I am a prepper. As a child, I remember my grandmother’s stories of living with scarcity during the Great Depression and her life lessons about the necessity of being prepared. As a teenager, my father was a senior operations officer at the Strategic Air Command (SAC) headquarters. He believed he would have an early warning about any incoming nuclear attacks. Consequently, he devised a code phrase. If he called and said: “I have some bad news: Grandpa fell and broke his hip” then we were to grab our bug-out bags and quickly head to our well-stocked cabin in the woods for safety. In college, I had a friend whose grandfather survived the Holocaust. His wisdom was two-fold: (a) always be prepared and aware of your surroundings as you are in a better position to survive calamity if you do; and (b) don’t be flashy in your consumption or possessions because if you do, you become a target. That inspired me. In the language of a recent SurvivalBlog author Elli O. and her article Red Shirt Versus Gray Man – I am a “gray man” prepper. When the pandemic hit and others were scrambling for supplies, we were prepared, and griped along with others, but didn’t experience any hardship. Prepping is part of my DNA, and I will die a prepper as I know no other way to live.
Tactical vs. Strategic
I believe we often confuse “tactical” and “strategic.” As a refresher, strategy lays out the long-term, broad goals that an organization, community, family, or individual wants to achieve while tactical forms the short-term actions and steps that need to be taken to accomplish the strategy. In other words, tactical and strategic are flip sides of the same coin. Without a good strategy, tactics don’t matter and without good tactics, a strategy won’t work or come to fruition. As I mentioned earlier in this post, I understand and engage in the tactics of prepping, and the need for “beans, bullets, and bandages” (among water, power, communications, to name just a few other necessities).
Everyone preps for a reason, and it seems that everyone has some predetermined idea of a specific apocalyptic event for which they prepare. For some, it’s a looming natural disaster, an EMP, a genuine pandemic, war, famine, invasion, martial law, or — if one’s Christian eschatology is post-tribulation — the persecution of the Church and the rise of the Antichrist.
I recently overheard a conversation from a man telling his friend that he’s prepared for these types of events. He has buried several shipping containers underground in the American Redout; One was filled with supplies and the other was to live in. His plan was to raise rabbits and survive off eating them. I don’t know about you, but if I must live underground, raising and eating rabbits for the rest of my life, then I am not sure life is worth living. That is my biggest criticism of the prepping movement; it is often lacking strategy. Sure, tactically, one can hide and live off stored supplies–or rabbits–for a short period of time, but then what?
The Enlightenment is generally placed between AD 1680 and AD 1860. The period started with the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, the epitome of which was Sir Isaac Newton. As time progressed, the industrial and agricultural revolutions changed the face of town and country. If William Blake’s “dark Satanic mills” blighted the landscape, there was also great romantic hope that technological advancement would bring about humanity’s ability to control the environment for the good of both humanity and nature. Thereby, God would be pleased with a world in harmony.
Modernism extended from the writings of Charles Darwin in the mid-nineteenth century and petered out by the end of the twentieth century as scientists and social commentators excised God (and all religions) from any hope of helping humanity The worldview of Modernism and the philosophies that orbited its worldview became increasingly materialist. By the end of the nineteenth century, the avant-garde of French architecture were describing a house as “a machine” that contained people.
Historians are divided as to what changed and when the change actually occurred, but a change did occur after World War II, and that change was the rise of Secular Postmodernism. A new era arose. Some historians place the beginning of Postmodernism with the Nazi terror and the US atomic bombings of Japan. More look to the 1970s as a starting point. Postmodernism embraces all the materialism preceding it, but only with cynicism and subjectivity. Adding Secular to Postmodernism emphasizes that God need not apply. Secular Postmodernism can contain some elements of Eastern mysticism, but mostly as a way to attack the prejudices of Western religions and rationalism. What distinguishes Postmodernism from Modernism is a bleak sense of absurdity. Progress is haphazard: witness World War II and the coming Ice Age to be brought on by humanity’s disregard for Mother Earth. You cannot count on anything. Everything is relative.
Although a pure Secular Postmodernist would not think that history can be informative of anything but the author’s own biases, it is necessary to look back at how ancient Greek philosophers spoke of the gods worshipped by common folk. The likes of Socrates and Aristotle regarded those gods as useful but phantasmagorical symbols. Occasionally, during the history of Western civilization, to hold similar views was either fashionable or very dangerous.
The twentieth century saw Darwinian and pragmatic bases for modern anthropological and psychological theorists. Traditional theologians retreated from academia while radically liberal and militantly conservative activists promoted political agendas with religious zeal.
Dostoevsky said that if God is dead, everything is permitted. In humanity’s search for morality and happiness outside of God, all three have been lost—God, morality, and happiness.
God created humanity in such a way where we are truly resilient and can–and have–overcome all manner of adversity–big or small–with His help and through our hard work. These principles were the recipe that produced America’s growth, success, and prosperity over the last several hundreds of years. In my opinion, this culminated with the “Greatest Generation,” a generational cohort comprised of individuals born from approximately 1901 to 1927 whose worldview was formed by both the Great Depression and their participation in World War II.
