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Apocalypse Update.

"Those who would survive, let them fight, and those who will not fight in this world of eternal struggle, do not deserve to live

-Adolf Hitler, 1889-1945

Yeah! ‘What Do They Know That We Don't?’ When the Masters of the Universe start looking for the exits it’s time to take notice. Something is going to happen.

The promotional video on ‘Fortitude Ranch’ is interesting. Is something like that worthwhile? I don’t know about you, but I’m inclined to agree with some of the commenters to the video that throwing a bunch of largely unskilled and unvetted strangers together in close quarters in a crisis is not likely to end well. Especially when so many of them will be a bunch of pompous D.C. bureaucrats. The ranch staff is likely to end up becoming the police force/prison wardens of this camp. They will simultaneously be expected to enforce the rules, keep the peace, redress all complaints and adjudicate all disputes, while at the same time being told by their charges that ‘I'm a paying customer here, so you’re not the boss of me’.

Mel Tappan, the ‘Founding Father’ of the modern American survivalist/prepper movement had this to say about group survival retreats:

“Once you have reached the point where you feel that preparedness is no longer academic, and you have a growing, apprehensive awareness that the time grows short for you to relocate away from the areas of greatest danger, it becomes increasingly easy to see the shortcomings of the traditional retreat alternatives. The seagoing approach, for example, is simply out of the question for more than a minuscule few; the land mobile techniques so widely touted by at least one writer are patently irresponsible; isolated wilderness retreats are virtually indefensible by an average family; group retreats sound good in theory but once you begin investigating actual examples, serious problems become apparent. There are too many rules and regulations, or too few; there is great difficulty in getting a good balance of needed skills in the group since awareness of the need for retreating does not even roughly coincide with a cross section of occupations in a balanced community (too many doctors and lawyers, for example, and not enough plumbers, electricians or carpenters). Further, I am sorry to say, many group retreats appear to be nothing more than promotional schemes, and quite a large number seem to have been set up by persons who might be classified technically as "whacko." Often these communal arrangements make no provision for permanent dwellings of any kind and concern for privacy within the group is customarily given scant attention. Whether utopias or group retreats, artificial communities have a tendency not to work out. Since few, if any, of them allow occupancy now, you would have no way of knowing whether they were viable until the convening of the crisis—and then it would be too late.”

“To ice the matter, most of these clich‚ retreat alternatives require crystal-ball timing. Because they are generally such an extreme departure from conventional life patterns, one would hardly choose to activate his retreat plan a moment sooner than necessary. Who would willingly elect, before circumstances forced him, to start blundering through the bush for months on end in a flimsy motorhome, popping its staples with every mile, towing a reluctant trailer containing all his possessions? Who would choose to live aboard a cramped sailboat with three kids and a pregnant wife even a week longer than he had to? Yet those who delay seeking their retreats until the crisis strikes may never reach them.”

“So much, then, for easy answers.”

• Mel Tappan, Tappan on Survival (1981), Chapter 3 ‘Retreating’

For a survival retreat Mel Tappan recommended establishing oneself in a hobby farm or ranch on the outskirts of a small town, “at least one tank of gas” from a major metropolitan area. He recommended you settle in that community as soon a possible so you would be able to produce your own food and will have made friends and allies among the locals well before the SHTF event. Plus you won’t run the risk of becoming trapped in the city at the start or getting waylaid in transit to your retreat. Tappan expected a severe economic collapse, thus his prepper advice tended to be more down to earth and common sense than those of pundits expecting a nuclear war, disease pandemic, super volcano eruption, asteroid strike, or similar world-shattering cataclysm.

Naturally picking up and moving to a small town before the crisis breaks is not going to appeal to many urban dwellers, for the reasons that they probably won’t be able to make a lot of money at their chosen avocation there in the interim and/or they will have to live among ‘hicky’ people who won’t share their interests in cool and edgy urban culture (just remember city slickers, the ‘yokels’ won’t be much thrilled with your company either if you cop an attitude). But unless you’re a fabulously wealthy plutocrat or a cult leader, someone who can afford to build their own fortress of solitude in the wilderness complete with loyal retainers and followers, your choices are naturally going to be limited.

To paraphrase Guru Tappan, for the person of modest financial means there are no easy answers on how to prepare for the coming collapse. All you can count on for certain is that life after the Apocalypse will be a struggle. Period. One that will last for who knows how long.

On the upside, keep in mind that Mel Tappan died of congestive heart failure at age 47 on 2 November, 1980 (his wife Nancy published Tappan on Survival, a compendium of his magazine articles), one day before Ronald Reagan was elected President and created the conditions that vaulted the country into several unexpected decades of prosperity, at the very least kicking the can of collapse down the road a ways. Likewise if you are much over 45 to 50 years-old, you are already living on borrowed time. You could well get sick and die before the Apocalypse ever happens. So don’t worry, be happy. Just make sure the people you must leave behind are well prepared.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

-John 16:33 (NIV)

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