to move there permanently.  

Besides, when the collapse comes, zombies seeking revenge may not be the wealthy's biggest concern.  What if what's left of the US government and military and judiciary decide they want to track down those most responsible for The Collapse and claw back some of OUR wealth?  Lord knows there is enough evidence even today to hang thousands of them from lampposts.  Do they really think the NSA won't be able to find them anywhere in the world and a company of Army Rangers won't be able to parachute in and bring them back for their day in court?

UrbanPlanner's picture
UrbanPlanner
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The Emphasis on Individual Survivalism Troubles Me

I've been paying attention to this website and the various discussion threads for a while. As you can tell from my handle, I'm a city planner. I'm a solo consultant with mainly small town and rural clients. I don't get paid anywhere near what I'd be working in a big city, but I have the opportunity to really serve folks who couldn't otherwise afford my skill set. The reason I mention this is to say I'm a long range thinker and committed public servant. Because they are small and isolated, most of my communities are tight knit and by necessity, resilient.

I read the New Yorker article Chris cites. I was struck by the author's feeling, after interviewing many masters of the universe who were planning to take the loot and run, that this escapism is incredibly self defeating and a tremendous waste of an opportunity to help humanity. That's true for us, too. After long discussion, my husband and I decided we'd rather shelter in place and support our community thru the coming uncertainties.

The vast majority of ordinary people cannot homestead (the middle class version of abandoning society for flight to the NZ farm). I recognize the actual carrying capacity of this planet may be only about 10% of what it is now. That doesn't give me the right to simply abandon 90% of this species and all the others because I might have the means to do so.

I work hard at resilience. I'm a farmer on land I can only wish I owned and (an unlucky) beekeeper. I've raised chickens and dairy goats. I can make soap, can my food and make my clothes. I'd very much like to ensure my loved ones thrive. I could run away and play at self reliance along with the other lucky few. Or, I can stay in town and commit my energies to ensuring my community and my region are resilient because this world worth inheriting needs to be for all of us, or for as many as we can.

aggrivated's picture
aggrivated
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Dear UrbanPlanner

As you I am sure know much better than I, by 2050 it is estimated that 70% of the world's population will live in urban areas. The definitions of urban by population size are varied, but a common thread in classification seems to be the disconnect from agriculture. You may be by training an urban planner. It seems that by your lifestyle you are a community planner working with those who are resiliant.

If you are among and a part of the 30% that are somehow still in some way connected to raising food then you are with the vanguard of the future. It's comforting to me that you in your role are also connected to this community. It's tge 70% that are so system dependent that will suffer more.

Uncletommy's picture
Uncletommy
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Urban planning requirements

A well intentioned, inclusive society is a lovely thought and an admirable sentiment, however there are definite limits that cannot be ignored. 

The vast majority of ordinary people cannot homestead (the middle class version of abandoning society for flight to the NZ farm). I recognize the actual carrying capacity of this planet may be only about 10% of what it is now. That doesn't give me the right to simply abandon 90% of this species and all the others because I might have the means to do so.

Who, exactly, is going to make the hard decisions, when the time comes: farmers, politicians, soldiers, or the four horsemen? As long as we continue to squander what few remaining resources we have, we can be guaranteed it will probably be someone bigger and nastier than us.

http://thenextturn.com/eroei-energy-cliff/

UrbanPlanner's picture
UrbanPlanner
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To UncleTommy

I could hardly spend significant time here without having absorbed the three E's, though my degrees in biology and environmental economics went a long way in that respect.

I am not Pollyanna. I've spent 20 years observing aspects of the unfolding apocalypse. I have no expectations 8-10 billion of us will suddenly live in self-sustaining communities of the Amish model. There isn't enough land and we've come too far forward in time.

However, escapism helps only a few. Even then, the mad max world we leave behind in the cities will eventually come calling.

Wouldn't it be better if we tried to find narratives to help us turn the ship rather than herding a lucky few into lifeboats as the ship carries on toward disaster? If we focus on escapism, we miss that chance.

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
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Posts: 5080
Yes!

UrbanPlanner wrote:
I could hardly spend significant time here without having absorbed the three E's, though my degrees in biology and environmental economics went a long way in that respect. I am not Pollyanna. I've spent 20 years observing aspects of the unfolding apocalypse. I have no expectations 8-10 billion of us will suddenly live in self-sustaining communities of the Amish model. There isn't enough land and we've come too far forward in time. However, escapism helps only a few. Even then, the mad max world we leave behind in the cities will eventually come calling.

Wouldn't it be better if we tried to find narratives to help us turn the ship rather than herding a lucky few into lifeboats as the ship carries on toward disaster? If we focus on escapism, we miss that chance.

Yes!  we need new narratives.  But I am not talking about tweaking a few things, like how we structure our new transportation system.

It may well take a complete 'ground up' reappraisal where everything is questioned and rebuilt (as necessary) from our nuclear family structure (which is great for selling a lot of stuff into because everybody needs their own car and lawnmowers right?)  right down to our complete insistence on our right to dominate every life form and landscape.

If we are happiest being tribal, and there's a ton of evidence that this is true, then perhaps tearing down the nuclear family structure is the key to relaxing the scarcity mindset that leads to such gross over accumulations as 8 people having as much wealth as 3.5 billion people?

