Sunday, February 26, 2012

Doomer, Prepper, or just socially and personally responsible.

So, that's a question.

In these modern times, more and more of us are either becoming aware, or have been aware that 'these modern times' are moving in directions that make less and less sense. Lots of the folks we know, and for that matter, we ourselves more closely resemble what modern culture is trying to button-hole as 'Doomers', or is that 'Preppers', or maybe Hoarders? But is that really the case? Or is it more a case of trying to be personally and socially responsible?

So, what is a doomer? What is a prepper? Is there any difference between doomers and preppers, or the old-school survivalist?

I guess I encountered the term survivalist many decades ago. The term resonated with me, as it spoke to the old Boy Scout motto "Be Prepared". I grew up reading things like the classic text by Bradford Angier "How to Stay Alive in the Woods" and other such books. Having been born under Sputnik skies, and grown up under the threat of the mushroom cloud, the idea that 'all of this' is temporary and subject to a very quick end was ever present in my life, was then, is now. Later years the term survivalist became to mean someone who had read all of Kurt Saxon's work, and had lots of guns, huge amounts ammunition, and a hidey-hole deep in the wilderness,

heard of a van that is loaded with weapons
packed up and ready to roll
heard of some grave sites, out by the highway
place that nobody knows


--Life during Wartime
Talking heads

But after many years of pondering these things, it becomes pretty obvious, that the place that nobody knows doesn't actually exist. If you know about it, there's a pretty good chance so does somebody else.

Some of the more prolific writers on the subject of survivalism, like John "Wesley" Rawles started from the idea of holing up in a compound with some well trained and reliable friends and family, and riding out the coming hard times with eternal vigilance and military discipline. From that pretty understandable starting point, they have moved on to the concept that getting through hard times is more a function of having a community that makes sense. While vigilance and security are important, and most assuredly do matter, being able to participate in a real society is also of very great importance.

The Doomer.
A subset of survivalist, the doomer. Seems that doomers are folks who are 'peakists' or folks who believe that 'these modern times' are a product, put simply, of massive exploitation of a non-renewable resource, fossil fuels, that once a certain point of extraction is reached, must necessarily decline, and that decline will cause major problems. There is a great deal to this point of view. More on that later.

The Prepper.
Another subject of survivalist, the prepper is a synonym for the doomer, and often the terms are used interchangeably. But this isn't exactly the case. The prepper is a person who feels that having a basement corner dedicated to cases of food, coffee, cigarettes, maybe gold and silver coins/bullion is the best way to thrive in the coming hard times.
Fair enough. Ask yourself how much you are paying for coffee, how much you paid for coffee a year ago, and then extrapolate that out to what you will be paying for coffee a year hence. Now consider what interest rate you are getting on the money you have in your checking account (since hardly anyone has a savings account anymore) and ask yourself does it make any sense whatsoever to leave any budgetary surplus in the bank? Or bank your supplies in your basement. There are lots of guides out there to preparing for the coming hard times, there are lots of guides out there on preparing to deal with an ice storm, or an earthquake, or all kinds of such things. A lot of 'regular folks' think this is all silliness, and that their government will be there to deal with any real problems. Well, what does their government say? Their government says, "Be Prepared". The American Red Cross basically instructs folks to be ready to deal with 3 days with no support for bugging out, and 2 weeks of supplies for holing up at home. FEMA doesn't disagree. In short, the government thinks you need to be able to look out for you and your own. So, if you are sitting back thinking it's the government's job to take care of all this, and you personally don't need any preps, , well, to be blunt, no, you are wrong.

So, doomers, suvivalists, preppers, blah blah blah. What does any of this matter? It doesn't really. What does matter is folks like to toss these terms at folks, some of whom are basically aware that they, and their government know that in the end, they need to take care of themselves, and their dear ones. There is only so much anyone else can do. And how else should it be? it's the personally and socially responsible position to be able to fend for one's family and one's self. This means, "Be Prepared".

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