I hope you’re enjoying your winter. Luckily, I’m coming to you live from the place where there is no winter, Florida, and from where I’m sitting, the entire population of America seems to have arrived en masse. I guess good times are here again…
It’s beautiful weather here in Florida. Not too hot, and a gentle breeze. I was cruising home one day after work with the sunroof peeled back, when a heated phone-in began on the radio. The radio station had evidently just heard one caller say how he was stocking up on freeze-dried food, guns, and ammo, etc. because of the coming social chaos (he didn’t say why there would be social chaos, but he was certain it was coming).
Fair enough, freedom of speech and so on. But, judging by the angry reaction of the people calling in to respond, you’d have thought the guy would’ve said he was burning the Star-Spangled Banner!
And, as I listened to the heated exchange, I wondered what would’ve caused such a fuss? Could it have been that this gun-toting man had touched a nerve?
And this brought my thoughts around to how everything seems to be so dramatically and unnecessarily polarized in America, either one extreme or the other. Maybe that’s why we’ve had so many presidents shot. You know, there is such a thing as ‘the grey area’, and not to acknowledge this fact can be hazardous for your wealth, health, and freedom. You see, The Grey Area often gives you a third option. And having options is a good thing, no?
For example, let’s take some of the steaming hot potatoes in America, real stuff you’d stay clear of at a dinner party: Guns. Abortion. Religion. Yeah, I can feel the steam building in your ears through the computer screen! And that’s because of the extremist way we tend to view things in America. Let’s not forget that religious extremists founded this country, so maybe it’s just in the DNA. Isn’t this why we refuse to accept a draw in football? We insist on a winner and a loser.
Okay, first up, gun control. People will generally polarize into two options here: ban gun ownership or allow it. Each will have their own arguments that they will vehemently defend and will gladly walk off a cliff arguing their corner. Gun ownership is in The Constitution, but can the average fool out there be trusted with one? is pretty much how this debate goes.
But is there a third option? Maybe that third option would go something like this: guns are a constitutional right and a valid defense of life, liberty, and property, but gun owners should have rigorous training before being granted a license that they have to renew annually, and the gun can only be a handgun and kept in a finger-printed locked safe at home. Or something like that, it’s only a suggestion I’m throwing out there that is open to modification. There is a grey area, a third option here.
IMPORTANT: I am NOT saying which option I personally agree with, merely that a third option can and should exist!
Abortion (can you hear those eggshells cracking as I tiptoe through them?). Of course, the arguments here are as simple as they are extreme: either allow abortion or outlaw it. Surely there can be no third option here? But maybe there is. Is there, perhaps, a brief window during early pregnancy where it’s not an actual baby that is being terminated? How do you define a baby? Is it from the time there’s a heart beat, and if so, when is that (from a factual, scientific perspective)? Again, I am merely thinking aloud here, merely asking questions, not saying which way I believe in. So please, no angry emails, because I haven’t spoken one way or the other (I wouldn’t dare, that’s how sensitive these subjects are). By the way, don’t you think it ironic how pro-life supporters endanger lives sometimes with their violent protests?
Religion. The Constitution says we are to have freedom of religion, yet needless to say, people scatter into factions that seem to despise and deny the other faction. But here’s an interesting fact: of all Christian Americans asked the question of whether which religions they would prefer their children marry into, ranked by preference, which religion do you think came bottom of the list?
Muslim? No. Buddhist? No.
It was Atheist- NO religion at all. Evidently people believe we MUST all believe in some form of deity. Christians surveyed would much rather have Muslims as in-laws than Atheists. But doesn’t “freedom of religion” include the right to NOT have a religion? Is there a third option?
Grey areas can be disconcerting, but not to people who have the greatest freedom of all, the freedom that can never be taken away: Freedom of Independent Thought. It doesn’t have to be a case of “You’re either with us or against us!” There is a third option, and there is a way to co-exist.
We seem to insist on grabbing a ready-made set of beliefs off the shelf instead of thinking for ourselves. It seems to be that if you choose Republican you have to also be pro-gun ownership. If you choose Democrat you have to also be pro-choice. Can’t we select values independent of their own merits AND after we carefully consider all sides of the argument instead of being a) dogmatic and b) extremist?
