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chux03
28th July 2008, 02:38
Massive Economic Disaster Seems Possible -- Will Survivalists Get the Last Laugh?

By Scott Thill, AlterNet. Posted July 26, 2008.

With multiple crises on the horizon, survivalist views don't seem as marginal as they did.

They used to be paranoid preparation nuts who built bomb shelters for a place to duck and cover during nuclear dustups with communist heathens, but their tangled roots go back to the Great Depression for a reason. If you want to get sociological about it, survivalism started out as a response to economic catastrophe. And now, with a cratering stock market, a housing meltdown that has devalued everything in sight, and skyrocketing prices for food, gas and pretty much everything else, survivalists are preparing for -- and are prepared for -- the rerun. In fact, they may be the only people in America feeling good about the prospects of a major crash.

And the interesting thing about the once-fringe movement at this moment in history is that survivalism has now gone green -- at least in theory.

From peak oil and food crises all the way to catastrophic payback from that bitch Mother Earth, there are more reasons to hide than ever. Conventional society as we know it is already undergoing some disastrous transformations. Ask anyone ducking fires in California, floods in the Midwest or bullets in Baghdad. Maybe it didn't make sense to run for the hills, stockpile water and food, grow your own vegetables and drugs, or unplug from consumerism back when America's budget surplus still existed, its armies weren't burning up all the nation's revenue and its infrastructure wasn't being outsourced to a globalized work force.

But those days are gone, daddy, gone.

What's coming up is weirder. Author, social critic and overall hilarious dude James Kunstler tackled that weirdness, otherwise known as an incoming post-oil dystopia, in his recent novel, World Made by Hand, which has since become one of a handful of survivalist classics. And as Kunstler sees it, whether you are talking about gun nuts or green pioneers, at least you are talking.

"At least they're aware that we've entered the early innings of what could easily become a very disruptive period of our history," the Clusterfuck Nation columnist explains. "Most of them are responding constructively rather than just defensively. They're much more interested in gardening and animal husbandry than firearms."

Not that the gun nuts have gone away. Their ranks have just diversified.

"The gun nuts have been on the scene longer than the peak oil argument has been in play," he adds. "They were initially preoccupied with Big Government and its accompanying narrative fantasy of fascist oppression, which is why they adopted a fascist tone themselves. But peak-oil survivalists are different from the Ruby Ridge generation. They don't think that a bolt-hole in the woods is a very promising strategy. We have no idea at this point what the level of social cohesion or disorder may be, but if the rural areas, especially the agricultural centers, become too lawless for farming, then we'll be in pretty severe trouble because there will be nothing for us to eat."

That's not on the to-do list of author and SurvivalBlog owner James Rawles, who has been getting asked more and more questions by a mainstream press finally waking to the consequences of disaster capitalism, climate crisis and the hyperreal dream of bottomless consumption. He has fielded questions from the New York Times, and he has taken an online beating from conscientious pubs like Grist, but he hasn't gone Hollywood. The times, which are a-changin', have caught up to him.

"There is greater interest in preparedness these days because the fragility of our economy, lengthening chains of supply and the complexity of the technological infrastructure have become apparent to a broader cross section of the populace," Rawles wrote to me via e-mail (but only after asking how many unique monthly visitors AlterNet commanded). "All parties concerned may not realize it, but the left-of-center greens calling for local economies and encouraging farmers markets have a tremendous amount in common with John Birchers decrying globalist bankers and gun owners complaining about their constitutional rights. At the core, for all of them, is the recognition that big, entrenched, centralized power structures are not the answer. They are, in fact, the problem."

Fair enough. But that broad brush fails to recognize the complexities of the very community it is purporting to try to establish. Indeed, difference is what survivalists seem to be running from, whether it is historically the difference between blacks and whites, secularists and true believers, or simply the haves and have-nots. It is that latter crowd that the survivalists seem most worried about. Their separation from society at large is arguably a retreat from community rather than a striving toward it.

