Isolationism has become an American art form. By their very nature our initial immigrants were not exactly predisposed towards cultural integration in their homeland. Yes, of course, a lot of it was forced upon them, the poor having no land to farm or the farmers forced out so that their rich overlords could make more money grazing sheep ( eminent domain to build a pharmaceutical corporate building, anyone? Does anyone remember that reference, the justification for forcing out the individual being that a corporation would pay higher property tax? ). But regardless of motivation, you don’t move to a foreign land and remain gregarious as a general rule. Once we got here, the tendency was to remain grouped by tribe, or if adventurous enough to go get land from the Indians you were isolated to a large extent anyway. You were segregated by race or social class or economic condition, the Golden Age Of Leave It To Beaver only twenty years long. Prior and following that, you were isolated by your betters, being allowed to inhabit the OTHER side of the tracks, or you were isolated by your wealth, or you were isolated in suburbia as you fled the crime from the Race Wars ( ongoing for fifty years since the empire began its economic collapse ).
Is it any wonder we happily cling to our isolated bubbles of electronic bliss when we are forced to interact with Others? If you look at it from this point of view, is it any wonder the Special Snowflake Brigades act as they do, crying out in physical pain at a mere glance, possibly hinting at micro aggressions? You are piercing their isolated bubble Happy Place. How else to explain our dysfunctional affair with the automobile ( is it an accident the first generation willing to abandon the car is safely cocooned in a digital world as an alternative? Look at Kunstler with his hatred of driving and my equal distaste-although financial rather than ideological-for the practice and my embrace of the bicycle. We have alternate methods of isolationism besides the car ). We want to be left alone, need to be left alone, seeking out alternate means of socialization our monkey minds need so as to still remain by ourselves physically. Marriage aversion is almost all financial, but there is probably some degree of preferring isolation in the mix also. Add in an Old Lady and soon a pack of squalling children and before you know it you are ass deep in humanity, even in your hidey hole of a home.
Is it really so hard to understand why Rawles relocation strategy is so popular, despite it mostly being strategically problematic? People want to stay isolated as a survival mechanism. Folks even eagerly embrace the duality of operating in a combat zone safely, lying to themselves that their automobile and their higher status as a Tax Paying Citizen equate to a safe passage totem to continue being employed. They must work to buy safety to go to work. And they can’t NOT do that, as employment has been equated with security since we were forced off the farms. But security is only financial. Now that finances are being withdrawn as a security blanket, we desperately cling to the illusion of job security or the illusion of security through isolation. The reality avoidance in regards to suburban living and commuting is a reaction to their now new non-permanent status as security strategies. We can’t replace them, in our minds we are busier avoiding the danger than coping with it, and so we come up with lots of crazy horse crap. Bugging in. Buggin out. Electronic cars. Online work. Fracking Oil. Anything but forming community away from jobs. That would give up financial security and isolation security.
The very thing we are supposed to do, at least according to the experts, back to village agriculture, is exactly what we can’t do if we cling to the security we’ve known all our lives. Which brings me around to a quote by one of my loyal minions who I value for his outsider view, a needed fresh perspective, Ave. Here it is, and pay attention:
Not wanting to give Jim ideas for posts or anything, but what preppers are doing is akin to stockpile tin cans of food in Dresden in 1942. Three years afterwards, many there have died, the tin cans are under rubble and yourself have been drafted in the Volkssturm. In the face of gigantic forces our own goals are extremely puny.
What immediately came to my mind was the sneakier little rats amongst the population hiding food in the basement and then getting screwed despite their efforts. Perhaps a scene slightly modified from the movie “Enemy At The Gates” ( the movie which unfortunately gave our Hollywood idiocy saturated minds the notion a Mosin-Nagant was a cool rifle ). This ability to conjure mental images from a few sparse sentences is why Ave made such a good novelist, despite being a fuzzy foreigner with English as a second language. If you foolishly have not yet read it, the link is on my web page.
