Preparing For The Long Rains

As many of you know, I’m watching Foyle’s War, kind of the way I watch things these days: when I need to iron, or do something else that occupies the hands but not the eyes (much) or the mind (at all) I turn on a couple of episodes (thank heavens for Amazon prime.  I remember being very much broke and not having cable – as we don’t now – and not being able to watch anything.  With Amazon prime and the stuff free for kindle, I’d have had a much easier time of it.)

I’ve before talked about sudden insights, things I’ve known all along, but which suddenly seem fresh and new.  Like “they didn’t know they were going to win.”  It also started me reading about the World Wars again, which means eventually there will be some blogs related to that, but I need to be more “with it.”

Today is the first day I don’t feel I’m at least partly dead or about to fall asleep in… over a month.  OTOH I forgot to bring my computer to the office, which is why this post is so late.  (Don’t even ask.)

The most amazing thing of all, though, is that despite all the restrictions they lived under, the rationing, the coupon books, the collecting of every piece of scrap, most people lived as though the war weren’t happening.   (I’ve often considered, too, that while the idea of rationing was completely wrong-headed economically and might have FED scarcity, it might have been the right thing to do PSYCHOLOGICALLY creating that sense of unity of purpose.  I’ve also wondered if the problem was that after 9/11 we weren’t asked to plant victory gardens or buy war bonds, but simply to “go shopping.”  Yes, I know it was sound in many ways, but it might have made a difference psychologically if people felt they were contributing.  Or perhaps not.)

Of course the series is a mystery series, and there is usually something involving the war – because that’s how they sold it to the producers – but you sort of catch glimpses of people around, and you get the feeling most people were… what was it people were doing while Noah built the ark?  They were marrying and being given in marriage, having babies, worrying about where to live.  Even when the war affected all of those, it wasn’t the main concern.  The main concern was everything else: who loved whom, who hated whom, what the crop was going to be, and why the kid was acting weird.  All this without knowing if they’d win or lose, or what the next year (or month) would bring.

Right now, sometimes I feel as though this is what the whole world is doing around me.  They’re making plans, getting comfy, settling down, fixing what’s wrong with their lives – or perhaps trying to survive unemployment, illness, other life stuff.

And then periodically I get together with a friend, or sit down with an old acquaintance and I hear how much more seriously they’re preparing.  It’s all guns and canned food, and why am I still living in an urban area, have I gone nuts?  And don’t I realize it’s time to set aside the writing/publishing thing and worry about preparing to survive the collapse.

And then I feel like it’s me who is going about every day life, unaware that there’s something big coming down the pike.

I am aware there is something big coming down the pike.  I think even those who “aren’t” or who deny it, know it at some level.  There is a … tense feeling in the air, and everyone is sitting on the edge of their chairs.  There is a suspended-breath feel – waiting for the next shoe to drop.

The thing is that no one knows what the next shoe will be.  A light sneaker?  An army boot?  A baby bootie?

Each of us has a mental image of disaster, mine formed by experiences (and books, and movies) and other people’s by THEIR experiences and books and movies.

The problem is no one knows.  This has never happened before.

And before you start screaming at me, that of course it has happened before, that even recently the USSR folded like a pack of cards, that we know exactly what collapse looks like… sigh.  No we don’t.

Oh, sure, we can look back to say the French revolution and see what happened when the leading power of the day got buried in deficit and went mad.  We can look at the collapses in Argentina, and… everywhere else in the 20th century.  But the parallels aren’t right.

If you go back far enough – the French revolution – you’re dealing with a completely different state of affairs, not just mentally but also at the economic/material level.

You see, America has changed the game, both ways.  I remember hearing it mentioned that the USSR still commanded loyalty because peasants STILL lived better than under the Tzars.  A similar thing was said here about Scandinavia and socialism.  Their life improved.  And the same could be said about Portugal under its strong-man regime.  People can point to how poor Portugal was, but we thought we were rich.  As a child, I always wore shoes, for instance, even if the summer “sandals” were the shoes that had stopped fitting in winter strategically cut.  I had winter coats.  We had coal delivered.  I didn’t have to do what mom did and go, barefoot, along the train line, gleaning coal dropped by the trains.  I got Christmas gifts, usually a variety of plastic stuff.  It wasn’t just “we’ll have some fruit for desert and that’s how we know it’s a holiday.”

This was because things that started in America – including the improvements in agriculture, the new processes and new materials – allowed a level of prosperity that was still better than anything the world had known before.  Even in countries doing their best to slit their own throats, the easier ways of producing things and the abundance of food made a difference.  Things got better.  (And everyone got used to thinking that was the way of the world.  BTW I’m aware this process didn’t start with America.  It started with Great Britain and the Industrial Revolution.  But then the torch got passed and things accelerated.)

