To Our “The Philosophy
& Rewards Of Survival” Section
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
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
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.
Now that you know the game of Huddled Masses is over you can
start looking out for Number One. Unlike the unprepared and the unthinking, you
will not have to make the sudden choice between running away in a panic or just
staying put in a totally non-survival area.
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
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
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.