Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Preppers prepping packed a peck of pickled peppers

Say that ten times fast. Or try "irish wristwatch". Okay, nevermind the tongue twisters.
Don't know if y'all have talked to people doing this, but roughly half of the people I know are making preparations both for economic depression and possible catastrophic events such as war and/or EMT. That's pretty astonishing. This is a REALLY big movement!

What most "preppers" are talking about is how they began to feel gradually more vulnerable without an emergency stockpile, and so felt to begin setting aside food, water, water purification equipment, heirloom seeds, portable shelter, arms, and ammunition.
A lot of them are talking about getting out (if the opportunity should arise) of densely populated areas due to the danger large numbers of hungry people would present in emergency or depression.
Some are attempting to set aside enough to enable them to dispense charity to those who are unable to stockpile anything.
Many are getting to feel irritation with those who will not (by choice) look ahead and prepare, knowing that those are the folks who will either be pounding on the door looking for handouts - or who will, in dire necessity, become dangerous.
If the preppers are right, and depression and/or war is coming, those left unprepared to take care of themselves WILL become a problem at best and a danger at worst.
As usual, there is not much that one will hear about this on network news. When it is mentioned, it is made to sound "fringe" and those who are preparing to sound like extremist nutcases. Not so surprising - the Tea Party Movement is quite massive, but the media pretends it is not and that it too is made up of lunatics. There's an overlap there as well - large number of "tea partiers" are also "preppers".



  1. It seems the world is becoming ever more polarized into two groups - those who expect cradle to grave care from the government ("Rescue me!" mentality) and those who understand that there are limitations to any system and know that in most situations, the only one who can take care of you and yours is... you.

    This is no more than old-fashioned self-reliance; our grandparents would have seen nothing unusual about this supposed "movement"; they would have seen it as basic common sense.

    To be honest, I'm not entirely happy with how dependent we are on other people to do even the most basic things. For example, I'm sure I could learn fast, but I've never even seen a chicken killed and prepared, let alone done it myself. If things do go pear shaped, I've been trying to at least find info on how to do basic things that my grandparents or great-grandparents would have thought as basics of life.

  2. Lyana, well said.
    It's exasperating to see the so-called "preppers" mocked, because you just KNOW the mockers are going to be whining and whinging when the SHTF (as it is called on survivalist websites ;O). Well, either that or they will be the ones stealing, looting, or robbing those who have made some attempt at preparation for disaster.

    After all, many of them are of the "I have a right to expect (fill in the blank with various privileges here)". I doubt stealing will be beyond the ethics of the UNpreppers. They'll be thinking they have some sort of RIGHT to your things.

    I've read about how those who intend to have extra for those who have nothing are already coming up with strategies to give without revealing their identities or location.
    Sort of like little Secret Squirrel programs.
    A pity one has to think ahead like that, but knowing the "gimme-gimme" mentality of well over a third of our country, that WILL be necessary if you don't want to be robbed, harassed, injured or even killed.

  3. We've been preppin' for two years. In that time, we've bought a generator, built a greenhouse, built a chicken coop and are raising chickens, planted numerous fruit trees, installed a wood stove, and stockpiled dry goods, OTC medications, and ammunition. Enough for us, our extended family, and our neighbors.

    If the world doesn't crumble before we get our degrees, we'll also have something to trade, and the medical education to help our community get through the hard times.

    Crazy? Maybe. We prefer to think of it as being prudent. Most of our neighbors are of the same mindset.

  4. Disaster prep is always a good idea - but - the TOTWAWKI trade is a very, very difficult trade to get right.

    A loose connection of self reliant and proudly independent homesteads is vulnerable to a coordinated raiding force. This is embedded in my own family history - look up "King Philip's War".

    In the meantime, Dow over 11K, S&P back through 1200... and the Loony is now worth more than the Dollar. Again. Oh and oil is up.

  5. Since this thread invites a bit of crystal ball gazing, here's my vision: not a big crisis, but a series of crunches - none serious enough to greatly interrupt life (the malls never _did_ close last time), but will cause great pain, and will be used by TPTB to consolidate their control. (Remember, at least in my view, The Powers That Be are not a monolithic force that conspires in secret, but a fractious group that conspires - and battles each other - in plain sight).

