Friday, March 13, 2015

specialist- generalists


In general, a specialist can find employment in a niche of expertise and in general he will always know very little else.  Specialization is a brokered commodity whereas it is hard to find many instances of a generalist being employed for that skill set.  When a behavior is rewarded, you get more of ( except in marriage when you are punished for any behavior, but I shant be distracted with that subject today ).  So, in general, most of us educate in one marketable skill subset and congratulate ourselves on our marvelous intelligence ( because, hey, we got a paycheck to prove it ) and think that anything we touch after that is tarnished by the same level of capability.  So, for instance, every 99 out of a hundred “preppers” or “survivalists” think they are the true blue hot crap super stud one eyed kings in the valley of the blind and will rise to the top after an apocalypse like sweet cream to rule all they survey- all after reading how freeze dried foods and semi-automatics ( and let us not forget a genset! ) make them prepared for any disaster brewing.  I was one of them ( albeit at a slightly lower income/equipment scale ).  I look back at my level of ignorance when first preparing to survive and thank all the gods they postponed judgment day for my sake.  Luckily, my writing from back then mostly holds up as my bailiwick was more economic and political.  But my personal preps were a mess. 


How I thought I could feed and defend the family on 400 pounds of wheat and two hundred or so rounds of pistol ammo ( all I had time to buy before The Evil Wife thrust her impossibly large bosom into my face and hypnotized me for a few years, then rudely withdrew them and shocked me awake into a nightmare of lesser bosoms until now here I am wishing for any bosoms ) was laughable.  I got the wheat part right, and then turned right around and screwed it up by pissing away $500 on a single firearm.  Why?  Because that was what serious survivalists owned.  That was a real gun.  For the same money I could have bought two war surplus rifles, an old revolver, hundreds of rounds of surplus ammo and, literally, a ton of wheat ( this was the late eighties.  $50 rifles, $79 revolvers, $8 per hundred pounds of wheat with plastic buckets begging for homes for free ).  Why didn’t I?  Simply because I didn’t know any better, and because I thought I didn’t need more than what I had.  I was following conventional advice, which never took into account several different generalized studies needed for system wide operations and failures understanding.  Survivalism was taught by self stylized experts in the 70’s from knowledge decades old at the time.  And the lessons from that decade never were incorporated.  We are still being taught immediate post World War Two levels of understanding in attempting to evaluate and respond to life threatening dangers.  Most survivalists are still following a specialist, and relying on him/her for the facts, understandably as no one has time to learn everything on their own.  I did it because I had nothing but time and it related to writing- my ego inflator and stress reliever.  And it was a slow process.  I can hardly expect every aspiring survivor to emulate it- and not that they would anyway, as it goes against their built in prejudice towards specialization.  But it is a shame.  It was/is a very interesting trip indeed. 

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  1. You just told my life story.

    And it repeats it self on 50% of the population.

  2. Good post Jimbo. Thought provoking. The age of cheap surplus weapons is about gone I fear. I saw a Chinese SKS, some rust, ratty stock missing the spike bayonet for $485 the other day. A yugo with a grenade launcher was $595. WTH? A Romainian AK with some TAPCO parts for $750. Insane. Glad I got my stuff when I did. Mosin 91/30s are pushing $200 when you find them. If I only knew then what I know now I would have bought the crap out of surplus weapons and ammo. Hindsight.

    I feel sorry for any new survivalists trying to get started. I have things I need to do but Im in pretty good shape prep wise but I'm also on the short side of 50. My kids will have a good head start.

    Yes specialization isn't a good skill set for the collapse. The insurance adjuster, Accountant, salesman whatever will be hurting. I am a true jack of all trades but master at none but I will get by. Enjoy learning from your writings James. I hope you never stop. If they kill the internet I will subscribe to your newsletter. Nedd my Lord Bison Fix.

    1. I can't imagine the PO survives the Internet. But who knows. Big 5 just had a $299 Mauser. Glad I bought at $100 and $150.

  3. Have you read "Overshoot"?
    We have specialist because our population has grown so large that the only way we can feel important enough to exist is to create a vast number of niche occupations. Something a small group does, and nobody else. It makes us feel important. Granted we give up the ability to do many things on our own and have to call in specialists for things like fixing a toaster, repairing a plumbing leak, recharging the AC on our cars... but hey! We kick ass at what we do and those specialists call us when they need their computers repaired after downloading a virus from a porn site! It makes us "special". ha!

    Drop the population level several orders and you will find the generalist becoming much more important!

  4. It was never my intention to be top dog. That's a recipe for disaster.

    Look at what child survivors do (it may be surviving school bullying, insane family members or something similarly ) : they fly under the radar, are quite avoidant, secret and also quite flexible.

    They can't afford to build themselves up too visibly but they go for the long run. In the end, they generally succeed in escaping their soul-crushing condition.

    I doesn't mean that bullies don't get ahead in life as well. Different personality types lead to different choices. Some people (extraverted personalities mainly) succeed by accumulating prestige (big cars etc.).

    Survivor types are much nastier than bullies, but I find them uncomfortable to be with : it's not only that they don't need other people around them, it's that they've learnt to distrust others as a fact of life.

    Almost all survivalists are not survivors, as you described very accurately, they're hobbyists. Hobbysits tend to be generous, communicative and trusting, that's what they end up fleeced, either by survivor types or by social parasite types (wife #1-4 ?)

    1. I like being paranoid, but I can also drop my guard too much. Easier to get along with people and get screwed occasionally than withdraw from interaction

  5. Here's a good laugh for those who can relate.

    My initial foray into "survivalism" was prompted by the presidency of that insufferable dunce Jimmy Carter. I then discovered that unimaginable huckster Mel Tappan and his book Survival Guns. Like a moron, I was hooked. Mainly because I like guns.

    That dude and his philosophy on guns was worse than Imelda Marcos and her shoe fetish. You needed a different damned gun for every occasion. I do NOT exaggerate.

    I look back on it now and it's funny as hell. A person would have to have been rolling in spare cash to even begin to consider following that "guru's" advice.

    It's worth a read just for the entertainment and gun porn value.... :-)

    1. I'm no fan of Carter. And I think Reagan was the last great Prez. That said, If Carter had been four years later he might have had a chance as the Alaska oil came online. Some guys, like FDR, are just supreme dickheads. Some just had bad timing.

    2. "And I think Reagan was the last great Prez."

      Ironically James, it was a combination of Nixon, then later Reagan, that were responsible for the prison industrial complex that we all enjoy today, with the "land of the free" incarcerating 1/4 of the worlds prison population.

      Reagan was also the first to sign in no fault divorce in the PRK, allowing the fems to so easily transfer the wealth of men. And as we all know, what happens in the "socialist body", soon spreads and infects the other healthy parts.

      It was also Reagan that signed in executive order 12333 (The order that later paved the way for NSA spying).

      Not trying to cap on your hero here James. I too believed in the man at one time. But when the neo-conservatives are saying someone or something is especially good, you should always be very suspicious.

      The last several presidents have been sellouts, and this goes back farther than anyone feels comfortable knowing about.

    3. Oh, he had a lot of faults. Runaway deficit spending, for one. When was the last prez that didn't screw us somehow? Jackson? Relitively speaking, he was much better. I didn't know that about the divorce law-that must have been all Nancy :)

    4. Mel Tappan on guns is the classic "perfect is the enemy of good". I would summarize his survival advice as "marry well", as that is what he did. He could afford all those guns.

    5. Where is my survivalist Sugar Mama?

  6. I found her......but I do understand that can change in a heartbeat.