"I'd say that survivalism is indeed a celebration of community," Rawles asserts. "It is the embodiment of America's traditional can-do spirit of self-reliance that settled the frontier."

But that's also a generalization, especially when one considers that the word "settled" is a coded reduction for a "near-genocidal wipeout of the frontier's native populations," most if not all of whom were perfecting a survivalist ethic by maximizing their skill sets and living in symbiosis with the land that provided them what they needed in food, tools and medicine. In fact, those settlements would have been hard-pressed to exist without what Rawles earlier described as a "centralized power structure," known as the expansionist United States government and its military, paving the road forward. Each self-reliant mythology carries within it grains of complicity in the community at large, which is a fancy way of saying there's nowhere to run, baby, nowhere to hide.

This is especially true today in our hyperreal, hyperconsuming 21st century, where survivalism has become more of a gadget fantasy than an earnest grasp for community.

"It seems a natural human impulse that we are hard-wired to follow as circumstances require," Kunstler says, "although it is constrained by social and cultural conditioning. To some degree, in our consumer culture, survivalism is related to the gear fetishism you see in popular magazines that purport to be about sporting adventures, but are really about acquiring snazzy equipment. America in 2008 has become a cartoon culture of Hollywood violence that promotes grandiose power fantasies of hyper-individualism and vigilante justice. Add guns and economic hardship, and spice it up with ethnic grievances, and the recipe is not very appetizing."

This future cultural, environmental and geopolitical miasma is where the survivalist and the mainstream converge in agreement. Both camps, pardon the pun, are convinced that we're screwed down the road.

"The next Great Depression will be a tremendous leveler," Rawles prophesies. "If anything, life in the 22nd century will more closely resemble the 19th century than the 20th century. Sadly, the 21st century will probably be remembered as the time of the Great Die-Off."

"I don't consider it a total wipeout," Kunstler counters. "It's a very big change, but people are resilient and resourceful. Look, imagine if you were a person who had survived the Second World War in Europe, and you were walking around Berlin in the spring of 1946, a year after the end of the war. A once-magnificent city has been reduced to rubble. Your culture is lying in ashes. Yet, people pick up and rebuild."

That is, if they're sticking together. If they're scattered and fending for themselves, and taking armed retreat defense tips from SurvivalBlog, that makes rebuilding a bit more complicated. Which, in the end, is where survivalism is most ambiguous. Is it a growing population of forward-looking realists who are smartly preparing for the die-off brought on by climate crisis and economic collapse, so they can pick up themselves and their people, and rebuild with that "can-do" spirit, as Rawles calls it? Or are they simply gadget-fascinated fundamentalists afraid of change and challenge, so afraid that they'd rather hide and hoard than join the fight?

The jury is still out. But, according to Rawles, it will soon have its diversity mirrored by survivalism's changing demographic.

"I think that in the next couple of decades," he explains, "we will witness the formation of some remarkable intentional communities that will feature some unlikely bedfellows: anarchists and Ayn Rand readers, Mennonites and gun enthusiasts, Luddites and techno-geeks, fundamentalist Christians and Gaia worshippers, tree huggers and horse wranglers. We welcome them all. Because the threats are clearly manifold: peak oil, derivatives meltdowns, pandemics, food shortages, market collapses, terrorism, state-sponsored global war and more. In a situation this precarious, I believe that it is remarkably naive to think that mere geographical isolation will be sufficient to shelter communities from the predation of evildoers."

Drumblebum
28th July 2008, 10:32
This essay seems pretty much right on. Although this forum doesn't seem to focus on survival prep as much as other (actually, one other, that I know of) I hope that everyone here is prepping as necessary to make it thriough what looks to be some pretty rough times...

prahudka
7th August 2008, 11:02
From peak oil and food crises all the way to catastrophic payback from that bitch Mother Earth, there are more reasons to hide than ever. Conventional society as we know it is already undergoing some disastrous transformations. Ask anyone ducking fires in California, floods in the Midwest or bullets in Baghdad. Maybe it didn't make sense to run for the hills, stockpile water and food, grow your own vegetables and drugs, or unplug from consumerism back when America's budget surplus still existed, its armies weren't burning up all the nation's revenue and its infrastructure wasn't being outsourced to a globalized work force.