The other part of this – influencing all collapses in the 20th century – is that America tends to support other countries in trouble.  This is a double edged blessing, btw.  There is reason to wonder if the USSR would have survived nearly as long, with its dysfunctional regime, without the grain we were willing to provide at bargain basement prices… because we had it.

We don’t have an America to bail us out, and we don’t have an America to keep innovating as we collapse.  We ARE America, and there is no one to pass the torch to.

Please, please, please, don’t tell me that Brazil or China stand ready…  Brazil is in a pretty good place now, partly bolstered by our petro dollars, but let’s not kid ourselves.  Until they fix their political culture, they’ll continue going through the boom and bust cycle in a way we can’t even imagine.  As for China…  China will not survive our collapse, and as it cracks it will show us what a crack up really means.  All of those who are my age and were astonished that the USSR didn’t fight like a wounded bear as it died, might yet get to see this process.

By the time Great Britain started its self-inflicted decline, the US was already well on its way to moving into the lead industrially and agriculturally.  There is no country in that position.  There are countries that can pretend to be in that position, but not when you look at internals.

So, what will the collapse look like?

I don’t know.  And you don’t either.  All we know, because we can feel it, like sand grains shifting on a dune in the first movements of something that is not even fully visible, but which will suddenly remake the landscape, is that we’re already in the process of collapsing.  For a definition of collapsing.

What I’m betting on, of course, is a collapse that collides full-on with the catastrophic innovation of tech.  What this will look like is like an accelerated version of what we have right now, and, to an extent of what Portugal had in the seventies.  The old ways and those in control of them at all levels – from education to production; from politics to news – will be collapsing but at the same time they’ll be each day less relevant, as they get replaced.

This is sort of – if you need a visual – like making a train into an airplane while it is running.  It’s chaotic, very scary and not painless.  Some people will get crushed as gears get moved, and some people will fall out by the wayside and die as the shell is changed.  And some others will fall from great height, even, as the plane takes off.

Or, to leave the overstretched metaphor behind:

It won’t be pretty, and I advise to have prep stuff on hand – you know, guns and canned, and such.   Whether to move to the city or rural is something else.  Yes, I know what you guys hear – and the instinct to “go and hide.”  But I’ve read accounts of Argentina’s collapse, and the worst stuff happened in the countryside, where isolated farmhouses were raided.  If you were in the city, for the most part, you were all right. (Which I’d say was more likely if your city has military presence.)

But again, there is no way of KNOWING.  All you can do is sort of guess and sort of prepare, and of course, ideally you’d have a town residence with a rural getaway, or vice versa, but not if you’re as broke as I am.

HOWEVER because you expect the new to emerge from the old, with preparing for the collapse of the old, for interruptions of supplies, for disruptions in electricity, etc, if you believe this is the sort of collapse that’s coming, you’ll be doing what you can to prepare your profession for the new order.  In my case, this means getting as much as I can up electronic, so I might have at least some income should paper distribution collapse.  I don’t know what it would be for your profession, but if I were a computer-person, I’d be trying to establish the ability to have different contracts on the side.  (If your current employment contract allows it.)  As we’ve spoken of before, what you should be trying for is as many and as varied streams of income as you can.  If you’re a writer not making much, yet, married to someone in a traditional industry that’s going to get whacked, I urge you to do what I’m doing, and write like mad and put it up as much as you can, in as many genres as you can.  (Though I’ll note, for me at least, bubblegum seems to sell best.)

I’m doing this because I don’t believe we’ll collapse totally.  Can we?  Well, sure.  Again, as I said, we’ve never seen anything QUITE like what we’re starting on.

But here’s the thing – if we collapse totally… well… I can’t afford to buy a farm.  I can’t afford to store enough food for the next fifty years.  The best I can do is buy books on building log cabins and trapping animals, and supplying the kids with bows and arrows.  Then if the unthinkable happens, we shall go and colonize the national forest.  (No?  Why not?)  As long as I have some food to survive till a crop can be got in, well, it’s much like preparing for the catastrophic change – except that we never get to be civilized again and therefore all the ebooks count for nothing.  Worth trying, anyway because you never know.  And what else are you going to do if you’re not massively wealthy and able to prepare for the fall of civilization?  Sit around knitting your total collapse blankie?

