With awareness, planning, preparation, flexibility, and a bit of luck, you can survive systemic collapse. The implosion of an economic and political system does not have to result in the destruction of your family, organization, or community. While national collapse inherently carries enormous dangers, several key factors can potentially reduce individual and communal threat profiles.
The first of these key survival factors is awareness. Maintain awareness of relevant developments that could impact the stability of our country and world. Consider what may happen next. Think in terms of broad developments and their impacts, instead of day-to-day headlines and narratives that attempt to trigger specific knee-jerk emotional responses. Be rationally skeptical. Does this source, be it governmental, corporate, or individual, have a plausible reason to lie about this specific topic? Might some information be strategically omitted? Remember, just because someone lies, it does not rationally follow that they are certainty lying right now. Know your own biases, be they ideological, cultural, political, nationalistic, regional, professional, or personal. Consult multiple information sources – ideally ones that may represent somewhat different perspectives. Don’t automatically dismiss information or analysis from a source with which you have significant disagreements.A kooky gold-bug survivalist and a marijuana-addled tree hugger may provide useful facts and forecasts. Listen to your neighbors. Maintain contact with regular people who live in other parts of the country and world.
Flexibility is also crucial for surviving collapse. Be physically and psychological ready to make sacrifices and experience discomfort. Identify what is crucial and what is superfluous. Consider “trigger points” from which you change your behavior in response to the appearance of escalated threats. Map out various scenarios and the best course of action for each. Make “if – then” contingency plans in advance, and stick to them. For example: “if I read reports of food riots in Latin America, I will buy more nonperishable staples”; “if a full-scale war breaks out between two nuclear-armed countries, I’ll stay on my aunt’s farm for a few weeks”; “if sustained fighting erupts between state national guard units and Federal agents, we’ll flee the country.” Have contingency plans for your contingency plans. What if you can’t buy gas? What if the flights are suspended? What is your passport is expired? What if the border guards want bribes? Humans are creatures of routine, but in extreme circumstances, routine can be deadly.
The last main factor is resilience. Ensure access to essential goods in advance. How long will your food last you? How can you get more? Is your shelter stable and secure? Do you know your neighbors? Who are you dependent on, and who relies on you? What sort of useful skills and resources can you share with our community? What sort of items of skills can you barter with? Survival during national collapse, like survival in normals times, is almost always a group effort. The psychological aspects of resilience are also crucial. One must maintain a will to survive and a hope.
Thinking, planning, and acting cohesively can help communities* survive national collapse. Most of the advice to individuals above also applies to communities. However, communities also face the challenge of collective decision making. In this front, there are more questions than answers. How can communities make the best decisions during times of crisis? What issues require community decision-making? How, and to what extent, should they encourage (or even enforce) their collective will on their members? How does our community interact with neighboring communities? How can we amicably, fairly, and rationally settle disputes with our communities? What does our community need to sustain itself indefinitely?
A Final Note for Our Neighbors
National collapse in the United States of America may sweep away our neighbors in a common cataclysm, but such an outcome is not preordained. Don’t let America’s colossal influence blind you to the reality of our intensifying system instability. Make contingency plans for the various forms our collapse could take, and the subsequent economic, humanitarian, military, and environmental impacts it can unleash. Plan for how to maintain your system in the event of the absence of ours.
Please remember that common Americans, for all our faults, shortcomings, mistakes, and weaknesses, generally have good intentions, and that Americans made significant contributions to our common human heritage. Despite our nominal democracy and centuries of propaganda, our common people and our government are not one and the same. For all its wrongs, America has offered sanctuary to millions from around the world seeking safety and stability. Circumstances may one day call upon you to return the favor. This final message is especially intended to the people and leaders of Mexico and Canada, but given the interconnectedness of our planet, it applies to everyone.
* “Communities” can mean groups of individuals and families in a specific geographic context, for example neighborhoods, villages, or even small towns.
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