When is it foraging, looting, or survival, and why to prepare
There are around 300 million people in the contiguous US, and about 1900 million acres of land. That equals 6.3 acres of land per person if it was all doled out equally.
What percentage of the US population do you think is actually prepared for a collapse, whether permanent or temporary? I bet it is in the single digits– probably isn’t even a whole number. If 1% of Americans were totally prepared for societal collapse, that would amount to 3 million people– a highly optimistic number if you ask me.
So if you address this with objective realism, you must acknowledge that there are going to be HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of starving, desperate people in the contiguous US in the event of total failure. Do you really think these people will be able to feed themselves and keep warm while respecting rule of law and property rights?
Now in a temporary event (like Katrina) I’m far less forgiving of any kind of theft, but I do have a wife and daughter, and I’m not going to say I wouldn’t do whatever it takes to keep them fed and safe. Of course that wouldn’t involve stealing TV’s from Wal-Mart, but it might involve going through the pantry of an abandoned home.
I’m more concerned with permanent failure of society, because that’s where I think we’re headed. In that event, we’re going to see a huge shift in what we consider basic morality. Because of the luxuries of modern society, we’ve been able to live in a cushioned, illusory reality where certain natural “truths” can be ignored. Have you ever seen animals in nature respecting property rights, based solely on morality? No– they do respect territorial claims, but only as far as the rival herd/pack is able to enforce it physically. Essentially, if an animal can take it– it will.
In total collapse, we’re going to get a pretty harsh reminder that we’re just animals (albeit with huge brains), and that morality is a man-made illusion. Don’t get me wrong– I think every person should adopt a set of moral principles and strive to adhere to them. I also think that if you want to enjoy the luxuries of any society (however large or small), you must adhere to a collective set of principles. (Anyone who ends up on my homestead will have to adhere to our rules if they want to eat our food and enjoy our protection.)
That being said, we’re all going to have to make very hard decisions about how far we’ll go to feed ourselves and our families. I’m personally trying my best to never have to be in that position by completely shifting my lifestyle to a sustainable, off-grid pattern. But I have to acknowledge that even the best preparations can end up failing. I’m not religious, but one of my favorite sayings is, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
I personally think that if you believe there is any chance of law and order returning after the hypothetical “event” then you should try your damned best to behave like a civilized human being and obey laws and property rights. If, however, the event goes on long enough– I don’t think you’ll need any guidance as to what to do. By then your empty stomach and crying children will be all you need to guide the morality of your actions. If you’ve ever been truly hungry you’ll understand what I’m saying. I can tell you– the first thing that goes is your sense of humor, and it only goes downhill from there. Your brain shuts down all but the most basic, primal functions when you’re starving. Your ability to think philosophically goes right out the window.
Looting vs. foraging is something we can discuss now, while we’re all fed and warm, but it is purely academic. Whatever conclusions we arrive at won’t matter much in a post-collapse world. It is still important to talk about these things, though, because it helps to mentally cope with a major event if you’ve actually taken the time to think about it before-hand.
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