Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Shadow Knows: Part One

The Shadow Knows

The Discontinuity

There’s an elephant in the room, but I rarely write about it.

The primary issues that we cover at Gates of Vienna are Islam, sharia, and the Islamization of the West. In addition we sometimes branch off into closely related topics, such as political correctness, multiculturalism, Socialism, and all the other debilitating ideologies that have weakened Western Culture and allowed Islam to establish such a massive beachhead.

Dymphna and I occasionally range even further into topics that are tangential at best, including the culture wars, social and political history, American party politics, and any number of other topics.

But I hardly ever discuss the elephant. I don’t even like to reach out and tug at his tail or touch his trunk, because he’s so damned big and overpowering. He’s much more significant than anything else I can see, but before long he will flatten our puny little bamboo village, and there’s no way to stop him. Any lengthy discussion of the looming pachyderm seems pointless.

I refer, of course, to the elephant of the coming economic collapse.

I make no predictions about when its enormous legs will begin to cut their inexorable swathe of destruction. I read all the doomsday forecasts back in 2008, and they all turned out to be wrong, at least in their predicted time frame. The signs that were predicted back then — the rise of oil and food prices, continuing unemployment, the stagnation in GDP, and the flight to precious metals — have begun, but they are clocking in two years later than predicted.

So the global financial system seems to be a lot more resilient than most people thought. The Powers That Be are adept at jury-rigging, and have patched up the decrepit machine with bailing wire and duct tape — i.e. bailouts and quantitative easing — to help keep it running for a little while longer.

However, the entire structure must eventually come crashing down, and the longer the postponement, the more spectacular will be its fall. The Western welfare state is built out of enormous, unthinkable quantities of debt. It is the greatest Ponzi scheme in history, and its demise is mathematically inevitable. The only question is exactly when the scam starts to unravel in earnest — the outside limit is about a generation from now, when the demographic disaster can no longer be papered over.

Fjordman believes, as do many others, that the party will be over much sooner than that. I tend to agree, but I’m no expert, and I’ve seen a lot of experts fail in their predictions. So I present no timelines, but the end of the world’s current financial regime is coming soon, and there isn’t anything that can be done to prevent it.

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El Inglés has referred to a “discontinuity” in the affairs of the West which will change the rules about how we may discuss and deal with the looming crisis. It seems evident now that the discontinuity will take the form of an economic collapse, and the concomitant failure of the welfare state.

The end of the welfare state will act as a high colonic for some of the worst excesses of our culture. The lavish funding of our most absurd and destructive behaviors will come to an end. State support for the able-bodied, and probably even for the aged and disabled, will be drastically curtailed.

Immigration and its attendant problems will in due course become insignificant, because what remains of civil society among the natives will hunker down to protect itself, by whatever means necessary. Yes, I realize that much of California and other parts of the Southwest are already alien territory, and will simply become part of Aztlan or whatever the mestizo majority decides to call it. But at least the new entity will no longer be kept on life support through the beneficence of politicians in Washington D.C.

And much of the Muslim problem in Europe will be solved. When the state is no longer supporting three-quarters of the urban immigrant population, the denizens of the no-go zones will have to figure out some other means of subsistence. One presumes the resolution of the ensuing struggle for resources will not be pretty, but the problem will be resolved.

But what about the rest of civil society?

Forget about the immigrants, the underclass, the drug addicts, and the aged and infirm. What about the rest of us?

The crisis I’m describing will occur relatively soon, and many people who read this will still be alive when it comes.

What will life be like for you then?

What will be your part in it?

This is something for which we are all ill-prepared. Most of us have been trained to be part of global modernity, to be apprentice mechanics whose job it is to help keep the world-machine running. When it finally huffs out its last plume of steam and clatters to a permanent halt, we’ll be left standing there, useless monkey wrench in hand, lacking even the ghost of a clue.

What then?

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I’ve been pondering these matters for the last couple of years, trying to understand what is happening so that I might be able to write about it. Grasping a thread to unravel the whole mess is almost impossible, because it is so complex and so unprecedented. We have no real idea of how the catastrophe will unfold.

