Friday, November 30, 2012

then and now

I was putzing around on the old blog ( ‘bison survival blog’ for any poor fool just now being drawn into my vortex ) looking for the article on the rimfire and revolver arsenal, trying to decide if it was worthy of book inclusion ( it ain’t ) when I noticed another few articles I had written four years ago ( when you tend to have diarrhea of the brain you forget what you’ve subjected your readers to earlier so you can go back and read old stuff and it is just like new ).  I can’t believe that prices were so much lower then, nor can I believe how chipper and happy and how not-very-gloomy  I sounded.  I can’t claim that I had found out about Peak Oil, overshoot, Malthus or any other doom concept after I wrote that article, so I got to thinking what the difference was between then and now.  Why was I so care free about how much to worry?  In effect, I was saying “odds are more than likely it will stay business as usual ( always getting slightly worse, but no sudden calamity ).  Always prepare just in case, but don’t stress over things too much”.  Even to the authors ears this sounds a tad too optimistic, and I wonder why I ever wrote that.  What I came up with is that prior to that, everything had been theoretical.  And since then both Peak Oil and Economic Depression have become rear view mirror events ( yes, Peak Oil was 2005.  But it took a bit to become obvious as the patches and fixes disguised things for a few years ).  And no, I don’t think four years of “not crashed yet” is grounds for hope.
Back in the day, from Cold War nuke fears to not too long after Y2K, I was your basic Survivalist Optimist.  You know the type.  “Have one years supply of food, a gun or two, backup cooking and everything will be ducky”.  I hadn’t thought long and hard enough about systematic collapse.  I had all the book learning from decades of treating survivalism as a hobby, but it wasn’t until “Overshoot” that I started truly embracing the real potential of die-off ( so, yes, even as I make fun of other writers for being a slow decline optimist, I was also one myself ).  In my case, knowledge is truly a dangerous thing.  The more I studied the more I understood how wrong I’d been to embrace any hope.  And then, at about the same time, we had a little thing called economic contraction.  I might have been raised all through the 70’s and that piece of economic happiness, but as a child you sure don’t deal with things realistically ( in a sound, functional household, obviously ) because you are insulated.  I’ve never actually lived in a healthy economy so I don’t know how to be overly optimistic, but obviously I had proven immune to a certain amount of bad economic news because it wasn’t until the housing bubble crash, the $150 a barrel oil, disappearing rice or the bank bailouts that I actually experienced true economic fear.
And, no, I didn’t flip overnight from “prepare and relax” to “keep prepping and be very afraid”.  It has been a gradual trip.  Whereas before I knew the collapse was on track to visit us sometime, now I’m pretty sure that everyday we avoid it is a bloody miracle.  And instead of thinking we can keep avoiding the day of reckoning, using six years of not having a collapse, I just keep thinking every day that goes by is one more day of soil depletion, printing press inflation, overpopulation and oil drawdown, all of which add up to make the coming collapse worse and worse.  Why bring all this up, other than embarrassment of past writings?  I was just rereading “Overshoot”, written in 1980, and the warnings back then of the consequences of different paths taken.  Thirty years ago he warns that renewed drawdown of resources would lead to the most severe crash.  Remember, even back then it was obvious mankind had already overshot capacity.  If we had acted back then, we would have actually been able to embrace a long slow descent.  But instead we started accelerating drawdown of all resources and we’ve nearly doubled the global population.  It simply can’t end well.  And for me I guess the economy not recovering ( oh my mother licking god, you must be a simple moron to buy their blatantly false Happy News anymore ) brought that knowledge from intellectual information to believable fact. 
So today I’ve gone from “prep and be happy” to “prep and still panic”, but with the caveat “still panic until you’ve insulated yourself from the economy taking you down with it”.  Then you can still treat the apocalypse as the fun hobby prepping in general used to be.  Nowadays, economic prepping is no longer a hobby, or fun.  It is a literal life saving necessity.  If you don’t act now to save yourself from the bankers you will end up as road pizza.  They will take you down like a crack junkie kills a geriatric for the four dollars and fifty five cents in her housecoat.  To the junkie, even five bucks is justification for homicide because the fix is all they care about.  And the bankers have already shown no remorse by economically killing off vast segments of the population ( all those seniors without COLA seeing their buying power drop for life’s necessities, all the civil servants laid off before they could get a pension, all the Medicare recipients soon to get a new co-pay in excess to their income, all those home owners upside down in a state that won’t allow you to legally walk away from the difference, they are all zombies.  Dead, but they don’t know it yet ).  Next year, I’m sure I’ll have ratcheted up my fear and I’ll look back at this article as hopelessly naïve.  If we are all still around.
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  1. Lord Jim,

    2016 we crash. Maybe later. Why?

    1)Well I ain't ready yet.
    2)They haven't looted 401k/pensions yet.
    3)Gold hasn't blown up.
    4)They are not done looting the treasury.

    Ever wonder why it's been a slow crash, since forever? TPTB have kept things going in order to loot. They could crash this pig today, if they wanted to. They control the vertical, horizonial. Why should they crash it? Things are pretty good for them right now. Granted once this pig is bone-dry mummified, they will roll out another fiat system, probably world-wide but this current pig ain't dry yet.

    FED is buying the bonds. Dollar weakness? blah blah. You try to decouple the petro-dollar, you die. So the dollar gets weak against what? Food and oil. But all fiat is getting weaker against resources. The dollar weakness ain't going to crash us.

    Granted, we are seeing cracks, mainly because of oil peak and population (food) peak. This ain't cause of dollar printing. The world being sucked dry is causing the cracks we see. Nothing else.

    We crash when the dollar goes bye-bye. Dollar is weak from earth's resources getting depleted. Not cause of printing.

    When the Dollar breaks it will end trade in the world. Then we crash. TPTB start a new world-wide fiat system to enable trade again.

    Rince and repeat...on a more serf-like level.

  2. My theory on the mood differences you notice between now and then is that the general personal situation you were in was different.

    Our immediate surroundings influence us more than we would like to acknowledge. In extreme cases one can speak of "cognitive dissonance" (captain of the Titanic Vs reality) but I think the process is always there, with less blatant differences.

    It's also what impulse buying is about.

    But on the other end of the spectrum, notice how the very frugal person is able to see the big picture, whereas the person drowned in material wealth is not only spending most of its time managing it, but typically overreacts to doom perspectives, yet at the same time doesvery little as a reaction (except tossing money at the problem, and this where Rawles & Co make their living, not mentioning AR15 accessories vendors & manufacturers).

    The best survivors are intelligent poor people (and notice how many really smart guys are not good with money at all).

  3. I have a simple formula to avoid worrying:

    1. I am determined to save what I can.
    2. I assume I am not one of the things I can save.

    Of course that knocks Survivalism on its kiester and stands Prepping on its head, but it works for me.

    I must admit, it does really help to have a burning vision in your head of a glorious future for which the collapse of industrial civilization is pretty much a prerequisite.