I don't know, but the more I ponder the human experiment at this stage, the more convinced I am it needs (and deserves) a complete overhaul rather than a few light modifications.  

How can we not be happy and fulfilled and overflowing with a sense of abundance at this time?  This is, literally, the easiest it has *ever* been in human history to attend to the basics of life, and yet people are as profoundly unhappy as ever.  

What's going on here?  Can't we do better?  What befell us to bring us to such a place?

That's the existential undercurrent tugging at us all....the idea that the entire human experiment is off track.  It takes tremendous courage to even face that idea in our own lives, let alone ponder it across the entire collection of humanity.

But for whatever reason, here we are, at this time, in these circumstances, and our individual choices and actions matter enormously.  

No, we will not solve the unsolvable.  But acting out of fear and isolation are not answers either.  Our path lies in true community, deep connections with self and other (with 'other' being all life and matter, not just humans), and stepping back into the larger mystery of life itself.  In other words a place of deep meaning to augment all the bauble and frills that comfort us so nicely today.

But the longer we wait and dally because we can't quite bring ourselves to face reality, the fewer and poorer the choices we'll have left to make.  It takes energy to start and complete new things.  Energy that is dwindling...

...and the only way I know to change and adapt here is for us all to share in a new narrative.  It will be the new story that drives us, not laws, saviors, or shiny new technology.  

That's what we're really doing here...is all chipping in to craft that new narrative.  As will all good stories, it has to be rooted in a fundamental truth.

Perhaps a good starting point would be to remember that we humans are a part of nature, not apart from nature.

Uncletommy's picture
Uncletommy
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Posts: 356
Double yes!

Urban planner:

               In 1940, the German army entered the Netherlands and occupied it. As part of that move, they began recording census records requiring individuals to state their personal information including, among other things, residence and religion (ethnic background). The subsequent 5 years saw 139,717 people of Jewish ethnic descent transported off to the gas chambers. I wonder how many of them were part of the 99% of the population.

               While I can understand your position on this issue and can empathize and support your sentiments, my ultimate question is, to what extent are we to become involved with the “powers that be”. Do we happily climb on board with the ruling elite to support peace and good governance, or, do we slowly slip into the backwaters and secure our resilience?

I just ran across this article this morning and couldn’t help but view it in the light of the fact that Mr. Trump has not released his income tax returns for public scrutiny, yet, and may not in the near future.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/taxes-internal-revenue-service-fatca-united-states-1.3954789

               Yes, we all need to be aware and connected in the inevitable times to come, but need to be diligent that our actions do not, by default, contribute to exclusionary behaviors. Perhaps the Mexicans are lucky that a wall is going up on the southern US/Mexico border. Perhaps Canadians should push for one to go up their southern border. WE ALL are in this thing together and should be electing or pushing those we can’t elect to advocate measures to mitigate the trend. Time to redefine"big and nasty" or time to "get real"?

treebeard's picture
treebeard
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Posts: 575
The wealthy.....

have always been paranoid, that is what the accumulation of wealth does to the mind.  At some point they realize what they have accumulated cannot be controlled without the consent of society (the 99%).  The worse the wealth distribution, the greater the paranoia, and the resultant sociopathic behavior.  But who really cares what "they" think anyway.  The kind of "success" we take an interest in, betrays our own hearts.

As we reach the endgame of our current exploit or be exploited paradigm, we can take our current way of thinking apply it to a new reality, a reality where we are reaping in spades the rewards of our unconscious lifestyles.  That is the dark side of "prepping".

Hopefully with the death of the old infrastructure, the way of thinking that created it will die with it. The old us vs. them attitude, me and mine vs. you are yours, man vs. nature, survival at any cost, even if it means murdering my neighbors starving children to survive.  Capitalism is a philosophy of scarcity in order to foment an ongoing demand for goods and services.  It plays on the destruction of societal bonds, which are replaced with "markets" and consumerism.  It is the neoliberal agenda.  Replacing culture with "markets", measuring the quality of life with GDP and per capita income.

And its partner in crime is the narcissistic worship of the self, worship of personal freedom, which is dressed in a dignity that it does not deserve.  Libertarianism, the poisonous philosophy of the global elites. If you buy in, you are left stewing in your own juices of resentment about the unfairness of life.  Why can't I have what I want, when they are getting what they want!

If you disagree, you are looking at world through rose colored glasses, you are being pollyannnaish, unrealistic.  But the world is abundant, loving and beautiful.  If the world is ugly, it is only your own shadow that you are looking at.  The greatest good and happiness comes from serving others, not the self, but that is a truth we still cannot stand looking at because it betrays our own inner darkness.  Despite the light, we still love darkness, so there we dwell.

TechGuy's picture
TechGuy
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Posts: 335
Mexico and the Bull in the China shop

Uncletommy wrote:

"I just ran across this article this morning and couldn’t help but view it in the light of the fact that Mr. Trump has not released his income tax returns for public scrutiny, yet, and may not in the near future."

At this time, I am leaning that Trump is an anti-oligarch, and is not a NAZI. People like Obama and Clinton have more in common with the NAZI party and the Bolshevik. Both the NAZI and Bolshevik parties were socialists.Also consider that Both Obama and Clintion had close ties with George Soros, whose famility had ties to the NAZI party, and Soros, has been a leader in global instabiity (organizing the coup in the Ukraine). Soros nearly caused the UK to collapse, just so he could make a billion. Soros is a real life James Bond villain.