For the sake of argument, I’m avoiding the absolute worst-case scenarios. I assume there will be no all-out nuclear war. I won’t look at what might happen after a major EMP over the United States or Europe. I assume that the electric grid will still be up, at least in most Western countries, most of the time.

My premise is that there will be remnants of civil society still functioning in a lot of places, where people like us are doing their best to hold communities together using whatever means come to hand.

If this is in fact what we all can expect, then we need to start preparing for it now, even though we don’t know exactly what lies ahead. Nor can we count on any of the major elements of the existing system — the government, the media, the educational system, the military, law enforcement, major corporations, etc. — to help us. Ordinary people, acting autonomously and coming together when they can, will have to solve this on their own.

With all this in mind, I propose making conscious a process that has already begun spontaneously over the last decade or so.

I call it THE SHADOW.

The analogy for this concept is a “shadow government”: in a parliamentary system, when the opposition party is out of power, it maintains the structure and offices of the government, but in simulacrum within its own ranks, so that it is fully prepared to assume the functions of government as soon as an election returns it to power.

In our case, however, we will need a shadow everything. When the fiat money system breaks down and the currency inflates, the welfare state will fail in its entirety, and there is no backup system waiting to be brought online when that happens. If we don’t devise the Shadow, then when the time comes we will be faced with our own white-bread version of Somalia, the War of All Against All within Western culture.

Fortunately, part of the Shadow is already in the process of forming, so I’m not proposing anything new. I simply want to conceptualize the process and make it conscious, in hopes that its formation might thereby be augmented and accelerated.

I divide the Shadow somewhat arbitrarily into the following component functions, which are not really discrete, but may be described separately for the sake of analysis:

1. Civil administration
2. Education (primary, secondary, and post-secondary)
3. The media and mass communications
4. Manufacturing and commerce
5. Legislative bodies
6. Law enforcement
7. The military

If a remnant of civil society still exists, and a Shadow has been formed for each of the above functions, then it may be possible to reconstitute the bare necessities of a viable society while a replacement for the mass welfare state is devised.

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It’s important to remember that most of the people who have the competence and grit to be part of the Shadow are not major players in the current power structure. The existing system selects against the most creative, talented, innovative, independent, and intelligent people. Most such people are driven out of the system by its oppressiveness and irrationality, and those who remain never rise very high in it.

Yet brilliant and competent people are all around us — I have encountered plenty of them in my Counterjihad work, both here and in Europe. These are the people who are even now being drawn into the Shadow, and who are preparing themselves — whether they realize it or not — for the grim tasks that lie ahead.

I’ll cover each of the above functions in future posts, with the exception of #7, the military — I’m aware that a shadow military is already forming, but I know very little about it, and prudence would militate against a close investigation. So I’ll just leave it be.

But the other six are worth examining in depth. Media (#3) is the function whose shadow is the most advanced — we are part of that shadow, which is already running as an effective parallel to the traditional system.

An effective civil administration (#1) is the most crucial element, because without it the rest of the new society’s functions will break down. In tandem with legislative bodies (#5) and law enforcement (#6), it will permit the formation and protection of new structures of governance, which with luck will help preserve the remains of our culture.

Reader input will be welcomed in this series. I know no more than you do about these matters, and probably less.

“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows...”


Zenster said...

Like a stopped clock, some people get it right once in a while. The Mormons are in that group. Their organizational guidelines recommend keeping in store several months worth of basic food stocks and other ancillary goods.

Think of it as an earthquake preparedness kit on steroids.

This biggest headache is remembering to rotate these products so that they do not go stale. Items like:

Rice, beans, sugar, flour and water.

More astute individuals will also stock:

Batteries, gas or other fuels, canned goods, sewing supplies plus guns and ammunition.

Generators, lanterns, blankets, tents, rope, nails, basic hand tools along with spare clothing and first aid items rounds things out.

Others who are more well-versed in this can suggest books or publications that provide more detail.

There is a list of books in Larry Niven's "Lucifer's Hammer" that deal with basic construction, home remedies and other back-to-the-land solutions which will be of interest to those who take all of this seriously.

