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Energy fears looming, new survivalists prepare

Convinced the planet's oil supply is dwindling and the world's economies are heading for a crash, some people around the country are moving onto homesteads, learning to live off their land, conserving fuel and, in some cases, stocking up on guns they expect to use to defend themselves and their supplies from desperate crowds of people who didn't prepare.

The exact number of people taking such steps is impossible to determine, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the movement has been gaining momentum in the last few years.

These energy survivalists are not leading some sort of green revolution meant to save the planet. Many of them believe it is too late for that, seeing signs in soaring fuel and food prices and a faltering U.S. economy, and are largely focused on saving themselves.

by das monde on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 06:27:35 AM EST
They were doing exactly the same as Y2K approached - the U.S. always has a bunch of people like this. I actually worked with somebody who thought like this, though he only went as far as to sell all his stocks (smart move, that...) and to look around at prices of homesteads.

The article suggests that they are relying on solar panels for power. What happens when they eventually wear out, assuming that civilization has already collapsed?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 07:24:15 AM EST
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<shrug> They're cultists: who expects rationality?

The myth of the individual is deeply embedded in a lot of places these days: who needs civilisation?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 07:28:57 AM EST
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When you read the article, the people describe are pretty rational and reasonable - a lot of it is about using less energy, growing some food, learning skills that are valuable in a resource-constrained world.

Nothing to scoff at. Very little was about creating self-sufficient compounds and arming them, and a lot more about being sustainable.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 08:10:17 AM EST
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Good article lead then.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 08:16:13 AM EST
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I'm not sure. I definitely agree that it can be read the way you did, and now that I look carefully at the article, I agree that most of it really does make sense.

But despite this, there is some of discussion of armed compounds, marauding hordes, and the like, that you would probably not see in a similar article in Europe.  I suspect that those of us who have lived in the U.S. for a long time read articles like this differently, having encountered survivalists like this before. These guys always seem to be reasonable, in precisely this way, but there always seems to be an undercurrent of antisocial lunacy just under the surface.

One possibility, though, is that the movement is indeed rational, like you suggest, with only a few survivalist lunatics, but that the journalist has automatically written the article in a way that fits the standard narrative.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 08:28:20 AM EST
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It doesn't have to be either/or. Just because you're paranoid, etc.

Survivalism makes a kind of sense in the US because there's enough space to live relatively self-sufficiently far enough away from marauding traumatised survivors. And they still have remnants of that pioneer spirit - which was quite a thing, in its way. The genocide of the Indians wasn't pretty, but it takes a certain kind of person to survive a trek across a continent in a covered wagon.

Survivalism makes no sense at all in Europe because population densities make survival unlikely, even with a gun and a small holding. The best solutions - but currently the least likely ones - have to be political.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 11:56:15 AM EST
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And who are they relying on for bullets?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 07:31:17 AM EST
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You can make your own - just remember to retrieve the metal from your victims. Making propellant for modern weapons is probably more interesting.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 07:33:12 AM EST
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That was one consideration in our moving to Northern Arkansas.  It is about 700 ft above current sea level, The Ozark plateau will likely continue to regularly wring significant rainfall out of the atmosphere.  We have two large lakes with hydro capability. Clean air, clean water, abundant game, and only about 3 million souls.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 29th, 2008 at 01:14:20 AM EST
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