co-authored by Brodyaga and Citizen Zero
For any of you that have spent any time preparing for yourself and your family, you have probably heard this or something very similar before from a friend or acquaintance that has learned of your preparations. The big question is; what was your response?
In my experience I have seen that the US public carries a mentality of entitlement around with it that surpasses that of any other country, save the former Soviet Union. This attitude of being owed a lifestyle has mainly been instilled by the major changes that our society has undergone in just the last two generations. What began as a Helping Hand to the less fortunate has morphed into an imaginary pseudo-right. But in the words of Alexis De Tocquiville ?It’s not an endlessly expanding list of rights — the “right” to education, the “right” to health care, the “right” to food and housing. That’s not freedom, that’s dependency. Those aren’t rights, those are the rations of slavery — hay and a barn for human cattle.?
With the advent of the “just in time” delivery structure the last nail was hammered into the coffin of Self Reliance. The Easy Credit and the Instant Gratification mantras of contemporary society have bred a population of bawling, self-indulgent brats. The whims and desires of the masses are catered to by a very intricate structure that is by its very nature, is very fragile at best. Innumerable people have pointed out this Achilles Heel out many, many, times. The few who heed the warnings are ridiculed, marginalized or demonized. It may not have happened yet on a nationwide scale, but as our overextended and under maintained and debt burdened national infrastructure ages and deteriorates it most likely will. The more intricate, complex and interconnected that the system becomes, the more prone it is to failure or sabotage.
The US public is willingly and greedily consumed with the idea that the government will take care of us. That they the government are the ones that we should all be looking to for protection and support in a time of need. It is a seductive lie and it is a mortal trap. I have great respect for our government, but it is more concerned with its own survival, not mine. I do not trust that it will come to my rescue during a major disaster or act of war. Hurricane Katrina was a perfect example of the total breakdown of that support system. It has been more than a year since the storm and many parts of the areas that were affected are still a disaster, still without drinkable water, without functioning waste treatment and without electricity. The people have placed their total faith in a belief that the local and Federal governments would step in and save them, in many cases this was a fatal mistake. With a disaster of that magnitude there was no way that the state or Federal governments would have the power to do anything, even though they wanted to. Besides, the State has no obligation to protect people in the first place. Don’t believe me?
“. . . a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen . . .” Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. App.181)
The above is just one of dozens of Federal court decisions that have establish the legal principle and precedent that the State, whether it be state or Federal, has absolutely no legal or other obligation to its citizens.
So where does this leave those that have wisely chosen to prepare for themselves? The answer is in a very tight spot. The mentality of entitlement that 99% of the population carries directly translates into the idea that they are entitled to anything that you have simply because you chose to prepare before the crisis and they need it. This is a problem. The question is what do you do?
Unfortunately the answers are just as difficult as the question if you were ever to be faced with it. Turning away people in need is offensive to our cultural traditions, but in time of crisis it can become a necessary evil. I have actually heard a first hand story from a friend that remembers having neighbors coming to their door during a particularly bad snow storm demanding food from her father because they, the neighbors, knew that the family was Mormon and abided by the one year of food storage edict. For the neighbors, their lack of preparedness directly translated to entitlement! Timothy 5:8 of the Christian New Testament states “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” However, far too many “Sunday Christians” ignore this passage and glom onto the parts about “feeding the sheep”. They profess to be “helpless” and ?needy? when in truth they are lazy and irresponsible, preferring to let others take responsibility.
So how do you respond when you hear something similar to the phrase “I know where I’ll be coming”?
I can say that my standard response to that statement is pretty much to the effect of “Not if you have nothing to contribute, and family comes first”. By “contribute” I really mean “bring your own food and other goods”. Full Stop. We may, repeat may, be in the position to supply a place to stay, but we are not in a position to feed, clothe and otherwise tend to their needs. Sound harsh? It may, but so does dieing due to their unwillingness to prepare. Notice I did not say their inability to prepare. Those same people who choose not to be prepared all have a bewildering array of insurance plans. The all have spare tires in their cars. Most of them have IRA’s or Roth plans, or 401-K’s. They will prepare for the future in those ways; paying others to take ultimate responsibility for them. What they refuse to do is take direct personal responsibility.
The unspoken motto of the U.S. Marine Corps is: God, Corps, Country. That’s what the Fidelis in “Semper Fidelis” refers to. Ever notice how Corps comes before country? Ever give it any thought? My personal motto is : God, Family, Community. Notice the resemblance?
Naturally most people when they consider such a chain of loyalty think of it from the self centered point of view; first I’ll take care of my own. There is another equally important side to the coin. Consider triage. In a life and death crisis who do the doctors and nurses try to save first? Other doctors and nurses, firemen, policemen, soldiers? Why? Because those people posses the skills and training and proven commitment to saving others. Saving them means that many more can be saved. The country is more likely to be saved if the Corps is first saved so that it can render service. The community is best saved if the family is intact and strong and able to be a resource to others.
There are always those who simply are not able to organize their lives in such a way as to be able to help themselves. Some of us feel we have a duty to help the helpless in a time of need. The majority could help themselves, but won’t. The excuses are endless. There will never be enough resources to save those who refuse to help themselves.
And so there are many like me that pretty much keep the fact that they are preparing for major disruptions on the quiet side, the less that those around us know the better. This is an unfortunate but necessary result of the entitlement mentality that the general public carries, because the scary part is that if resources are not given freely, those who refused to take responsibility and prepare may just try to take it by any means necessary. A 72hr kit, such as the excellent ones available from the Seattle Red Cross (http://www.redcross-oregontrail.org/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=ARCSEA&Category_Code=05 ) are so affordable and comprehensive that even people earning minimum wages have no legitimate excuse for not having one.
For those who have purchased a 72 hr kit, it is only a stopgap. And yet how many people have one? The Mormon Church estimates that fewer than 10% of their members practice the food storage program that their church preaches as a religious duty. The simple fact is that most people have voted with their dollars and their actions to be cattle; to let others carry the responsibility for them.
Since that is the voluntary choice that they have made and that is the effort that they are willing to make on their own behalf, then when they present the fact that they have procured a 72hr kit and as their contribution they are pretty much told that they are not welcome if a major disruption were to occur. What they are telling me, and the world at large, is that although they recognize and admit that they have a responsibility and a duty, they are not willing to make more than the most minimal effort on their own behalf. They are saying that they are not willing to be part of the solution, they are not willing to roll up their sleeves and help others, much less themselves.
I can’t tell you the number of times I have talked with middle class professionals who have dismissed the whole idea of personal preparedness with comments like “I pay my taxes!” As if having paid taxes they had somehow purchased a service or an insurance plan that owed them ? a provider that was then obligated to come to their rescue. And that is their attitude when a crisis happens, they become angry, resentful and demanding of the resources that they “paid for”. They assume that they have bought a “Get Out of Jail Free” card and so no longer have any personal responsibility for themselves or to others.
In the end it is a question of triage; if I don?t know how to swim, how then can I help someone who is drowning? If my family or I are helpless and needy, how will I be able to help others when I can?t help myself? My first moral duty is to not be a burden on others. My first loyalty is to my family who look to me to protect and provide. The best way I can accomplish those goals is to be prepared and position myself to assist those others who, having also made themselves ready and useful, are best equipped and ready to help others. Once I have accomplished that I can then begin to consider helping the genuinely helpless. Those who could have helped themselves and chose not to do so when they had the opportunities and resources will have take what?s left. If there is any.
And those who say” If Everything Falls Apart, I Know Where to Go” can jolly well go to . . . well, some warm place where others like them congregate.