My own recommendation is guns. Of equal, if not greater, importance is ammunition and the ability to reload it. One saying is that:

When the revolution comes, the streets will be littered with guns and ammunition will trade for its weight in gold.

Makes sense to me. I think most people here get the picture.

Baron Bodissey said...

Zenster --

I hate to say this, but you’re missing the point.

The point of this post is not individual survival skills and techniques — important as those are — but the survival of communities.

Since the coming crisis involves the collapse of an entire system, I want to consider ways to preserve the seeds of what we have so that a new system can grow from them. This will not happen if individuals and families look only to their own protection — that will only help bring on the War of All Against All.

We need to work on the preservation of communal assets. It begins with the family, but is much larger than that.

The best of Western Civilization will not be preserved if all we do is stock up on guns, ammo, and canned goods. It’s sad, but true — we will need more than that, much more.

Zenster said...

Baron Bodissey: …the survival of communities.

I beg to differ. Communities with large numbers of individuals who have readied themselves in such a manner will be more able to preserve even greater portions of their overall infrastructure.

Your larger point is not lost on me. I just happen to believe that people who exercise sufficient survival awareness will also tend to have the leadership skills and general vision required to carry their respective communities through the coming hard times.

Permit me to congratulate you on mentioning the "elephant in the room". America's credit alcoholism has all but prevented any mention of the salon inhabiting pachyderm.

The towns and burgs that best prepare for this will not find themselves burning library books to warm themselves or taking them for use as toilet paper. That is just a small example of how preparedness will assist in preserving the greater good for all.

Anonymous said...

People should study history to see how these transitions were managed in the past. From what I can tell, the previous system doesn't vanish entirely, so there's enough structure to work with. For instance, the Roman empire didn't just vanish...the structures stayed in place with different people. Some of the old culture was lost, but not entirely.

So I think things will be horrible for a lot of people, but we'll always have some type of structure. I don't see universal anarchy in the West, because we've already had so much structure. There are enough decent military people and others to keep things going, in many places.

The system that replaces the current one will be relatively simple, but I regard that as a good thing. The only downside is all the suffering that comes from the end of the current system. Aside from that, I'd enjoy the kind of society where I could walk or ride a bicycle everwhere, raise food and trade with neighbors, etc., instead of being forced to participate in things I never liked anyway, such as cars and office work. The only people who should really regret the loss of the current financial system are Wall Street types, technocrats and other players. If only those people could disappear, without the inevitable suffering to the rest of us.

Southern Wolf said...

The tea party movement is the civil administration shadow; and every gun owner is part of the well regulated militia, the shadow military and law enforcement. Each of us needs to prepare for the worst and not expect the best.I would not expect electricity to continue even without an EMP as without the financial capital power companies will go bankrupt. There will be widespread looting and it may be required for armed men of civil society to preempt this and take foodstuffs and clothing for themselves. Justice will be summary with little or no trial. A grim picture: visualize a return to frontier days with by and large people who have never fought seriously fighting for survival against tough, young and mean hordes of lawless modern men and women reverted to savagery.

Anonymous said...

Firstly you have to secure food and water supplies. That means some food growing areas and the competent farmers are critical to life. Without these nothing else matters. This was the critical factor when the First Fleet landed it's 1500 in Sidney Cove. Men were hung for stealing food.

You might have to resort to methods of a previous age to survive. Survive they did but they had the resolve. So look to the geography first and the extent of competence of the skilled class.

Nick said...

I think that everyone is jumping the gun here. I've seen a phenomenon time and again in today's UK. People in power will spend a great deal of energy finding ways to do nothing at all. But when their jobs are threatened they suddenly develop a backbone and come out fighting. If the current economic system goes to hell, then it does not follow that the people in power will give that up. On the contrary, they'll use every means they can dream up to keep themselves in power. They'll go to any lengths. This is true enough as things stand today. It'll be far, far worse if the whole system starts to collapse. There are evil people afoot in today's world, and they have manipulated the system so that they are in positions of authority. If everything starts to break down, just watch the lengths they'll go to ... these people want to end up sitting atop the dungheap by the side of their master and leader ... if they have their way then we're all in for a very rough ride. And not being able to afford your cornflakes in the morning will be the least of it.

jlevyellow said...