There is a third option, and for all I know it might be the most likely.  It would be the most likely if we had an America to save us.  It’s called the “modified hangout.”  You slide and slide and slide, and there’s no ending to the slide.  Africa has gone through this and Europe is heading into it (though we’re helping it by propping it up – yes, we’re still giving foreign aid to most of the world.)  This is a world in which services become worse and worse starting with those the government provides, from supplemental income to mail to (where it does so) electricity.  All of it becomes unreliable, untrustworthy, subject to the whims of bureaucrats and how much baksheesh you’re willing to pay. Every year is a little worse than the last.  And you just… hang on.

At the end of this is the world of Heinlein’s Friday, with everyone in armored cars and people in guarded compounds, and the rest of it resembling what a total collapse would do, but crossed with the world of Mad Max.

I wouldn’t bet on this last one.  It is unlikely.  To get there, you need someone subsidizing you, because your society stops functioning long before this to the point where it keeps food and clothing available, much less keeping someone very wealthy.  I don’t think America can keep itself on this path without outside help and – get this very carefully – there is no outside help.

At the same time, even if it happens, how do you prepare for it?  Well, the best thing is to have some stuff laid by so you can protect yourself and yours and provide in case of shortages.

BUT most of all, the best thing is to be very wealthy and able to afford a private enclave.

My plan – though it’s unlikely it will bring me enough wealth – is to do exactly the same I would do in the first instances.  Because if there’s any chance of my being wealthy it is to have a book (or more) hit.

So, right now, I’m very busy – which has the advantage of keeping me from fretting too much.  (You should see me when I fret too much.)

The best thing to do when the rain starts falling and you don’t know if it’s just a severe shower or forty days and forty nights is build your ark.

Even if it’s just made of words and electrons.

Do go on with life — it might be important and your “peacetime activities” might yet be the most important thing in making the collapse non-permanent — but keep an eye on that rain.  And prepare for any eventuality.

129 thoughts on “Preparing For The Long Rains

    1. In California and places like that the cycle gangs might do well for quite a while. I’d be surprised if they survive all that long in places like Texas though. They’d be fairly vulnerable to a well armed populace.

    2. A sentiment disturbingly similar to the false meme that armed self defense is futile because criminals will take your weapon away from you.

      1. Hey, no fair “false meme”-ing my snarky quip. (Feel free to append “unless you’re well armed, disciplined, and organized.”)

        Just from a fiction/movie standpoint… the cycle gangs can be beaten… for while. After that, the warlords come. And then there are the wars between the warlords. (And in zombie movies, the other survivors are often more dangerous than the undead! How can you assume that your neighbors will not turn against you…?)

          1. Amen, my brother! Everyone in my neighborhood (and quite a few beyond) just KNOW I’m a crazy old PTSD warrior, and I’ll blow up the world if they mess with me. I’ve never DONE any of the things they think I have, but it’s a good reputation to have. And I, too, am not “sane” by the definition of the day.

            1. Sadly, I kind of have the opposite problem. I’m considered a quiet, nice guy (which I generally am, in normal circumstances), but I’m one of the ones who would follow the doctrine of “anything worth doing is worth overdoing” in a survival-after-collapse scenario. In practice, this would mean that anyone trying to cause me trouble at that point would be used as fertilizer. Whatever I could scrape up of them, that is.

              1. In a galaxy far, far away…. Someone said Speak Softly, and Carry a Big Stick. I think that this applies adequately here. I’m on board!

      1. Have you read Sonny Barger’s autobiography ‘Hell’s Angel’? It is an interesting read.

        No, it has nothing to do with the topic, but I’m tired and that’s where my mind wandered to when cycle gangs was mentioned on an author’s blog 🙂

        1. My dad recently mentioned how the Presidio guys gently encouraged the Hell’s Angels not to come within the Monterey city limits. He was actually around for that, at DLI, although he didn’t participate because not Navy. It was very surreal, because I’d read about some of that, and never pictured my dad there.

          OTOH, he’d never heard that inviting the Hell’s Angels to run security was how people got killed at that one big Monterey rock concert, so I’m kinda sorry I mentioned that. I mean, one day you’re keeping the barbarians out, and the next day, they’re inviting them in.

          1. You’re thinking of Altamont, where Bill Graham warned the Stones not to hire the Angels. They thought they were copying the Grateful Dead’s outdoor ad hoc shows., but those Angels were old friends, not employees. The Angels mainly guarded their power supply. At Altamont Marty Balin of the Jefferson Airplane tried to stop some Angels from bullying the crowd and they almost killed him.

