Off the keyboard of Old Horseman
Published on Old Horseman Livejournal on September 29, 2012
Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner
- Mood: grumpy
…Or “I’m Okay, You’re All Boned!”
Remember Y2k? The big “END OF THE WORLD IS COMING!” thing from the late ’90s? The Government was supposed to go into chaos. Planes were supposed to fall out of the sky. Buildings were supposed to crumble. Wars and rumors of wars. Police state. American cities in 3rd World ruins. Economic collapse…
You’d think that, as 12/31/99 approached, folks would have been getting more and more into it. But it really peaked sometime in ’98. By ’99, it was pretty much just a tired joke. Nobody wanted to be seen getting all Y2k prepped, then look silly when nothing happened.
Then 1/1/00 came… And nothing much happened.
Until later in the year, when the political system deadlocked and the country was thrown into a Red vs Blue State cold civil war.
Then, some months later, planes fell out of the sky…
And buildings crumbled…
Precipitating the longest (and still ongoing), multifront war in US history…
And justifying a Police State…
Even as American cities were plunged into 3rd World ruins…
And the economy disintegrated with the press announcing “recovery” even as the mega-banks and corporations line-up for massive hand-outs, “industries” are propped-up with the Government giving people “free money” to buy certain crap, and unemployment and inflation run rampant, even with Washington cooking the numbers.
But, hey… It didn’t all happen at exactly the stroke of midnight on 12/31/99, so it doesn’t count, right?
So, here we are again. After years of seeing the collapse of petro-enabled Cornucopia on the horizon, we’re coming-up on the big Doomsday Date that Hollyweird has been telling us about. 12/21/12. And, as in ’99, the proximity of the date corresponds to most people losing interest in the whole notion. Changing the subject to protest movements, moot political philosophies, and anything else that doesn’t involve actually doing something meaningful to prepare for what’s coming.
And it probably is a good bet that 12/21/12 will be just another Friday (aside from going into the big holiday weekend)… We’ll wake-up. The lights will work. Won’t be any mushroom clouds on the horizon, or zombies pounding the door. Well… At least the Solstice will seem pretty-much like the day before and after it. Who knows how much the ‘normal’ will shift before we get there?
So the DOOM is just a joke now. Like Y2k, right? The various online forums which carried-on after the original LATOC Forum shut-down are now virtual ghost-towns. What activity there is in them is mostly political or half-hearted, pseudo-prepping chat.
As long as the collapse comes on the installment plan, most folks, including the ‘preppers’ and neo-LATOC members don’t seem to realize that they are on the scenic route to the Fedghettos.
And no… Your little, suburban victory gardens are not going to save you. I lived on a vegetable-intensive diet for over a year. Not only did my health not improve, I also learned some things about vegetables. Like they’re mostly just water. If you’re even moderately active, you have to eat truckloads of the damned things to keep going. Way more than you’ll ever grow with your spade and garden weasel. (And, if you think you’re already feeding your family from your garden, you’re probably deluding yourself by not counting the bulk of the calories in your meals provided by the flour and sugar you add to your casseroles.) Also, most veggies don’t keep worth a flip. Unless you burn-up a bazillion calories in fuel energy to can them, which detracts from what little nutritional value they had to begin-with.
Neither will you be saved by ‘community’ or even family… Because communities and families are made-up of people, and the sad fact is that most people kinda’ suck. If anything, you can count on them to try and drag you down with ‘em. If you think a bunch of TV and video-game addicted, prescription drug dependent, Nanny-state worshipers are going to coalesce into any sort of mutually-beneficial support society, you’re in for a rude awakening.
Of course, the Bunker Bad-ass survivalists aren’t any better. A tacti-cool AR-15 with all the bells and whistles, a stockpile of ammo, some barrels of water, and a couple trunks of MREs might get you through a passing natural disaster and power outage… But collapse isn’t a temporary thing.
I lived through the Energy Crisis and chronic recessions of the ’70s, which were really the political/economic repercussions of the US hitting peak oil at the dawn of the decade… I didn’t expect Y2k to be TEOTWAWKI, but it did get me thinking about what a vulnerable, tangled mess Western ‘Civilization’ had devolved into. So I got serious about prepping for it anyway, and considered every year thereafter to be a stay of execution to be devoted to getting even better prepared… I was one of the first members on old LATOC, and was the most prolific participant for some time…
Then the zeitgeist started to move into this denial phase… Anything to keep from facing-up to the fact that Business As Usual is eroding away, and that we’re all going to have to make real changes in our lives if we want to have any sort of existence as free people much longer. And I don’t mean planting some zucchini, voting for the right candidate, or driving a goddamned Prius… So I’ve been participating less and less in the doomy corners of cyberspace as I don’t have time or energy to blow on academic hippie pipe-dream or Rambo zombie-fighter discussions. I’m a nuts & bolts kind of practical prepper.
