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What You Do Next September 18, 2012

Posted by Sobek in News, Philosophy, Politics, Religion.
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In response to my my three, somewhat negative posts, Kevlar Chick said, “Your next post needs to detail what I do next: a weapons bunker or a run on duct tape.”  To which Dave sagely responded she should get a shotgun and some ice cream.  And while I defer to Dave’s wisdom, I’d like to expand on that a bit, and talk about three possible answers to what you should do next, involving the Political, the Pragmatic, and the Philosophical.

The Political

In my post about power, I observed that a lot of Obama’s power grabs were simply accepted – maybe with some angry comments by bloggers, but without any serious, real-world challenge.  From whence would a challenge come?  I suggest the following: from popular pressure, or from a co-equal branch of government.

Obama does not generally care about popular pressure, but he does want to be re-elected (according to some theories).  Can you imagine how humiliated he must have felt when he made a video saying “of course Americans built their own businesses”?  He didn’t do that because he had a change of heart; he did it because he thought it was hurting him politically (as well it should).  But that video is shocking in part because it’s so rare.  And I can’t think of any instance where he apologized for doing anything bad, only for giving the GOP ammo by saying stupid stuff – and then only when the stupid stuff was un-spinnable or un-ignorable.  The biggest problem is the fawning press won’t let social pressure build in most cases – consider their shameful covering for him after Romney was the only guy with the courage to call out the Egyptian mob.

That leaves challenge by either the Executive, the courts or Congress.  Eric Holder has no respect for the laws and Constitution he swore to uphold, any more than Obama himself, so that’s right out.  At this point, I have no faith whatsoever in the courts to actually reign in Obama’s power grabs, save at the edges.  There are some small, important victories (like the Supremes smacking down a lawless EPA in the Sackett case.  Don’t click that link if you don’t have anything handy to punch, even though it was eventually a victory of sorts for the rule of law).  But John Roberts proved in the ObamaCare case that most judges – or rather, most conservative judges – like to hang their hats on the political question doctrine, which allows a judge to say “that’s really an issue for the voters to decide,” even when it manifestly is not.  That leaves Congress.  Do you trust the vindication of your Constitutional rights to this guy?

But I’m not trying to make you despair, I’m trying to tell you what you can do today.  Google the GOP in your county, and find out when they have meetings.  Those are the guys and gals who are, more than anyone else in this country, able to make things right.  My county organization had parties to watch the Republican Primary debates and the Convention – if nothing else, your presence gives other Republicans a sense that they aren’t alone, and that they have building momentum.  Go to a Tea Party rally.  Find out when your congressman has town hall meetings (assuming they aren’t too cowardly to have them).  Now note well: these things take time and energy, time that any sane person would rather spend doing productive things, like building a business, getting an education, or spending time with family and friends.  But that is why the useless twits on the Left often have an advantage in the ground game: their base is comprised of unproductive people, who therefore have more free time.

There is an enormous chasm between talking about politics and doing politics.  Talking politics is fun and interesting (if occasionally frustrating or downright horrifying), and also very useful if you can inform people about a lawless President who violates his Oath of Office almost as frequently as he goes golfing, but doing politics is what moves things.

The Pragmatic

The most important rule is: DON’T PANIC.  Look, I enjoy a thread where people discuss the merits of various shotguns as much as the next red-blooded American.  I won’t discourage anyone from looking into home and self-defense options, and a shotgun is a great option for the reasons Michael suggested (although I would add, don’t buy a pump-action shotgun just for the sound, if you don’t intend to use it if necessary.  If the sound scares away the bad guy, that’s a bonus, but bringing a loaded gun to a confrontation without the intent and skill to use it if called for just gives the bad guy a loaded gun).  So I hurry to emphasize that the survival stuff I’m about to discuss is general advice, and not really a response to KC’s question about political issues.

I started this post with the Political instead of the Pragmatic because the Political addresses the actual problem: lawless government overreaching its boundaries.  You don’t solve that problem with a shotgun and duct tape, you solve it by getting involved in politics and getting your neighbors involved as well.  However – and this is extremely important – we all need to accept the fact that sometimes political processes fail.  The country elected an unrepentant Marxist, who is best friends with a literal, no-foolin’ terrorist, and a preacher who screamed GOD DAMN AMERICA after the worst terrorist attack on our soil.  So yeah, Democracy is ugly business, and the best candidate doesn’t alway win, and we need to be prepared for that fact.  The best preparation starts with the realization that sometimes our government will fail us.

