Doomsday Preppers

When we stay in hotels is when my family gets to watch cable, and check the pulse of the nation. A new show we picked up on this last trip was Doomsday Preppers, about apocalypse preparedness fanatics. In the advertisement for the show, one of the "preppers" asks, "Am I nuts, or are you?"

The idea is, what if an apocalyptic disaster really does arrive soon? Then who will you think is nuts?

Sorry, rugged-looking, goateed, survival man, the answer is, "Still you." People have been predicting end times for a couple of thousand years, and I don't see that your reasons are all that different from what theirs were. If people like you had their way, humanity would have spent the entirety of the last two millennia stockpiling things, and the cable network on which you are appearing wouldn't exist, as well as moveable type you use to spread your ideas, the wood stove you count on heating your home when the lights go out, the cans you are storing in your basement, the fabrics you are using to build your greenhouses, and so on.

It's not a bad idea to manage your soul as if the world is ending tomorrow -- at least your world! But it is a very bad idea to manage your practical life that way.


  1. These people are always very anti-division of labor, as Roberts says "Self-sufficiency is the road to poverty".

  2. Anonymous11:56 PM

    While I agree that most of these people are a bit on the fanatical and crazy side, I will say that some minimal level of preparedness for the unexpected, as well as skills in hunting, farming, and basic mechanics, is always a good idea. This isn't an argument for full self-sufficiency, because I know that such a thing is extremely inefficient, but it is handy to have some basic skills and preparedness in this area if something occurs to disrupt the division of labor and supply lines for a period of time.

    I certainly don't foresee any sort of apocalyptic event happening, but other more human events do happen, as well as natural disasters. I already live in an area where I can hear people shooting at each other every day, I can only imagine what would happen in more dire circumstances.

    A quick question for you Gene. I keep an emergency kit with enough food, water and supplies to last about 2 weeks (obviously, it also has some durable goods, as well). Basically, it's a "get out of Dodge" bag, or as I like to call it, my "go bag". Do you think that this is crazy?

    1. "Do you think that this is crazy?"

      Absolutely not, Joe! But these people devote most of their life to such preparedness: that, I think, is a bit unbalanced.

    2. Anonymous1:05 AM

      I'll admit that I've never seen the show (though I am aware of it). But, yeah. If one is devoting all of their time and thoughts on preparing for apocalypse, then I would say that such a person is clearly "unbalanced".

      Incidentally, my go-bag has come in handy quite a few times in the past, the most recent time being when Sandy took out my power for a number of days (everything is electric in my apartment). I've also had to dig into it sometimes when I am on the road. Also, anytime I go camping (at least twice a year) it serves as my camping gear (no need to pack, I just grab the bag and I've got everything I need, plus a little more). This is nice because it allows me to replace everything that is perishable/consumable, and I get to inspect and use some of the other stuff.

      So even though its main purpose is to sustain me long enough to regroup and/or to get out of an affected area in an emergency, it still gets practical use throughout the year, every year.

  3. I've watched several episodes. It's fairly entertaining. I certainly believe some of them are crazy, and some use it as a time consuming hobby, of which they have a lot of time to consume.

    The ones I thought were the craziest were revealed by the reasons for their prepping. One guy thought the Russians were going to nuke us. He lives in some underground bunker. Another family was prepping for a large series of F5-class tornadoes to inundate the U.S. They were pretty strange.

    There was a former Special Forces guy who uses his obsession entrepreneurially, as he invents survival items, has them manufactured, and then sells them. Although when he went target practicing with his sons he put his thumb over the end of the muzzle and shot half of his thumb off, and then passed out when he saw the wound. So much for his firearms training.

    I wonder how some economists view the show. On one hand some of the preppers are spending tons of money right now, in the present, stocking up, but on the other hand some families are essentially removing themselves from the current economy.


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