  1. Just by coincidence, my daughter – a thirty-ish USMC veteran has also been watching Foyle’s War also on Amazon Prime … and we both feel the same vaugue, ongoing threat – that there is something bad, very very bad about to happen. The threat of this hangs like some kind of invisible smog … while everything around us continues just as superficially normal as always. I expect that it was like that for ordinary citizens of Britain during the war … that they just muddled through, day to day, while the war lurked in the background.
    In this kind of mood, it’s very hard to feel much Christmas spirit, although we are trying. Whatever happens, we’re in Texas and we’ll probably be pretty much OK. We know and like our neighbors, and I expect that we’ll be able to manage. And we have been stashing bulk supplies of the common kind of groceries and staples that we use a lot of. Beans, rice, cooking oil, spices, canned meat, home-made pickled vegetables.
    But I am hoping for one of my books to hit big, too!

    1. Y’all in TX might find the rest of us on your doorsteps, complete with cat carriers. Just saying.

      And ditto on getting the holiday season off the ground. Rough going this year.

      1. Texan here, and yes, I’ve got room (though we’d have to make an arrangement about cats, since my birds would object – maybe alternating times out?)

        I’m Glad I live in a sane state, but that may not be enough. I feel like we’ll be lucky if it’s only as bad as the Great Depression. At least they didn’t have rampant inflation. Maybe 1930’s Germany then.

          1. We’re going to wind up living on that lot eventually, but for now it’s my Bug-Out Patch, BYO everything until I have a well drilled and septic installed. Now if Governor Haslam will just do the right thing and tell the Feds to go suck rocks on the Obamacare exchange, the state politics will be close to ideal.

      2. If it comes down to that, if there really is that sort of collapse, don’t go counting on the borders of the Republic of Texas being open. We can take care of our own, but no way can we take on the flood of refugees that is sure to come. Just sayin’…

      3. Thus, if you want to try to weather the coming storm here in Texas, you better get here before it hits. Get here, now. Establish yourself here, now. Practically speaking, we won’t be able to help afterward. There’s enough of a separatist/secessionist sentiment here that it won’t take all that much to push us over the edge. An implosion like what faces us would be more than enough.

    2. Yea – when I start to feel the boot dropping (I am feeling it now) I start to get aggressive. I want to attack something. I came to the conclusion recently that running and hiding is not going to work this time. It feels like a full-on assault. Course if it is a hide and run situation, the hubby will thrown me into the vehicle. He is good that way.

  2. As a Mormon, I do feel as though I can rely on my church and extended family if everything goes south. Beyond that I have relatives in Texas too.

        1. I’m not Texan, but the family does have some land down there. (My grandfather owned it, and died without a will, while having 9 kids, my mom has been paying the taxes for the last twenty years, but as far as I know it is still in grandpa’s name. I have no idea how that works out legally, but I’m sure it is not pretty 😉 )

          I think I’ll probably stick in Idaho, if the government implodes we’ll have plenty of National Forest to colonize 😉

          1. We just sorted out a situation like that. Grandmother died without a will and certain members of the family didn’t want others to have any part of the property. The last holdout just died so the property finally got probated – forty years later. It took the lawyer at least a year to track down all the descendants. I think he was still tracking some down when we got our checks.

          2. If you’ve been taxes on the place these twenty years, and can prove it, you effectively own the place, period. Texas has a legal means of establishing your title that way. It doesn’t matter who complains or debates the issue, you’ve acted as Owner for twenty years and no one
            objected during that period, it’s a closed case. There’s paperwork to file and you’ll need a lawyer in the county here, to file the documents.

            There is likely no question of a will, in such a case, it’s basically a case of who’s paid the taxes and stood in loco for the deed holder.

            Let me know if you have questions (I am not a lawyer nor do i play one on TV. I am a Texan. I have to say, we’re being overrun with Yankees, Californicators, and Noo Yawkahs. It ain’t gonna be Texas much longer. )

        2. Yes. I believe the official policy statement is “Y’all come back now!” or more emphatically “Y’all come back real soon now, y’hear?” Texans – and half-Texans, and Texan expatriates – ought never forget how much of the Texian Army consisted of recent immigrants and folks who earned their Texan citizenship with a pistol, a musket, or a cavalry saber.

        3. Forget the tent and stuff, just bring the ammo. We have plenty of shelter here but can never have enough ammo1

      1. Some kind of big change is pending. The whole retirement-driven capital market has to go away, math won’t let the boomers retire. Unless we collapse and stay down, we’ll probably have a significant portion of the population unable to do useful work – a lot of people can’t or won’t learn the skills that are needed to do work computers can’t.