Chaos uses more energy than order. Short periods of chaos must be followed by lest wasteful structure. The cooperative style under extreme duress of the Japanese is admirable. There has been no looting and pictures show community efforts to rebound only days into the crisis.

With regard to the financial crisis, wealth has two forms: things and energy expenditure. Money is simply a convenient vehicle. Wealth has returned to diverse places that have had failed systems - Germany, Chile, Israel, and maybe Argentina, though they continue to flirt with fascistic socialism. We will be fine again, even after much suffering.

EscapeVelocity said...

I dont know, this economic collapse that you speak of, seems kind of like the Proletariat Revolution that never comes for the Communists.

Anonymous said...

If there's a shadow military, I'd like them to have a plan for seizing farmland from agribusiness and distributing it to qualified independent farmers. (Other means of production, too.) No doubt that will strike some people here as anti-capitalist...so be it. One of the reasons the current system deserves to collapse is that the bar has been set so high by the major players, that one practically has to be a squatter to be self-sufficient. I'd like to see organized, middle-class squatting.

Anonymous said...

Hi Zenster: I'm back and ok. :)

I would add the following items to your survival kit:

1. Portable water filter so that you can sterilize water.


2. Canoe so you can travel up and down waterways which might be safer and quicker than traveling by road.

3. Fishing gear including nets so that you can catch fish to eat.

4. Atlatl and darts so that you can defend yourself after the gun ammo runs out.

Anonymous said...

Atlatl Weapon

EscapeVelocity said...

"If there's a shadow military, I'd like them to have a plan for seizing farmland from agribusiness and distributing it to qualified independent farmers. (Other means of production, too.) No doubt that will strike some people here as anti-capitalist...so be it."

Not just anti capitalist but totalitarian. Ala Agrarian Reform in Southern Africa now and Eastern Europe post WW2.

The Reds are ready for the revolution as well, peeps. And they've been planning much longer for it (even helping to create the conditions for it).

EscapeVelocity said...


gsw said...

Then think UK after the world wars:
ration stamps were needed for basics - butter, sugar, petrol, cloth etc. - so people in villages used barter, the farmer paid the vet in butter & ham, the baker and the carpenter had an understanding,
schools were often run by the librarian, even in a community hall if the school was bombed.

Sure it was mostly illegal and nobody liked the 'spik', but they survived and children who lived through years of war-time deprivation still received an education and most did not starve.

Papa Whiskey said...

If you are going to arm yourself or already have, I strongly recommend getting some training in combat shooting. There's a sizable industry of trainers providing the same; three that I can personally vouch for are:

Morrigan Consulting

Yavapai Firearms Academy

Gunsite Academy

SWAT magazine reviews other schools in every issue:

Anonymous said...

Egghead, welcome back.

EV, I'm not advocating anything totalitarian, my point is that our current system is totalitarian WRT economic activity, because the major players prevent others from playing.

I'm advocating self-help. When things fall apart, land will be seized. Do you want the best farmland to go to Muslim thugs, or should others have the chance to feed themselves?

Your reaction to my suggestion hints at what we all need: to think beyond ideology, and knee-jerk reactions to "left" and "right." I never take part in those discussions that go, "were the Nazis right or left?" Because ideology itself is the problem. One silver lining in learning to survive after the collapse is that people will learn to think more as I do, not necessarily what I think, but how I think, i.e., unaffiliated and without an agenda.

You know, when some of us are wondering where our next meal is coming from, are we going to ask if the nice farming collective down the road is right or left? I, for one, don't care. I want them to be good neighbors who will let me think my own thoughts, that's all.

Starets said...

If the collapse is really bad, I can think of one more important component of the Shadow system that should be included.

That is some way to maintain cultural continuity; to ensure that the best of Western Culture is not lost in a new Dark Age, if it gets that bad. Certainly, the educational component mentioned would fulfill much of that, but I think there is more to it than just education. Think along the lines of the medieval monasteries laboriously hand copying manuscripts. There may be better ways to do that than hand copying; although good paper has been demonstrated to be long lasting; but a component of the Shadow system would do a great deal of good in ensuring that the best of Western Culture is not lost.

