Friday, November 23, 2012

AGP-why apocalypse part 1-3

( I included the first part of this article already published )
AGP
APOCALYPSE GUN PORN
WHY THE APOCALYPSE?
The average “survivalist” is little more than a glorified militia army of one with multiple semi-automatic weapons and a case or two of Meals Ready to Eat ( which actually stand for “Meals Rejected by Ethiopians” although they don’t taste that bad unless you get some Politically Correct ethnic entre that you wouldn’t feed your starving dog.  Their main problem besides civilian market cost is their propensity to halt all biological waste elimination processes ) and not too much else including common sense.  They believe that all they have to do is focus on defense and all else will take care of itself.  And they certainly believe with all their hearts, more than they believe in Baby Jesus himself, the sanctity of marriage or the concept of stupidity coming back to bite you on the ass, that since we are By Gum Americans we will so be able to get back on our feet no problem lickity split after any disaster, calamity or collapse.  The fact that we could actually collapse for good and have a die-off is strange and unacceptable to them.  They spend plenty of time researching civilization collapse and they go on living as if life will be no more altered after resource depletion than if a level one hurricane dumped a few gallons of water down in New York’s subways.  Getting out of harms way in the city is as easy as ones months rent to buy a plot of junk land, but they claim that since it won’t grow crops it is useless ( like you are growing all that much in the city! ).  Even the vast majority of survivalists live in denial, as that allows them to stubbornly grasp on to their luxury lifestyle that much longer.
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Looking at history, almost every civilization ended in total collapse after their resource base was overwhelmed by overpopulation.  Those that claim this is proof that it takes hundreds of years to collapse miss a very important point.  Those civilizations were predominantly farmers.  The urbanites took the brunt of the casualties ( per capita ) from malnutrition and then epidemics at the beginning.  Not that farmers didn’t suffer, they did.  The city slickers were the leaders and the military and they took what they needed regardless.  My point is that the majority had at the beginning the means to feed themselves.  Today, the entire globe is urbanized.  There won’t be any slow down as if the majority could still feed themselves.  So, the figures of 30-50% die-off after epidemics was best case scenario.  Not worse case as has been assumed.  When most of the globe is living in cities and dependent on oil to grow crops and transport those crops long distances to the slums, and the globe has already peaked in conventional oil production, and the downside of peak will be steep because of plummeting imports due to domestic demand, along with severe weather as our fifty year cycle of mild weather ends, it doesn’t take a friggin rocket scientist to figure out we are double dog humped as a species.
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Every argument you hear against collapse has the pitiful whine of the addict arguing against cutting back on his wonderful elixir.  Peak Oil was finally getting some traction before Frac oil popped on to the scene.  It takes $80 a barrel to produce the fake oil, it gets about ten percent of the net energy conventional crude does, the average well loses forty percent of production after only one year, they are very expensive to drill ( six or eight million a pop ) as the globes banks are barely held together and credit continues to tighten, and all this adds up to energy independence?  Your sagging bloody pimpled ass it does.  Yet so strong is the need to maintain Business As Usual to both producers and consumers, this fantasy is widely accepted.  And even after five years of the worse economic news since the Great Depression, most of us cling to the hope of Green Shoots or The Great Recession End In Sight.  When we have “only” an additional one third of a million new unemployed THAT MONTH ALONE, we think this is a sign of recovery?  Evidently, by the number of “survivalists” who stay in the million plus population cities, it bodes rather well, thank you very much!  All is well, nothing to see here, move along.  My AR-15 will protect me from the hundreds of thousands of starving cannibals. 
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In nature, starvation and resource depletion and die-offs happen with appalling regularity.  Mother Nature is a regulating mechanism which seems beautifully designed and well oiled, but the cost of the systems adaptability is the suffering of the individual.   Now, please don’t get off on a tangent and call me a Social Darwinist , lumping me in with Mussolini ( hey, he made the trains run on time, no small achievement- although if you think about it the ability to start up an engine on time and run it at a set speed doesn’t seem to be much of an accomplishment,  almost as if the whole system was needy to the point of wanting praise merely for earning its paycheck- but he is nobody’s idea of a heroic figure even if in the great scheme of things his death by lamppost was way cool ).  Just because I think that most people are lazy and try not to think anymore than possible and hence are incapable of transcending baser human tendencies does not make me anything more than a realist.  And we are still just talking about nature here so don’t jump the gun.  Mother nature presents a rather simple menu choice.  Surplus equals extra energy equals increased reproduction equals increased consumption equals resource depletion followed by massive die-off.  Humans are merely animals, with bigger brains rather than warm fur and sharp claws.  We aren’t smarter, per se, but we have big enough brains to barely get the job done of feeding ourselves and protecting ourselves ( don’t give yourself too much credit.  In a Brazilian rain forest a huge swarm of army ants can take over the place and deplete all the resources just as we’ve done globally.  The army ants ain’t smart individually, they are just vicious and work hard.  If we were so darn smart we wouldn’t go up and down the boom and bust cycle constantly through our history ).  Which is another thing people too smart for their own good get wrong about the collapse.  Collectively we are barely smart enough to get along.  When the collective isn’t all that bright it stands to reason a few folks are brighter, and most are too dumb to pour piss out of their boot.  Don’t pretend you don’t understand what I’m talking about.  Almost everyone you know is pretty close to being a retard.   And you do some splendidly stupid crap on a regular basis.  The few smart ones make most of the advances and the mob parasites off of them ( one villager comes up with fire or a spear as the rest have cowered in fear of Demon Lion God that carried off their children as sacrifices- this assumes a long line of almost smart enough predecessors who also got eaten by big cats before one descendent finally got it right in time- and then the dumb mob uses those tools to protect the smart one long enough for him/her to procreate and pass on the not so stupid genes ).  We all think we are smarter than we actually are, with a few actually delivering on the delusion.  So, the few smart ones think they have the salvation of mankind figured out.  If everyone did A, B and perhaps Z, then we can all avoid the mistakes of the last civilization to collapse.  But the vast majority of folks are not smart enough to do such sensible things.  We are barely smarter than a red assed baboon.  We are all riding on the past few accomplishments of the few who were smarter.  And while that works for us being better armed than wild animals, or having control over the small mild forms of violence Mother Nature throws at us ( such as a fire in a cave wearing skins to combat winter ), that doesn’t give us much better control over our primate minds.  If you look at most of our behaviors they are pretty identical to a pack of monkeys.  Same instincts, same behavior, better tools.
