Vox published a rather sad little article recently, titled “What Doomsday Preppers Are Buying This Black Friday?“.
First off, Vox asked leading questions, such as:
“What are you hoping to buy on sale this weekend, prepping-related or otherwise?”
“On a shopping weekend as wild as this, how does one decide what is actually worth buying?”
“What are three items a non-prepper could buy to be at least a little more prepared?”
“Do some preppers get caught up in buying gadgets?“
And a few more. None amounted to much. Consumerism for “preppers”. To fully grasp the prepper and survival movement rampant consumerism and endless fantasy, the now defunct Racked website has got it covered well enough with their “Prepper Obsession” (with everything) article. The part they missed that never gets covered anywhere else was bad advice and bad information. That’s the parts I generally cover here on this blog when it comes to this topic.
Apparently the editor for Vox, or perhaps the author assumed consumption and shopping was the most important issue when dealing with preppers. Every Black Friday we see silly articles like this make the rounds. Every major media source joins the line at the public propaganda trough and promotes more and more rampant consumption. How much are you going to buy? Where are the best deals?
What I found stunning was none of the ‘prepper’ interviewees spoke up against this line of inquiry. The same meme that took over the survivalist movement many years ago (profit promotions .vs. reality, skills and experience) still permeates the crowd. The Prepper Camp by far came closest to “useful” with a few classes, but many of these still promotes the false memes that have plagued the prepper movement (like bogus bug-out advice).
I didn’t find any homesteading courses or anything dedicated to living on your own land and staying put. Or how to survive while poor. Or a any number of practical need-to-know skills that were entirely absent from the course offerings. Or how to survive now – in the real world.
The Vox interview would have been a great opportunity for the prepper interviewees to inform Vox about the gross misdirection of the entire movement. If any group of people should be aware of rampant consumerism – it should have been this one, but they missed the opportunity or worse, saw an opportunity for promotion.
I take some hits pointing out the flaws of the bogus “prepper” meme, but it’s all irrelevant. Many of them continue to grossly mislead their (paying) audiences and are simply in it for the money. Their real focus is to get you to buy something (from them or an affiliate). This of course, accounts for much of what they write and what is promoted. They’ve got a monetary interest in selling information or products, even if it’s wrong, so you’re not going to get much info that doesn’t have some kind of profit angle wrapped around it.
This kind of motivation leaves out critical knowledge that you need to know (see below). Like for starters, everyone needs to abandon the modern prepper meme nonsense. Just quit. Walk away and don’t look back. Give up all the bad advice, conspiracies, fear-mongering, propaganda and endless layers of utterly useless bullshit that is being used to gain audiences and followers and sell products. None of this garbage did you or anyone not making money any good. It’s just so much babble filling up your heads with fear and propaganda.
I know that this advice is counter to the what the movement has become. But it did not used to be this way. Real survivalists continue to reject the direction and bad information being promoted.
When I run our SERE based classes (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape), I get people who last maybe two weeks, normally one.. I would put money on the fact that anyone who does the BOB challenge, would last only a few cold damp wet nights before they give up.
I don’t agree with most of the BS that is out there on the net or printed material. Having first hand experience of peoples expectations versus reality, 95% of attendees have a massive shock.
Most have watched the scripted survival TV series or other TV based survival instruction programs, but when reality hits, you cans see it on their faces….
I train a lot of very fit regular and ex forces members and even some of these guys/gals have a tough time lasting a week, foraging of the land, so long term BOB style living is a sure way to help reduce the surplus population.
Keep well and keep blogging, best regards
But I also know that the survivalist meme is leading people to despair, defeat, darkness and unhappiness. In Breaking the Dominant Paradigm In The Survivalist Movement, I shared how this movement (also called the “prepper” movement) has been co-opted by ‘opportunist’. Read it if you haven’t already.
Now fast forward several years to today. A lot of these companies have now gone out of business, but many still remain, still endlessly promoting the same connedspiracies and fear and issuing the same bad advice. They’ve succeeded in staying in business through rebranding, marketing, affiliates and advertising. But their message remains the same, and that message is still wrong.
