Zero Sum Survival – Part I

Over many years, I have had the opportunity to review hundreds of ‘survival plans’. They all generally fall along the same lines with few exceptions.

I consider most of these plans as ‘zero sum survival plans’ due to gross oversight and failure to prepare adequately for real threats (versus imagined). The prepper movement as it came to be known was originally based upon the now dead ‘survivalist’ movement. Most of the ideas practitioners embraced were rooted in the same ill-conceived misconceptions long held by the survival movement, still carrying through to this day.

Somewhere near the top of the list is the “bullets over beans” mentality. The massive stockpile of weapons, ammunition, and combat related gear became a dominant “prepper” item over basic daily necessities and essentials. Although this should be obvious, it bears stating: not one of these ill-conceived “prepper essentials” has been needed by anyone.

This is definitely a ‘zero sum survival’ strategy. Taking up arms in any situation, even in the alleged ‘defense’ of your meager stash will definitely make you spend the rest of your life in some hell hole – even in “collapse”. Society (will still exist) and society WILL take care of these kinds of people, and you’re not going to like the results.

There is the false assumption that a total breakdown of law and order will occur, and this in turn will allow everyone or anyone to act with impunity.

Let me make it clear:

  • this is total bullshit, based on imagined fantasy;
  • try it and you’re going to either be killed, or spend the rest of your life in prison;
  • because whatever is left of society WILL hold those accountable
  • it’s what we have always done

Hollywood fantasy has helped embellish this stupid notion of “total lawlessness” with poorly conceived and imaginary scenarios.

Hollywood isn’t based upon real life and for whatever reason, people seem to forget this simple fact. It’s pure fiction, every single bit of it. Actors pretending to real life. In this context, every dialogue, every scenario, every interaction, every representation of “lawlessness” or “apocalyptic crash”. None of it is real. None of it accurately represents the real world where people live, where laws, customs and appropriate behavior apply, where society “self-corrects” (even during civil breakdown) and protects itself from the lawless, or where offenders are caught, prosecuted and locked away.

The ongoing collapse of civilization does NOT mean “lawlessness”, which is the inherent theme found in the bullets over beans crowd. No roving gangs running amok, or federal troops confiscating your food (or weapons), or “last man standing” scenarios where individuals fight off hordes of hungry people. NONE of that has ever happened in this country, nor will happen for a long, long time, well past the lifetime of the average age of the readers of this blog.

But there will be seriously deprived people learning to live on less and less, exorbitant food price increases, and a growing shortage of basic essentials – at some time in the future. But none of this means the total “lawlessness” or that you can take your AR-15 and start shooting people (for any reason). I’ve no doubt that a few crazed fools will do this – but they will be dealt with.

I’ve written about this several times before, but there will be no sudden “collapse” of our civilization. It will not happen overnight unless by some massive, unforeseen event like an asteroid strike. And even if that were to happen – we’d be pulling together to get ourselves back on our feet, and we would still be enforcing acceptable behavior. Going ape-shit with your assault rifle because you failed to prepare or someone else failed to prepare is definitely not one of those. It will be like it is today in any collapse region or country – refugee camps. Society will remain controlled. The hungry will be hungry – but it won’t be lawlessness.

Back during the Depression when people were literally starving to death, the “lawless” scenario didn’t happen (and guns were unregulated back then). The only regions that actually experience lawlessness are found in conflict zones. That too is extremely unlikely to happen in America.

Those that don’t respect the social norms of society, those that use an ‘opportunity’ to act with impunity and harm others, will either be killed or imprisoned where they belong. I’ve seen numerous mentions where this too is part of the ‘survival strategy’ – and it’s a zero sum idea.

The notion that civilization is going to either suddenly collapse or go through the lawless period envisioned by so many is simply false. At worst, there will be periods of unrest (riots, protests); decline in lifestyle and living standards; shortages; breakdowns; and “outlaw activity” where some nut case decides he’s finally reached his bogus “line in the sand” and engages on a short-lived killing spree. Regional unrest still doesn’t mean it’s a “shooting war”.

I hit this theme because that is exactly what many people are being advised to prepare for. There’s spending enormous sums of money on near-useless guns and gear. None of these items will feed you or take care of your family. This is one of the least likely things to happen on the “possibility scale”. Bullets won’t replace “beans” – ever.

Pay attention here: all of these things have already happened in different parts of the world, including the United States. Civilization world-wide is lurching towards ecological collapse, as we destroy our future bit by bit like a Frankestein monster. But collapse won’t be “sudden”. We’re all in the slow-boiling pot of an overheated planet that will degrade civilization bit by bit, and our behavior, and how we respond to it, will do the same.

Even in countries that have devolved into civil war, there is still effort made to protect the citizens; preserve law and order; prosecute the lawless; and eliminate the threats. Notwithstanding the utterly stupid fools that think that the pussy-grabbing porn star fucking Donald J. Trump is the Messiah (look up Trump Prophecies if you think I am kidding), the United States will NOT undergo total lawlessness anytime soon either. These idiots just might start a shooting war – but it won’t be long lasted. They’ll all either be killed or put into prison, and no – not a single one of them will be going to heaven.

There is, and always has been a “risk” of a sudden “total” collapse. But the risk is extremely low. I do not bother trying to hype this type of fear-mongering because a) the risk is quite low (negligible); and b) there is nothing you can do to prevent it anyway. These risks for sudden collapse would either be nuclear war, or an asteroid strike. Neither are likely.

But what is not included is earthquakes, tidal waves, civil war, solar storms, extreme weather events, EMP, pandemic or plague, financial crash, civil unrest, etc. NONE of these are “apocalyptic” events by themselves or even together, and none of these will permit lawlessness or result in a total breakdown of law and order. Civilization and social demands will attempt to swiftly rebuild and re-institute law and order wherever it might have broken down. Hurricane Katrina was a great example where a regional disaster did not result in any kind of shooting war, despite the wide-spread affected region and the tens of thousands of dispossessed people. But food and water became by far, the #1 need for everyone.

The list of truly catastrophic, but remotely possible events resulting in “total collapse” is very small. I’m not even slightly concerned about these.

If you’ve got more bullet then beans, then you’ve fallen for this utterly ridiculous fear-mongering based upon imagined fantasy and paranoia. This is a major them in the survivalist/prepper movement (still) and somewhere near the top of the list on the ‘zero sum survival’ strategy. I consider these the wrong kinds of preparations that people should be making for the real world, not only what is most likely to happen, but what actually is happening in the world today.

Food will become the weapon of choice (not guns) and always has been used to control both populations and individuals. It also just happens to be the only real essential here. Water falls into that same category. I’m reading a highly entertaining book called The Water Knife, which depicts the Southern state “water wars”. It’s more then a little over-the-top, but it does have some elements correct. It is the basic essentials of life that are the most important preparation items, and guns and bullets don’t even make the list. Food, water, clothing, shelter, safety, access to medical care, community support and so on.

Society at any level, even a highly deprived society, is going to do everything it can to protect itself, even during various stages of collapse. The odds of a total breakdown of all of society is extremely small. And even if that were to happen someday, most of us would still try to act with some normalcy – and even demand others do the same (we will enforce it if necessary).

We’re not going to allow the lawless to run amok, which is exactly what we all do right now. That isn’t going to change much because we all inherently know that we will need to mind our own fences and boundaries – and stop those that don’t. This is what we have always done, and that is in fact, all the “evidence” anyone really needs to disprove this myth.

I’ve no doubt that there will be the immoral and unrestrained lawless idiots out “there” someday, but it won’t be anything like what Hollywood has imagined.



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