        But I don’t think we will collapse. It feels more like Rome around the time for the Gracchi (about 130 BC) – social upheaval and big changes but in a society that is basically viable. This isn’t like Rome of the 5th century with a useless military, barbarians at the gate, and a population that has no loyalty to a state that exists primarily to squeeze taxes out of them.

        1. I agree with this – we’re basically viable with tremendous tangible capital (factories, buildings, arable land, etc.) and technology. A few major things need to be sorted out but that doesn’t diminish the value of our capital, technology, and knowledge.

        2. Ah, Americans. You keep thinking you’re Rome. I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that you are actually Carthage. Only this time there is no Rome on the horizon — which is why you haven’t come a cropper by being Carthage yet.

          1. The problem with that analogy is — what, exactly, did Carthage have with internal problems that would have torn it apart, except for Rome’s being them to it?

            To be sure, they’re not exactly well documented.

            1. We are actually closer to Phoenicia — except we don’t put down colonies. (Carthage was a colony of Phoenicia.) We’re a “commercial civilization” and take commerce to distant and weird lands — I do agree with us not being Rome, though. That was a Russian analogy. We were never Imperial. (Or as Dave Freer puts it, the Americans are horrible imperialists. All they want to do is go home.) In that sense, the USSR was closer to Rome… if Catalina had won. BUT like Rome we are “point man” for “civilization” in our time. And we’re not ready to pass it on.

            2. Our economy is far more similar to the Carthaginians than the Romans, as is our general orientation toward the world. Carthage was poorly organized to confront a relentless opponent, preferring to think appeasement and ignoring the problem would work.

              Quick summary of fifty years consideration of a matter influenced mostly by reading a single book (Harold Lamb’s biography of Hannibal Hamilcar) with a dollop of Livy.

          2. History doesn’t have that many republics bigger than a city-state. Of the ones that exist, most were a gradual development from Monarchy, rather than the abrupt change we (and Rome) experienced.

            We may be more similar to Carthage. Could you please recommend a source about the internal Carthaginian politics so I can compare it to our situation?

            1. Eh, we were already undergoing a slow creep toward it long before we decided to toss the king out on his year.

              They were further confirmed in this pleasing error by the form of their
              provincial legislative assemblies. Their governments are popular in an high degree; some are merely popular; in all, the popular representative is the most weighty; and this share of the people in their ordinary government never fails to inspire them with lofty sentiments, and with a strong aversion from whatever tends to deprive them of their chief importance.

      2. So, if you want to weather the storm here, get here now. Get established here now. Don’t count on open borders after the fact, there’s a better than even chance that if the collapse happens that Texas (and other parts of “Free America”) will secede*. And if we do, it would be certain that the borders would close with the possible exception of like minded secessionists.

        *Why shouldn’t we? It wasn’t our decision to go over the cliff. It was the blue states, who outvoted us. Why can’t we divorce them? Why does their economic illiteracy doom us to mutual failure?

  3. And this is the time I’m applying for a short-term, funding contingent contract not far from the Border . . . Sigh.

  4. I have this feeling that goes like this:

    INNER VOICE: You won’t survive a collapse. Preparing for it only enriches those selling you that crap. Your energies would be better spent fighting the forces trying to bring about the collapse. Fight to preserve civilization, not to try to survive it.

    ME: What if you’re wrong?

    IV: You’re on your own, there, Bunky.

    I also get the sense that Whittle is right. What’s coming won’t be nearly as bad as those sitting here looking at it think. What we’re looking at is not the collapse of America, but the collapse of the old, industrial-revolution-founded model of a central state. We’re headed for a post-government world. The joke’s on Kurzweil — the singularity won’t bring on the panopticon state, it’ll bury it.

    But WTF do I know?


  5. So long as the trucks are transporting food, it’s best to live in a city–that’s where they’ll take the food. If the transportation system breaks down, we’re in big trouble.

    I’m in what used to be semi-rural. Now, I’m surrounded by McMansions and within a tank of gas of a huge population concentration. I figure I’ll be steamrollered if it comes to a _complete_ breakdown. Mere “bad times” I’ll have a garden and chickens. Maybe even a goat.

    But what I’m hoping for is the tech breakthrough.

    1. “So long as the trucks are transporting food, it’s best to live in a city–that’s where they’ll take the food. If the transportation system breaks down, we’re in big trouble.”
      Correct. The problem is, a general economic breakdown of the economic system implies a breakdown of the transportation system. Don’t count on a continued supply of food (or water, or electricity, or any other commodity) in the urban centers. If the economic system fails, the energy production fails. If that fails, the power grid fails and fuel production and distribution fails. And thus, everything else grinds to a halt.