As for what to preserve and prioritize: certainly modern science, engineering, medicine. Definitely history. The works of Classical Greece and Rome spurred the Renaissance, and could help to spur a second Renaissance in the future. Also works from the Renaissance itself; essentially any of the works of the past that led to the greatness of the West, before the current decline.

Thanks for bringing this idea out into the open.


Hesperado said...

I'd rather not speculate on saying doom that hasn't yet occurred.

Just as WW1 and WW2 involved derailments based on too many people predicting what should have happened because of the past -- but didn't because entirely new and different devolutions occurred --, let's not get trapped in that same pattern this time around. Once again, I'm optimistic and pessimistic about precisely, and grandly, different scenarios than seems to be the Anti-Islam Blogosphere.

Nick said...

@ gsw

Those were very different days though. The idea that we could all come together to fight a common enemy seems to be no longer with us. The idea of personal sacrifice in order to sustain a deeper social harmony is gone. The notion that we can - or that we should - 'help our neighbours' is also a distant memory.

I've read Hobbes at uni (see the Baron's earlier remarks), and persevered with Dawkins' selfish gene theory, despite the fact that he's one of the most boring and repetitive writers I've ever had the misfortune to encounter.

And in the face of all of that, I'd suggest, in agreement with what you're saying, that in the 'state of nature' we used to be capable of co-operation in order to survive. We had to be - I come from a society where it was an absolute necessity.

Not any more though. I suggest that should we ever approach the 'state of nature' now, that as I said those who are currently serving 'the state' in various capacities will go to any lengths to preserve their own authority. It' won't be a war of all against all, it'll be a war of them against people like us.

That's what we need to concern ourselves with first and foremost, I think.

Nick said...

Look at how those people act: all those mps caught fiddling their expenses, and all we heard were excuses, we didn't get sackings and resignations. Look at how anyone who stands up and speaks out against the prevailing doctrine is ostracised, persecuted and even prosecuted (Geert Wilders for example.) The egos of those people won't let them just fade away - they'll hang on and fight tooth and nail to keep their imagined authority over the rest of humanity. Hitler and his gang knew perfectly well after D-Day that the game was up but they fought on to the bitter end, and I consider the same motivator to be behind the behaviour of many of the people in power today. As I said, there are a lot of people walking around today who are serving 'the state' who would like nothing better than to sit alongside the lord of the dung heap, and who'd consider the stench of death and decay beneath them to be the finest thing imaginable. Those people are capable of anything. Watch out.

Blogger said...

Don't forget to stash lots of chocolate and bottles of good red wine!

Damon said...

I'd like to second what you said.
The "survivalist" attitude will ensure the survival of "you and your nearest", but not the survival of Western culture.
David Brin's novel "The Postman" (including the not-nearly-so-bad-as-the-critics-said movie by/with Kevin Costner) explores this.
The bad guys are the local "survivalists", who prevent the re-establishment of civic culture.

It's a little unsubtle, but still intersting.

In the world following this proposed collapse, it is important (to me, at least) to keep hold of the sense of "civilisation", not just survival.

Oh, yes...and lots of chocolate and red wine!

trencherbone said...

As regards the solution to Europe's Muslim problem when the economic shi'ite eventually hits the fan, I fear we may see the ultimate parasite cleanse.

r.everett said...

A great sorce of information that will be very usefull is the Foxfire books. They store the learning of older generations and HOW they survived. The first book shows you how to Find food and water, and build simple shelters with nothing, to making simple tools and weapons. Step by step each book builds on the former untill the last book shows how to find and smelt iron/steal and diagrams of black powder muskets. It is not survival of the fittest but the most adaptable.

Zenster said...
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Zenster said...

The model for all of this is Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” series. Although it is a little too rarified for this particular discussion, the principle remains the same. Damon’s mention of David Brin’s “The Postman” has a bit more pertinence. I still recommend Larry Niven’s “Lucifer’s Hammer” for those who would like a window upon what a serious breakdown of civil order might entail.