I think its a good thing that ever global oligach like Soros, Koch Bros, Gates, etc hate Trump. Clearly he is not one of "them"

Trump may be the first president that actually downsizes the Federal gov't and reduces the power of the federal gov't. Trump has already requested that his cabinet leaders cut department spending by 10% and cut the workforce by 20%. Hopefully he is able to follow through on this.

Bring back jobs to the US making us less dependant on foriegn imports for goods & services, would help make the US more resilient. Bringing back manufacturing to the US could also be benefitical to the enviroment. Consider that the Bushs, the Clintons and Obama, alll pushed US manufacturing to China and India, which have absolutely no enviromental laws. Companies in China & India, pollute waterways, the oceans and the air, with no regards to the enviroment and the welfare of workers. Bring back manufacturing would shutdown some of those factories and the US factories will still face regulations to manage pollution much better than in China or India. Saidly I think irrevocable damage is done. but lessing or slowing the damage will help some.

That said, I am not a chear leader for Trump. He certainly does have a Bull in a China shop personality. 

"Perhaps the Mexicans are lucky that a wall is going up on the southern US/Mexico border."

I don't think so. I am concerned that Mexico may collapse, since its economy is dependent on trade with the US. Its possible that Mexico will collapse and become the next Venezuela. Its currency has already fallen sharply. Cutting trade with China may also have a simular effect. I think that China is switching its economy from  Industial Keynesium to Military Keynesium. A sudden drop in exports to the US may have a simular effect that led to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor (When the US cut off Japan from US Trade do to military conquests in China and the Pacific).

The problem with Socialist systems is that they always collapse, and they usually go out with a bang (war). The collapse of the Soviet Union was an exception, but even the collapse lead to wars (Yugosoliva, and the 'Stans break way nations in the south eastern regions of the Soviet empire)

One also must consider that had Hillary had one the electon, War would have been certain. Clintion did state during the second debate that she was going use Miltary action against Russia for the Hacking, Syria, and Crimea annexation. Clinton was also the lead architect that lead to the destabilization in the Middle east with (Libya, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, etc). Any person that laughs about war and death like Hillary clinton is mentally unstable. Clinton is willing to destabilize entire continents for kickbacks and bribes. 

aggrivated's picture
aggrivated
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Responding to Urban Planner and Chris

Tribe and Family. These two names for groups denote size difference, not two separate entities. The nuclear family is a myth that needs burying. Not at the expense of family, but at the expense of nuclear. Tribes are for the most part groups of intertwined extended families. They are willing to suffer for each other's well being and enjoy the common wellbeing of each other's success. Tight communities can experience this. This can only really happen when there is along with community a deeper awareness of communion with one another that binds the individuals to each other. To live this way requires (trigger word warning) submission to the common welfare of the tribe. Are we willing to go there? It seems to me that anything short of this is to remain in a "divide and conquer" modality.

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AKGrannyWGrit
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Buying Survival

So the rich are prepping, good luck.  I cashed out my corporate 401K and we bought a homestead.  It's backbreaking work.  Establishing a warm and trusting relationship with neighbors takes time.  We are learning to grow food though we live in a Boreal Forest area and learning what thrives in our climate and what season extenders to use takes time.  Planting berry bushes and fruit trees and species that feed us and attract birds takes time. To survive and thrive takes buildings, greenhouses, sheds, covered storage, animal homes and so on and all take time.  The idea of buying a lot of food and guns and a generator and someone will happily survive is humorous maybe just sad.  To truely survive and thrive a resilient lifestyle requires a relationship with our surroundings and that takes time and hard work.  And people don't survive well in isolation, at some point children will grow up and look for a mate and that takes other people.  At some point there will be a problem one doesn't have a solution to but someone else might and that takes community.

And much can be done to be more self sufficient within a city, Jan and others have written about this previously.  It takes effort and careful choices though to learn to grow food on a small scale and reduce our dependency on the system.  

If we look at the TV show Adam referred to in his last article "Alone" (thanks Adam) the people who are surviving are the ones who can survive because they know and understand their surroundings.  There is a law of unintended consequences and those who think they can buy their survival are living in denial and are really the ones who are vulnerable.  It is our relationships that enable us to survive, - our relationship with our surroundings, our animals, bugs, our gardens, berry bushes, fruit trees, land, our neighbors, family, and our selves. Nothing is easy, simple or guaranteed.  However sharing our life rather than being its master is really living it.  I agree with Treebeard that the greatest good and happiness comes from serving others and not the self.  And "others" can be plants, bugs, birds, land and yes people too.

PS - with that lovely sentiment said we Alaskan's are an armed species who are generous but not doormats. I re-read what I wrote and it sounds lovely and altruistic but the reality is there are people who want and will take without regard for others and that, unfortunately, becomes part of a communities reality,

My 2 cents.

AK GrannyWGrit

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blackeagle
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Walls, preparation and escapism

Walls, the small ones, are everywhere around the world, built by both the rich and the poor. I traveled to Venezuela, Chile, Singapore, Algeria, Morroco, Tunisia, South-Corea, Italy, France, Spain... walls enclave most of properties. This is something rooted in human culture because of many reasons. Here in North-America, the property model is different. Even here in Quebec, most municipal ordinances forbid building a wall around the property. We are at the beginning of a change provided the "who have" will be more and more targets by the "have not". We will learn to better close our properties, not leave toys or garden tools outside, etc...