    I think our president halfway agrees with us about the banks. No, really. He agrees they make too much money and have too much power.

    Where he differs is that he feels they have too much power over the State, and he'd like some of that power - and money - for the State. The power that the banks have over the people - not a problem. Just wants the State to have a bigger share in it.

    So expect some disruption to the financial arm of the PTB; this will get dressed up in populist rhetoric as an attempt to co-opt the Tea Party folks. (Remember, lefty progs have a lot of the same complaints as the TP folks - scroll through HuffPo).

    These disruptions will also have the effect of scaring money into Treasuries, lowering the yield, and making more and more deficit spending "affordable".

    But no single disruption will bring tanks - or "the masses" - out into the streets.

    Of course, this is just my view - like assholes, everyone has one - and I could be totally wrong.

    But there is another reason I hold this view.

    The mathematics of financial crisis has been likened to the mathematics of growing piles of sand. The grains accumulate one by one until there is a slide - often small, occasionally quite big. If the table doesn't vibrate, and the grains are placed gently, a great tall pile can accumulate - and then, blammo, one grain sets off a big avalanche. Why? Because a large network of sand grains throughout the pile is connected and stressed, each contributing to holding the pile up. The bigger the network, the bigger the resulting avalanche when it breaks down.

    The mild conditions preceding the current crisis - easy money, little volatility, don't worry be happy economics, rising home prices, low unemployment - contributed to the build up of stresses in the "pile of sand grains".

    The more calm and stable conditions are, the more severe the underlying imbalances, and the greater the crisis when it occurs - see the work of the late economist Hyman Minsky.

    The conditions now are not that stable. Everyone is wary, and everyone will remain wary for some time. Everyone is alerted to the "game". The queue of complacent people is much shorter now.

    TPTB will simply be unable to engineer the kind of complacent calm that prevailed from 2002 to 2008 - which will, in turn, limit the severity of the crisis which will inevitably occur.

    So paradoxically, the widespread expectations of "another huge shoe" dropping will prevent that shoe from dropping, just as surely as the widespread "major crisis and depressions are impossible these days" sentiment brought on the last major crisis.

    If you want to be perfectly pessimistic, you could say that Orwell's image of a boot crushing the face of humanity will not be a size 12 worn by an Orc, but more like tiny Nike's worn by a centipede. The good news, and the bad news, is that each trod won't hurt as much, but the net effect will be the same.

    So I'll go out on a limb and say that I expect 2030 to roll around without any major interruptions in the flow of bread, liquor, insulin, Advil, gasoline, cell phones, crap TV, skanky clothes, burgers, loud music, electricity, and blog posts.

    But between now and then, the powers that organize behind the facade of the State will work to take advantage of every crisis to expand their scope.

    What to do? I have some ideas but I'll leave that for now.

  6. Aww, you're gonna leave us hanging? ;)

  7. I think it's probably impossible to prepare for TEOTWAWKI.

    We're just trying to be prepared for a deepening recession/depression.

  8. You read to the end? Wow! Thank you!

    In short:

    - I really like Ariana Huffington's idea to put your money in small, local banks instead of the TBTF banks.

    - I'm increasingly of the opinion that everyone who can, should accumulate physical silver. Note: this is not investment advice - I think folks who do this will be taking on a not-insubstantial risk. I don't advise this because I think the price will skyrocket, but in spite of the fact that the price (as denominated in Federal Reserve Notes) may collapse at some point (maybe after a substantial run-up). It's a political signal.

  9. What the hell is TEOTWAWKI?

  10. TEOTWAWKI - The End Of The World As We Know It.

  11. Ah, thanks Lewy. I don't believe any of it :)

  12. LadyR, I agree that it's well-nigh impossible to prepare for a TEOTWAWKI type of situation. I don't think it is necessary to do so though. One could spend years doing nothing but training/preparing for something like that and find it all wasted when their town is the first to go in some kinda catastrophic/war event.
    Having something set aside for when times get tough does seem prudent though. And if food prices go up (or dollar down) then it's better to buy low than get stuck buying high, right?

