What Do You Need to Survive?

February 25, 2008

'Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory.' ~ Cervantes

Ask yourself: what do you personally need to survive in case of an economic meltdown, in case of sudden hyperinflation, a global resource blockade, a sudden declaration of martial law--or a simple nuclear exchange resulting in national panic?

I'm sure readers at STR have given serious thought to the question, especially in the present time when our political leaders appear to have given so little serious thought to the consequences of their actions and what those actions do to the average citizen.

What do you need to survive?

Money, you say? A handy supply of cash and a fast car to rush down to the store and amass more supplies? Suppose your friendly grocery store is already besieged'or empty'when you get there? Suppose your paper dollars are declared worthless under a new martial law? Suppose'worse case scenario--gold is declared illegal to own, as it was under friendly old FDR.

Suppose a limited nuke strike and a resource blockade in the Strait of Hormuz (Day One - The War With Iran) causes prices of everything to skyrocket and hoarding to occur on a huge scale? Take a quick look in your pantry. If your cupboard is like mine, we both have, maybe, a week's worth of grub. Suppose a can of Bush beans is suddenly no longer available at $2 but $20, while a 10 lb bag of rice is now $100--if you can get it.

The US economy is in a freefall, resembling that slow motion film footage of the airship Hindenberg, crashing into a massive fireball.

Okay, maybe not yet that bad. Not yet.

But a five-year graph clearly indicates the US dollar descending like the backside of the Rockies versus other currency. You know the dollar has a problem when the Philippine Peso outperforms it. Not to mention gold and silver, platinum and copper. You know the US dollar is in trouble when a pound of copper pennies (pre-1982) is worth more than $3 and federal law prohibits you from melting them down into ingots and using them as legal tender.

A friend of mine who subscribes to SEVEN mainstream 'news' magazines is heavy into stocks. Too bad: those magazines only seem to tell readers what they want the subscribers to know. Not what occurs in the real world or who are the guys behind the curtain pulling the levers.

In the past seven years, during the Bush imperial junta, stocks have fallen and the US dollar has plummeted vs. ALL precious metals. Gold went from around $230 an ounce to nearly $950 today, while silver (poor man's gold) went from around $4 to nearly $18 an ounce now.

Aside from Alan Greenspan, the Wall Street Journal and the millions of regular readers of the MSM, everyone on the Internet seemed to know precious metals would rise. Seriously, I knew it four years ago (Buy Gold--Before They Sell Out), and I'm no economist. Simply on the huge indebtedness of the US dollar, and the worldwide loss of confidence in US leaders, gold had to skyrocket (Naturally I bought no gold). Rule #1 in the con game of fiat currency: People must have confidence in the con of paper money, otherwise confidence ebbs, and the con is over.

So aside from a small, convertible amount gold and silver, what really does a man, woman or family need to survive? Thoreau asked that very question in Economy: Walden - Chapter 1-A.

'It would be some advantage to live a primitive and frontier life, though in the midst of an outward civilization (italics mine), if only to learn what are the gross necessaries of life and what methods have been taken to obtain them; or even to look over the old day-books of the merchants, to see what it was that men most commonly bought at the stores, what they stored, that is, what are the grossest groceries . . . The necessaries of life for man in this climate may, accurately enough, be distributed under the several heads of Food, Shelter, Clothing, and Fuel; for not till we have secured these are we prepared to entertain the true problems of life with freedom and a prospect of success.'

Food, shelter, clothing, fuel and also a source of income, both spiritual and monetary, to entertain the true problems of life with freedom and a prospect of success. As STR readers know, that ONE chapter of Walden stands the entire Federal Reserve on its head with economy to spare.

Can the Federal Reserve guarantee a steady supply of those necessities in a crisis? N-O. No. Easier to predict, indeed expect, the FedRes to continue printing paper money to carpet the countryside and devalue whatever you earn or have saved. Modern followers of Thoreau know we are pretty much on our own.

Reading the comments from a Mormon website, New Cool Thang ' My Beef with a Year Supply of Food, I found a few valuable insights.

'In case of a true catastrophe lasting for even a week, the store shelves would be empty. At that point, it wouldn't matter how much money you have in the bank. Only those with a large surplus of food would be willing to sell,' wrote a fellow named Floyd.

Before the forum deteriorated, as forums almost always do, another writer named Jamie wrote: 'Brigham Young said that there will come a time when gold will hold no value in comparison to a bushel of wheat. (Wheat futures skyrocketed recently) Money can become valueless quickly. I store both food and money . . . . Last week I taught an Enrichment Lesson on 'where to store it' (food). I had a display that had an entire years supply under a twin bed and the bed was only about 3 feet off the floor. It can be done.'

Cigarettes store easily, and work wonderfully as trade goods. Indeed leaf tobacco served as trade currency in the American colonies once (before the Federal Reserve). Chocolate, coffee, ammo and humor: all useful necessities in a crisis. Barter between neighbors makes better neighborhoods. Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory. A hundred cans of soup and a hundred pounds of rice sounds about right. Plus a thousand rounds of ammo--humor, right?--and coffee beans and shotgun shells to trade as wampum.

Survival of The Fittest, or why Darwin was partly right. Ask yourself: The Federal Reserve is doing a good job or a bad job, or simply doing their intended job on America? Why are we all taught to read the fine print on the backs of soup cans but not the small, fine print about the CFR and ingredients in the fractional banking stew?

Another website, Seven Year Mormon Food Storage Blog, advised seeking the spiritual side rather than about simple hoarding. Some of the remarks on the forum were rather revealing: 'My Mormon grandfather built a 20-year food storage,' wrote Rachel. 'He put a huge concrete bomb shelter in the backyard, stocked it to the hilt for his 12 children and grandchildren. Grandpa died after he retired. Property was sold, they bulldozed the shelter and now a Walmart sits on top of it. I guess you could say that's an even better food storage than what Grandpa built.'

Until Wally World is depleted of food, of course, or cordoned off by Blackwater mercenaries and the guns inside and out confiscated. As was done in New Orleans, even among homeowners, after hurricane Katrina.

Perhaps the best survival item to store then is a strong sense of neighborliness. Forewarned, forearmed. Not only neighborly on the same street or the same block but neighborly two nations over. With no need to conquer, spread 'democracy' or illegally occupy any of our neighbors. Self reliance and interdependence instead. Churn the butter, keep the guns handy, trade openly with the natives, and heed a healthy mistrust of central bankers and the nefarious intentions of the government, as Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson advised.

So what do we really need to survive?

Bikes and beans and gasoline,

Bread and grain and a wooded plane;

To hunt, to fish, and raise a few fowl,

And friends beside us to howl, loudly,

At the foul deeds done by the state machine,

In pursuit of profits selling war & gasoline.

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Douglas Herman's picture
Columns on STR: 136

Award winning artist, photographer and freelance journalist, Douglas Herman enjoys exploring the occasional ghost town or spooky conspiracy and can be found wandering the back roads of America. Recently Doug finished writing, directing and producing an independent feature film, naturally a "road movie," and credits STR for giving him the impetus to write well, both provocatively and entertainingly. A longtime gypsy, Doug completed a 10,000 mile circumnavigation of North America, by bicycle, at the age of 35, and still wanders between Bullhead City, Arizona and Kodiak, Alaska with forays frequently into the so-called civilized world of Greater LA.