Original article written by Brandon Smith.
I was recently interviewed by a journalist for a local newspaper who was developing a story on the exponential rise of the “prepper lifestyle” in America, most especially in Western Montana. Being an outsider to the Liberty Movement, she was naturally curious as to what motivated us to make what some in our culture would see as a drastic and bewildering leap away from the mainstream. She was equally fascinated with our willingness to travel great distances and make substantial sacrifices to live in regions like the American Redoubt.
I will not deny, Montana has indeed become a “hotbed” of survivalism and Constitutionalism, or what the Southern Poverty Law Center would call “extremism and domestic terrorism”. I lived in Pittsburgh for years while writing for Neithercorp and Alt-Market and rarely ran into like minded individuals aware of the tenuous status of our society. Within days of moving to Montana, I was being recognized by complete strangers in supermarkets excited to discuss the inner workings of Keynesian monetary corruption, precious metals investment, and Alinsky disinformation tactics. Yeah…I know…it’s weird.
After living for a while in the Redoubt, you begin to forget that there are still many people in this country that are utterly oblivious to the epic dangers around them, as well as painfully helpless in knowing what to do when those dangers land on their doorsteps. Speaking with the newspaper reporter, and my experiences at Paulfest in Tampa, Florida, reminded me that the world has yet to be reminded of the value of survivalism. There is still a gap, a disconnect, a psychological twitch of the masses, and it compels me to explain, yet again, what they are missing.
I had thought about using parables like the ancient Greek story of Cassandra, who was given the gift of foresight and prophecy, but also stricken with a curse which prevented anyone from believing her dire warnings. Or the story of Noah, who was given an omen, a vision of catastrophe, and directed by God on how to save a remnant of life, while knowing that most of the people around him would perish. And what about Galileo, who simply tried to point out the scientific operations of the universe in which we exist, only to be ostracized by his church and government? In these modern times, however, many find it increasingly difficult to relate to mythology, bible lore, or even historical precedence. Luckily, there is always cinema…
While considering this topic, as if by design, I stumbled upon the film ‘Take Shelter’, the story of a man who suffers from acute intuition. His vivid dreams warn him of a nightmare event, but is he a prophet, or a schizophrenic with delusions of doom?
Human beings hold within them a natural mechanism, a moral dynamo that compels them to alert others to the dangers they see silhouette on the horizon. Every survivalist today has at one time or another felt the overwhelming weight of responsibility that comes with knowing; not believing, but KNOWING the future. The film ‘Take Shelter’ illustrates the internal and external dilemmas of the survivalist in a way that is striking, beautiful, and affirming.
Prophetic dreams and spoken messages from the heavens are not necessarily required to understand the dilemmas our nation faces in the new millennium. It does not take a psychic to see the mathematical certainty of dollar devaluation and loss of world reserve status. The degradation of our civil liberties in the name of state security. The formation of unaccountable supranational bodies which are quickly encroaching upon our individual sovereignty. In fact, a person would have to be mentally blind, deaf, and dumb to NOT grasp what is happening right under their noses. Sadly, this is where a majority of the American populace lives.
Even at Paulfest, a convention and congregation of what I consider some of the most awake and socially aware people on the planet, I discovered that at least half of those in attendance had a minimal sense of urgency as far as a true national crisis was concerned, clinging to the assumption that they had yet more time to stab at top down solutions and political tap dancing that continually falls short of what is necessary to restore liberty.
It is difficult to retain one’s composure in the face of the astounding absurdity of normalcy bias. The idea that today’s comforts will continue on tomorrow and forever is a powerful one. To break such apathy requires steadfast resolve. Sometimes, only startling and terrifying events are enough to rattle the mindless masses. Sometimes, you just have to let the chips fall where they may, speak the truth to the best of your ability, and let the herd sort out the rest in their own good time, whatever there is left of it. What we see as a forgone conclusion, what we passionately fight to expose, in their minds often translates into belligerence and a frightening subversion of their joyous naivety:
Then arises fury…
It is not uncommon for the truth tellers of an era to be labeled the enemies of society. To be held as criminals, traitors, and terrorists. In fact, the establishment has in the past two decades made every effort to paint survivalists as the boogeymen of our age; unstable and unpredictable wild-men hell bent on destruction in the name of some hallucinatory ideology. Using generalizations, false associations, and outright lies, corrupt governments seek to fool the citizenry into viewing survivalists as a fringe element and a dark underbelly of their otherwise serene state sponsored existence.
