Thursday, January 31, 2013

attitude adjustment


Today over at the Arch Druid was a discussion on how Americans have no frame of reference for the coming end of empire, as we will be giving up a sixth of the globes oil consumption and all that goes with it.  A return to peon farmer status not seen since our forefathers immigrated here from pestilent eastern European dung heaps ( and western Europe’s version, Ireland [ nothing against the Irish, I’m from Celtic stock myself somewhere way back, just a condition of England’s exploitation ] ).  Americans, even or especially those in the Yuppie Scum Survivalist group, seriously need an attitude adjustment for the coming Super Cell Crap Storm.  They can’t even begin to conceive of what life on the other side of the Peak Oil plateau is going to look like.  Take my two favorite bugaboos relating to yuppie survivalists, exercise and grid down.  I’m so friggin tired, tired down to the marrow of my bones, of hearing about how our chubby little cubicle warriors need to get started on calisthenics, running, martial arts, whatthehellever.  First, your typical prepper, if out of shape, took a lifetime getting there.  He isn’t serious about transitioning to a post petroleum reality because if he was, he wouldn’t be paying attention to any advice from Great Yuppie Guru’s peddling feel good solutions ( who lives in New York City and seriously expects to be taken at face value as a survivalist expert? ).  He’d already be riding a bicycle for transportation, both because that is the future and it is all the exercise you need.  And second, all this macho military copycat crap is embarrassing.  Carl levels of embarrassing.  The military trains you for one thing and one thing only and that is how to die.  Who was it with the “make the other poor bastard die for his country”?  Patton?  That kind of common sense barely ever seeps through in the professional military ( I don’t confuse the warrior ethic of a willingness to die with the nation states pure wastefulness of its cannon fodder for stupid reasons ).


And all this wailing and gnashing of teeth over losing grid power.  Oh, golly, I might lose power!!!!  I must have a bazillion watt generator ( wasn’t it Woodpile Report that did a spoof on this with his recommendation of a converted diesel train locomotive as a generator?  He can be wicked funny on command ) to keep my bunker supplied with AC.  Or, I must bury a thousand gallon propane tank so as to never be without toasted Wonder bread ( the campfire toasters suck but they are better than nothing ).  I’m preparing for the end of the world, yet I never expect my modern petroleum fuels to run out?  Look, I know I advocate stockpiling some modern items and am guilty of the same reasoning.  My point is not to prepare by brain tanning hides and knapping spear flint points, but that in order to transition from modern life you must at least practice at it.  Which Yuppie Survivalism does NOT do.  They want you to tens of thousands of dollars stockpile the modern crap in the hopes of dying before you run out, then you magically transform to primitive living.  But that modern cocoon does not allow transition.  We’ve talked about this before.  You won’t move out of suburbia, or drop cable TV, or have a bit of junk land ready to go, but you are prepared for when the surplus oil dries up?  Hey, I never envisioned our peak import model.  I just figured that the oil would disappear quickly on a downward bell curve.  I was once again right, but for the wrong reasons, and not great on the velocity.  But the outcome will be the same for us.  Think of your future when the US goes from 18 to 6 million barrels of oil a day.  It ain’t that far into the future, and it will make a mockery of your mortgage, your job and your government benefits.


Look at the last few years at the economic mess we are in.  That was from our energy supply contracting ten percent.  What is going to happen when it contracts 66%?  One thought- the center cannot hold.  In the end, the Druid Dude might be right and we don’t see a sudden cataclysmic die-off ( I’m not betting he is right, but anything is possible ).  We see a steady population decrease like a “normal” war torn region.  Like I said, I don’t see it.  Our food is centralized and 99% petroleum dependent.  The FedGov will be too busy sending troops in to hold its power to bother securing the nationwide food supply distribution.  This more than any other factor will fuel civil war and balkanization ( nothing motivates like an empty belly ).  But anything is possible, including a slow collapse.  But we won’t devolve like the British Empire.  There won’t be any scraps to spare to keep us alive and well like we did with England.  In a contracting global energy scenario, it is tooth and nail, dog eat dog.  There is no surplus wealth/energy to buy off friendly allies.