What none of us can foresee is just how severe any such “discontinuity” might be. The yardstick for this will be food distribution and continuation of regular utility services. If running water, electricity, natural gas or telecommunications are interrupted, all bets are off and a downward spiral could happen very easily. Likewise with respect to the food chain; modern civilization has become far too dependent upon mechanized agriculture for it to handily revert to self-sustaining individual “victory” gardens.

If this basic level of civil infrastructure can be continued, then the odds of full-blown descent into anarchy may well be avoided. A lot of it will center on the quality of leadership displayed by those in office and whether removal of them will prove necessary to maintaining those basic public utilities.

To take the Baron’s points in order:

1. Civil administration
As Southern Wolf noted,

The tea party movement is the civil administration shadow; and every gun owner is part of the well regulated militia…

However, there will be many hoodlums who own guns and they will not be seeking to impose any familiar sense of order, quite the opposite in fact. This is why I made the point about ammunition. Few of those thugs will have more than a box or two of rounds.

2. Education (primary, secondary, and post-secondary)
The key thing here will be basic literacy and numeracy. Those fundamental skills which will assist with basic to intermediate engineering applications are a major concern. gsw’s mention of librarians becoming teachers closely echoes my own concern for libraries. These various repositories of knowledge are critical components of any reconstruction and will need to be guarded from the ensuing mayhem.

Starets’ concern for cultural continuity falls under this same category and is one worth at least passing notice. The looting or inhabitation of museums would have to be prevented. Immediately boarding up and securing such institutions should be a high priority. Some very basic printing and duplicating technologies would need to be preserved as well. How primitive these might have to be relies heavily upon just how serious the discontinuity is.

At intermediate levels of civil deterioration, laser printers along with stocks of spare parts and toner might be adequate. Otherwise, wet ink letterpresses and movable type might be of more service than offset presses or even basic spirit duplicators (“ditto” machines).

3. The media and mass communications
Keeping many of the large scale media outlets from being torched will be a major task. They will be the focus of some serious discontent and can be relied upon to perpetuate all of the circumstances that will precipitate this discontinuity, just as they are doing today.

Radio will be far more critical in that it is a media which consumes less power to produce, transmit or receive. Television will become a luxury, at best, if things take any more than just a moderate turn for the worse.

Zenster said...

4. Manufacturing and commerce
Again, baseline production of critical spare parts (e.g., trucking, heavy equipment, telecom, paper goods, etc.) will provide a measure of just how severely things will deteriorate. Some good examples are the ability to replace large electrical generation components like hydroelectric turbines or steam powered generators used in natural gas or coal-fired power generation stations. The same goes for intermediate scale petroleum refining. A total loss of fuel and lubricant production will send everything downhill very fast.

5. Legislative bodies
Here, Nick’s admonitions take on some serious dimensions. The service economy’s elite (i.e., politicians, financiers, lawyers and high level bureaucrats) will not sit still for having to fart through anything less than silk. They will cheerfully throw any number of us beneath the wheels to preserve their status quo. They are already doing it right now and are also earnestly engaged in securing the means to continue doing so should things deteriorate. So do not be surprised if these parasites start killing the host. They have little other means of survival and — unable to detach themselves at this advanced state of dependency — will go down with the ship rather than learn how to survive by honest means.

The formation of “town halls” and other localized governance will be the norm. Those who have benefited most and in the greatest numbers from our parasitic political class will also be the first to turn against them. Inner city gangs will not rally to the side of politicians who handed out their welfare checks. This is especially so if the government printing presses have ground to a halt. These thugs and hoodlums will ally themselves with the various gang kingpins turned warlords and continue their usual predatory behavioral model. If the military cannot quell eruptions of urban insurrection things will spiral out of control with great rapidity, at least in the inner cities. Lack of food will see these urban marauders spread to the more fertile countryside with great rapidity.

6. Law enforcement
This was covered to a great extent in part 1. Unfortunately, Federal and State law enforcement will probably be diverted over to protecting the service economy’s elite. Local police forces will probably be less enthusiastic about hitching their wagons to the falling stars of municipal leaders. Look for them to assist in helping form citizen militias, if anything. The exception will be hyper-corrupt cities like Chicago and New Orleans, where law enforcement has long been viewed as a predatory enemy by the citizenry.

