Saturday, January 10, 2015

My "Prepper" Philosophy

Earthquake Aftermath
I started this year with an examination of what Self-Reliance is (and isn't). Then I explained the three foundations for Self-Reliance in the modern world. Now, its time to explain my self-reliance ("prepper") philosophy.

My prepper philosophy is summed up in the Boy Scout motto "Be Prepared." Now, before you roll your eyes, please realize that motto is much more profound than it may appear at first glance. Let me explain.

Be Prepared. Its just two words, and gives no detail. Be prepared for what? Be prepared when? Be prepared how? It doesn't answer those questions, and that is what makes it so profound.


Be Prepared. For what? For whatever comes our way. Maybe a hurricane, or an earthquake, or some other natural disaster. Maybe a terrorist attack, or a pandemic, or an economic collapse. Or maybe an emerging police state and the loss of individual liberty. Or, maybe it is something much more individual - a house fire, an unexpected job loss, sickness or injury.

The fact is, we don't know what the future holds in store. We can make educated guesses based on known facts and logic. For example, I think it is very reasonable to expect some sort of economic collapse, leading to a political collapse (which I define as the end to the Constitution). But I cannot predict exactly when it will happen (this year? next year? ten years from now?). Nor can I predicted exactly how it will happen, or how bad it will get, or how long it will last. And even if it does happen, there is always a chance that some other disaster will happen first. As far as I can know, maybe I'll get killed in an earthquake a month before the economic collapse.

Be prepared. It doesn't give us step-by-step instructions because step-by-step instructions are simply impossible. Things are too unpredictable, there are too many variables, and circumstances are constantly changing.

Be prepared. What does it mean? Is it too vague to really mean anything? Not at all. Anyone who has been involved in scouting knows the whole program revolves around those two words. Not in the sense of "do x, y, and z" or "stockpile plenty of this and that", but rather by developing the strength of character, body, mind, and spirit to handle whatever comes your way.

Be prepared. It means having the right attitude, character, know-how, and ingenuity to quickly adapt to any circumstance, no matter what it is.

"The scout motto means that you are always ready in mind and body to do your duty and to face danger, if necessary, to help others." -- The Official Boy Scout Handbook, ninth edition, page 43.

All the activities, skill awards, merit badges, and Scoutcraft is designed to achieve that goal.

For Scouts, it starts with the Scout Oath:

        On my honor I will do my best
        To do my duty to God and my country
           and to obey the Scout Law;
        To help other people at all times;
        To keep myself physically strong.
           mentally awake, and morally straight.

In other words, its about honor, duty, and priorities. Its about preparing oneself  - physically, mentally, and morally.

It then continues with the Scout Law:

        A Scout is:
          Trustworthy
          Loyal
          Helpful
          Friendly
          Courteous
          Kind
          Obedient
          Cheerful
          Thrifty
          Brave
          Clean
          Reverent

In other words, its about actively making ourselves into the best versions of ourselves we can be.

So, my prepper philosophy is simply "Be Prepared." In order to do that, I must work daily on becoming the best me I can be. This starts with attitude and character, health and fitness, then moves on to knowledge and skills. Acquiring stuff, or even making specific plans (I'll bug out to X location with my fully-loaded bug-out bag when Y happens), is actually down towards the bottom of the list. Not unimportant, but not as important.