The issue with walls, are their size and the luxury behind them. Not the walls themselves.

Big walls, (border's walls) are a different things. They represent selfishness and a great level of fear (real or imagined, legitimate or fabricated). They are the cursed walls. Most of people respect the wall around your property, No one respects border's walls.

And of course, escapism, brings us nowhere. If the entire planet is to be in trouble, then no one can escape the anger from the 99%.

The best preparation, as mentioned by many people here, is within a community. On top of building a community, one key element I see is to be first competent in several trades. And not look full of money. Competency is the best way to participate to the community, help other, to be one respected member. A respect based on true involvement. 

Let's face the problem with what is left on hand. 

Snydeman's picture
Snydeman
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aggrivated wrote:As you I am

aggrivated wrote:
As you I am sure know much better than I, by 2050 it is estimated that 70% of the world's population will live in urban areas. The definitions of urban by population size are varied, but a common thread in classification seems to be the disconnect from agriculture. You may be by training an urban planner. It seems that by your lifestyle you are a community planner working with those who are resiliant. If you are among and a part of the 30% that are somehow still in some way connected to raising food then you are with the vanguard of the future. It's comforting to me that you in your role are also connected to this community. It's tge 70% that are so system dependent that will suffer more.

We won't make it to within a decade of 2050.

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robie robinson
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good folk

take a few years off and live in the 19th century...there is the Amish...study them...their theology is...well it is theology.

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Adam Taggart
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The Squirrel Threat

From the original post above:

Prepping for a major "grid-down" power outage is simply a no-brainer for those who have decent math skills. The calculation is eminently rational, as there a number of potential causal factors (weather, sabotage, squirrel...

I'm a little surprised nobody has yet to comment on the map the "squirrel" hyperlink above goes to. Each marker represents a documented squirrel-induced power outage since 1987:

The nefarious squirrel threat to our way of life has caught the attention of our national government's top brass:

"I don't think paralysis [of the electrical grid] is more likely by cyberattack than by natural disaster. And frankly the number-one threat experienced to date by the US electrical grid is squirrels."

- John C. Inglis, Former Deputy Director, National Security Agency 2015.07.09

We ignore these furry villains at our own peril. To continue to do so would simply be.....nuts!

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ecb
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Zuckerberg

Gee! I wonder who he will get to bait his hook for him.

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chipshot
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Will Being Prepared Make a Difference?

Think it's safe to say humanity is NOT going to address overpopulation, climate change, or our unsustainable lifestyle, economy and level of debt in a meaningful way.  Which of those unleashes its fury first is anyone's guess--as well as when it plays out--but there's almost certain tumultuous times ahead.

There are enough people completely unaware and unprepared for a rapid collapse or disruption of "normal" life that chaos may reign.  And with the amount of guns in this country, chaos could mean survival of those most armed.  I have no interest in trying to win such a game. Even the survivors would have a bleak future once all the canned goods are gone.

Given the divisive, angry nature of people these days , where co-operation is rare and declining (look how we treat one another on the roadways), it's difficult for me to imagine everyone coming together in the face of economic or financial collapse  (one will likely trigger the other at this point), or serious food or oil shortages.  While there's been an outpouring of help and compassion after weather disasters and mass shootings  (Katrina, Sandy, Sandy Hook), it's a completely different ballgame when everyone is impacted and has to fend for themselves.

Of course I hope I'm wrong, but I can't motivate myself to spend much effort on long term prepping when there's so little reason to believe the masses of people will work together to survive.  Instead I'm living for the moment, enjoying every additional day of normal life we're lucky enough to get, all while remaining financially and environmentally responsible.  After procrastinating the big issues for so long (and pretty effectively, as well), believe the fall is going to be sudden, fast and hard (as opposed to long, slow and gradual),  and that the response will not be pretty.

This is in no way a criticism of Chris and his suggestions.  It's just another point of view.  Guess I have less faith in people than he and fellow preppers do.   

Waterdog14's picture
Waterdog14
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Individual prepping vs. building a resilient tribe

John Michael Greer wrote an interesting blog about the impending decline of industrial civilization:

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/

Quote:
  John Michael Greer

“This is what the decline and fall of a civilization looks like. It’s not about sitting in a cozy earth-sheltered home under a roof loaded with solar panels, living some close approximation of a modern industrial lifestyle, while the rest of the world slides meekly down the chute toward history’s compost bin, leaving you and yours untouched. It’s about political chaos—meaning that you won’t get the leaders you want, and you may not be able to count on the rule of law or even the most basic civil liberties. It’s about economic implosion—meaning that your salary will probably go away, your savings almost certainly won’t keep its value, and if you have gold bars hidden in your home, you’d better hope to Hannah that nobody ever finds out, or it’ll be a race between the local government and the local bandits to see which one gets to tie your family up and torture them to death, starting with the children, until somebody breaks and tells them where your stash is located.