This is such an apt description of how most of us prep, and it is a bit embarrassing. We are so focused on isolating ourselves from all the danger surrounding us, a very rational act, we lose focus on the evil forces encircling our castle, which is a bit irrational. We are far too inner focused. The news doesn’t help, ignoring all outside evil that detracts from our comfort zone ( reporting on crime is allowed, as that validates our suburb home and SUV. Reporting on the true energy picture is not allowed, as that invalidates our commute strategy and our need to stay dependent on the grid in our not so well built home we buy for its distance from the ghetto, not its energy efficiency ). Now, for most of us, none of this is meant to detract from your decisions. Most of us were soiling our diapers when the economic collapse started. This is our only reality. At the time, all these coping mechanisms were quite rational. Who the Hell wants to stay in walking distance of work if you are rubbing elbows with Mau-Mau’s ( Mau-Mau: 1950s Kenyan independence organization: a secret Kenyan organization set up in 1952 with the aim of forcing European settlers from the land and ending British rule in Kenya.
***Mau-Maued: intimidate: to confront somebody, for example, a public official or bureaucrat, with the intent of gaining concessions, benefits, or advantage through intimidation (slang)*Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.***Normally I don’t care for quoting the dictionary, but given current events, this word should be gaining meaning again, reborn from the ‘60’s )?
And honestly, is there a solution to this problem of us walling ourselves off from reality? If this was a legitimate coping mechanism, how do we divorce ourselves from it? Is it even possible? Before, one stocked cans in the basement to cope with thermonuclear war. Then, you did the same to avoid crime. A garrison against criminals works rather well, in societies still firmly rooted in family, as in southern Latin nations. But here, we willingly traded surplus wealth for family ties and that culture died many moons ago. Now we are on our own, isolated individually or in dysfunctional families only together in name, each gladly focusing on their individual electronic teat as a avoidance strategy. Of course, now that I think about it from this perspective, spending $200 a month on a family cell phone plan makes perfect sense. It is a very small price to pay to avoid a spouse that will rape you financially and children that love your wallet only. You are buying isolation from your family that you can’t kick out of your safe space.
Despite the sense in caching supplies and multiple lines of retreat, I think the majority of us are still quite wedded to the concept of our stocked and locked basement, as it were metaphorically. It is the only place we feel safe, outside our vehicle. Despite the growth of carjacking, we understand we are much safer in our vehicle than almost anywhere else, and hence we cling to them religiously. This also accounts for the popularity of concealed carry pistols. It is another Better Than Nothing defensive measure ( the best measure is fleeing the crowded urban environment, but most are still clinging to the job security paradigm, despite the obvious in your face 33% unemployment ) which keeps us safer in our cars and in our shopping trips outside our cars and away from our homes. I’ve been attacked in crowded conditions, and believe me, you are completely helpless, even armed, if the threat doesn’t announce itself first. And that was in a very small town. But who can live in perfect conditions? All our coping measures are Better Than Nothing.
Does this mean it is better to do nothing rather than prep with Better Than Nothing? Of course not. It just means that this is an avenue that bears exploring, as it illuminates a very hidden problem we have mostly collectively ignored. Complete isolation, the concrete fortress atop the mountain, does not work as you will be found ( mostly because if you can afford that, you also have the money to announce yourself some way to the world. Power lines, paved roads, or something similar. And you are cut off and isolated without help ). Semi-isolation doesn’t work, as in the suburbs, as it is the worst of both worlds, too close to the city and not isolated enough from neighbors that hinder rather than help. Non-isolation certainly doesn’t work, obviously. So what is the answer? I’m not going to say a permaculture village or something similar, such as a survivalist group retreat. Both are far too problematic, the most basic issue being finances. Right now, I have no answers. I’m not trying to string you along to read further articles, like a TV show with a season end cliffhanger. At this point, I simple have no answers. We know isolation is bad, just as it is good. The question becomes, can we be isolated in secret, in a way that isn’t Rich Bitch Retreating? Can we avoid the bombers crushing our basement, as well as the mayor drafting us? Does stocking the cellar keep the Yankee army from burning down the house above it? One day, after pondering, I’ll take this up again.
END ( today's related link http://amzn.to/2fLNEgs )
* By the by, all my writing is copyrighted. For the obtuse out there