Sunday, July 27, 2008

Will Survivalists Get the Last Laugh?

Yesterday on AlterNet; This future cultural, environmental and geopolitical miasma is where the survivalist and the mainstream converge in agreement. Both camps, pardon the pun, are convinced that we're screwed down the road.

"The next Great Depression will be a tremendous leveler," Rawles prophesies. "If anything, life in the 22nd century will more closely resemble the 19th century than the 20th century. Sadly, the 21st century will probably be remembered as the time of the Great Die-Off."

"I don't consider it a total wipeout," Kunstler counters. "It's a very big change, but people are resilient and resourceful. Look, imagine if you were a person who had survived the Second World War in Europe, and you were walking around Berlin in the spring of 1946, a year after the end of the war. A once-magnificent city has been reduced to rubble. Your culture is lying in ashes. Yet, people pick up and rebuild."

That is, if they're sticking together. If they're scattered and fending for themselves, and taking armed retreat defense tips from SurvivalBlog, that makes rebuilding a bit more complicated. Which, in the end, is where survivalism is most ambiguous.


Is it a growing population of forward-looking realists who are smartly preparing for the die-off brought on by climate crisis and economic collapse, so they can pick up themselves and their people, and rebuild with that "can-do" spirit, as Rawles calls it? Or are they simply gadget-fascinated fundamentalists afraid of change and challenge, so afraid that they'd rather hide and hoard than join the fight?

The jury is still out. But, according to Rawles, it will soon have its diversity mirrored by survivalism's changing demographic.

"I think that in the next couple of decades," he explains, "we will witness the formation of some remarkable intentional communities that will feature some unlikely bedfellows: anarchists and Ayn Rand readers, Mennonites and gun enthusiasts, Luddites and techno-geeks, fundamentalist Christians and Gaia worshippers, tree huggers and horse wranglers. We welcome them all. Because the threats are clearly manifold: peak oil, derivatives meltdowns, pandemics, food shortages, market collapses, terrorism, state-sponsored global war and more. In a situation this precarious, I believe that it is remarkably naive to think that mere geographical isolation will be sufficient to shelter communities from the predation of evildoers."