The following article was written over thirty-five years ago for the first issue of THE SURVIVOR, published January, 1976. People reading it then thought I was insane. Now, overpopulation, dwindling resources, changing weather patterns, etc. are common topics of conversation today.
Moreover, there is nothing in it I would change. As a historian, I knew the past, I knew what was happening thirty-five years ago, and so could predict what would happen a few years in the future.
Alarmists all around the country are promising disasters such as super inflation, famine, foreign invasion, the triumph of communism/fascism, nuclear war, etc. Unfortunately, they all may be right, even though their timing is wrong.
You have only to compare this year's food prices over last year's; this year's rise in the crime rate over last year's, etc. These things affect you directly. The quality of life is going down and the difficulty of maintaining a decent living standard is a greater worry to most Americans.
There are two main reasons for this which no political system can help. One is that the Age of Exploration and Development and the Industrial Revolution are over and the other is that the good crop weather, world-wide, is also over, maybe for centuries.
The Age of Exploration and Development began about 1500 and ended around 1950. From the beginning of that period the Earth was explored, mapped, annexed, developed and exploited. Its resources, animal, vegetable and mineral, were looted with little or no thought for future generations. As national industries grew to take advantage of the in-pouring bounty from the hinterlands, living standards rose, enabling more people to survive and in turn to reproduce their kind Human locusts spread over the Earth; born only to exploit, rape and destroy their own environment.
"Have more babies so we can clear more land." "Have more babies so we can mine more coal and metals." "Have more babies so we can keep the factories running." "Have more babies so we can take more territory from the hated enemy."
And then, about 25 years ago, the overall bounty ran out. Some of the natural resources became scarce a century ago. Some, like coal, may last another century. But in a general sense, the reason for existence for most of the world's population ended about 1950.
More babies are being born but there is no more land to clear. More babies are being born but mining is automated, needing little hand labor. More babies are being born but the world's factories are closing down. More babies are being born but cannon fodder, the uniformed ape, is too quickly a corpse to be worth arming. Automated killing is all the rage.
Human quality is in demand but is becoming harder to find. Human quantity is a drug on the market, a surplus. Governments do not create raw materials. Unions do not create jobs. So the Working Class--push, pull, lift--is increasingly without purpose. As the system breaks down, the erosion of occupations will worsen so that even specialists will be on welfare.
So with literally billions of people made surplus by the lack of easily accessible raw materials, the idea of world-wide institutionalized welfare has set in. "We'll just feed them until technology creates new jobs," say the optimists.
But this is not to be. As the bounty of natural resources has run out, the world's bountiful harvests have also ended. The weather from 1930 to 1960 was excellent for crops. Unfortunately for the human race, this good crop weather was abnormal and had not occurred in the last 1,000 years! Now it is over and there is no reason to believe this freakishly good weather pattern will return in our lifetimes; maybe not for hundreds of years.
Moreover, most of the agribusiness plants now grown were bred for the weather conditions from the 30's through the 60's. Bad seasons wipe them out and it would take years to replace them with the old foul-weather, low yield strains Granddad thrived on. Also, the present good weather, high yield plant strains depend on vast amounts of oil-based fertilizers few nations can afford today.
When bad weather hit Russia's 1973 harvests the ensuing wheat deal wiped out our surplus. Millions of acres here had been lying unused in the Soil Bank. Brought into cultivation, they have put off severe shortages here and made the effects of our own bad weather less noticeable. Without all that acreage to fall back on, Americans would be starving now.
With the world's worsening weather making increasing demands on our crops by other countries and our own weather getting worse, the end is in sight for the majority of humanity.
Of course, I have not written this to upset you. After all, if you were not interested in survival you would not be reading this. So you are not one of the doomed majority. You are already making plans to save yourself and your loved ones from the worst to come.
Let's say you decide to leave your present situation one year from now. You should be ready to leave before then if you have to, but panic makes anyone a refugee. A year will put your survival program in its proper perspective.
If you can look at your program as simply a move to a more rural, less commercial area, you have taken the panic out of it and friends and neighbors will not question your sanity or try to talk members of your family out of the move.
Naturally, this present advice is mainly for people living in major population centers. If you live in a town of 50,000 or more, it is too commercial to have much staying power after a social collapse.
Towns with under 50,000, in rural areas, have more contact with life's basics and can reorganize their populations if necessary. So a small town in a rural area is your best bet. A patch of land and a modest home just outside a village gives the greatest security. It will not cost you an arm and a leg and you will get away from the image of the leather-clad, root grubbing savage some survivalists suggest.
A year's planning will help you find such a town and prepare to provide a service, food, craft or otherwise, which will make you an asset to the community.
You may want to get a few acres and live cut off from everyone. This is fine if you are well armed and a professional woodcrafter already. However, this is too great a change for most people. The inexperienced dreamer simply cannot survive alone.
Regardless of your choice, town, commune or small farm, you must choose an area about 100 miles from any major population center. It must also be several miles off any major highway. Refugees streaming out of New York or Los Angeles will clog the main highways and strip every home for miles each side of their route like irresistible plagues of locusts.
No matter how you might think you can steel yourself against pitiful refugees, you must plan to live as far off their prospective routes as possible. This is not as hard as you might think. More people are clogging the cities and only the intelligent ones are moving back to the land.
In succeeding issues I will concentrate on survival without savagery. You should live well while waiting out the storm. A year or less of practical study and application of a good survival program will help you to come through the worst ahead with strength and dignity.
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