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Of course, we actually behave worse than monkeys, as they seem a lot better at not overpopulating and depleting their environment.  We were at peace with our environment for hundreds of thousands of years, perhaps longer but no one knows for sure, until our slowly increasing numbers at long last forced us to move from hunting and gathering to agriculture ( or, it could have been that a long lasting bout of mild weather suddenly ended and compressed our habitable areas.  For whatever reason, moving to agriculture was a step down rather than up evolutionarily speaking.  Also, environmentally speaking.  The surpluses came at considerable cost in many ways ).  Once agriculture became the dominant force, we moved into permanent dysfunctional mode, one the monkey pack only saw in environmental crisis times.  The way to defend and protect our land which grew our food was warfare ( hunter gatherers are no stranger to war, but it is merely turf protection.  As long as population is held in control there is no need to invade other territory ).  Which would have been as relatively benign as a monkey band keeping outsiders at bay.  But early on it was discovered that surplus population was a tool to strategic victory.  More folks planted more food which led to more farmers and more soldiers, leading to more surplus and better protection.   But that also meant that once too many farmers and soldiers came along and a bad weather spell intruded, the only choice to survive was to invade a neighboring land and steal their sustenance ( of course, monkeys and hunter gatherers also employed the invasion survival trait, but the scale was small compared to agricultural empires ).  And of course, even those that knew better knew that if they had a chance of stopping such an invasion, they too had to overpopulate to protect themselves.  So if they in turn ran low on crops they ended up being the invaders.  So since farming began we’ve been trapped in this cycle of overpopulation and depletion.  And here lies the difference between yesterday and today.
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For the last ten thousand or so years, the cycle has been to populate out to meet surplus levels.  Yet, since there is a time lag between a surplus crop and when new babies come along ( a woman generally needs 20% body fat to carry to term.  Malnourishment is not conducive to building up that fat ), the population never levers off at the right point unless cultural traits are in place such as infanticide or abortion or whatnot, and the EXTRA population is still on the way after food gets short.  We sow the seeds ( literally ) of our destruction in the midst of surplus.  Crops fail, we eat less, we get sick and go to war.  It isn’t just about a ten percent loss of crops killing off ten percent of the population.  90% of the population eats less after that ten percent reduction.  They all become weak and when a disease comes along most get sick and a lot more than ten percent die.  Now add in the death toll from fighting with the neighbor tribe for his food ( not to mention domestic crime and violence ).  A small food failure takes a huge toll, far beyond its initial loss. And that was when everyone was a farmer ( with 5% to 10% living off the collective surplus- the king and soldiers and craftsmen ).  The historical figures of 30% to 50% die-off were when 90% friggin percent of the population grew crops.  Today, over 90% of the population sits around in their huts or McMansions, picking their ass and waiting for the trucks and trains to bring the food into the slums of West BumHump Africa or the nicely painted and stucco’ed slums of American suburbia from the countryside where industrial machines artificially farm with copious inputs of petroleum products.  Almost every area follows this same model, enough of a percentage to constitute a majority ( most Third World farms are the same, colonial style plantation cash crops growing cocoa and coffee and sugar and food oils as the former subsidence farmers are forced out to urban areas ).  Throughout history, food was local as were famines.  Today, food is global and while that helped keep food affordable until 2005 ( peak conventional oil- the only reason oil production hasn’t fallen is because we’ve added crap oil like tar sands to the total count and called it good ) and it cushioned local weather disasters, that model has now turned against us.
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The only way we can produce and sell food is globally on an industrial scale.  There is of course movements to go back to human labor and renewable soil inputs, but these are very small scale.  The question we now face is “will the fuel run out to keep industrial farming going”?  As population keeps rising as do natural disasters ( pretty much something every year to keep messing with total output ) we don’t have the option to go back to local and organic.  Reconditioning the soil takes time and even more energy inputs ( transportation of outside organic matter ) so every acre built back up sustainably means less food in the short run.  As population growth continues.  And we can’t go back to local production because we’ve built up the infrastructure for long distance farming.  In an energy contraction, you can’t maintain the old infrastructure let along built a new one.  So we must keep transporting food even if we could go organic everywhere.  Transportation fuel takes up more energy than does farm inputs ( any farmer would argue with you that petroleum inputs are now very expensive, but I’m talking here about usage ). 
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Of course we can still muddle along as we have been.  But when will that end?  When will the tripping point occur?  It could be as soon as 2013 as the 2012 drought works through the system ( I’m not prophesizing, just guessing if it’s possible ).  It could be in a few years ( each year conventional oil pumping or imports drops close to double digits.  That can’t go on forever ).  The point is, it has been over half a decade and every year just gets worse as far as energy and population ( and economics ) and one day we go over the tripping point.  The system is failing and just because we’ve muddled through so far doesn’t mean we can do so indefinitely.  Whereas before individuals couldn’t arrest the tide of petroleum industrialization and globalization, we are now at a point where only individuals can save themselves by devolving back to pre-Oil Age.  The system is doomed, with only the timing in question.  But the other bad thing about population growth is now there are so many more mouths to feed and so many more guns that can turn on you for your food.  Before, a small percentage of excess eaters were born slowly and slowly malnutrition spread until disease kicked in for a relatively long die-off.  Now, there are so many more mouths to feed than can be fed sustainably, we are just waiting for the tripping point of not enough food before the sudden die-off occurs.  We are already in the malnutrition phase.  Large parts of Africa and the middle east have been triaged already.  Mostly they are contained and forced to starve locally in place.  But once those areas, which also produce oil, don’t ship enough petroleum to the First World, then hunger goes global.  And with nobody on the farms and the farms idled from lack of fuel, the cities explode after just a small drop in supplies coming in.  It isn’t that overpopulation is new, it is that overpopulation went from 10% to 800% ( or thereabouts. There is dispute over the solar carrying capacity ).  And it will have an accelerated time line due to nobody manning the farms anymore, and using a diminishing resource in place of fertile soil and manual labor.  History is a guide, not a prediction.  We know historically die-offs happen.  But the Oil Age is a one time event not subjected to historical cycles.  Expect a lot worse this time.
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Which is why you need to think about immediate survival preparations.  Not slow preps over several decades.  We don’t know when the tripping point is.  It could be tomorrow, or in ten years.  It could never happen as envisioned, but that would be pretty silly to bet on since it is your life on the line.  Assume the worse, prepare for it, be happy if it never happens. 
END
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4 comments:

