19 May 2007

Ideology and Politics are Secondary. The Important Question Is: Are You Competent?

Because, personally, I seriously doubt that you are--if you are a typical psychologically neotenised, academically lobotomised, child of the western world.

You might try the "Jericho Test." If you have not seen the episodes of the doomed television show Jericho, go here and watch at least the first few episodes. Imagine yourself in such a circumstance. Would you be useful. How?

I recall sitting in an insurance office in a new town, transferring my policy to my new location. My young, attractive female agent was processing my paperwork and chatting with two co-workers who had gathered around the desk out of boredom. Somehow they were discussing a collapse of civilisation and what they could do to survive. My agent made the offhand comment, "at least I could work as a whore."

But there is only so much need for whores, and some of the male survivors of a holocaust would not treat their whores very kindly. So the rest of you might start thinking about other possibilities, while you have a little time. Particularly the college professors among you, who--if you pardon me for saying so--are almost certainly particularly useless in an emergency (unless your training is in applied engineering, technology, or biomedical sciences).

Your politics, religion, and ideology will probably be irrelevant, as long as you are not a psychopath. It is your useful skills that will count.

People always assume that things will continue as they are, in a straight line extrapolation of current trends. People are always wrong about that. Most people need shock therapy to acknowledge things that might go wrong, and to be motivated to prepare.

No matter how busy you are, you still have time to take steps to make you and your family more survivable.

Everyone needs a stockpile of clean water, food, and basic hygienic and first aid supplies. If you depend on a medicine such as insulin, you should have extra medication on hand, and rotate it to maintain the expiration date. If your vital medicines require refrigeration, you should have a way to power a small refrigerator off the electrical grid. (generator with fuel, solar panels with batteries, etc.)

There are many important things to think about, in connection with surviving a massive natural or man-made disaster. The Al Fin blog sidebar has an entire section of links dealing with these issues, about three fourths of the way down. As an added one-time-only bonus, here is an online book on surviving a nuclear war.

Watch the first few episodes of Jericho. Think about it.


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Blogger A Free Man said...


I count myself more able then most to survive what ever may come to pass.

My parents were a bit hippyish, they moved to the country, and I grew up fetching water, choping wood, planting and harvesting veg, collecting wild fruits for jams and cakes, going without electricity and stoking the range (stove) etc...

It was a cool upbringing, but also one I believe has prepared me for the worst!

Nuclear war is, I beleive, not the most likely senario, anything from the increased Islamisation and consequent social breakdown, the effect of Peak Oil, or a rampaging China are all more likely, although I'm sure war with China could involve a nuclear exchange!

It is always an interesting thing to ponder, what would you do?

We can never trully know what would happen. I suppose that is why apocalyptic films do so well?

Saturday, 19 May, 2007  
Blogger al fin said...

Free Man: It sounds like you are better prepared to fend for yourself than most. Such skills are better learned first-hand--as you have done.

As for the likeliest cause of a societal breakdown, I am not certain that there is a good method of calculating such things, without perfect information. Fortunately, most of the skill competencies we would need in case of a temporary or permanent collapse of the economic and legal systems, transfer to many types of disasters.

What we need is something similar to the Society for Creative Anachronism, but oriented toward organising communities to survive natural disasters and breakdowns of regional and national order.

Sunday, 20 May, 2007  
Blogger chuckatmain said...

I don't have any skills. I plan to scavenge, live in a cave, and become a cannibal. I'll be just fine.

Monday, 21 May, 2007  
Blogger al fin said...

Yes, of course Chuck. But after you've finished eating your penis and testicles (raw since you can't make a fire), you may have to actually eat something you can use.

Monday, 21 May, 2007  
Blogger chuckatmain said...

Well, I guess I do have the skill of being able to clobber people over the head with a Louisville Slugger. I could also probably boil my genitals using my camp stove. Just add paprika.

Saturday, 26 May, 2007  

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