It’s about environmental chaos—meaning that you and the people you care about may have many hungry days ahead as crazy weather messes with the harvests, and it’s by no means certain you won’t die early from some tropical microbe that’s been jarred loose from its native habitat to find a new and tasty home in you. It’s about rapid demographic contraction—meaning that you get to have the experience a lot of people in the Rust Belt have already, of walking past one abandoned house after another and remembering the people who used to live there, until they didn’t any more.”

 

So I'm focused on growing food and developing cold-climate seeds and techniques.  As I've planned and planted, I've consider "What foods with future indigenous people grow here?".  If humans survive, and if they survive here, which of the seeds I've harvested will be passed down to future indigenous people living tribally in this valley? 

It helps to re-listen to Chris's interview with Stephen Jenkinson on grief.  In the podcast, Jenkinson says we need to learn that "it's not about us".  None of my prepping is about me.  Its about our species, and other life on earth.  If humans survive the 6th Extinction, if any polar bears survive, if the bumblebees survive... perhaps the work that I'm doing today will help some life on earth survive.  An amazing freedom from fear occurs when I let go of the selfish focus on ME surviving TSHTF.  I'm just doing what I can:   preparing, building community, building a habitat for worms and pollinators, and thoroughly enjoying the abundance of these last years of industrial civilization. 

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sand_puppy
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Shiva

Shiva:  "I am Death. The destroyer of worlds."

Snydeman's picture
Snydeman
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Posts: 309
LOL

Needed a good chuckle. Thanks y'all!

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Agent700
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Squirreling Away

Glad my bug out country has NO squirrels!

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redcloud
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JM Greer and gold

Waterdog14,

I've been reading Greer's Dark Age America in which he says basically the same thing you quoted from his blog.  It's really gotten me thinking about what the end game is with gold and whether it's even worth it to have some.  It might turn out to be more of a liability than it's worth. 

I'm more and more thinking that the idea with gold will be to convert it into something useful (land, tools, guns, etc.) when the price gets reasonably high but before roving gangs appear.  The problem I see is that if people even think you have (or had) gold, they'll probably torture you (and your family) to death, but you won't be able to give them anything.  Not sure what to do about that.  Comments welcome.

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peter31
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Posts: 32
Hearing aids

I was interested to see that more than one person is having laser eye surgery as a form of prepping.  I'm a hearing aid wearer, and for the same reason, I now use rechargeable instead of disposable hearing aid batteries, which could potentially be recharged from PV panels.  These tiny rechargeable batteries are hard to obtain (imported from Germany), expensive (about 10X the price of disposables) and only last a quarter the time of disposables before they need recharging.  My wife thinks I'm nuts.  We shall see.  

Christopher H's picture
Christopher H
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Feudal states are founded by tough guys with weapons

I'm glad that someone else referenced John Michael Greer in this thread, because I think he's one of the best thinkers to read in order to see where these trends might go over the longer term.  Where they will likely go is toward a more feudal social arrangement.

There are two important things to remember about any kind of feudalism.  First can be best described by a comment that JMG made in an old episode of The Extranenvironmentalist Podcast.

Feudal states are founded by tough guys with weapons.  As soon as order breaks down, all the guards of the gated communities have to do is to engage in a few weapon-related accidents and scoop up the pot for themselves.

Do these techies really think they're going to be able to stand up to men who are practiced in the art of applied violence?  I wouldn't count on it.  Instead, I would see it more likely that their guards will turn on them pretty much as soon as things break down because there is simply no longer any incentive to keep them around.

The second point that Greer makes about a feudal system is that it is government by personal relations.  This is an EXTREMELY important point, because it helps to demonstrate how short-sighted the strategy of all these wealthy people is no matter the amount of LASIK surgery they've had.  Without ingratiating themselves into a broader community -- something that is much better accomplished by gift-giving than appropriation, Mr. Zuckerberg -- they will grow a target on their back when things get difficult.  And, to go back to the first point, unless you're well practiced in the art of applied violence here, their numbers will rapidly overwhelm any advantage you thought you had in resources or status.

This is why I'm just continuing to make myself useful to my neighbors, to improve my small holding's fertility and yields -- and share that yield with them, and to work to teach others around me to do the same.  My hope is that if/when things do really break down, I will have built up sufficient social capital to help me and my family get along OK in those tough times.

Helix's picture
Helix
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"[T]he more I ponder the

"[T]he more I ponder the human experiment at this stage, the more convinced I am it needs (and deserves) a complete overhaul rather than a few light modifications."

While I understand this sentiment, the historical record of complete overhauls is not encouraging.  Just to cite a few memorable examples, the French Revolution led directly to The Terror, and then to Napoleon.  The Bolshevik revolution led to Stalin, and Mao's "cultural revolution" heaped misery upon the already miserable lives of millions.  The "new narrative" if Islam resulted in wholesale slaughter in Northern Africa for the best part of a century.

Perhaps on the "way up", such overhauls can be successful.  But in such cases, such overhauls emerge organically -- people adapting to changed and evolving circumstances.  On the way down -- which I think most people here suspect is the path we're on -- such overhauls might be extremely painful to a lot of people, and may lead to even worse outcomes than "light modifications."

In short, evolution is better than revolution.  With evolution, everyone adapts as they best see fit.  With revolution, everyone adapts to what the faction that seizes power sees fit.  And this is sometimes the most vicious faction.

Having said all that, I agree that a pretty profound alteration in how we live is in order.  But caution is advised, lest the result is social and cultural breakdown rather than adaptation.