(Sidebar: yes, extremist, like a terrorist. By the way, the definition of terrorism is: “The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims”, so be careful not to become a terrorist!)
So, going back to the man on the radio who was evidently preparing for some kind of zombie apocalypse, is there a third option here?
Phew! I’m out of the minefield and can now perhaps talk about something that won’t get League of Power members too hot under the collar. Yes, survivalism. The two extreme options here probably go something like this:
Option 1) We are headed for an apocalypse in true ‘I am Legend’ style. We should build bunkers, live in fear, and waste our life away waiting for something that may never happen.
Option 2) We live in a civilized society with police and even an army to restore public order should society break down, and the police and armed forces never make mistakes. There will never be any terrorist attack, or an epidemic, or cyber-attacks on our infrastructure, or even any bad weather.
I’m sure you can see that both options are inherently flawed. Perhaps the answer lies with the third option, the grey area? In this case, I’m not afraid to tell you my views: I believe in the third option for this scenario, and it’s epitomized by a phrase you’ve probably heard before: ‘prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.’
I don’t live in a bunker on an island in Alaska. I don’t have a cache of AK-47s and a high-voltage perimeter fence. I don’t have 5 year’s worth of freeze-dried food in a gigantic safe. And I don’t have sleepless nights worrying about things. These things would degrade the quality of the life I have and my family has. Even if there is any break down of society, it’s likely to only last a week or so at most before control is regained. Think the Rodney King L.A. riots of 1992.
BUT, there’s a much higher chance of a viral epidemic than there is of winning the lottery, and most people who don’t believe in the worst case scenario play the lottery! Cyber-attacks are a very real threat. Bad weather in Florida? You bet. And if I’d have told you on 10th September 2001 that terrorists would fly airliners into the World Trade Center tomorrow, you’d have screamed at me for my alarmist eccentricity and branded me a crank! And THAT’S why people were upset with that survivalist guy who called in on the radio. Because he SCARED people. But that doesn’t make the reality any different.
In fact, what this radio call-in show gave us was a glimpse of a terrifying force you would witness during a social crisis: a hysterical crowd of people.
So, I choose option three. And if you’re interested, here’s what I consider Option 3 should you wish to copy me:
1. You don’t need 5 year’s worth of freeze-dried food. It’s expensive and takes up too much room. A crate of HONEY on the other hand has a long shelf life, takes up little space, tastes good, is high in calories for just a spoonful, and (if raw, unheated, and unfiltered) boosts your immune system against infection from viruses, dirty water infection, injury, etc. An adult needs around 1000-1500 calories a day to survive.
2. You don’t need barrels and barrels of drinking water (we can’t survive more than 48 hours without water). I have guttering diverting rainwater into barrels that can also be used to water a vegetable garden, and water purification equipment to purify water, as well as harvesting lake water if more is needed. Remember too that your hot water boiler creates a reserve of water.
3. I have a generator, and I have solar panels that power the entire home.
4. I keep a gallon of gasoline in the corner of the garage. You can buy an additive to make it last a few years (it goes bad after a few months otherwise). You won’t want to leave the house if society has failed temporarily, but if it’s a nuclear event you most certainly will.
5. I have a little cash hidden away and a few ¼ oz gold coins. In a crisis you can forget going to an ATM, and perhaps even currency may be worthless.
6. I do own certain weapons for emergencies. Looters and rapists are a genuine threat if society breaks down.
7. My home is secure, well-lit, alarmed, fenced, and in a gated community. And it has an internal room with concrete walls and fire door.
8. I have a variety of other items such as cooking equipment, lifejackets, torches, medical kit etc.
So I’m prepared for the worst, but all this stuff is hidden away and forgotten about. There’s a third option. You don’t have to live like a crazy hermit preaching that the end is nigh, but it would be unwise to be completely unprepared in this fragile, technology-dependent existence we’ve ended up in, especially if you have a family.
When it comes to investing, there are also third options. Should I sell this stock and take the 100% profit? Or should I hold on to it in case it goes up even higher? (these extremes drive the stock market). OR, using the third option, I could sell HALF my holding and let the rest ride! I had a 100% gain, so by selling half I’m in for free…
Let me know your thoughts and any new tips on survivalist strategies.
More next week…