David Hines
Prep School 101
By David Hines
June 29, 2013

The media and government officials have some contempt for preppers – those who set aside supplies in case of some discontinuity in business as usual. Odd, in that government and media once urged such behavior.

A half century ago the government suggestion was that we prepare fallout shelters in case of nuclear attack. Some complied. They built underground bunkers, stocking them with food and other supplies.

I see...if you do such things on your own initiative, you're an anarchic nut; if you do them because you're told to, you're a sane patriot. Ideas can be good only if they come from politicians in DC.

Discontinuities are certainly not beyond possibility. Had there been two or three more brothers in Boston, or the paramilitary enforcers of lockdown more adamant, those who had stocked extra food or prepared a bugout place far from the mass incarceration might have been very happy about their preparations. Leaving one's house seeking to alleviate Mother Hubbard's dilemma might well have gotten guns pointed at the forager by nervous guys with itchy trigger fingers.

If you believed the hype from government and media in 2008, a discontinuity was narrowly avoided. It was said that if taxpayers didn't bail out banksters, the entire economy would halt; people wouldn't have jobs, food, nor other necessities.

Had it happened as threatened, those prepared for unsettled conditions would have had far less to worry about. However, it was of course a lot of hype. Wall Street and big banks would have been devastated, but farmers would still farm and have to trade their produce. Businesses wouldn't have to borrow money, as was purported, to make payroll; the company that has to borrow to pay usual and short-term operating costs is already on the verge of failure.

If the dollar and the economy had been pulled back from the brink, as claimed by those receiving taxpayer largesse, it is but a temporary reprieve. The rescue merely exacerbated fundamental problems such as malinvestment, the correction of which was short-circuited. The OPM addict was saved from withdrawal, given another dose of his favorite intoxicant: Other People's Money.

Media and politicians broadcast all sorts of threats real and imaginary – economy, terrorism, fundamentalist Christians, Muslims, Kim Jong Un's nukes, Iran's as-yet nonexistent nukes, global warming, etc..... Is it any wonder, then, that some would take precautions to ease their minds just a bit? That's not what is intended by the hype, of course; the purpose of incessant fear mongering is to convince people to feel helpless and utterly dependent upon ambitious office seekers.

Some find preppers to be excessive in their efforts, preferring to devote their time, energy, and money to other pursuits. They're entitled to that choice; their priorities are not mine to determine. Having been a Boy Scout, inculcated in the motto "Be prepared," neither can I find fault with those who choose to take that advice to heart.

As with any endeavor, some will go to extremes. They may stockpile heaps of things they'd never use unless catastrophe strikes, betting all their assets upon TEOTWAWKI to take the Triple Crown. They are not alone. There are extreme sports and extreme couponing. The supposedly sane Bernanke engages in extreme money printing. There is quite a bit of extreme warmongering going around, and extreme Big Gulp control.

One virtue of preppers, at least, is that they generally don't call for me as a taxpayer to fund their particular passion.

© David Hines


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David Hines

Born in a mill town, David Hines has seen work as a furniture mover, computer programmer/analyst, and professional musician... (more)


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