Almost to a one, they’ve all failed to comprehend environmental collapse. Instead, they continue to insist that bugging out and ‘surviving’ in the woods will somehow save you from your worst fears. Their disconnect is clear: no habitat in the wild will support you indefinitely – and especially not when it is in continuing decline. Mankind survives now by exploiting the environment, providing him food, water, shelter, clothing, safety. These things are not just lying around waiting for you to pick up somewhere and put to use. You have to modify the environment is some way to obtain them in a suitable form for humans. Generally, this is what civilization does – and why we all still need some kind of functioning civilization.
Sooner or later hatchets break, knives get lost, legs get broken or flu turns into pneumonia and you’ll die if you’re without help. But it’s much deeper then this that I’m going to dive into – it is the inherent notion that they’re going to be able to do whatever they want (alone or in groups), and the preferred (designated) place for this is ‘in the woods’. They have embraced ‘survivalism’ as The Answer to anything that might happen in every SHTF ‘scenario’ (take your pick) imagined. These (false) concepts and notions are deeply embedded in the entire movement. This type of survivalism is actually a death sentence (or a jail sentence).
None of this fantasy stuff EVER HAPPENS. It’s not going to be a Walking Dead reality. Civilization (and life) will continue. So will law and order, moral responsibility, ethics and helping your fellow man. Police forces and sheriff departments, prosecution of criminals and law-breakers, and the courts and jails to house them will still function. ‘Survivalism’ and ‘bug-out’ and a whole host of other imagined fantasies doesn’t fit anywhere into this reality.
Nobody is going to be able to sever their connections from civilization. They will remain dependent upon civilization just like they do now – subject to the rules, demands, laws, permissions, licenses and allowances and expectations that civilization requires. They will also remain dependent upon the products of civilization.
This is what really happens in crisis: EVERYONE runs towards civilization (not away from it), where help can be found (don’t go it alone). The laws still apply, and will be enforced. People help others who are affected. Finally, cooperation with other people, entities, agencies and sources was the real answer to the crisis.
Does ANY of this sound like a “bug-out” situation? Hiding in the woods? Making yourself a refugee? Or even fit any of the ridiculous scenarios imagined by the prepper movement? So why are they still engaging so much energy and effort into the bogus ‘survive in the woods’ fantasies? Because it’s profitable and spreading ignorance makes it happen.
Now you know why Vox didn’t hear any of this. The movement lost its mission a long time back, promoting bad ideas and promoting false prophets over sound advice.
For the record – I’ve tried everything. Done everything. Put decades into my preparations, skills, and practical experience. I found out that most of what gets promoted as ‘advice’ is just so much bullshit in the real world and can be safely ignored. I dumped most of my “shit” that I had bought over the years and got rid of most of it (for pennies on the dollar). I didn’t need it, didn’t use it and can absolutely live the rest of my life without it no matter what happens. I regret buying it. Now, I don’t even have to think about lugging any of it around either.
The reality is this: all you need to know is how to survive now.
What is your life? Do you live in a rural setting? In the city? Suburbs? Nobody is going to suddenly become a hard-core survivalist by taking a few classes, watching a video or learn how to grow all their own food by planting a garden in their back yard. You will gain some skills, but not enough to equip you to ‘survive’ in the proverbial (and fantasy) SHTF scenarios endlessly promoted.
The reality is unless you go live the life as a true survivalist – you’re always going to require strong connections to civilization and other people in order to actually survive now and in the future.
Who’s going to go off and do all that? Not one person has taken the Bug-Out Bullshit Challenge. I’ve spent years trying to get people to wake up to reality (Survivalism – the Real Truth), but this is being counter-acted by Hollywood propaganda, disinformation and enormous levels of bad advice that doesn’t work in the real world.