      “I’m in what used to be semi-rural. Now, I’m surrounded by McMansions and within a tank of gas of a huge population concentration.”
      I’m closer than that. Outer edge ‘burbs of a major metro. I figure that it’ll be tough, but survivable, given that this is Texas, rural is right next door, the basics of survival are attainable, and we have made some preparations. The worst, I suspect, will be surviving the onslaught of the unprepared starving hordes coming from the urban area just over there in the next county (we are in Collin Co, Tx, vs Dallas Co, Tx).

  6. This is timely, Madam Hostess. I was just talking about “feeling like a crazy person” with my father this morning. The same stuff keeps happening around me. Children line up outside the window to head to class from recess. Tourists (Hawaii. /shrug) come in and fill up my writing space – read: coffee shop – with noise and swimsuits. Businessfolk sip lattes and discuss events scheduled for the near future. And all the time, my lizard brain is gearing up for a fight. Or to run.

    On of the keys for personal survival – perhaps even success – is going to be forming relationships. Our society has become insular. For all I know, it always has been, but the compartmentalization allowed by our current technology means that we – often – don’t know our neighbors. Even the people at church are often little more than friendly acquaintances (I envy my Mormon friends that closeness of connection, despite the way my introvert soul shrieks that all those people are TOO CLOSE). Voluntary random associations will be vital when/should the fecal matter impact the oscillating rotor. The closer our relationships with those around us, the less likely they are to turn their backs on us in an emergency. Not that Americans are nearly as liikely to do so as folk indoctrinated into other cultures.

    On a separate note, I spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my in-laws in rural Colorado. They’re in the process of looking for a plot of land, and the subject of water rights weighs heavily on such decisions. Mostt of the water “produced” in CO is already earmarked for other places. Like Arizona or California. You can own land through which a creek runs, and be unable to use the water that flows there. It’s tricky, and another piece of which to be aware. Of course, if things truly fall apart, rights may come down to what can be enforced.

  7. This. We were just talking about this among ladies at our church. We live in Southern Illinois near St Louis MO. We are all stocking up, some more than others. I’ve always figured in a not total collapse, we head to my Dad’s farm with our pantry and guns in tow. Cows and chickens there and enough land to plant. In a total collapse we get the heck away from St Louis, we have some rural land in Southern Missouri, take the family, camper, chickens and settle in survival mode. I want to believe it wont come to that but am not willing to bet everything on it.

    1. If it comes to a total collapse, our log cabin in the national forest will come with a sign “Hoyt Freehold. Advance with your hands up. We lost three customers last week. We don’t want to lose you. Free Kittens. Will trade for used books”… 😉

        1. When your hungry enough for reading material that you’ll read the labels on cans of soup, the kind of book isn’t really important, just that it is one she doesn’t have.

          1. Heh. I thought the sign’s source was too obvious to mention, but I forget that not everyone has read everything* RAH wrote.

            * Okay, make that “almost everything”. The stuff he was writing later in life doesn’t appeal to me much, so I haven’t read For Us, The Living yet — and I’m sure there’s one or two others I’ve skipped over that I’m not aware of.

            … Okay, that was eerie. I just finished the book I was reading on my smartphone (where I’ve got about 200 ebooks in my digital library, almost all of them from either Baen or Project Gutenberg) and went to grab another one, stabbing blindly at the screen to pick a first letter at random. It picked F, and guess which book title was the first one to appear? I think my smartphone is trying to tell me something.

            1. I thought For Us, The Living was the first book he wrote? He couldn’t sell it during his lifetime. And I didn’t like it much.

              *Eyes The Rolling Stones speculatively* I sure don’t have time for it now … but there are only a few Heinlein works I haven’t read — The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag, The Rolling Stones, and there’s one other whose title I currently can’t recall. But there are also ALL THE THINGS due on Tuesday as the semester closes.

              Bah. That’s what IAP is for.

              1. I thought For Us, The Living was the first book he wrote? He couldn’t sell it during his lifetime. And I didn’t like it much.

                You’re absolutely right, as I see now that I’ve looked the book up on Wikipedia. I just had it in my head that “published after he was dead” = “he was in the middle of writing it at the time he died”. Which is usually a logical assumption, though it turned out to be wrong in this case.

              2. Yes. It was. And it’s baaaaaaaaaad. There’s a reason he tried to get rid of it, later. Yes, there are glimmers and from a scholar’s perspective it’s interesting but it might (MIGHT) be worse than my first novel.