I give all credit in the world to the brave men and women in police and fire departments around the country, but they’re only human.  They can’t protect your home all the time, it’s just not practical.  In the event of disastrous flooding or fires, the government will eventually arrive with supplies, but it takes time.  That’s just reality.  The responsibility for your protection is not primarily on the shoulders of government, and you need to understand that and act accordingly.  Any steps you take to protect your basic survival needs show you taking responsibility for your own destiny, and it provides both safety and a deep sense of satisfaction.

Two Sundays ago, the bishop in my church surprised us all by announcing that six or seven families (his own included) were in a “disaster” for the next 48 hours, that they weren’t allowed to use any utilities (gas, electricity or water), phones, or go to any stores.  Obviously, those rules didn’t apply for emergencies.  I stopped by one of the homes the next evening to see how they were doing, and the wife said they learned they could live comfortably for maybe three days, and survive uncomfortably for at least a month.  They also learned some simple things they could do to be a little more comfortable for a little longer, in the event of a real emergency.  It was a fantastic learning experience.

So without actually doing that experiment (unless you want to), you can ask yourself, how would I have done?  Do I have food storage?  Flashlights and batteries?  A supply of water?  Extra medicine if necessary?  The goal is not to survive live royalty, it is to survive.  The LDS Church has emergency prep and food storage suggestions here, and I’m certain you can find a lot more resources on the web.  Emergency prep can be a daunting idea, but don’t be intimidated, just start with the most basic stuff.  What do you not have in your house, right now, that you would miss the most in the event of a disaster?  For example, we have wheat in our food storage, and Mrs. S knows how to make amazing bread with it, but our grinder is powered by electricity, so we need to find an emergency option for if the power goes.

I also highly recommend you figure out where the nearest LDS meetinghouse is, because the Church is extremely well-organized for crises, and we tend to use the meetinghouses to store food and supplies after an emergency.  We currently have almost 7,000 humanitarian projects in the United States alone, and after disasters like hurricane Katrina we quickly organize supplies and manpower to help out, and it’s always a lot faster than government rescue efforts.  I don’t mean to heap too much praise on the Mormons here, but actually yes I do.  We’re pretty awesome.  (I got to go to Florida after Hurricane Ivan and help chainsaw trees that had crashed into peoples’ houses – that was cool.)  Point is, there’s another resource to consider.

These points I’m making about the Pragmatic, again, are not intended as a specific response to government gone bad, although they don’t hurt.  They are about peace of mind in any bad situation (including government gone bad).  I’m not telling anyone that we’re in apocalypse mode because Obama routinely disregards the Constitution – God’s timing is not synched to any election cycle.  Buy duct tape because it’s useful, not because you-re a wild-eyed maniac who thinks Obama is going to send in the KGB.  But he might.

The Philosophical

Finally, and in some ways most importantly, What You Do Next needs to happen in your own head.  You need to find whatever source of spiritual or philosophical comfort will get you through tough times.  Even though my last three posts have been downers, I’m not generally in a bad mood or going about forecasting doom.  When Geoff asked me to post a follow-up to my comments on Power and the Arab Spring, I didn’t think I could replicate its success because I didn’t think I could summon up the same amount of anger.  (I was right.)

The reality is, bad things will happen.  Even if Obama announced tomorrow that he was sorry for screwing everything up, quitting the re-election race and conceding to Mitt Romney, and even if Romney turned out to be the more-conservative version of Ronald Reagan, bad things would still happen.  Only a nitwit thinks getting their guy elected makes everything better.  That’s especially true when your core political philosophy is “I want as little government as possible so I can pursue life liberty and happiness.”  Some of the bad things will come from government, some from your community, your neighbors, your family members.  Some will be natural disasters, some will be emotional disasters that will never make it to a headline.  But they will come, on their own schedule, without regard to how you voted last cycle.  I’m just saying you should be prepared.

I’m a Middle East guy, by education and hobby.  I started with Israel, because I’m a Christian, but the more I learned about Israel, the more I wondered about Egypt, Assyria, Lebanon, and Bablyon.  And then into the modern era of Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and especially Central Asia, which still holds the same exotic appeal for me as when I first looked into it.  And you can’t really understand Central Asia without understanding Russia, which you can’t understand without France, England and Germany.  Point is, I’ve read a lot of books about a lot of places, and inevitably I’ve read about some horrible, horrible things.  Iran is a fascinating place that has undergone (and is undergoing) some of the worst political oppression in the world.  I’ve read about Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany, North Korea under the Kims, and ancient terror-states like Assyria, the Assassin enclave, and the Mongol hordes.