Uncletommy's picture
Uncletommy
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I suppose tribalism is still an option

I'm still partial to a black hat and suspenders as a fashion option, myself.

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
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Posts: 5080
The difference in what I am proposing

Helix wrote:

"[T]he more I ponder the human experiment at this stage, the more convinced I am it needs (and deserves) a complete overhaul rather than a few light modifications."

While I understand this sentiment, the historical record of complete overhauls is not encouraging.  Just to cite a few memorable examples, the French Revolution led directly to The Terror, and then to Napoleon.  The Bolshevik revolution led to Stalin, and Mao's "cultural revolution" heaped misery upon the already miserable lives of millions.  The "new narrative" if Islam resulted in wholesale slaughter in Northern Africa for the best part of a century.

I am talking about something even more profoundly 'overhauling' than anything you've listed.  Each of the examples you cite is one of a hierarchical human system being somewhat violently replaced with a different hierarchical system.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Instead I am thinking along the lines of "V for Vendetta" where a better idea comes along.  Ideas are hard to kill, and once they begin to self-replicate they can really persist for a long time as many religions can attest to.

To me, a bottom up overhaul begins with such revolutionary ideas as:

  • "All life has an essential purpose."
  • "Exponential growth is impossible on a finite planet"
  • "The world is not "ours" to dominate"
  • "The feminine needs to be equally balance with the masculine in all things."

Again, that last one is not a statement about gender.  Just to be clear...

If we as a species began to hold these new truths as self-evident, what would shift as a result?  Pretty much everything as far as I can tell.

At no point now, or ever, will I be proposing that we can simply replace one system of hierarchy with another.  History is quite thorough on that matter.  I trust that humans have given all that their best shot each time and all we've gotten is different flavors of 'the same.'  So I am with you 100% there.

It's time...for something completely different.

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UrbanPlanner
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As much Inception as V

We need to plant thoughts that grow organically within society. People move towards what they want. Sustainable lifestyles need to be rewarding in a way self serving consumerism, isolation, and hate are not. They need to be promising and achievable by the masses.

It's our job to cultivate the soil in which a better society can grow. Otherwise, as my husband puts it, we're all just living alone in plastic pots.

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rheba
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Community

I remember when the New Yorker wrote an article on Peak Oil and focused on Richard Heinburg. Probably it was back in 2005. The NYT later did a devastating piece on Sharon Astyk. More recently the New Yorker wrote an even more devastating critique of Shiva and food politics. Never give an interview to these people. They will sneer at you. I'll bet those rich people are cringing right now!

Now my family has had a subscription to the New Yorker since it was published in the 1920's. I have family members who write for it. I love it. But their cool ironic modernism is a curse! They are laughing at all of the above you know.

I have been meaning to write to this board because I hear how devastated Chris is at the loss of insects. When I was very little we used to drive to a cottage on Lake Erie. In early June there was always an apocalyptic hatch of mayflies - we called them June Bugs. They covered the street lights in Vermillion Ohio and caused car crashes. When we tried to go swimming the lake was covered in their shells that got into our bathing suits, We hated them and one year they basically stopped appearing. Then the white bass began washing up dead on the beaches and Lake Erie died. Not funny. Not cool. But the elites live on the oceans where they haven't really noticed the fish washing up on the beaches yet. So they laugh at people who care. Our environmental activists are happy that the lakes and rivers are cleanish again. We fixed things by sending all of the crap to China.

Now I live in a small community in New England and I thought that I was  part of it. My modern ironic New Yorker reading friends are furious with me because I don't want to wear a pink hat and march around. They are really angry. I don't know how to deal with this. Well, at least they have stopped laughing at me. But painful.

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
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Beautifully written rheba

rheba wrote:

Now I live in a small community in New England and I thought that I was  part of it. My modern ironic New Yorker reading friends are furious with me because I don't want to wear a pink hat and march around. They are really angry. I don't know how to deal with this. Well, at least they have stopped laughing at me. But painful.

Yes, I mourn the loss of the insects.  Deeply.  It feels to me like life itself is ebbing.  I cannot explain it any better than that.

Yet most people are deeply unaware of that and will vigorously defend their 'right' to not become aware of the impact of humans on the rest of life.  Heck, we cannot even really manage to be fully aware of our impact on each other even when those are devastatingly horrible.

So denial kicks in, and people first ignore you, then fight you with high emotion because you dare to remind them of something deeper which threatens to expose their entire way of life as something of a charade.

My personal 'bad moment' with sneering NY press was when I devoted 2.5 days to a NYTimes reporter (Pagan Kennedy)  on contract to Boston Magazine, will full access to my life and all of my thinking and practices that involve community and a vibrant practice of gardening and so on.

After literally living with me and my family for those days, here's what she wrote:

The End is Near Inc.

Chris Martenson thinks you should turn your house into a bunker, raise some chickens, and stockpile gold in case the economy really implodes. he quit corporate america to live this life, and now thousands of internet followers are buying the message—literally.

(Source)

Yep.  I am a messianic, profit seeking prophet of doom, selling fear to the great unwashed masses.  

As usual, the sneering liberal approach is to assume that they are above being suckered by such a message, but they do worry about those other people.  You know, the ones that cannot really be trusted to think for themselves.