            2. “Heh. I thought the sign’s source was too obvious to mention, but I forget that not everyone has read everything* RAH wrote.”

              Ditto, on the first part. I have only read a half a dozen of Heinlein’s books, and he falls in that category of: decent writer, pick them up if I find them for the right price, but not reliably good enough to buy new. Farnham’s Freehold is by far my favorite of what I have read however. The problem for me is that his books seem to vary from really good, to so dull and plotless that I can’t stay awake, but with some good one line quotes. I never know which a book of his is going to be until I start to read it.

              1. I just finished reading Tunnels in the Sky (recommended by others in this group). It is one of the good ones– of the YA lost on another world variety. I really enjoyed it.

                1. A good overview of Heinlein’s juveniles can be found in Heinlein’s Children, although I suspect most would rather read Heainlein’s juveniles that read about them.

                  1. In one of the many possible universes (possibly not very possible — don’t analyze that construction!) in which I become a well-known sf writer, my attempted (and maybe completed) autobiography is called “I Was Peewee.” 😛 (I never had Madame Pompadour, but I had a floppy green frog named Carlos.)

              2. My favorite Heinlein juvenile is probably Space Cadet, followed closely by Farmer in the Sky. My favorite Heinlein is probably Starship Troopers. (Is that one usually considered a juvenile? It reads like an adult novel to me.) I know many people consider The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress to be their favorite, but for me it comes in at #4 or 5 at best. Great writing, but something about it just doesn’t grab me, somehow. I think it was the sexual mores — part of my brain went “Nah, human nature being what it is, the women wouldn’t have any realistic chance of ending up in that protected position if this happened in real life,” and I found it hard to get into the book after I realized that I didn’t believe a key part of the setting. It’s a testimony to how well-written the book is that I kept reading it anyway, but that’s why it’s not among my all-time Heinlein favorites.

                1. My favorite is Citizen of the Galaxy, which I read again recently. It is still one of my favorites. I think the reason it hit me so hard is because when I read it the first time between 14-16, I wanted to be independent pretty badly, but I didn’t want to find myself in a worse situation so I stayed put. It was a hope that I could actually have something better when I grew up.

                  1. In no particular order, favorites: The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, Puppet Masters, The Door Into Summer, Citizen of The Galaxy, Methuselah’s Children, Revolt in 2100, Starman Jones, Starship Troopers, Between Planets, Have Spacesuit.

                    Second stringers — sue me, okay? — Friday, The Sixth Column, and (in spots. In spots. These betray the times they were written in and I flip past them.– Time Enough For Love and The Number of the Beast.

                    OTOH the only ones I don’t re-read are Job (it doesn’t bother me. It just doesn’t do anything for me, one way or another) and The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (Though it gave the name to our late, great, missed, bestest cat evah Pixel.)

                    1. I tried to read Job, but I couldn’t. I find that if I don’t get into a book within the first ten chapters then I won’t be able to read it. It was actually the only book so far from RAH that I couldn’t read– Haven’t tried his first book. Plus I didn’t realize until recently that I hadn’t read all of his books. I have read many of them though.

                    2. Job is… different, for Heinlein. That one was far more similar to a Piers Anthony style than anything else I have read of his. The notion of dragging some poor schlub on a tour of various theological universes is interesting, but the style was certainly not for everyone.

                    3. Job was written as a deliberate homage to James Branch Cabell, basing its structure on Cabell’s most notorious book, Jurgen. By all reports, Cabell’s satirical novels, published mostly between the two World Wars, were a major influence on young Heinlein. Their writing style is very much of their time period and can require adjustments for modern readers, much as revisiting the fantasies of Lord Dunsany or the adventures of Jules Verne and HG Wells require a different approach.

                    4. Alexei Panshin’s Heinlein In Dimension remains the best available (is it available? I should check Amazon.) critical overview of Heinlein’s work. While it was infuriating to many a young Heinlein fan much of that is due to the immaturity of the fan; Heinlein’s work was not perfect and certainly able to withstand critical analysis. While there are many superb web sites for discussion of Heinlein’s work and his influence, some might find a visit to The Critics Lounge [ ] a diverting consumer of time:

                      One of the few things that everyone agrees on where Robert Heinlein is concerned is that from an early point in his career until his death, he was the dominant writer of SF. He has been highly influential upon both the literature and his readers. But what his work actually means has been another question. Heinlein polarizes opinion. If you love and respect him above all other men, then the expression of any question, reservation or doubt can seem excessive. On the other hand, if you can’t stand Heinlein and abhor the very tone of his prose, any positive regard or serious discussion can seem to be more than the man merits.

