The NSA probably loves me. That is, if they’re keeping tabs on the videos I watch on youtube. I don’t keep a lot of subscriptions, because youtube, like the rest of the internet, is fickle, and one channel is rarely interesting for an extended period. I usually just stick to the recommended list. One type of video that comes up in the list a lot, and that I sometimes watch, are videos by so-called “preppers”. Now, apparently there’s a show on TV about them, and god knows what else, but I don’t know or care what media has to say about these people. All I know is what I see. So first, preppers in general.
Being prepared is a good thing. No one would argue with that. I was a boy scout, I’ve been camping, hiking, out and about since before I can remember, I know the drill. So from that standpoint, preparing is good. I hate it when names come out for certain groups though, it always seems like a way to marginalize and isolate the group. Anyway, being prepared for tough situations is a good idea. Guessing what those situations might be is another story. Then there’s the gun factor. I’m not against guns, I think especially depending on your location, a gun might be a good idea. But I’m sorry, there’s almost no good reason for a handgun unless you’re trying to shoot people. A good, classic hunting rifle is going to be more than enough for problems you might have. You could hunt for food if you were stuck somewhere, or whatever. Going defensive against people (with a handgun) is a bad idea. If that’s the situation, where you’re potentially running into conflict with other people, you and they will be better off if you work together, rather than becoming violently confrontational and defensive.
So that’s one of my problems. These “preppers” always portray themselves as “lone wolf” units, be it by themselves, or with their families. Really? You think that’s a good idea? Isolate yourself and fend for yourself? 99% of people are rational (if sometimes afraid). And people have always done better together. This lone-wolf archetype seems completely new. I can’t think of any period in history when it was dominant, or even significant. It feels like a very western, romanticized response. If stuff got really bad, your best bet really is to band together, and support each other. This should happen organically, in whatever sized group you live in. Neighborhood, city, town, whatever. Big cities definitely have a bit of a problem, since it’s harder to get so many people to work together, but lone wolf people living isolated in the middle of nowhere aren’t much better off. They’re vulnerable. No matter how much they’ve built themselves up in their minds. The sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. In the sized groups humans have always naturally gravitated to.
My second complaint is with one youtube person in particular. I like his videos from the standpoint of showing how to do things the old school way, and showing interesting old tools, and techniques. But that’s where my like ends. He’s very preachy. No surprise there, since he’s clearly religious enough to regularly attend bible study. And judging by the comments on the videos, most of his viewers are god-fearing as well. Nothing wrong with any of those things, but it sure does increase the preachiness of people in my experience. He lives somewhere in the northwest on what appears to be a huge amount of land, with a lot of very modern machines and tools. How can someone like that preach self-reliance? Most people would love to live in even 1/3 the way he does, but they can’t afford to get out of their apartment, or their crappy city. Shit, I’d love to be able to build things, like a maple syrup evaporator, or a solar dryer, but I don’t have the tools, space, or the money. His wealth to provide that land and all those things clearly came from somewhere. It came from someone participating in society with all the rest of us. Either him, or some relative that left him the money. Wealth and richness in life comes from working together, not being 100% self-reliant.
I have no idea where this infatuation with being totally self reliant came from. My hunch is it’s yet another modern bastardization of christianity from some bigoted perspective. Besides, it’s virtually impossible to be 100% self reliant, and even if you were, I think you’re life would be very empty. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things we do nowadays that we could be more self reliant. We could be better about fixing things that break down, or making and growing our own food, even if it’s just windowsill herbs. Personally, I’ve always loved generating my own electricity. There are lots of things you can do for yourself, but I’d never look down on someone who didn’t. I have the ability, means, knowledge and skill to generate electricity. Doesn’t mean everyone does, or even should.
So, in conclusion, don’t preach. Help others achieve what you already have. That’s the only way we all get to live better.