If you unpack this, the entire attitude on display in the Boston Mag article is a perfect illustration of why the DNC lost to a man like Trump.  Condescension and believing one has all the answers in life is not, after all, a very attractive position to those who do not yet share your views.

Go figure.

But I feel like the honest opening to the article would have gone like this:

I visited a man who has a message that really disturbed me.  Why?  Because if it's true it means that my entire NY lifestyle is unsustainable and at risk.  That means all of the things I consider most dear to me - SoHo, art exhibits, gourmet dining, and the ability to earn my keep performing mental and not physical labor - may not endure.  Worse, my entire lifestyle is therefore contributing to its own downfall, and I cannot emotionally grasp that yet.  So I will instead shoot the messenger, and then wrap it all up in a veneer of intellectualization that I am sure 'my tribe' will resonate with and congratulate me for writing.

Oh well.  At least they are now wearing pink hats and grappling with the idea that something awful is afoot.  However people finally arrive is fine by me.

Snydeman's picture
Snydeman
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Posts: 309
Finally arriving

I gave it one last gasp on my Facebook wall. One last effort to try to convince my friends and family on BOTH sides of the spectrum that we were focusing on the wrong things. Now, I'm done. I'll focus on my students and sympathetic peers only from this point forward, because I'm tired of getting the "looks" like I'm some overly pessimistic nut-job who will soon walk into the wilderness, grow a beard, and live with the wolves. They want to go on cheering at the Coliseum while the barbarians approach, let them. I'm done trying to organize a wagon train out of Rome at this point.

Here's what I wrote, for all the good it did.

"At the risk of being further viewed as an "eternal pessimist" or "crazy loon" in the eyes of my friends and family, I'm going against my own better judgement and post this anyways. It'll probably be the last post I'll make along these lines, because I'm tired of screaming into the void of a world more determined to hide its head in the sand than even talk about The Big Things. Alas, the reservoir of fucks I use regarding how I am viewed by others runs dry, so here goes:

I still don't know how to say it properly, but my sense as a historian is that until we truly analyze and correct the larger trends that are causing the frustration, anxiety, populism and anger that appear to be growing worldwide, things will only get worse. We are facing big challenges that will only get bigger, and we’re not even talking about them in any serious sense. So here's a primer of things I've brought up before, consolidated in one shiny list. The first candidate of ANY party to start addressing these issues seriously will get my vote and my support.

-We've all but run out of low-cost-to-extract petroleum. It's only been masked by a temporary glut in supply that is rapidly dissipating. If we think that oil pipeline is going to solve our oil problem, or that fracking/tar sands will, we need to look deeper at the EROEI equation. When the global demand for oil really meets the supply crunch that is coming, shit gets real. We gotta get ON this, now.

-Our climate is going ape-shit and haywire. It doesn't lead to "longer growing seasons," it leads to disruptions in food supplies, species collapse, and more extreme weather phenomenon. We all see it, but we write it off because it means we don’t have to wear mittens in January around here.

-Our ecosystem is collapsing as we speak. Bees, insects of all kinds, amphibians, all dying. These are canaries in the coal mine we seem content to ignore. Ever hear of the food chain? Yeah, we’re on there, and we depend on that chain for our own food, whether we choose to ignore it or not. Seriously, Bumble Bees are now at risk of going extinct. Think about that.

-The way free trade has happened has led to major global and domestic income inequality. It could have led to a more even distribution of wealth, but instead it went to the already wealthy at the expense of everyone else. One BIG reason so many people are pissed, I might add.

-Nuclear-armed nations are beginning to squabble over dwindling resources. Alliances and agreements that have kept things relatively peaceful for the last six decades are at high risk of crumbling. Protectionism and saber-rattling are now on the table. The last time that happened in the modern industrial era was in the 1930s, and it didn't end well.

-Debt levels in every industrialized nation have reached previously unimaginable (and I would argue, unsustainable) levels. We have pulled too much prosperity from the future to fund our "wants" today, and the only way to fund the future repayment of those debts is either a massive debt-write-off - leading to a collapse of the financial system of the globe - or future growth needs to be so spec-freaking-tacular as to pay it all back and leave enough over for future generations to have any wealth left. I have serious doubts how future generations will do this in a low-growth environment.

-7.4 Billion people and still climbing exponentially. On a finite planet. How’s that math work again please? Oooh, maybe we can find another planet and move there! At least until we come up against the math on that one, too. Oh, and there hasn’t been enough funding for this kind of science in over twenty years, so currently we don’t even have the ability to build a base on our own moon, much less travel to, and colonize, other worlds. If such a thing is even feasible.

I GET the anger that many of my friends and family on the "left" are feeling towards those on the "right," and I understand why the reverse is also true. The issues we are yelling about are important ones, to be sure, but my growing unease stems from the fact that I feel like we are arguing over what to do with the rabbit while the velociraptors are moving in behind us.

I don’t have the answers to all of these challenges, but as a collective species we’ve done some pretty amazing things, so I have no doubt that if we put our collective minds to them we’d come up with some pretty decent solutions. What I DO know is that we can’t solve problems we refuse to acknowledge or discuss, and ignoring the challenges will not make them go away.

So, what do we do? How do we get these issues out there, discussed in the mainstream? Will it only take a disaster on an epic scale? Do we have to literally be OFF the cliff before we realize there was one in the first place?

