THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 160, February 11, 2002
Cetius, Altius, Fortius
The Libertarian Survivalist
by Patrick K Martin
Exclusive to TLE
In the Atlantic Ocean, about halfway to Europe, is a group of islands called the Azores. One of these islands (I’’m not going to tell you which one, not that it would be hard to find out) has a little problem. Due to its volcanic past, the island is honeycombed with old caves and vents, which are causing this beautiful place to crumble into the sea. What does this have to do with the price of cornbread you ask? Well, if a significant chunk of this island were to collapse, as almost happened a few years ago, untold millions of tons of rock and debris will slam into the sea creating a huge tsunami. Unlike normal tsunamis, this one would not disperse its energy in a 360-degree arc. Instead the energy would be concentrated in a very narrow wave front. The wave thus generated would, theoretically anyway, sweep across the ocean in about four hours, and when it hit the North American continental shelf, rise to a height of up to 1000 feet. It would strike the U.S. roughly between Boston and Washington, and could sweep inland as far as the Allegheny mountain range. Having seen what the destruction of two buildings in that city did, I invite you to imagine what would happen to our economy, if New York were literally wiped off the face of the Earth. I should add that while this disaster will occur naturally, sometime in the next few hundred years or so, one psycho with a small nuke could cause it to happen tomorrow. Are you scared yet?
Imagine, if you will, the effect on your life if the L. Neil Smith 2004 presidential campaign (or maybe the Smith/Martin ticket, if I may be so bold) were to succeed. Full Bill of Rights enforcement would become the law of the land. No more Socialist-Security, no more farm subsidies, no more Federal Reserve, OSHA, FAA, FCC, SEC, or any of the other unconstitutional acts and agencies which distort the market. Do you own any gold or silver? Considering that people would be using Federal Reserve notes to insulate their walls and line hamster cages, you might want to pick some up now, and avoid the rush (assuming Mr. Smith lived more than an hour after being elected). Sure, most of the disruptions which would follow such an event would be temporary, but temporary disruptions kill people all the time, unprepared people mostly. What, a little too farfetched for you? OK.
Most families today require two incomes to make ends meet. Imagine that you, or your spouse, was to be injured in a car accident. Not killed or crippled mind you, just hurt badly enough to be off work for a few months. How well do you think you would cope? How would you pay the bills and put food on the table? Most Americans have little or no savings, how about you? Would you run up your credit cards and hope you could make it up later? I'll be more specific, what if your paycheck will cover the bills, but only leave you twenty dollars a week to live on? Are you going to rob Peter to pay Paul? Which Peter will you rob, and to pay which Paul?
I know this last one very well, because it happened to my wife and I. My wife could not work for more than three months, and even with disability, after paying the bills we had just enough money to pay for the gas I needed to get to work. I, however, was prepared for just this kind of emergency. We ate better for those three months, than we had for our entire marriage. Albeit mostly because she was home to cook. My lovely wife, the woman who refused to open our freezer for fear of dying in a meat avalanche, the woman who cursed me when I came home with a case of corn instead of one can, my lovely bride, who told her friends she feared for the sanity of a man who had 42 cans of coffee (even though I got it for less than a dollar a pound), the vision of loveliness who graced my life with her presence, finally got it. She finally understood why I had stockpiled all that stuff. I did it because "Feces Occurs", and knowing that and preparing to deal with it, makes me a Survivalist.
Yes, stuff happens, and if you are not prepared to cope with it, you and your family will suffer. Now sure, I did not expect the car accident per se, but my preparations allowed us to get through that situation, not just by the skin of our teeth but in comfort. Later, I had to use most of my gold and silver coins to deal with another emergency, but that was what they were for, emergencies. I did not give a tinkers damn that I had prepared for economic collapse, or nuclear war, or some other major catastrophe, because I had prepared for ANYTHING! My candles and lanterns work whither the power is out because of a down power line or because the plant has been vaporized. My food is there to feed us if rioting hoards are looting the stores, or because I lost my job. I buy this stuff because I wish to have control over my life and my destiny and not because doom waits around every corner in my little world. How about you?
I look at people who claim to be libertarians, or anarchists, and I ask them. "What if you got your wish, today?" They usually roll their eyes and explain why that cannot possibly happen, or they begin to expound on their plans to open a cyber-marijuana bar. So, I stop them and explain more carefully. "No, what I mean is, the stock market has crashed, the global economy has collapsed, and the president is on the tube screaming 'sauve qui peut'. Now you don't have the government to kick around anymore, what are you going to do?" After the obligatory explanation that "sauve qui peut" is French for "save what you can", the other person generally gets a funny look on their face and hastily exits, usually mumbling something under their breath about the weirdos in this place. I have never had one look me in the eye and say, "Good, I'll go home and break out the survival supplies until things settle down, and then I'll find a nice spot for my cyber-marijuana bar."
Yes my fellow libertarians, you who claim to want the government out of your lives, are you prepared for what that will mean? Government breaks down all the time. Hurricanes, tornados, and blizzards prevent government from providing services to thousands every year, and what do we see? Hoards of unprepared people clamoring for somebody to save them. Wake up people. These little disasters should be a warning to you. Whenever you see these things you should be asking yourself, what if that were me? Could I get through something like that, with nothing but what I have right this minute? What if the government should not be able to restore these services to me? What if the government no longer existed? Imagine that, instant anarchy! How well could you deal with that, or are you expecting the government to prepare you for it?
A great many people (the esteemed founder of this publication apparently among them) have a certain mental image of a "Survivalist". Usually this image consists of a white male, dressed in some sort of camouflaged attire, squatting in a concrete bunker, surrounded by piles of guns, ammunition, and freeze-dried food. He sits, clutching a Bible and an assault weapon of some sort, drooling on himself in anticipation of worldwide nuclear destruction and the lawless chaos to follow. Oh, and let us not forget the Nazi flag stirring mildly in the draft of filtered air wafting from the air-vents. Well, there is a very good reason for your having this image. The media has spent better than twenty years working to give it to you. The obvious question is, why are you listening?
Real survivalists are simply individuals who prepare themselves to meet as many potential emergencies as possible. They are people who understand that "Civilization" is untold millions of people getting up every day, going to work and doing their jobs. They also understand, that if for some reason those people cannot do their jobs, or if the fruits of their labors cannot reach us, we may be required to provide for ourselves the goods or services which those people produce. They do not want to depend on "Big Brother" to spare them from the harshness of reality, because they are ready to handle reality on their own. The question is, are you?