It’s kind of a shame for anyone who is serious about dealing with the future though, because I’ve accumulated quite a bit of know-how and hands-on experience over the years. From Amish-type stuff like turning equine pasture-ornaments into field-plowing, wagon-pulling assets, to setting-up free-standing alternative power and communications systems, to handloading ammunition, to milking cows and making cheese… If anyone wants to get real and talk about that sort of stuff, give me a virtual tap on the shoulder.
I haven’t abandoned the wide world of doom… Just don’t give a whit about endless discussions about things that are far out of our control.
Off the keyboard of the Old Horseman
Published on Old Horseman on January 3,2011
Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner
It seems that a general sense of impending doom is going mainstream in recent years. It’s getting harder and harder for many people to fully ignore the the signs and pretend that a return to conventional prosperity is just around the next bend… In fact, a growing fraction of the population is becoming well-aware of the fact that there will be no real “recovery”, and that Business As Usual is gone for good.
Perhaps as a coping mechanism, the bulk of these doomers envision a “cool” kind of doom. Usually imagining one extreme or the other in future scenarios.
The light side of Cool Doom is a vision of some kind of Great Depression v2.0. Sure, gas and food will get expensive. The economy will continue to collapse. But those who think ahead, plant backyard Victory Gardens and invest in high MPG automobiles will be okay. Especially if they “re-localize”, support farmers markets, and think in terms of “building community”.
The dark side of Cool Doom is the hardcore, post-apocalyptic vision of the future. Hiding in bunkers from radioactive fallout. Fighting off mutant zombies and jackbooted stormtroopers. Just like in a Sci-Fi fantasy or video game.
The handy thing about both versions of Cool Doom is that they relieve the doomer of the need to make any REAL changes in his or her lifestyle.
The light side Cool Doom means you take up gardening as a hobby and get a hybrid instead of a big SUV. Maybe you actually talk to some of your suburban neighbors or “near-by” family about emergency plans, and stock some dry goods and bottled water. No big deal, really.
The dark side of Cool Doom means that you take up shooting and gun collecting as a hobby. Maybe stock a Bug-Out Bag, or even remake your basement into a bunker. The kind of stuff that’ll let you make a kick-ass last stand long enough to see those who laughed at your doomerism get munched by zombies before you go out in a blaze of glory yourself!
Almost nobody likes to think about the more likely scenario: Uncool Doom… No hippie-dippy kumbaya neosuburbia… No mushroom clouds or Mad Max… Just an irregular, but increasingly steep decline. Fuel getting more and more expensive, then less and less available until driving at all becomes problematic. At the same time employment opportunities dry-up, meaning you’ll need to drive even farther to find decent work. With so much competition for ever-fewer jobs, pay will be miserably low, while goods and services, which will be in shrinking supply, cost more and more inflation-devalued dollars. Knowing they can’t afford high bills, people will cut-back on their household power usage, only to have the utility companies compensate for below-expected demand/income by raising rates and cutting staff and upkeep on the already decrepit power grid.
The problem with this relatively boring, Uncool Doom is that you actually have to make real, sweeping changes in your life to prepare for it.
The private automobile is most obviously doomed. You need to plan for a future without one, which probably means moving to a city where public transportation is available, a reasonably self-contained small town where everything you need in within walking or bicycling distance, or out to a self-sufficient farmstead from which you won’t need to venture often and which can produce fuel for transportation when it is necessary. The auto-dependent suburbs will continue to fail, and faux-doomsteads (auto-dependent suburban households out in the sticks) will fail even faster.
The fiat “dollar” economy is disintegrating, and paper wealth of all kinds is going with it. The whole system of people being employed in make-work occupations to be paid in dollars which they can then trade for everything they need is hopelessly inefficient and cannot long endure. Already jobs are being phased-out in favor of people relying more directly on Government for a growing number of the things they need. This means that you either need to reconcile yourself to being a ward of the state (giving the Government ever-increasing control over your life), or you have to become independent of the Government and its currency system.
Widespread GovCo infrastructure and goods distribution is a reflection of the now-deceased growth economy. It won’t take an EMP from a nuclear attack to kill much of the power grid. It’ll only take the cost of supporting so many miles of power cables to supply a decreasing and increasingly moneyless population of customers. It won’t take zombie attacks to shut-down the rural supermarkets. It’ll just take increasing operation costs and spiraling prices nobody can afford. The time will come when, even if you have a mattress full of Federal Reserve Notes, there won’t be anything available to buy with them outside of the major cities.
The probable form of doom is uncool because you CAN prepare for it. But this preparation means doing uncool things like moving out of suburbia and away from “normal” life. Largely disconnecting from the people and groups you know are doomed, even if they are family. And planning for a vision of the future most people absolutely refuse to see.
This is how most people will perceive you. Cool Doom can really be a cop-out. Light-side Cool Doomers imagine that not that much needs to be done, and can blame future failure on the lack of social enlightenment in society. Dark-side Cool Doomers can imagine that nothing they could do would be effective against the living Hell of the future anyway, so why bother?
But let’s face it. History tends to be uncool in real-time.