  1. PANIC! PANIC! LOL nice rant Jim. All makes sense. -SemperFido

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  2. Lord Bison of the Great Basin;

    Thank You for the overview of collapse due to the synergy of competing factors that will lead to the reduction of human population worldwide. Unfortunately I must inquire what exactly does the big picture have to do with Apocalypse Gun Porn, other than the fact that you feel that the AR-15 and its derivatives aren't the appropriate armament for the job of defending against hordes of cannibalistic refugees? Again I understand the big picture of why a collapse happens, please give examples of mitigation through the constructive use of defensive firepower. Thank You for your time, Keep keeping it real James!

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  3. Lord Jim,
    Nice rant 11/25/12
    Survival Acres Blog – What Is It?

    Hell, I think a little bit of it stuck to all of us. Though I'm still heading west. Be a farmer!

    6 months till Buy-Day
    18 months till M-Day.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think the Big Equalizer in keeping the population down was food production. Not only did we live half as long as we do now, people died in their infancy and very young years (pre-teens) on a regular basis due to disease and starvation.

    Life was frickin' hard - when you see those pictures of people in the early 19th Century, they weren't the grinning fools you see today, perched on their Prius or on a lake shore. They were grim faced looking, asetting on their Case tractor or on a rail fence in work clothes, looking tired as hell, sleep deprived eyes, stooped shoulders from carrying heavy crap all day long. Miserable - damn surprised they had enough energy to produce later generations.

    ReplyDelete