Communion Of Dreams

So, how crazy are you?

An interesting post on MeFi about survivalists – here’s the lede:

“Civilization is Just a Thin Veneer. In the absence of law and order, men quickly revert to savagery. As was illustrated by the rioting and looting that accompanied disasters in the past three decades, the transition from tranquility to absolute barbarism can occur overnight. People expect tomorrow to be just like today, and they act accordingly. But then comes a unpredictable disaster that catches the vast majority unprepared. The average American family has four days worth of food on hand. When that food is gone, we’ll soon see the thin veneer stripped away.”
posted by Joe Beese (119 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

Now, I haven’t bothered to go look at the sites linked there. I know the mindset, and have no real need to read more of it. But I found the discussion on MeFi that ensued to be very interesting and insightful.  Howso?  Well, here’s one comment that stood out:

A lot of this is weird to me because I grew up and live in “flyover” country.

It’s strange to me that some of you don’t own generators because I wonder what the hell you do if there’s an ice storm.

I suppose some of you don’t own guns but in Michigan it’s damn near the easiest thing in the world to shoot a duck or a goose and save the $15 you would have spent at a grocery store to purchase one.

And everyone in my neighborhood has five or six gallons of gas on hand for the generator, truck, wood-splitter or whatever because the gas station is a long way off and unreliable.

So I guess the thing that surprises me most is that “survivalism” has now been relegated to “being able to keep shit running” and that’s kind of depressing. People should at least have something on hand to produce food and heat in case of a natural disaster.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:55 PM on January 28 [3 favorites]

It seems that there is something of a bell curve here – with the complete stereotypical “survivalists” on one end, and the total “everything is always fine in my world, why worry about the future?” types on the other – and both extremes viewing the other as crazy.  Most of us fall somewhere in the middle, naturally, with distributions on one side or the other of the center according to our experiences and where we live.  Few of us have a Farnham’s Freehold mindset, but likewise few of us would trust to fate for nothing bad ever happening to us – we make some preparations to cope with an uncertain future, whether it is only by insurance or savings or by keeping a few weeks worth of food on hand (and I don’t buy the claim that most families only keep a 4 day supply of food on hand – most people shop weekly at most, and could probably subsist on “stuff” in their cabinets for a couple of weeks, even if it wasn’t the sort of regular meals that they’re used to.)

I’ve written about my own attitudes on the matter a fair amount – taking what I see as some common-sense precautions, while understanding that I don’t want to just completely retreat from living my life in the present.  We live in a world with earthquakes, tornadoes, flu, global warming and countless other things which can and do happen, or may realistically happen, which can lead to a period of civil disruption or at least the power being out for a few days.  And yet to read the comments on that thread it shows me that I am further to the side of the bell curve than I would expect.  And yes, of course I see all those who are less well prepared as being more crazy than I am.

Hmm . . .

Jim Downey

(Cross-posted to UTI.)

2 Comments so far
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“Lord of the Flies” was overly optimistic.

Comment by gerhardt

Always spreading cheer and goodwill there, eh, Gerhardt? 😉

Jim D.

Comment by James Downey

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