We need to start examining the illnesses rather than the symptoms, on multiple levels."

I did get 26 likes and 3 "hearts," but no one single person contacted me to discuss what needs to be done, or anything.

Now I know why people walk into the woods, grow beards, and live with wolves.

blackeagle's picture
blackeagle
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: May 16 2013
Posts: 180
Snydeman

I can't agree more with you.

There is a law here in Quebec (or in Canada? I don't know, but here it is) that says: You cannot help by force. if someone don't want your help, then there you stop, even if this person is mentally sick and this help is required. You did your best, so now think for yourself and your group. And good luck for all others.

aggrivated's picture
aggrivated
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Posts: 496
Snydeman

Don't wait to go to the woods to grow a beard. Maybe just growing one may make someone realize you are serious and not just having a rant. Besides most guys look good with one. BTW, leaders usually don't get to choose exactly who follows. Facebook dropouts are good people. I know quite few.

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 1096
You Sir,

are welcome here. Please learn the preservation and milling of grain or tanning and mfg. of leather for harness, I have the black smithing.

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 1096
You Sir,

are welcome here. Please learn the preservation and milling of grain or tanning and mfg. of leather for harness, I have the black smithing.

Uncletommy's picture
Uncletommy
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: May 4 2014
Posts: 356
There's alway more from where that came from.

They can always eat cake if times get tough.

Agent700's picture
Agent700
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 3 2014
Posts: 24
Rejecting Facebook, Friends, and Family

Snydeman..

Man does this resonate. Chris and those of us on here who have TRIED, over and over, to get people to wake up and Take Action!......Well, we have been slammed down by Normalcy Bias and the common human traits......WE are uncommon, and it is painful.

And that, for me, has meant I have lost respect for my own family. I literally avoid seeing them or talking with them anymore (although wife and kids are close and onboard, for the most part). But knowledge can be a terrible burden, especially when mixed with the emotional cost of detaching your own mother, father, siblings and very long time old friends......

But when the epic reversion comes, and they all get slammed on the side of the head with a 2x4, lose all ability to act in time, and then begin "calling" - THAT is going to be a very difficult challenge for all of us.

I think I want to be at my foreign bolt-hole, off grid, hunting in a flourishing natural environment I took years to create and fund, with a nice long beard. And good local friends guarding the perimeter, so that our production flows out to the community, not them trying to flood in.

But reconciling the fact that loved ones were fools, well that is going to be a difficult one.

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 11 2009
Posts: 2180
robie robinson wrote: re.

robie robinson wrote:

re. Please learn the preservation and milling of grain or tanning and mfg. of leather for harness, I have the black smithing.

Tanning will be much-sought after and quite rare (seeing as how its such a disagreeble process).  Talk about job security!

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 2567
Grasshopper Nation

Agent700 wrote:

But reconciling the fact that loved ones were fools, well that is going to be a difficult one.

For those feeling similarly, now would be a good time to review our report Grasshopper Nation: Planning For Those Who Aren't Prepared

As it concludes: 

to fail to plan for the needs of the unprepared is, in itself, a plan to fail. After all: it's a grasshopper nation, and we ants are too few.

Agent700's picture
Agent700
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 3 2014
Posts: 24
Resiliency Might Lead To Exclusion

Yep. That old Twilight Zone video brought it home, back in June when you published it..

People who have the vision, and the determination, to get ready - well they just might be overrun.

A key reason some of us have headed outside the country or to very lowly populated areas. If deaf and denying loved ones can't make it there in time, even with outstretched hands and extraordinary efforts by us, well that is the reconciliation dilemma I fear. Survivors may never get over that sort of......What, regret?

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 1096
Overrun?

Few then really know rural 'merica. ALL my neighbors own 5-5000acres,garden, can and freeze meat and produce, heavily armed, and practiced, is an understatement. distrustful of strangers too is putting it lightly. were anyone new to move in, it would be years before they were in the "membership".

we know we aren't alone, and have seen ourselves as ants in a grasshopper world for generations.

we do loveallyawl

Matt Holbert's picture
Matt Holbert
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 3 2008
Posts: 54
You Tube videos are no longer available...i.e.The Twilight Zone

Adam- I followed the Grasshopper link (as well as links in that article) and discovered that -- ostensibly due to copyright issues -- many of the video links are no longer available.

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2011
Posts: 1466
David Chandler's Pile-Driver video is also removed

The very important video by physics teacher David Chandler titled "The Pile Driver That Wasn't" has been removed from Youtube also.  Again, ostensibly for copyright issues.  This 10 minute video contained a compilation of publicly aired news videos and his lectures.

I believe that this is the next phase of controlling the discourse.  Factual data that counteracts the desired story is removed.  Not by "government," but by private corporations working in concert.

Diagram of the proposed "pile-driver" mechanism:

The Pile-Drive Mechanism is the purported mechanism whereby jet fuel could be inserted into a few floors 2/3 of the way up the building and then the *ENTIRE* building could fly apart into pieces.  Including the floors above the kerosene fires and those below.

David Chandler showed videos of the building destruction showing no sign of the top maintaining its integrity as a single massive "pile driver" crushing the lower building.  Observational evidence contradicts the theoretical explanation.   There was No Pile Driver.

With the removal of this excellent educational video, it is much more difficult to discuss and educate friends.

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