I like survivalists. I’m a bit of one myself. Of course, a total failure of electricity, water, gas, internet, telephony, television or security over here is just business as usual, so one does not have to be a Gulf War I vet with a twitch in the eye to make some basic preparations.
I feel a slight stirring in my loins when I look at my two huge water barrels and forty-odd ten litre bottles sitting ready to go. The pipes will surely fail some time this year and I’m ready. I’ll be bathing in a bucket and flushing the toilet daily, and even washing some underwear from time to time. The pleasure comes from knowing that I’m ready and that others are not.
I’ve got enough oats, milk powder and canned tuna to keep me going for a month. I’ve got a hiking water filter, clothes for all conditions, DEET spray, spare shoelaces, headlamps, countless batteries and all my data backed up on a flash drive ready to be smuggled across a border to safety at a moment’s notice.
I have a walk-in wardrobe that locks inside a room that locks. If the SHTF, I can bolt myself in there and I have a little bottle of water already prepared that will keep my alive a few days.
Even in normal countries, such preparations are not absurd. The water supply might be interrupted for some reason – why not have a reasonable stash just in case? In Tokyo, common supermarket items became hard to get immediately after the 2011 tsunami due to damaged infrastructure. Security infamously broke down in the New Orleans flood. The gas went off in Melbourne once due to an explosion in the Bass Strait. Things go wrong all the time and there is no paranoia in being ready for it.
But there are those on this side of the web who assume that the entirety of Western civilization is about to collapse. In fact they look forward to it because (a) it will prove them right about how awful contraception, gay rights, fiat currency and corn syrup were, and (b) that it will make available heaps of hot chicks who will lose the obesity due to disruptions in the food supply and who will be desperate for a strong fellah who can shoot straight and knows how to raise a log cabin.
But it’s not going to happen.
This is easy to prove. We can look at cases of horrendous fuckups in other places and see that the disasters were short-lived and not so deep as one might think.
Consider Argentina. How often do they default, or mess up their currency, or do something else catastrophic? About once a decade. That place has been mismanaged for at least a century and it’s still battling on, poorer than it ought to be but there’s steak on the table and wine in the glass. The rich know: store your wealth abroad in USD and you’re all good.
Look at Venezuela. Things there could hardly be worse, but the state has still not imploded into full Mad Max territory.
Look at Japan. Their national debt is 236% of GDP and it is mostly going to recurrent spending. The economy has been moribund for twenty years. Life there is still okay.
Look at the Philippines. It has always been corrupt and short-sighted; a Wild West of lawlessness, corruption and incompetence. It is one of the happiest places in the world. Beaches, smiles, pork and rum. Life goes on.
Things might get worse in the West. Budgets might tighten. Some big states might default or inflate their way out of trouble. The economy will tank. Then recover. Then tank again, and so on until the coming of the Great White Hankie.
There are only a few ways things could really collapse. They most plausible are physical – nuclear war, an asteroid, a new ice age. The end of the Roman Empire came from invasion, but the Romans were depopulated by plague and they never had nukes. Towards the end, Goths were allowed inside the borders in far greater numbers than had previously been the case and they found the people passive and vulnerable after generations of state monopoly on violence, but the new status quo could only reach the level of chaos already present in the barbarian north. In fact, they often integrated Roman bureaucrats and life continued much as before, albeit on a smaller scale. Parts of the US may become as chaotic as Mexico, but people still go on holiday there.
Hoard your ammunition if you must. Dig a bunker, hide a cache of Tiny Teddies, line your house with lead. The worst-case scenario, within your lifetime, will probably be a moderate increase in crime, a grimmer economy, and perhaps a decline in the quality of the local water supply.
Oh, and your pension will vanish. You can bank on that.