Many preppers, survivalists, and even religious folks are looking to form communities to foster their prospects for long-term survival. This may mean building an intentional community from scratch, or simply creating a community of like-minded friends and neighbors for mutual assistance. This is a great idea. However, I still find some resistance to the idea of community by those folks who seem to favor the lone-wolf or small, isolated family retreat modes of survival. In this article, I want to explain why I think forming or creating a larger community is the better path to survival.
The first reason is that humans are social creatures. We are designed (by God or evolution, depending on your worldview) to need interaction with other people. This is why solitary confinement is considered such a severe form of punishment. We suffer mentally and emotionally when we are cut off from other people. Loneliness, depression, and mental illness will result from long periods of isolation, whether as individuals or even in very small groups.
The second reason is the fact of physical limitations. We get tired. We get sleepy. We can typically only do one task at a time. Some tasks require more than one person. And there are time factors to consider. Security, for instance, will require full attention. You are not going to be able to pull security duty AND work in the garden or do other chores at the same time. You are not going to be able to pull 12-hour security shifts for any length of time. Try to do so, and you will become tired, distracted and ineffective. (I'll do a future article in which I'll posit that an absolute minimum requirement for a survival community is at least six healthy adults, probably more.)
The third reason is limited skill sets. A truly self-reliant survival group will need a large variety of skills sets. Yet, we all have a limited number of skills as individuals. Remember, there will be no outside help of any kind - no fire departments, EMTs, police departments, hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies, tailors, electricians, plumbers, mechanics, or repairmen of any kind, except for that which we have within our community. We will have to provide for all our needs ourselves. Of course, we should all work towards becoming as self-reliant as possible, but no one person, no one family, will ever be able to truly do it all.
The fourth reason is safety in numbers. The idea many have is that a family in an isolated rural area will survive by hiding. But reality tells us something different. Fernando Aguirre in his book, The Modern Survival Manual, writes about the experience during the economic collapse in Argentina during the early 2000s. Far from being safe, small isolated farms were actually hunted down and targeted by well-armed gangs. This experience has been mirrored in other historical, real world examples, such as during the Bosnia War in the 1990s. A small retreat with only two or three adults to provide security will be an extremely tempting and easy target for large, well armed groups during a collapse in the USA. No, I wouldn't want to live in a large urban center, but small retreats aren't safe either.
This is the second in a series of articles on Community. The first article in the series is Building Community - Evaluating Potential Members. Additional articles will be posted in coming weeks.
Looking for Christmas gift ideas for the Outdoorsmen on your list? May I suggest two books by Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty: The American Fisherman: How Our Nation's Anglers Founded, Fed, Financed, and Forever Shaped the U.S.A. and his earlier book American Hunter: How Legendary Hunters Shaped America. Purchases made through these links help finance this website. Thank You.