After the war, however, something changed; Secular Postmodernism started to appear. By the 1970s, Secular Postmodernism gained a foothold in society. By the 1990s it was spreading. By 2022, it is rampant and extending like a wildfire in a dry forest. An example of the spread of Secular Postmodernism is the difference between Presidents Reagan and Clinton. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan held such high respect for the Oval Office that he always wore a jacket and tie when he was in there, even if no one else was around. By contrast, in the 1990s, Bill Clinton went on MTV to discuss whether he wore boxers or briefs and engaged in other, less than respectful acts, in the Oval Office. These events were just a decade apart.
Today’s youth, Millennials (those born approximately 1981 to 1996), Generation Z (those born approximately 1997 to 2012), and Generation Alphas (those born approximately after 2013) are much different than earlier generational cohorts. Even my generational cohort (Generation X or those born approximately 1965 to 1980) knew what traditional values, morality, and ethics were, even if we chose not to follow them. These younger kids do not have this foundation; Most don’t know what their pronouns or lack any comprehension of what truth and reality are or how to find this knowledge. What is humanity without God? A remarkable animal. People were originally nothing more than a bottom feeder in the primordial ooze, but through genetic mutation, random chance, and millions of years, they became something more biologically complex. Like every other animal, from aardvarks to zebras, humans need food to survive. If fit, they can hunt successfully and fill their stomachs. If not, they will die.
Secular Postmodernism and its values have been so deeply engrained in the spheres of influence of society (e.g., the family, religion and church, education, government, media the arts, entertainment, and sports, and business, science, and technology) that these youth, for all practical purposes, have been brainwashed and indoctrinated. Their education doesn’t provide them with basic reading, writing, mathematical skills let alone the historical, civil, or life skills necessary to make them competitive in the global marketplace or even as informed citizens. Rather their time is spent on learning false and interpretivist history with a special emphasis on how bad America, capitalism, and Western civilization are, how they are either victims or oppressors, or how they need to be more tolerant of every deviant sexual practice or mental sickness. These younger cohort members are also exceptionality compliant and, as a cohort, do not question authority or what those in authority tell them is truth.
I have heard many boast about how things will get better and return to normal if ___________ (fill in the blank: the 2020 election is overturned, Joe Biden is impeached, Ron DeSantis or Tulsi Gabbard is elected as President, etc.). I do not wish to be the bearer of bad news, but these events will not change a thing. America, as anyone over 35 remembers it or how it was formed, is dead. We, as citizens, were not vigilant enough and let the spheres of influence become so entrenched with secular postmodern idealogues, let the globalists become so powerful, elected politicians who are so corrupt, impotent, and lacking courage, and as a people became so apathetic, lazy, indoctrinated, and dumbed down that even with the will, there is no way out of this mess we now find ourselves in.
What Do We Do?
What then should our response be to the problems of the day? I see two possible approaches.
The first is what we are currently doing, the tactical response of just prepping. Hoping we have enough supplies, and rabbits, on hand to withstand whatever calamity comes next in order to care for ourselves and our loved ones.
The second response is far more difficult, but I believe will yield greater rewards in the long-term and it involves strategy. As a Christian, I am called to love my brother and sister and to do the right thing in difficult circumstances and be faithful in every circumstance (1 John 4; Matthew 5:22; Romans 12:10). What then does love look like in practice?
I believe it involves planning and preparing for what comes next; America and the globalist system will collapse (although I predict it will get far worse before it does collapse). When it does fall, there will be hordes of people who are lost, destitute, and seeking truth. Our calling is to provide leadership to those in need by rebuilding society, educating them in truth, and protecting them.
Here are some proposed ideas that any of us can do today without huge investments in capital or time:
(1) Start a school, to educate the youngest generation today. These youth will be the leaders of tomorrow. Hillsdale College has a wonderful K-12 curriculum that is rooted in the liberal arts and sciences, offering a firm grounding in civic virtue, and cultivates moral character. They can even help you finance it.
(2) Educate yourself on “society building.” Most of the skills our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents had in the past and used to build America are gone as our country has lost its manufacturing base and moved to a service and consumption economy. In a catastrophic situation, where will the water come from? How will the lights turn on? Where will the food come from? Take a class, read a book, or brush up on technical and vocational skills that can be used to show the un-educated how to bring society back after it collapses.
(3) Stock up on reference material. The woke elites hate the truth as it invalidates their narrative. While older generations had encyclopedias and reference materials written by bona fide experts, the younger folks today rely on Wikipedia and the internet to find “truth” and these sources are heavily redacted and edited by zealots less interested in the truth and more about pushing their woke and secular postmodern agenda. Used printed books–especially the classics–are cheap and can readily be purchased from a variety of outlets. My local library was even giving away encyclopedias so as to free up space for more popular titles like Julián Is a Mermaid, 10,000 Dresses, or my personal favorite, A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder. It is hard to eradicate truth from a printed book.
(4) Look into joining–or forming–intentional communities of like-minded individuals to communally prosper in a post-Christian America. Although Rod Dreher, in his book The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation advocates this idea, the concept originated many millenniums ago after Rome fell. Western civilization was, objectively, saved by groups of monks who banded together to preserve and spread knowledge. And life is easier, safer, and more fun when we are in community with others who have a shared purpose or vision.
In the meantime, continue to prep and hoard beans, bullets, and bandages. When the collapse comes, and it will, you will need supplies to survive–and help others survive–until we can rebuild society. But whatever you do, plan to be proactive and engage society with a strategic vision and not be reactive, hide, and just survive the coming troubles.