I love guns and knives and tools of all kinds, and those things can be important to survival and prospering in difficult times. Good water, food, warmth, and proper sanitation are also essential. These physical aspects of survival are what we usually discuss because they are obviously central issues. However, survival might be viewed as simply a very short-term aspect of living — an acute condition versus a chronic condition, one might say.
To live we are going to have to feed our minds and our spirits as well as our bodies. One critical element is belonging. I am about as much of a loner as anyone I've ever met. I love my wife, my family and friends, but I have always preferred them in limited amounts. When we lived far away from all of our immediate family, and it was just my wife and I, I was perfectly happy with that arrangement. Of course, we weren't living in some remote cabin in the mountains or deep in the jungle. I was going to work every day, surrounded by colleagues and people that I knew. We attended church and had many friends and acquaintances there. The fact is that humans, even lone-wolves like me, are social creatures. I think the alpha-male and pack analogies are bogus, or at least deeply flawed. We are not canines. Still, unless a person is two or three standard deviations outside the tall part of the bell, belonging to a group or a family or a clan contributes to our well-being and long-term survival.
It's one of the nice things about the internet, that we are able to communicate and interact with like-minded people from many different places. We can, if we choose, become better people and grow through these interactions. There are negative paths we can take as well, but we don't have to. The same is true in our communities, our neighborhoods, our churches, and our places of work. Building solid, positive relationships with the people around us is probably far more beneficial than having the latest high-tech gear in terms of prospering in the coming economic chaos.
Do I think we are still facing economic collapse? Absolutely. The stock market is up a little — the sole positive result from Bernanke's QE2 intervention. The fundamentals have not changed. Food prices are rising, steadily at the moment, likely much more sharply in a month or two. Gold prices have been fairly stable for the last few months in the $1350 range +/- $25, but that still indicates an expected loss of 50-60% in the dollar's purchasing power in the last five years.
Our debt is not going down at all. There is no certainty that, despite Mr. Obama's shout-out to Reality during his State of the Union address, there is going to be any significant tax and/or budget reform this year. The only thing that can save our economy is to allow the bubble to burst, to allow the big banks to go under, to allow large corporations like GM to go into bankruptcy. Unions must be brought in line with economic conditions. Wages — and more to the point, pensions and benefits must be realistically competitive against the global economy. Housing prices must collapse. With the current far-left media dominating the airwaves, such a path is political suicide, and no one — Republican or Democrat, and certainly not a sniveling academic air-head like Barack Obama, is going to take it, because all those changes means deflation which the overly-in-debt Federal Government cannot afford — unless there are painful cuts in entitlement programs. Not very likely.
At the moment, we are still managing to export most of our inflation to China where many more dollars are going to chase a much more slowly increasing supply of goods. Also, I'm not sure we can trust the numbers on the Chinese economy that their government is foisting on the world. Shoot, I'm pretty sure we can't really trust the numbers on our economy the American government puts forth.
So, we continue to work on building and maintaining our stocks of food and supplies. We continue to practice with our sidearms and get used to carrying them everywhere we possibly can. We make plans to grow as much of our own food as possible. We look for alternative ways to assure our supply of water. We plan for alternative modes of transportation and communication.
Perhaps this would be a good time to encourage the men's and women's ministries at your local church to begin stockpiling basic, long-term storeable food items, like wheat. Maybe in lieu of next week's men's "prayer" breakfast, which are usually more gravy than intercession, everyone could head out to the local shooting range, and definitely bring the ladies along. Personally, I'm much more thankful for a twenty-five yard, one-inch group from my XDM than for a plateful of store-bought biscuits. Say, Hallelujah!
But even if we can't convince our friends that there is a coming tribulation from which we may not escape via Rapture, we can always work on deepening and strengthening those friendships. We can be better neighbors, better employees, better church members, and better family members. We can be better Christians, and we can be closer to God than we are now. You and I can do that individually. If enough individuals do the right thing, it won't matter, in the long-run, what the government decides to do.