Saturday, November 29, 2008

Survival Tip #2

If you are preparing for a famine, do not tell your neighbors. Or rather, do not tell them unless you're willing to have your food supplies confiscated by the government, or stolen by ferocious looters who used to be the nice folks on the block. Starvation drives people to extremes that are unimaginable to the comfortable and well-fed. Add to this the "entitlement mentality" of instant gratification, assiduously cultivated by politicians and corporate advertisers, and you can pretty much count out any reluctance or mercy on their part, once they realize that you are still eating while they are not.*

This is a perennial debate topic among survivalists. One extreme position holds that total secrecy is futile, especially for city dwellers: Sooner or later your non-emaciated appearance will give you away, and if you hide, your neighbors' suspicions will be adequate incentive for attack. Better to reveal your preparations at the start of the crisis, and lead a common effort to keep everyone alive (at least within a limited, defensible territory). At the other extreme is total OPSEC (operational security) and flight from the neighborhood to a prepared retreat, while civilized conditions still prevail. There are intermediate positions, of course, and these (like the first mentioned) affirm the need for charity. I'm not settled on any of them, but in my opinion it is always wiser to maintain the initiative in deciding if, when, and how you will share your possessions with others.

At minimum, for the charity minded, disclose your plans only to those you are willing to feed if the excrement hits the fan.

* You can test this, to your peril, by hinting at your preparations to a friend or relative. The likely response is, "Well, I'll just come over to your house, and you'll feed me!" Generations of welfare and easy credit have eclipsed the old virtues of self-reliance and providence.

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