Bang, Bang. Four shots ripped into my groin and I was off on the
greatest adventure of my life.” This is the first line in Max
Shulman’s hilarious book, “Sleep Till Noon.” The line had
nothing to do with Max’s novel but he thought it a good way to begin a
The Idea, however, does apply to the Survivalist. If you are alive ten
years from now you will have gone through some wild scenes you can’t
imagine now. The worst calamities you overcome will give you the
greatest gratification of any other life experience.
There are so many factors in surviving the collapse of a great
civilization that anticipating the worst will stimulate the heroism in
every Survivalist. Regardless of the horror of facing such chaos, your
efforts will take you to a plateau which will justify any hardship.
As a Survivalist, that is, one who anticipates and prepares for the
worst man and Nature can hand out, you will be automatically among the
elite. Whether you are now a doctor or a dishwasher, you will be in
your grandchildren’s story books. You will have done what only the
best of any race has done down through the ages. You will be
preserving and passing on the life-sustaining knowledge of our culture
and its past glories. In surviving yourself, you will be the means of
survival for those
Civilizations and systems have been growing, thriving and then dying
since before written history. A modern person reading history can
accept the collapse of any number of past societies without any fear
of the same fate. After all, those who died didn’t have his god, his
government or his science. Of course, most individuals of past doomed
civilizations felt the same about their own unfortunate and
unenlightened ancestors and less powerful neighbors.
You might Imagine the Roman welfare recipient In the stands of the
Coliseum. There he was, gloating and enjoying the agony of the
inferior pagans being slaughtered in the arena.
He was Invincible. He was a Roman. The victims in the arena were only
Barbarians. They were losers and died because they didn’t merit Roman
But Roman citizenship, its Legions, its overrated efficiency doomed
that same proletarian gloating in the stands to starvation or
enslavement by his “Inferiors” just a short time later.
I consider It arrogance, verging on paranoia, for a person to believe
that he can escape the natural consequences of his own, and his
fellows’ degeneration. Of course, degeneration of social systems and
even individuals is usually so gradual that it goes unnoticed by its
For instance, if you see a person often for ten years, you notice
little real change. But at a reunion you see those old friends and
relatives as falling apart. They see you as being over the hill, too.
The same applies to a modern city you haven’t seen in ten years. It Is
dirtier, more smoggy, the people
shabbier and more funny looking. Degeneration, so apparent to the long
absent observer, is hardly noticed by the subjects who are so much
less than they had been.
Aside from people simply growling older or cities getting shabbier and
more run down, with more losers filtering in through failure to cope,
stable, industrious people also degenerate. A workman, once proud of
his skill, no longer looks for better opportunities when his
workmanship isn’t appreciated. Instead, he works less, depending on
his union to answer for his increasing sloth .
He is less able than he was and he gradually becomes so dependent on
others to arbitrate for him that his own efforts on the job become
increasingly less important. When his company goes bankrupt due to his
union’s emphasis on pay raises and benefits over production, he goes
on welfare. He has gone from a skilled worker to a parasite with no
feelings of inadequacy.
The gradualism by which he reached this sorry state has blinded him to
his downward progress. Psychologically, he can be quite stable and
even intelligent. In fact, the stable and the intelligent are in many
ways less well equipped than the “neurotic doom-shouters”
most such people consider Survivalists to be.
A few years ago, a Boeing plant lost a big government contract.
Hundreds of well-to-do, highly skilled workers in engineering and even
management were laid off. They had sumptuous homes, several cars each
and had previously been insulated against socioeconomic difficulties
through their positions. They were so secure many of them didn’t even
feel the need for bank accounts. Everything they earned went to pay
for their lifestyles of frivolity and conspicuous consumption.
They were the most shocked of all to go on welfare and even accept
food baskets from private donation. These were the intelligent ones.
These were the stable and productive, guaranteed security by the
society they served.
I said they were stable and intelligent. Yet, they were more
vulnerable than most welfare recipients, for they considere themselves
an important part of the Establishment it could not do without. But
when their little world temporarily crashed they didn’t have the
survival potential of a scrounging wino. Consider also, the over-forty
executives laid off from thousands of firms either bankrupt or seeking
younger men with fresh ideas. Oh, how they seek work befitting their
skills! And how they lament the present lack of recognition they so
long considered their due.
So intelligence and competence on behalf of a crumbling Establishment
was a curse rather than a blessing. All it did was to insulate them
The Establlshment’s presently favored are no more, and often less,
able to cope with adversity than losers used to the demeaning aspects
of Welfarism. In point of fact, the educated specialists, the elite of
the Establishment, are doomed more surely than are their own domestic
Another factor overlooked by non-Survivalists is that the more complex
a civilization becomes, the less able its members are to apply their
Intelligence and training to survival situations. Also, the person who
specializes in a narrow field loses his ability to see the whole
picture, on the job and off.
An example might be a
brilliant researcher in a ceramics factory working on some narrow
specialty. In another department a relatively mindless drudge watches
for cracks in an unending train of ceramic pieces passing before him
on the inspection line. Each feels secure. Yet, each is equally a
minor part of their profession, equally restricted in their
application of their skill or labor to the factory.
Consider a village potter of two hundred years ago. He had a
kick-wheel, made his own plaster molds, dug his clay from the river
bank and did every process, from purifying the clay to firing the
The two above; the researcher and the cup and saucer Inspector are too
narrow in their specialties to start over on their own. However, the
village potter, having nothing but the basics but a full understanding
of the process from start to finish can begin again. The narrow
specialist and the Inspection worker would be out of the field.
This analogy fits the average American today. He knows only bits and
pieces of a rather large field of the industry which supports him. The
breakup of that industry will turn the specialized genius into a
functional moron. That Is, his expertise will be useless and so he
will be no more able to carry
on the Industry than the dimwit on the line.
So when an Establishment falls, its dependents, whether intellectuals,
laborers or welfare recipients are pretty surely doomed. Dependency
applies just the same to the corporation brain as to the welfare
Survivalists throughout the ages have been largely Independent of
their respective Establishments. The small farmer, the blacksmith, the
carpenter, the armorer, and most of those supplying goods and services
to their neighbors have prevailed where their former superiors, along
with the proletariat, died out.
So, no matter who you are or whatever your situation, you can survive
and rise to greatness. As an instant Patriarch you can establish
yourself as a very wise leader and your tales of personal heroism will
be listened to with awe even when you are in your dotage.
Of course, survival will be difficult, at best. Only the most highly
motivated Survivalists will make it. You will then have to contend
with other Survivalists setting up systems possibly hostile to your
Social collapse will lead to warring factions which might keep
humanity in turmoil for yet another generation. Despotic systems led
by warlords will draw on all your resources simply to keep your system
Even so, I consider this the greatest and most important challenge a
human can face and overcome. Further, to successfully bridge the gap
between the fall of one civilization and the building of a greater one
is the highest success I can imagine. If you become faint-hearted at
this, fearful and insecure, discouraged in your attempts to warn
others; keep going. This is training you will need.
As things get worse you will find yourself drawing on resources you
didn’t know you have. You will also meet allies along the way as well
as opponents. You will learn how to judge men as well as any Marine
Your efforts toward survival will strip away your weaknesses,
delusions and all frivolous and negative character traits keeping you
down at this time. Even without formal training in discipline, you
will develop your own strengths and the self-discipline to implement
After your passage through the fire you will be a new person. Past
mistakes and inadequacies will be wiped off your life record.
Survival from one era to the next will not only make you twice the
person you are now, but will inspire others to carry on your hard-won
qualities. So not only will you survive, but the best in you will
survive in others yet unborn.
THE COMING WARLORDS