Our future is contraction, with discord as hundreds of millions revolt against the loss of the soft life.  Think of the grousing of New Orleans ghetto dwellers as their comfort zone was disrupted.  Now make them the majority and heavily arm them.  That is your future.  Stop grasping at the luxuries.  Your job will disappear soon, so prepare for that now and be ready.  Your status as a free man is in danger soon.  Most folks have that one covered, being heavily armed, but make sure your food supply or lack thereof isn’t your Achilles heel.  The Internet, the grid, Social Security, everything is going to be gone, because with only six million barrels a day left, our total civilization cannot operate.  I can’t forecast the exact path, but the end is pretty evident.  Stop trying to enjoy the impossible you have now.  It is like enjoying a warm winter day and failing to admit tomorrow might plunge back into the cold sleet.


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  1. Great tirade my dessert rat amigo. Don't really agree with every point you made but the overall jist of the article is pretty valid. People should wake the hell up and realize that the level of consumption they've grown accustomed to can not continue. It's time for folks to "cycle down" to a comfortable and sustainable (I hate the word sustainable) level while it is reasonably easy to do so.

    Trying to transition from 100 MPH on the freeway to 35 MPH in the blink of an eye is not really practical without much hardship. In fact it can be quit dangerous!

    Wiggy says that if his sleeping bag is wet
    it will keep you warm while your body heat
    dries it. His Ultima Thule is rated minus 20F
    and cost $320.
    In 1988 I saved my beer money and bought UT
    for me and the wife.
    Do you think any sleeping bag is worth $320?

  3. Good article, Bison.
    I'm with you, Vlad. I'll add that a couple of wool blankets, 2 inch foam pad and a cheapo tarp is about right; M1, four bandoleers with black tips, a sack of flour and a couple of pounds of bacon close by.
    Have the other good stuff in a thirty pound pack.
    Mountain Rifleman

  4. The fact that we, as a society and as individuals have been wealthier in this past century than ever before in history. The poorest homeless person living in their car was at least as well off as a midevil serf.
    We will not revert back to the levels of midevil serfdom. It just wont happen. Too many people will be killing to many other people - for a pair of sneakers for example- and too many nations will be killing other nations -invading or destroying 3rd world nations- for us to slide all the way back... BUT some of the slide is unavoidable. If we are _lucky_ the deaths will be sudden, organized and massive in the urban areas. If we are not so lucky the deaths will be slow and malingering, malnutition and illness here, violence there, etc.
    Adjusting NOW as The magnificently coiffed Jim has described will reduce your likelyhood of being a target of violence. Quietly stocking up on supplies for providing your own water food energy shelter and medicine will reduce your likelyhood of dying of privation or violence *you* intitate - IF you can adjust your midset to live like that.
    Finally living debt free will give you the freedom to move as needed and avoid being a 'company man' aka 'debt slave'.

    In the longer term picking up some usefull basic skills- carpentry, shoe repair, shoeing a horse, blacksmithing or other metal working, etc. will make you employable enough to keep tax prison away and new friends/clients to keep you in the societies loop in a positive way.
    Teaching this skill to your heirs means you can hopefully avoid being an abandond elder left on the side of the road.

    As far as buying some luxuries (300$+ sleeping bags) now that you can enjoy post collapse too? why not? once you have the basics that Bison has been yelling at us to get, you might as well try to enjoy life at least a little. Just don't get in debt, or forget the basics I listed above.


  5. I live in Australia. Just get that out of the way first up. Us aussies cop a lot of crap on other American survivalist sites cause of our restrictive gun laws and that fact that we are not alowd plastic poodal shooters like you guys are. But we really are in the lucky country compared to just about any were else in the world regarding survivability PSHTF. Australia is about two thirds the size of the USA with a population of only about 22 million. So do the math and come a colapes we got a lot more elbow room, pluse being an Island we dont have land borders that the great hoards of unwashed can swarm across. Only one tiney little nucklear reactor here so we want have big swaves of the country reducesd to a radio actice waist land. Stuff all Nukes in the Southern Hemisperar and only minimal air curant cross the equator so you guys in the nothern hemisphere get to keep all your own fallout. The weather is kinda here not to many areas evan see snow and tornados are rare. And as for guns, they definatly not baned and are easy enough to get hold of if you jump through a few hoops. But on the pluse side not many of the urban poor have acsess to guns. The only big down side with Australia is Indonesia sits just to the north of us and is the largest moslem country in the world and we have all ready had a couple of minor shooting wars with them since WW2