Handing Out Life Vests on the Titanic
(© 1997 Paramount Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.)
With all the new and returning members I thought I'd take this week's blog post and clarify a few things.
I know its tempting to lump John Michael Greer and his idea of Green Wizardry into the Survival/Prepper category. We both speak of a change to civilization. An end of things as they are. Of a time where the World is Harsh.
Its easy though for deniers of the changes to come, to latch onto the fringe element of that subculture to belittle and marginalize the important message that community has. That a site like Zombie Squad, with its motto of "If you can survive the zombie apocalypse, you can survive anything", are just crazed wannabees. I happen to like the people at Zombie Squad. The original chapter is out of St Louis and I know several of them. Wacko nut jobs they aren't.
(They are doing a site reboot, so if you visit, click through to the forums. A lot of good info there.)
And look at us. Wizards, Green Wizards? Isn't that worth a laugh? Pointy hats and wands maybe? Where is a flying broomstick when you need one?
Humor aside, there is nothing to laugh at what's coming towards us all.
Sometimes when I talk to people about what we do here, I feel like I'm the purser on the Titanic handing out life vests after the collision. Only no one is taking them. They see the rising water and they prefer to have drinks and listen to the band play. It doesn't make much sense to me. Have I been doing this for too long I've lost my sense of what is important. Or has everyone else?
If you were going to move to a foreign country and live there for the rest of your life, wouldn't you do some preparation. Perhaps learn the language, read up on the customs and culture. Meet with people from that country if you could, and ask them of their experiences.
Of course you would.
The Future is kind of like a foreign country. We can have some general ideas of what it is like to live there, but until we do, its still going to hold surprises.
On the other hand, if you were just going on a vacation, perhaps to some extreme adventure like White Water Rafting or mountain climbing, you would probably read up on some of the dangers involved, and even study some about how to survive in case of an accident. You would learn how to survive temporarily until help could get to you.
I was a "survivalist" at one time.
In the early 80s, a few years after my four years in the US Army I meet a few people who began some of my life long friends. We would get together on the weekends for hour long Dungeons and Dragons games. Sometimes other game too, one was a post nuclear war game call "Aftermath". Several of those people were ex-military like I was.
Now to put things in perspective, the 80s of then were a fearful time. The thought that the US and the Soviet Union could end up in a nuclear war was on everyone's minds. It was the time when movies like "Red Dawn" came out and were hits. And the idea that the Soviet Union with Cuba could invade the domestic heartland wasn't an insane idea.
Our small group of D&Ders actually had access to 40 acres about 90 minutes outside of St Louis, in the rural north Ozarks. We would go down there on a long weekend together, bringing guns and other toys and spend a time walking in the woods and shooting. We would talk about how we would be new warlords in the Apocalypse. We ended up with some serious "get out of Dodge" plans for what to do in the event of a nuclear war, including having a bug out bag and a weapon in the trunks of our cars.
Its an event and a scenario I'm always glad didn't happen. It wouldn't have been a World I would have liked living in. The Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed and it seemed like Capitalism won.
The thing is, back then the Government wasn't your enemy. When Powers Booth's fighter pilot character in "Red Dawn" parachuted to the ground and found the teens making up the guerrilla band of fighters the Wolverines, the kids didn't automatically assume he was their enemy.
Not like today.
In the end of "Red Dawn" the war ended and Life got back to normal. That is the difference between Green Wizardry and the typical survivalist/prepper site. They prepare for an "event". The end of the world, or economic collapse or even the zombie apocalypse, but usually its an event with a time span. Something to survive until civilization returns to a Normal or near normal. No one who has a year's supply of dried beans in the basement and a few thousand rounds of ammo in a closet, yet still goes tailgating to the local stadium really prepares like their world will end. They just want that edge to get them through hard times then once its over getting back to watching their favorite "Duck Dynasty" episodes.
There is a small minority of survivalists who go all in, moving to a out of the way farmstead, changing their life to live there within the means they would have after "When the Shit Hits the Fan". I will say, those people will do well in the World Made Harsh that is to come. Still its awful lonely out in the boonies.
While our current and past politicians have sold most of us out for campaign donations to keep their job in government, I still believe that the vast majority of government and military people who show up in a disaster are good people, with the best of intentions. That the words "We are the government and we are here to help" should give us relief and not fear.
On too many of the survival sites I used to read and comment on, the attitude of distrust has grown too loud. Talks of a new Civil War and "They can take my guns when they pry them off my dead fingers" echo. People fantasize on the new country they will build from the ashes.
And too there is a strange attitude of entitlement among the crowd wishing the government's end. Like if you town is destroyed in hurricane, tornado or wild fire, that the Government should some how replace what you lost. People complain when the relief doesn't show up fast enough.
Thing is, we won't have the resources to rebuild for ever. The Core of the Empire will protect itself and let the frontier wither and die.
Ask Puerto Rico how well the government helped out.
Survivalist now are still preparing for a "problem" when they should be learning to live with a "predicament". One has a solution, the other has to just be learned to be lived with.
Green Wizards are here to learn how to live in what will be a vastly different economic and social reality. Something more akin to living in a Third World country. A situation where you are faced with limits and faced with choices that will seriously affect you and your Family's well being.
A future that will not be very forgiving of beginner's mistakes.
When you are learning to live on $8 an hour's worth of income, but are still making $13, a car breakdown is an inconvenience and something of a Life lesson. When you are forced to live on $8 an hour's worth of income and haven't learned how to budget for those emergencies, a car breakdown means you don't go to work. Which can lead to no employment and ultimately homelessness and starvation.
The future doesn't care if YOU survive. We do.
What we hope to do is learn the skills now, while there is some cushion, when half the plants in your garden die from some sort of pest means you're pissed, not that you starve. Learn now how to turn a fun hobby into workable employment and something useful and profitable, before your only choice of work is begging for food or digging ditches.
Or digging graves.
The Long Descent is not going to be easy. Its not going to be some weekend of adventure and pictures you can post on Facebook.
And what is worse, its not going to be something you can avoid.
Unless you plan on getting together with friends one weekend, playing Oldies on the stereo, while you all get drunk before helping each other tie plastic bags over your head. Sadly I expect we will read of those types of parties soon. As the Age of Consumerism winds down, as the last shopping mall closes its doors and turns out its lights, expect more than a few people to have one last hurrah and check out.
Personally I'm not a big fan of giving up.
For those that take the time now, who learn how to live in a World Made Harsh, it will be a exciting time. Full of challenges. New friends to meet, new skills to learn. A time to get back to what really matters. A journey into the coming dawn.
Care to join us on our walkabout? I've packed lunch, Stone Soup for all.