Here’s the weird thing I’ve found in all of it: people still managed to live their lives, and find their happiness, if they were disposed to look for it.  Corrie Ten Boom’s book “The Hiding Place” talks about the author’s sister, a Dutch woman during the Nazi occupation, throwing parties to cast out the gloom.  Her sister was a source of light in dark times, taking to heart Paul’s admonition to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thes. 5:18) more thoroughly than most humans ever will do.

In the Book of Mormon, there’s a part that we call “the war chapters,” where the spiritual narrative is interrupted for twenty-one chapters on a series of wars between two ancient nations that lasted about twenty years.  At the end of the war chapters Mormon wrote, “But behold, because of the exceedingly great length of the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites many had become hardened, because of the exceedingly great length of the war; and many were softened because of their afflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility” (Alma 62:41).  I think there is profound wisdom in that verse; the same disaster can afflict many people who react to it differently.  The difference is not in the disaster, but in how people choose to react.  When Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans, everyone there had the option to become embittered, savage, even criminal, or else to become more humble, service-minded, even saintly.

And I strongly suspect that the main reason between the two reactions was based on what those individuals had done with their lives before the disaster struck.  Finding God in a foxhole, while better than never, does not produce the same relationship with Him as finding God during the easy times, the times of plenty.  Substitute “happy place” or whatever you want instead of “God” if you must, the point is that if you are prepared philosophically for the time of emotional disaster, just as with physical disaster, you will survive and even thrive.

Conclusion

That’s a lot of words to answer a simple question, but it’s not really that simple of a question, and I can boil the answer down to a few key ideas for things you can do right now:

1.  Find your local political party and attend a function, meet people, make new friends.

2.  Figure out the simplest things you would need to survive a natural disaster, and buy them.  You’re not buying a years’ supply in one day, you’re covering your most basic survival needs for 72 hours.

3.  Find your happiness, whatever the source.  Bad times will come; they always do.  In America we have been amazingly blessed with peace and prosperity, but that’s a historical anomaly.  Understand that happiness is not contingent upon your society, but on the choices you make.

You ever see an unhappy giraffe? Of course not.

Comments»

1. daveintexas - September 18, 2012

I wasn’t ruling out duct tape. In fact, I was.. intrigued.

Intrigued. Yes. That’s the word.

But you can’t go wrong with the ol “shotgun and some ice cream” advice. Standard. Classic.

2. Michael - September 18, 2012

Beef jerky. It will last even if the power grid goes down. Ice cream will not.

3. Michael - September 18, 2012

Or maybe the Swedish solution — lutefisk! You can survive for a long time with that stuff.

A stockpile of canned baked beans is also a good idea. Just don’t open a can if zombies are in the area. They can smell it.

4. daveintexas - September 18, 2012

Beef jerky? Practical, not romantic.

Ask a gal, “hey, you want a shotgun and some beef jerky, or you want a shotgun and some ice cream?”

I think I can predict reasonably well how this will go.

This is why chicks dig me. I can’t teach this, it comes from within.

I’m sorry. I wish I could teach it. Hell, I’ve tried.

5. Michael - September 18, 2012

Find your happiness, whatever the source.

I have already done that. I want a date with Halle Berry. However, she has ignored my letters so far.

6. geoff - September 18, 2012

I can see Dave is already looking ahead to replenishing the human race.

7. Sobek - September 18, 2012

Dave should add some Barry White records and a hand-powered record-player to the Pragmatic section.

8. kevl - September 18, 2012

Thank you for the post Sobek. First I need to read the comments to determine whether or not I should read the post.

*reads comments*

Yeah those are useful. But I’ll still read the post tonight.

9. daveintexas - September 18, 2012

the ciiiircle of liiiiiiife

10. Michael - September 18, 2012

rolling in the deeeeeeep

11. Pupster - September 18, 2012

lutefisk! You can survive for a long time with that stuff.

Filthy Scandi Propaganda!

*burns down Haagen Dazs display at Kroger*

12. lauraw - September 18, 2012

I need somebody to read this and tell me what it said. This is one of those days where I have a very short attentio

13. sandy burger - September 18, 2012

To summarize:

Don’t bother with disaster preparedness. Just find a local Mormon to mooch off of.

14. Michael - September 18, 2012

Laura:

It says:

1. You should have a stockpile of bottled water, ammunition, beef jerky, and canned baked beans (preferably the maple flavored version).