Consumerism plagues the ‘survivalist’ movement and among so-called ‘preppers’, consumerism (buy more stuff) is a HUGE activity. It’s funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into the hands of the people who are misinforming this movement with endless bravado bullshit that has nothing to do with the real world. And none of it has made anyone ‘ready’ for their own SHTF scenario. But plenty of people now erroneously think that “they’re prepared”. Really?
It’s no wonder neither Vox or the interviews had a clue when they were questioned. They cannot envision or even imagine anything different then the propaganda they’ve accepted. This is why I declare the survivalist movement dead. It doesn’t actually exist anymore. In its place are hucksters who give out bad advice and try to sell you useless objects that you don’t need.
What is Needed
What the survivalist and prepper movement needs is to educate people to be practically skilled and discerning, how to sort out truth from propaganda, fact from fiction and equipped them with real life-skills that will actually help them in the real world.
Why is this SO IMPORTANT? Because the core ‘truth’ about survivalism and prepping has been lost. Many websites, forums, blogs, schools and courses revolve around the same tired meme of idiotic “bug-out”, “best guns”, shooting skills and drills, going to war, ‘survival’ defense, combat tactics, or fantasies of ‘living off the land’ in some remote wilderness location. Seriously? Does anybody actually need these skills in the real world?
Is THIS really the future you envision for yourself and your family?
If you’ve fallen for these deceptions, read on.
How about teaching and promoting real-life skills instead? Here are a few:
Teach how to build, assemble and repair a bicycle from a bucket of parts and pieces, including gears, derailleurs, cables and fixing flats, teach diesel mechanics, tear-down, assembly and repair, teach automotive repair to include engine rebuilding, replace a water pump, timing chain, fixing flats, repairing brakes or fixing suspension and how to solve spark, fuel and timing issues, teach how to build a house with logs, timber or processed wood, teach wiring a house, shop, shed or garage, teach how to install a circuit panel and connect to the main power or a generator, teach how to clean and solder electrical connections, strip wiring, install and connect plumbing using different materials, teach how to cutout and install a sink, build a drain field, drive a tractor, add and remove implements, show how to plow a field, install a rake, move and remove dirt, teach tractor operation and safety, show how to dig a ditch, install a septic system, or roof a building (shingles, metal, or ceramic tile), teach how to build a woodshed or bookshelf or storage rack, build a workbench, teach how to operate a drill, grinder, cut-off saw, table saw, hand tools, power tools, and how to maintain a camper, R.V. or just a tent. Show what is needed to pick a suitable building site, build a fire-break, how to cut and stack wood, clear brush, use a wood stove for cooking and heating, how to prepare for winter, spring, summer, fall, how to plant a garden, mitigate pests, prevent deer and rodent depredation, how to rotate crops, can, dry and process harvests. Teach how to cook with real food, food storage and home-grown crops, teach how to drive or walk on ice and snow, how to create home-based businesses for income, how to build a greenhouse, root cellar, cistern, storage shed, how to clear land, how to use naturally available materials for construction, heating, defense, observation, location. Teach how to dig a well, pump water, maintain your supply, fix what breaks, install irrigation, drip-feeds and water collection, how to build and repair furniture, gravel a road, install outdoor lighting, fix a generator, run a chainsaw, fall a tree, build a corral, raise chickens, rabbits, ducks, turkeys, goats, and cows, how to recycle and store glass, metal, cans, jars and lumber, and many many more skills including networking, community building and knowing your neighbors.
These are the real-life survival skills that ever survivalist and every prepper actually needs to know (and discard the rest). But the ‘Secret Gardens in the Woods‘ and ‘Best Battle Rifles for Survivors‘ didn’t make the list because the reality is that’s not how you survive in the real world.
The real world isn’t going away. It’ll be here when you get back from your fantasy. And we’ll be doing what we’ve always done – living (right where you left us most likely). Therefore, you should invest instead in practical, real-life skills and gain real experience with them. Then you’ll be a real survivalist, prepared and capable, able to take care of yourself, fix what breaks, build what’s needed and endure whatever happens.