LOL

Isn't that one of Murphy's laws?

"Nature is a mother."

Trvlr45
8th August 2008, 03:39
This essay seems pretty much right on. Although this forum doesn't seem to focus on survival prep as much as other (actually, one other, that I know of) I hope that everyone here is prepping as necessary to make it thriough what looks to be some pretty rough times...

Yep. My problem is thatI have had to suspend my silver buying, for the time being, to take care of the other "prep". I think we have a few years left though so I'm not TOO worried. I hope I'm right.

mick silver
22nd December 2008, 06:56
sunday i was at sear they had there tools on sale , so i got a new chain saw , i have 2 now , got it for 150 bucks an it a 20 inch cut , who knows people may have to start building there homes out of logs , plus fire wood , next thing well be to get a lot of oil mix an oil for the saw i see times when things like tools maybe like having gold in your pocket , just my thoughts

Richard
22nd December 2008, 09:09
I have no delusions that I can prepare enough for a crash of this magnitude. Even a few years or even a full decade... I think that a lot of people will die unless civilization is restored, regardless of how well prepared they are on day one.

silverheartbone
18th December 2011, 18:28
Should you leave the USA before the collapse? Words of wisdom from someone who tried
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
http://www.naturalnews.com/images/authors/MikeAdams.jpg
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (http://www.naturalnews.com/034404_preppers_collapse_bugging_out.html)

Realization #5 - You are far safer to hunker down than try to go mobile

A lot of people talk about having a backup retreat somewhere that they will "drive to" or "fly to" when the collapse strikes. In my view, this is foolish. Highways will become kill zones targeted by marauders, and using vehicles on roads will only get you either robbed or dead (or maybe both).

To a gang of armed looters who forgot to plan ahead before the collapse, there's no more juicy target than an RV loaded down with stored food, ammo and gold, and if you're stupid enough to drive one of those as you're trying to get to your destination, you'd better have your own cavalry along for the ride, or you probably won't get very far.

Anyone who has studied military tactics, gang mentality or historical accounts of what happens when governments fall knows that roads are to be avoided at all costs. The only safe way to go from point A to point B is to hump it on foot, cross-country style, and even then you'd better only walk at night or you risk being shot by someone defending their own land.

Once you start actually thinking about all this, it doesn't take long to realize that the far safer strategy is to live in your castle starting right now. Stay put, stock up, and find a way to defend it.

---------------------------------------

We should all strive to be at least half as well prepared as our role model Vale.

silverheartbone
23rd December 2011, 09:18
Thinking about all of the things that are now available that were not before due to the internet, led to a thought about my favorite motion picture... sure enough it is available. http://forums.silverseek.com/images/icons/icon14.png

If you have the right tools installed on your PC, then you can download practically anything that you can watch.

I just watched the first five minutes of my old favorite, one that I hadn't seen in decades since I never bought or recorded a copy, and it just blew me away.

Yes the video quality sucks, but what can you expect for free?

The movie's opening scene depicts the survivalist's nightmare.

The entire movie is surreal and extremely funny (to me), especially the surprise ending.

I (along with a few others, we) literally rolled on the floor of the aisles with uncontrollable laughter.

There were only about a dozen people in the movie theater (1975 - Columbia, Missouri), as this was an artsy film in a college town.

