Too many people think that preparing for the collapse is a fool's game and an expensive one. Many are justified in thinking this way since survival hucksters are actively preying on those who are waking up to the true state of civilization.
The hucksters have put a price on survival, and a high one. According to them, you must be comparatively wealthy, and psychologically unfit to survive, being helpless and unable to do for yourself. But they will save you anyway, if you have the price. The greatest promoter of the survival of those hopelessly locked into the Establishment is the magazine, American Survival Guide.
This is a publication whose main thrust is to cater to the fantasies of those who know things are getting worse but look for some kind of best case scenario wherein they can be safe. ASG is full of best case scenarios whereby one with talent, genius and education can manipulate what is left of any system into a cozy niche for himself. And of course, every reader believes he has a full measure of that talent, genius and education.
But first he must buy the "Survival" products which will keep him safe until the worst blows over. What that "worst" is, ASG seldom implies. The underlying message is that salvation comes through buying and that all inadequacies can be compensated for by cash.
I seem to remember a color ad on the back of an issue of ASG, or it might have been in Mad Magazine. Anyway, it pictured a man and woman and two kids in a personal survival shelter. They were surrounded by stocks of Mountain House Freeze Dried Foods, a generator and several guns, all expensive and most semi-automatic, a composite of ASG ads.
The unasked question posed by the ad was, why should these people survive? No one would want them dead, of course, but what were their qualifications, when the ad showed them as unwilling to participate in the greatest adventure, the greatest opportunities facing the best of our species. Those who would lock themselves away and do nothing while most of their fellows perish, and then expect to come out and share what others have rebuilt, are naive to the point of insanity.
But this has been the fantasy promoted by ASG and nearly every other self-styled survival publication. And the severity of the situation and the demands made upon those who survive are not a matter of opinion.
I'll admit I was brought up in the old school that taught that one must live a good and purposeful life or burn. Others have been taught that they can live well, without struggle or purpose, and then be saved by Grace.
I sympathize with them but I can't encourage them. Nor can I tolerate the phonies who prey on their fantasies. Upbringing aside, logic proves me right. Consider; in 1850 the world's population finally reached one billion. Only 80 years later, in 1930, it doubled to two billion. Then, by 1975, it doubled again to four billion. In 1987 it grew to five billion. Now, in 1995, it is 5.7 billion.
The industries supporting the world's still growing population has caused global warming, the depletion of the ozone layer, deforestation, overwhelming pollution, etc. The unrestricted fertility of those born only to consume and pollute is a threat to all life on our planet.
Still, most of those who are not as yet directly affected, fail to see the logical outcome. They seem to believe that all this amounts to is some possible economic imbalances and social upheavals, only temporary of course. But those who can't see that all this adds up to global catastrophe in our lifetime are simply unable to reason.
ASG caters to this type. If ASG's editor, Jim Benson and I were living in Bible times, before the Flood, I would be building an ark and Jim would be selling umbrellas.
The next few years will convince everyone that our species has out-bred the carrying capacity of our global environment and socioeconomic systems. Everyone will be affected and most will be threatened.
It is too late and the threat is too serious to tolerate those who would minimize the dangers to our very species. We are too close to the point of no return to trust our fates to hucksters of commercial "survival" products.
Your only chance to save yourself and your loved ones may be to learn the techniques for self-reliance practiced by your great-grandparents. If they were rural, or lived in a small town, you can be sure that they were little affected by any central government, especially if they didn't generate enough capitol to excite the tax man.
During the Great Depression, my grandfather had a farm, a country store, a sawmill, a grain mill and a blacksmith shop. Most of his dealings were by barter. For those in the community, he would saw five logs and keep the lumber from one. He would grind five bushels of grain and keep one-fifth of the flour.
Once a month he would load the truck with raw produce, drive to Harrison and trade it for whatever he needed for the store. His neighbors took whatever they needed from the store and often paid in labor or produce. There was little money but everyone was well-fed, well-clothed and the best of friends.
These kind of people will survive no matter what happens. They will survive because they can produce what their neighbors need. Not only will they fill a need in the community, but they will know how to raise and process most of their own food and barter the surplus.
None of this is beyond you. Your Disneyland for dummies is about to go over the edge. Face it! Then choose a trade and learn it. The SURVIVORS have so many cottage industries requiring little or no capitol that any number are within your reach.
Now back to the subject of preparing for the worst and prospering. In light of the foregoing, and your own observations, you may feel the necessity to prepare for a future you dread. But look at it as an adventure or an opportunity or both.
You have a couple of years to prepare and both make and save money at the same time. Just realize at the outset that nothing in your survival program should be expensive; in fact, part of the game is learning to do better with less.
A subscriber recently called and told me of a friend who had been sold a year's supply of survival food. He had a wife and three children, one quite small. Thinking he had really gotten a bargain, the sucker shelled-out $12,000 for a year's supply of "survival food" for a family of four. The crook then threw in a year's supply for the little one at no extra charge. My subscriber knew how to make his own survival food for his whole family for only a few hundred.
The difference between the two is that the sucker was fleeced through his dependence. He also had something that would teach him nothing, give him no skills, and might not even be fit to eat when the time came.
