TEOTWAWKI

I’ve been watching a few episodes of a new series, a semi-documentary called “Doomsday Preppers,” about people preparing for “the end of the world as we know it.” It depresses me. Not the idea of the end as we know it (a downer if ever there was one), but the reminder of how ill-prepared I am. Experts rate the preppers on the various areas of preparedness and the majority fare pretty well. It’s not surprising, since some of them spend most of their waking hours dedicated to the task and have thousands of dollars of stored foodstuffs, much of which they’ve raised/canned themselves, enough to feed as much as a dozen hungry mouths for over five years. I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in Saran wrap in the freezer.

All right, we’ve put away a small stash of canned goods and emergency water. We’re not off the grid and, at this time, not on the fast track to getting there. I started reading James Wesley Rawles’ How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It and after getting though about fifteen percent of the book, demoralized by my lack of preparation and skills, filed it under “reference.” As if a digital book and a Kindle will be of any use at the end of the world as we know it. You can see what I’m up against.

But I’m not alone. Although a growing number of us recognize the wisdom of preparedness, most people still regard preppers as a fringe element. Until a couple of years ago I was among them. A few things changed my mind. Foremost, as anyone who has read my prior rants knows, is the sorry state of the economy. While this plays big in the motivation of some of the TV preppers, others cite fears of global oil shortage, an electromagnetic pulse from the sun destroying the world’s electrical grids, or even the sudden reversal of the Earth’s magnetic poles and its attendant tectonic shifts (an every 500,000 year event).

Regardless of the motivation, some attention to emergency preparedness seems to me to be a no-brainer. There is precedent for this line of reasoning: With limited evidence for global warming that has created a hypothesis that is widely regarded as fact (in the 1970s it was global cooling), people are willing to accept this as an impetus to change our behavior. Even if the evidence is flawed, the move toward a less polluted environment is laudable (except when used as a smokescreen for a (usually socialist) political agenda). The same can be said of preparing for TEOTWAWKI. In the event of an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or massive conflagraton, assistance and law enforcement may be sidelined for days, or weeks. The more global natural disasters referenced above are admittedly less likely, but taken together may be worth a nod as well. Economic collapse, on the other hand, may have up to a fifty percent chance of realization. Why do I say this? If we’re five to ten years behind Greece, as some experts think, and we fail to change our debt-first, common sense last approach to financial management, who will be there to bail us out? The supply lines in the cities are fragile, and most wealth is digital, a scenario ripe for disaster. A failing European economy and fragile oil pipeline in the Middle East due to political instability could theoretically trigger a slide even sooner. Or a war instigated by Iran. This, to me, seems to be a more imminent threat than global warming.

The truth is, it’s easier for the political class to decry global warming because it’s more distant, seemingly more manageable, and carries with it an aura of nobility. Focusing on the more proximate threat of global bankruptcy highlights their greed, incompetence, and impotence. From the standpoint of the American people, it’s a topic that is perhaps too alarming to face head on.

Is financial Armageddon inevitable? I think we have a window of several years to turn it around. I don’t know if we have the will. I believe the upcoming election is a barometer of that will. If more than half the country feels that leaving the current leadership in place is the answer, it speaks to the ascendancy of an ideology based on equality and parity of ownership (read: wealth redistribution), and to the decline of the principles on which this nation was founded: freedom and parity of opportunity. We’ll have moved from a democratic republic to a democracy, one that has elected social justice over liberty. This will not be self-sustaining.

If the current “management” is thrown out, there is no guarantee of success (spouting an ideology of reduced spending and small government while doing the opposite is the hypocrisy of the right). However, if the majority votes for change and doubles down on it, there is at least a chance it can become reality.

That’s TEOTWAWKI I can live with.

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