It was such a totally unexpected and wild ride, especially for back then.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8470998713774480588

Yes indeed, that's a pre-Miami Vice Don Johnson in his first feature motion picture role.

silverheartbone
23rd December 2011, 09:36
it's post-apocalyptic, it's satiric, it's psychological, and it's a purely, originally crazy work of 70s cinema, 5 January 2008 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072730/combined)
Author: Jack Gattanella (whiplashfilm@gmail.com) from United States

Damned if I know what gravitated LQ Jones to Harlan Ellison's novella of the title let alone to adapt it into a film. A veteran character actor, he's the one, for better or worse (for me the better), responsible for A Boy and His Dog, a story that takes place after World War 4, nevermind 3, where a young guy and his dog, whom he can understand ala Dr Doolittle, roams the desert fighting off wild savage men and looking for food and women. But there's more than just this premise- there's also the other side to this barren wasteland which, by the way, served as inspiration for the Mad Max series. There's also the "down under", where a society that's a cross between puritanical Kansas- dubbed Topeka- and a Fellini movie, is sterilized and needs fresh seed to repopulate its people. Where the ones living up above are brutal beings who can't give a damn about anything aside from what's next to eat or who's next to have their 'way' with (and the occasional projected porn movie), the ones below have created a f***ed up enclave where a robot bodyguard chokes anything in his path. Sounds, um... peachy keen, don't it?

A Boy and His Dog is as surprising an effort that has ever come into the genre, where imagination is pushed to its most cynical, rotten roots, where a wealth of pitch black comedy awaits those who have no problem with the repore between a slightly dim dude and a dog who seems to be part comic relief, part 'get-your-head-out-of-your-ass' voice of reason. Indeed, there could be something else read into all of this wackiness: if taking Freud into account, there's almost a super-ego aspect to the dog, where Vic (Don Johnson) only hears and talks with Blood (yes, a dog named Blood), who Vic trusts beyond all reason, while the boy himself is like a version of the Id, out for survival but also out for his carnal needs, no matter what the price. It's also very smart that Jones doesn't explain anything about the dog's abilities if it is meant to be that he and the dog can really talk to another. Damned if I would take a convoluted explanation anyway, all the funnier. In fact, Blood, as voiced with a perfect sardonic (yet also rather touching) style by Tim McIntire, is probably the character the audience can identify with, like the Neville/Sam bond in I Am Legend given a twist out of a Robert Crumb comic.

And all the while Jones makes this a future that looks lived in, a wasteland with leftover parts and clothes and production design full of boiler rooms and dark halls and places left untreated for years, AND in the 'down under' scenes a kind of plastic, small-town look that is probably even more eerie than the one up above. For what should be just an outrageous B-movie is a lot smarter than one would ever think looking at the premise. The dialog is invigorating in how it stays truthful while also aiming for the bizarre, and as with the most cringe-worthy of satire (i.e. the scenes with Jason Robards and the 'committee'), things said with a straight face and deadly serious always garner up huge laughs. Yet there's also an intelligence to the film-making as well. This could have looked cheaply made and shot poorly like many a B-movie, but Jones's DP John Arthur Morill gets some great, strange compositions out of this 'after'-world, sometimes spotting (better than average) Johnson give facial expressions like he knows what's going on but doesn't all the same.

It should be way too ridiculous to be taken seriously as a piece of legitimate cinema, as some gonzo experiment that's dug up by cultists for tongue-in-cheek purposes. But Jones's film is, in its way, a weird landmark, a moment where the basic fronts of a 70s 'exploitation' flick (action, comedy, randomness of the 70s, nudity) are put through the perspective of a filmmaker with brains and talent to make it stick in your mind, as it presents its story through the prism of a society gone amock through two prisms, both hells in one way or another (though one, not too arguably, is a lot more fun than the other). Is it a Clockwork Orange or Blade Runner? Not quite. But I'd never kick it out of my collection, if only for one of the truly classic end lines of any movie, a bad pun that gives one more hysterical smack across the face.
------------------------------------------------

* Will Survivalists Get the Last Laugh?
Yes indeed.