2. You should go to church and attend to your spiritual life. (Or get a date with Halle Berry.)

3. In the event of a disaster when zombies are roaming at large, contact your nearest Mormon ward. They are ready for the Zombie Apocalypse. The Lutherans are just going to disappear into our underground bunkers and play pinochle until it is over.

15. lauraw - September 18, 2012

OK.

*flits off*

16. kevl - September 18, 2012

There are no Mormons here in Appalachia. Only Hatfields, McCoys, and a few Irish Catholics. I guess we’d have the corner on alcohol; I could start building my cache of Molotov cocktails.

My mother in law’s Persian rugs might also come in handy for barter and/or forced prayer.

17. daveintexas - September 18, 2012

How much booze do you have?

18. skinbad - September 18, 2012

“LDS apostle tells Mormons: Stock up on food, not ammo:”
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/blogsfaithblog/54913284-180/apostle-lds-oaks-conference.html.csp

My faith is shaken.

19. Retired Geezer - September 18, 2012

lutefisk! You can survive for a long time with that stuff.

erm… cause nobody is gonna eat it.

20. wintersetruss - September 19, 2012

I understand that lutefisk works well at killing zombies. It’s like D-Con and Agent Orange all wrapped up into one.

And the “food over ammo” advice is good. You might have to fight, but you WILL have to eat. Unless you know the location of other food-heavy preppers and you can use your ammo to take their food.

In the event of a zombie outbreak, I think my plan is to roam the wasteland with Rosetta and WP in cool dune buggies and motorcycles.

21. kevl - September 19, 2012

I also have some good cooking equipment for outdoor cooking – none of that non-stick garbage. Cast iron and stainless steel.

“Wichita Lineman” by Glen Campbell is an awesome song.

22. daveintexas - September 19, 2012

>> “Wichita Lineman” by Glen Campbell is an awesome song.

Ok, nevermind. Apparently the answer to my question “how much booze do you have?” is “a lot”.

23. Sobek - September 19, 2012

I concur with Russ – irregardless of whether or not he needs a punch in the nuts – because you horde ammo to protect you and yours, not to take from others.

First, if you’re low on food because of a localized natural disaster, do you really expect you’re going to go full Mad Max and commit armed robbery or murder to get food? Not probable. You need a pretty thorough collapse of society before the vast majority of people would even consider that. Kevl, I don’t think you have it in you. I genuinely hope not, at any rate. WickedPinto maybe.

Second, even in the event of total social collapse, it’s not a good idea to plan on feeding yourself by robbing or murdering others unless you have some experience with military-style home invasions against determined, possibly armed, defenders. Even cops, with all their equipment and training, can be taken down by a determined defender. It’s much easier to defend your supplies on your own turf than to invade and commandeer supplies from someone else’s house.

24. daveintexas - September 19, 2012

debbie downer

25. Sobek - September 20, 2012

Debbie Hope My Friends Survive Mass Disasters.

I wrote “irregardless” to see who freaks out about it. I plan on offering terrible survivalist advice to anyone who does.

26. geoff - September 20, 2012

You need a pretty thorough collapse of society before the vast majority of people would even consider that.

…or no water for about 3 days. Then I think all bets are off, disirregardless of Sobek’s Polly Annapocalypse.

27. kevl - September 20, 2012

Irregardless is redundant,. Just say “regardless” and get over yourself. Stop acting all smart with the vocabulary; some of us see right thru that ninja talk.

I don’t have it in me to go Mad Max on anyone, except maybe co-workers.

28. daveintexas - September 20, 2012

And yet, Merriam Webster’s threw in the towel ten years ago and added “irregardless” to the dictionary. Because it’s usage is ubiquitous.

29. kevl - September 20, 2012

Dave, there is no apostrophe in “its”

30. daveintexas - September 20, 2012

Yeah, I know. I hate it when I fuck that up.

But I don’t go back and correct it like some people would, because I’m a man and when I fuck stuff up I fuckin OWN it.

Its how I roll, baby.

31. Michael - September 20, 2012

you horde ammo to protect you and yours, not to take from others.

You horde ammo because in the event of the Zombie Apocalypse (i.e., when the fiat currency system fails, the banking system fails, and the power systems shut down), ammunition will be a very scarce resource and will be the de facto currency. Not precious metals, not gasoline like in the Mad Max movies. It will be like salt during the early years of Rome (from which we get the term “salary” btw, it’s a Latin word; Roman soldiers were paid with salt).

32. sandy burger - September 20, 2012

So, hoard salt. Got it.

33. OBF - September 22, 2012

Irregardless is not a word!!! There, how’s that for freaking out?


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