My subscriber, however, knows food, its basic preparation and its cheapness. He doesn't pay others three times its real price to process his family's food. He can eat better and save the difference to invest in what he needs to prepare for his family's future.
For instance, 50 pounds of hard red winter wheat from your local feed and seed store costs only $7.00. Ground with the Corona Grain Mill, it translates to 100 pounds of the tastiest, most nutritious bread at only $.20 a loaf. The extra is for yeast, eggs, etc.
The wheat can also be sprouted, dried and ground for a super food, plus any number of other clever, tasty and nutritious uses. You could almost live on it.
Whole corn costs only $3.50 for 50 pounds. When ground, that is only $.06 a pound, as opposed to $.28 a pound for degerminated store corn or $.40 a pound for health food whole ground corn. Great for cornbread, cornmeal mush, corn pancakes, etc.
Then there are soybeans at $.40 a pound when bought in bulk. Sprouted, that are six times their weight of delicious green vegetable for under $.10 a pound. They turn into Tofu for $.20 a pound as opposed to $l.50 a pound in the store.
SURVIVOR Vol. 1 has all this and more, whereby, with the purchase of a hundred pounds each of soy beans, wheat, corn, rye and other beans, etc. your can provide your family with all their staples. Plus, you're not limited to a vegetarian diet. It is just that this program will eliminate three-fourths of your food bill.
But say the above is just too much of a first step. You want to save money on food and you want to stock up. But you don't want to spend thousands or bother with all that peasant labor. Fine, but a pity, as your reluctance to learn decreases your chances. However, you can stock up on food for about half its present cost, rather than three times its cost, as is the case with "survival foods".
Make a list of everything your family eats for a week. Then buy 10 cases of every non-perishable. It's a fact that cans, jars and plastic containers of food have a shelf-life of from three to five years. Even so, you are going to rotate, so even if it is a whole year's supply, no matter how long before you're going to need that year's supply, it will be relatively fresh.
Say you go to a discount store like Sam's. You get about 30% off. Even if you buy by the case from your local supermarket you will get 5 to 10% off since they won't have to handle the contents.
So you've got all this food, 10 cases each. Mark each batch of cases from 1 to 10. Start using case one. When you've finished it, buy another case and mark it 11 and start on case 2. You will find that by the time you are into case 3 or 4, prices will have risen. Even if you have bought the food in bulk off the shelf, you will have saved money. Whether you buy grains, beans, etc., or cases of food or off the shelf by the basket, you will save money on what you'll have had to buy, no matter what.
Your next consideration is to choose a trade or skill which will fit you to supply a need. This could be the most important decision of your life, as a person's profession is his guarantee of security. If you have to depend on someone else for a livelihood, you will never have real peace of mind or a real life's purpose.
There must be some skill you've fantasized about which would give you a good living and respect. The SURVIVORS have hundreds. Toy making, gunsmithing, greenhouse operation, auto repair, carpentry, etc.
Choose a general area and take some night courses in shop, woodworking or whatever. This would keep you off the streets, wouldn't cost much, develop your talents, make friends and give you a lot of ego-satisfaction.
Unless you are in a rural area, now is the time to relocate. Pick your spot and get a realty guide for that area. Rural homes on an acre or more are going lower in price all the time. Study the realty guide and decide how big a place you want and will be able to afford. Thousands do it every month. Why shouldn't you?
When you have your house and ground, build a 20x30 foot greenhouse along its sunny side. Such a greenhouse will cost only $400 to $600, depending on whether you use roll plastic or corrugated fiberglass. Your savings on food alone will pay for the greenhouse. The kicker is, that even if you don't use it, it will pay for itself. It will keep the sun off that side of the house, keeping your home cool and saving on air conditioning bills. In winter it will make that side cozy warm and save on heating bills.
For starters, you can grow house plants to sell to stores for Christmas, etc. Go to a store and look at them. They are always in demand and most women love such work. A modest profit, pleasant part-time work and you have paid a lot of bills. When you know more about growing you can expand to vegetables to use and sell for a real profit. All this with little cash outlay and good returns both in the short and the long run.
There are plenty of good books on greenhouses in your library. But first read "Greenhouse" beginning on page 271 in The SURVIVOR Vol. 1.
So far, as you have seen, preparing for the worst has not cost you more than you would have spent normally, and probably less. This is as it should be. So don't fall for any scare ads telling you to lay out a lot of money to survive.
Survivalism is more an attitude than an expense. Most arguments against it are just a cop-out to hide one's fear of challenge. It is so easy to go along with the system one is born into, even if that system is becoming repressive and even dangerous. It is hard for most people to leave the known and abandon the security they have depended on.
But all our ancestors did, at one time or another. And consider the Vietnamese over here and the Cubans. They all made a greater change than I am suggesting. What do they have that you don't?
One thing they have is persistence. They decided to do something, they planned it and they did it. They persisted until a large percentage of them are successful. But a person who can't persist, mainly because he isn't mentally weaned, might just as well go down with the rest of the herd. That's best for the species, after all.
Even so, as I have pointed out, the expense should be no consideration. And the rewards should more than compensate for any difficulties, even if a miraculous turnaround should take place. So the only question is, do you have the maturity and the character development to persist?
Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's was given the following lines by someone and lived his live by them. So should you:
Press on; nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; un-rewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
Memorize this and apply it and you will survive.