In contrast, I would like to point out to the non-prepper populace the advantages of having some of us “loony” survivalists around. Rarely in the mainstream are we ever presented with the utility of survival proponents, and how they actually serve the interests of the “greater good” to quote a phrase often used by drooling collectivists and statists who desperately try to defame the prepper subculture…
Advantage #1: Survivalists Have Their Own Stuff – They Don’t Need Your Stuff
Survivalists have their own stuff, which means, they will likely not feel compelled to take your stuff, if, that is, you have any stuff worth having. In the midst of a calamity, being surrounded by preppers is one of the best insurance policies a person could acquire. Think about it; would you rather have me as a neighbor, with my guns, ammo, food supply, off-grid solar power and water, and anti-establishment angst, or, would you rather have some superficial sickly fake friendly suburban yuppie with a Mercedes, an overpriced boat, a $100,000-plus debt obligation, a repressed inferiority complex, a vicious department store-addicted trophy wife, three spoiled crusty children with a vocabulary of 80 words or less, and an empty pantry? In a crisis, who is the real threat? Come on!
Advantage #2: Survivalists Keep To Themselves – Your Business Is Your Own
Have you ever lived in the metro areas of California, New York, or Illinois? Ever notice how disgustingly nosy many people tend to become in the more socialist minded regions of America? Neighborhood administrations that cite you for tall grass. Permits on top of permits. Sneers when you smoke a cigarette, even outdoors. Environmental restrictions bordering on the insane. City governments telling you what you are allowed to eat and drink and how much. It’s so enraging it makes you want to wrench someone’s head off their neck and squeeze their skull like an oversized pimple.
Survivalists respect privacy. Grow a garden on your front lawn. Smoke your cigarettes (or whatever). Drink your damned 2 liter mega-gulp. Let your kids play with the water hose for hours, or open a lemonade stand. Don’t worry; the authorities will never be told, because we don’t care. We have far more important things to worry about.
Advantage #3: Survivalists Are Handy
Ever have that one friend, or neighbor, or family member who just seems to have all the right answers when it comes to gardening, or solar power, or repairing that hunting rifle? Who knows all the best camping and fishing spots? Who always seems to be willing to go out of his way to help you set up a good emergency kit in case of that next hurricane, flood, tornado, earthquake, etc? You may very well be working with a survivalist and not even know it.
Advantage #4: Survivalists Insulate A Region
The more survivalists there are in a particular area, the more likely you are to get through a disaster, whether you have prepared for it or not. A network of survival communities offers an enormous variety of skills, an alternative economy and barter system to tap into, safety from harm during a major implosion or socially unstable times, and the ingenuity required to rebuild after the disaster.
Let me put it this way: who is more likely to return your environment to a livable state? Groups of survivalists with the know-how and the desire because they actually LIVE in the region? Or, a faceless government bureaucracy like FEMA with no meaningful ties to the community in which you live?
Advantage #5: Survivalists Cook Up A Mean Barbeque
Show me a survivalist that doesn’t grill like an artist. I defy you!
Advantage #6: Survivalists Stand Their Ground When It Counts
If you ever need someone to back you up in a terrible situation, you can’t do much better than a survivalist. They are used to adversity. In fact, many of us deliberately put ourselves through strenuous training environments in order to learn where we will falter. We make a point to uncover our own weaknesses and improve upon them. Our current comfort obsessed society is almost devoid of this characteristic. Finding a single person who will not let you down is a gift. Finding an entire movement of such people is a miracle. Don’t let it go to waste…
Advantage #7: Survivalists Are Time Capsules For Liberty
Every culture needs watchmen. Not government paid watchmen who seek out power, but citizen volunteers who shun power. Without such watchmen, fundamental principles can be lost or destroyed, and the people of a nation are apt to forget where they came from, and what made them successful in the first place. Though the masses have a tendency to be lured away from the legacy of freedom which once served them towards the twisted ideologies of tyrants and collectivists, in the long run they always return, seeking the almost forgotten abundances of liberty. When the people go searching for freedom once again, the survivalists, the enduring watchmen, will be waiting to greet them.
Advantage #8: Survivalists Are Not Afraid To Remind Society Of Its Mistakes
It is easy to be apathetic to the criminality of government. It is easy to cocoon one’s self inside his own little life, within the minor dramas of his family and of his job. It is easy to turn away from the big picture and hope that the monsters of the world sort themselves out, or overlook us entirely. Unfortunately, this is not how human history has ever been resolved. The worst problems never disappear on their own. Survivalists understand this and are willing to take personal risks in order to uncover the nature of the beast for anyone willing to listen. They understand that their best chance of survival is to preempt a disaster before it ever occurs. The value of this to the longevity of our species cannot be calculated. Without those who can overcome the fears created by conformity, mankind is lost. Our very future depends upon the principles of survivalism, which teaches us to embrace our individuality, love the individualism within others, stand unyielding in the face of oppression, and fight to our dying breath to see that the best in all of us is one day fully realized.