7. The military
This is the wild card in our predictive deck. Fortunately, there already have been some positive rumblings from America’s military regarding their unwillingness to participate in disarming America. The trust and popularity that our military currently enjoys could be sustained if their efforts were not directed towards enforcing the status quo of our political elite. Sufficient numbers of our soldiers have already witnessed the towering contempt shown for their safety and livelihood by the political establishment, so there is ample reason to suspect that they might rebel against orders that sustained our current self-serving model of government.

Zenster said...

Finally, to heck with the red wine, some serious distillation equipment will better serve long term needs. Likewise the chocolate; plain sugar is much more versatile for its preservative properties and use in baking or making spirits. A mash can be made from just about anything be it fruits or grains, extracting the alcohol is another matter altogether. Don’t forget that alcohol is also vital for first-aid.

Home canning (i.e., jars, lids, seals and paraffin) and other preservation methods such as curing meats and drying fruit will be important components for survival in harsher climes. Odd items like rennet, potassium nitrate, sulfates and other food processing ingredients will prove very useful. Spices will quickly become of high value as everyone gets tired of bland food.

Oh yes, matches … lots of matches plus flints, strikers, hand lenses, and all other fire-starting implements. Bows and arrows will be quite handy once the ammunition runs out. Blades of all sorts, especially Victorinox Swiss army knives and pocket tools (accept no substitutes!) will be worth their weight in gold. Axes, mauls, saws and other wood-felling tools will be very useful come winter.

PS: A hearty welcome back to Egghead who already made some very constructive additions to my rudimentary lists of survival stocks.

Zenster said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thanks, Zenster and latté island! It's good to be back. :)

The important thing to remember is that physical items can be stolen from citizens by both the national government - note here that the Department of Homeland Security has ALREADY legalized future government "appropriation" of food from the citizenry - in addition to violent roving gangs.

Thus, it is important to establish multiple effective hiding places for valuable survival resources.

The reason that is is important for whole neighborhoods and communities to prepare for disasters together is that then your neighbors are less likely to KILL you for scarce supplies when the going gets tough - and more likely to BAND together to protect mutual community interests against violent roving gangs.

Psychological survival will be most important because violent behaviors will be rewarded as survival of the fittest takes hold.

Zenster said...

Egghead: The reason that is is important for whole neighborhoods and communities to prepare for disasters together is that then your neighbors are less likely to KILL you for scarce supplies when the going gets tough - and more likely to BAND together to protect mutual community interests against violent roving gangs.

This is the point I sought to make in my first two posts. Those who demonstrate foresight and leadership will more likely inspire community cohesion and be able to recruit fellow neighbors for the purpose of repelling invaders or confiscators intent on doing harm.

In a separate comment I will try to identify, where possible, "shadow" forms of the seven subgroups listed in the original post (if I have not done so already).

Southern Wolf said...

per Zenster,

'However, there will be many hoodlums who own guns and they will not be seeking to impose any familiar sense of order, quite the opposite in fact. This is why I made the point about ammunition. Few of those thugs will have more than a box or two of rounds.'

That is true. I should have qualified that by including every gun owner who supports the Constitution, in which case the tea party movement and 'gun owners' are one and the same. As well as preemptively seizing foodstuffs and clothing- before DHS does as noted above- it will be necessary to also seize the contents of sporting goods and firearms stores, before the ATF does. So I would include contingency plans for that.

Anonymous said...

What about SEEDS for planting crops?

Anonymous said...

Starets' point about preserving Western knowledge is one that I have often made - with the idea that the coming RFID chipping of all humans and physical items will lead to censorship and elimination of all great works of literature. If "leaders" can easily locate ALL of the books that "offend" anyone (and EVERYTHING offends Muslims), then "leaders" can confiscate and destroy these books.

By the way, libraries are well on their their way to RFID chipping ALL of their books. Thus, to preserve Western knowledge from multiple threats, ALL educated people should visit secondhand bookstores NOW and actively acquire copies of the great works of literature that do NOT currently have RFID chips - copies that may be hidden if needed due to future events. If everyone picks their favorite authors, we should maintain a great selection of literature.