MiloMorai
25th December 2011, 15:27
it's post-apocalyptic, it's satiric, it's psychological, and it's a purely, originally crazy work of 70s cinema, 5 January 2008 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072730/combined)
Author: Jack Gattanella (whiplashfilm@gmail.com) from United States

Damned if I know what gravitated LQ Jones to Harlan Ellison's novella of the title let alone to adapt it into a film. A veteran character actor, he's the one, for better or worse (for me the better), responsible for A Boy and His Dog, a story that takes place after World War 4, nevermind 3, where a young guy and his dog, whom he can understand ala Dr Doolittle, roams the desert fighting off wild savage men and looking for food and women. But there's more than just this premise- there's also the other side to this barren wasteland which, by the way, served as inspiration for the Mad Max series. There's also the "down under", where a society that's a cross between puritanical Kansas- dubbed Topeka- and a Fellini movie, is sterilized and needs fresh seed to repopulate its people. Where the ones living up above are brutal beings who can't give a damn about anything aside from what's next to eat or who's next to have their 'way' with (and the occasional projected porn movie), the ones below have created a f***ed up enclave where a robot bodyguard chokes anything in his path. Sounds, um... peachy keen, don't it?

A Boy and His Dog is as surprising an effort that has ever come into the genre, where imagination is pushed to its most cynical, rotten roots, where a wealth of pitch black comedy awaits those who have no problem with the repore between a slightly dim dude and a dog who seems to be part comic relief, part 'get-your-head-out-of-your-ass' voice of reason. Indeed, there could be something else read into all of this wackiness: if taking Freud into account, there's almost a super-ego aspect to the dog, where Vic (Don Johnson) only hears and talks with Blood (yes, a dog named Blood), who Vic trusts beyond all reason, while the boy himself is like a version of the Id, out for survival but also out for his carnal needs, no matter what the price. It's also very smart that Jones doesn't explain anything about the dog's abilities if it is meant to be that he and the dog can really talk to another. Damned if I would take a convoluted explanation anyway, all the funnier. In fact, Blood, as voiced with a perfect sardonic (yet also rather touching) style by Tim McIntire, is probably the character the audience can identify with, like the Neville/Sam bond in I Am Legend given a twist out of a Robert Crumb comic.

And all the while Jones makes this a future that looks lived in, a wasteland with leftover parts and clothes and production design full of boiler rooms and dark halls and places left untreated for years, AND in the 'down under' scenes a kind of plastic, small-town look that is probably even more eerie than the one up above. For what should be just an outrageous B-movie is a lot smarter than one would ever think looking at the premise. The dialog is invigorating in how it stays truthful while also aiming for the bizarre, and as with the most cringe-worthy of satire (i.e. the scenes with Jason Robards and the 'committee'), things said with a straight face and deadly serious always garner up huge laughs. Yet there's also an intelligence to the film-making as well. This could have looked cheaply made and shot poorly like many a B-movie, but Jones's DP John Arthur Morill gets some great, strange compositions out of this 'after'-world, sometimes spotting (better than average) Johnson give facial expressions like he knows what's going on but doesn't all the same.

It should be way too ridiculous to be taken seriously as a piece of legitimate cinema, as some gonzo experiment that's dug up by cultists for tongue-in-cheek purposes. But Jones's film is, in its way, a weird landmark, a moment where the basic fronts of a 70s 'exploitation' flick (action, comedy, randomness of the 70s, nudity) are put through the perspective of a filmmaker with brains and talent to make it stick in your mind, as it presents its story through the prism of a society gone amock through two prisms, both hells in one way or another (though one, not too arguably, is a lot more fun than the other). Is it a Clockwork Orange or Blade Runner? Not quite. But I'd never kick it out of my collection, if only for one of the truly classic end lines of any movie, a bad pun that gives one more hysterical smack across the face.
------------------------------------------------

* Will Survivalists Get the Last Laugh?
Yes indeed.


Yeah saw it over 30 years ago, liked it except the end.
Don and Spot (what ever his name was) eat the girl, don't they