  13. Fay - you are all sitting pretty right now up there with your Canuck Bux. "Long Loony" is actually part of my "prepping".

    monkeyweather - I think we're more or less in agreement - but I also think there's an aspect of "prepping" which involves neither "self sufficiency" as is traditionally understood, nor arms, well regulated or otherwise.

    I'm still thinking this through, but in the meantime, I'm taking the following steps: I'm buying some silver, and I'm giving some of it away.

    Walking Liberty - makes a great gift! Pass it on, and pay it forward...

  14. Just IMO, if the Tea Party movement wants credibility, it must openly and obviously shed the extremists and ranting elements...and focus on change by orderly means. Otherwise, they merely feed the far left propaganda machine and make mockery easy. It seems to be a growth business, so I am not certain at all that it can be done. Until it is, I am not "party" to the Party.

  15. As for TEOTWAWKI? It has already happened. Just in my life it happened in 1960, 1962, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1995, 2001, and in smaller ways, periodically since then. After each of the event periods my world changed forever. I don't forese Armageddon, just erosion driven by placating the obvious.

  16. Ari - I'd phrase it a little differently - I think that the Tea Party needs to avoid being captured by extremists and fringe loser types.

    I also think it needs to avoid being captured by mainstream politicians...

    And as a counterpoint, I also think it needs to avoid purity purges - TPerz will never satisfy the liberal establishment with their bona fides, they will be demonized regardless.

    As a Tea Partier, you don't need to satisfy Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich (and Charles Johnson!) that you're not a crazed Christianist militia nutter. You just need to pass the "eye-roll" test with your average neighbor.

    Chiefly I think this can be done by keeping the message simple. Over-finessing the message to satisfy bullies on all sides is a losing proposition.

    1) banks: 'nuff said. (Especially by me.)
    2) deficits: We're going broke. Let's not. M'kay?
    3) illegal immigration: controlling our border is not a racist crime against humanity - unless our own nation is illegitimate. (This can be a tough one. People don't want to be racist and the mainstream conditioning is strong. Get a sense if someone can be convinced here. Allinsky rule: don't argue with hard cases.)

    I think there is pretty widespread agreement on the above.

    There is one more, which is something I'm personally working on pushing, which is trickier to formulate:

    4) a social modus vivendi with a moratorium on "wars on". Put government - especially the Federal government - back in its box in the corner where it belongs, and let us as citizens fight the food / sex / intoxicant wars among ourselves in civil society, as God intended.

    Yeah, I'm aware of difficulties with that statement. I welcome help with this, or even frank disagreement.

    I just get a sense that if every group with hot button issues - no matter how justified - remains as sensitive and as quick to claim "there oughtta be a law", we are all going to be hopelessly divided and triangulated around.

    I think some aspect of self reliance also fits here. Bluntly, a support for "freedom to fail", perhaps. (Because a society which doesn't let you fail can never really let you succeed. Unless you're a banker.)

  17. Lewy said:"Ari - I'd phrase it a little differently - I think that the Tea Party needs to avoid being captured by extremists and fringe loser types.....I also think it needs to avoid being captured by mainstream politicians..."

    No argument from me there. Different words, same meaning.

  18. Damnit...the grue ate my response again.

    Suffice it to say, Lewy, that you'll get no argument from me on the issue of fringe elements however & by whomever painted. Different words, same meaning.

  19. Oh, NOW it damned sees my prior post. I suspect Andrew Sullivan.

  20. Am enjoying all your responses. Lewy, I'll have to leave part of my response for another day because it is longish and I am brain dead. Yep, we're in agreement on an awful lot of this situation and how to respond to it. THe elections should prove to be very interesting, huh? I am not too hopeful about the results of them though, because I do think most people are heavily invested in the Republican vs. Democrat paradigm and too prone to seeing one or the other as the answer, while a purge of both parties in favor of strict constitutionalists might be more helpful. But of course the money parties will be pulling out all the stops trying to make sure their party stays in power. "Their party" often meaning the two-headed one party system we seem to have now.
    Aridog, sorry about the Grue Attacks. Maybe lewy can install a Grue Hunter in the blog code ;O)