Anonymous said...

As for survival items, we have all forgotten the most important item that defines civilization: TOILET PAPER (plus diapers and sanitary pads). Really! Stock up! :)

Anonymous said...

Biodiesel should be on the list. Many people will be living off the grid, and biodiesel is a low tech fuel that can be produced from scratch by anyone. Farmers in the midwest run tractors on refined corn oil they grow and extract themselves; hippies and other do it yourself types pick up used cooking oil from restaurants and run diesel cars on either straight vegetable oil or biodiesel, which can be refined in a blender or adapted washing machine, with some simple additives like lye.

Anyone who owns diesel vehicles and generators and has a source of veggie oil will never need a gas station or electric company.

Pierre said...

I consider myself to be a prepper. There are a ton of very worthwhile resources on the web that have done a lot of this sort of thinking that might be interesting to consider.


One of the first things we all need to do is reach out to our neighbors and develop ties. Nothing is as valuable as friends.

Also if you have purchased a rifle or even if you haven't, please attend an Appleseed event. I have seen active duty Marines learn techniques from the masters who teach for Appleseed. Been to three of them myself and I can honestly say if you can shoot rifleman then you are a scary person when the balloon inevitably goes up. Bring your spouse...

månesteiner said...

Living in the outskirts of the Northeasten USA I'm already well stocked, by habit, in the basic necessities, i.e. foodstuffs, tools, wood, .357 etc.

But I've got to give the nod to Blogger on his point about the red wine.

Zenster said...

PierreLegrand: www.survivalblog.com

Congratulations, PierreLegrand, that is a most excellent resource for all concerned. The site is "must read" material for any determined survivalist. Just the page-topping article about making your own soap is worth the (free) price of admission all by itself. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Zenster and Bodissey:

Thanks for the great stuff.

I think you're both right.

As a good friend of mine who was there for most of the Global War on Terror puts it, when things are in disarray, protection of the community will be our No. 1 priority.

However, in order to be useful in that regard, one must have some useful skills.

Loren said...

Do you know anyone looking at the manufacturing/commerce point?

While I'm not done with school yet, I'm also finding little to do with rapid prototyping technologies. I feel these are key for something like this since with a few more horses in the stable, you can have a true fabber--a fabrication shop that can make anything under the sun, including another fabber shop.

As I said, finding education for this stuff is hard. There's no good list of classes, and even basic courses like metallurgy get odd since the methods being used is more of a peripheral topic in the courses normally used.

Zenster said...

Loren: While I'm not done with school yet, I'm also finding little to do with rapid prototyping technologies.

Loren makes a very important point. Here is a short primer on stereolithography. I knew some of the original inventors of this technology back when it was first being developed in the mid 1970s.

Stereolithography is capable of producing 3-D polymer prototypes from CAD files in a few hours when ordinary machining or casting techniques could take days.

Casting molds can be taken from the final results or, after dimensional inspection and verification, numerical controlled machining can then produce the final non-polymer part.

Imagine being able to economically produce one-off parts like firing pins or extremely specialized high tolerance mechanical components for vehicle transmissions and other ruggedized applications.

More than anything, stereolithography would allow for continuing advances in technological innovation to proceed despite a huge portion of the traditional industrial grid being taken offline.

Loren said...

Zenster, to add to it all:

20% of RP machines is finished product. Selective laser sintering(SLS) and fused deposition(FDM) machines can produce parts out of everything from ABS to titanium. Most of the STL machines use much weaker resins that can't bear the full loads.

The big deal is going to be expanding the capability of the machines to parts not normally "printable" like ICs and PCBs. You also need to set up the raw material inputs so you can recycle materials used in the process and make use of external feedstocks not optimized for the machines themselves. Once you have these, you can literally build a shop in a large garage that can make ANYTHING that will fit in the open space. Cars, airplanes, anything. There are just a few bottlenecks, high cost of the professional machines, lack of proper education for using them generally, and that small but important parts like electronics can't be made this way yet.

I have some ideas on how to expand in those areas, but there are no educational programs for the field that are not machine specific, and I've not found many job openings for someone to get in and learn.