                      Much of the argument was set up by Heinlein himself. He wrote with apparent certitude about a variety of subjects, and yet his writing was extremely tricky under its outward guise of plain speaking. Heinlein was a man who was capable of talking about the usefulness of lying with a straight face and of telling the truth in such a way that it won’t be believed.

                      The result of this is that people can be very sure of their own opinions about Heinlein and what he had to say and regard them as self-evident. But somehow nobody manages to agree with anyone else. Firmly held belief coupled with radical disagreement leads to quarrels.

                    5. Farnham’s Freehold is my favorite of what I have read, closely followed by Farmer in the Sky. Starship Troopers read like a outline of a really good novel to me, Heinlein had a habit of glossing over all the action, without putting in the action scenes. Made me feel like he had it outlined and didn’t go back and fill in the action. I read the book at one sitting, but hit the last page still waiting for the good part. I Will Fear No Evil wasn’t very good in my opinion, and Stranger in a Strange Land was a real struggle (the only reason I finished it is because it is referenced in so many other books, with the author’s assuming their readers have read it). I need to read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and Number of the Beast sounds good also.

                2. Starship Troopers was written as the last of Heinlein’s juveniles. As I understand the deal with Scribner’s, their rejection of it as a juvenile was what ended their contract. It is reasonable, given indications within Grumbles From the Grave (a collection of Heinlein’s correspondence) to suppose that Heinlein wrote it intending it to be rejected, although its more adult nature is also consistent with the increasingly mature themes and story elements Heinlein was exploring in the later juveniles.

                  When coming to Heinlein at this late date it is important to approach the works as artifacts of their era, remembering that much of what Heinlein was doing was breaking new ground for the genre, pushing SF out of the pulp ghetto. Compromises had to be made with what the general public would accept.

                  I recommend some of his non-juveniles from the Fifties, especially Double Star and The Door Into Summer — although the latter book may startle you with its depiction of our present/its future.

              1. I was very careful to pick a man that was 5’10” to my 5’8″. The reason? My father, grandfather, brothers, and male cousins are all over six feet. It was like being in a stand of trees. I like to breathe. 😉

                1. All the men in my family are over six feet and built like football players. I used to think they were like the antique wardrobes around the house. I picked a slim man who is 5’8″. Didn’t save me. My sons are still built like my family, particularly Robert.

                  The fact I still wanted more kids after two sets of shoulders means I’m some sort of masochist.

                  1. My poor wife wasn’t sure she wanted a second after the 10lbs, 11oz first one, but she was an only child, and didn’t want her child to be one.

                    At 8lbs 10oz, the second was like squirting out a watermelon seed…

  8. No Victory Gardens? A couple of the local small communities, and at least one city I know of around here have Victory Gardens, and have had them every year since 9/11

  9. What went through my mind when I read your post, Sarah:

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

    William Butler Yeats, in 1919.

  10. I don’t pretend to know what is going to happen to America. I just know that I am more worried about our future than I have ever been. America has come close to tearing itself apart a couple of times before(the civil war and the great depression).

    Can we find solutions to our problems? Do we still have that core of inner strength to pull through difficult times? Or, have we become too soft and dependent? Are our problems just too great, and our people too divided?
    I wish I knew.

    It did not start with Obama. He may just be a trailing indicator of the Blue Social Model nearing it’s end. Or maybe not, I don’t know. And it is not just something caused by Democrats alone. Republicans share a lot of the blame. Neither party in Washington is inspiring much confidance right now.

    Like others, I am doing things I may not have considered even five years ago. Stocking up on supplies. Learning or upgrading useful skills. Going out of my way to support local and small businesses, as well as American made goods. I will also be on the lookout for people I can work with to share skills and resources. We should also support non-government entities that can do the things government does faster, better, cheaper. Those of us who are prepared will be better able to handle bad times. If they don’t come, we can still use up the extra supplies we have stored up.

    On the plus side, we are blessed with abundant resources, and still have skilled people who can take care of problems if need be.

    Thanks Sarah for letting me post my mindless drivel. It does help me feel a little better.

  11. I’d say more like I Will Fear No Evil – afaik Mr. Heinlein considered Friday a best case with good places here and there and trustworthy folks on the moon but a constant bug out bag packed as opposed to going armadillo.

    As a practical matter Colorado stopped issuing new water rights 50 years ago and there are lots of folks living rural in ranchettes who think their wells entitle them to fill the hot tub on the deck. Mostly household use does not include outside faucets and hot tubs should be filled from tankers. Running out of water, like the price of bread in Revolutionary France, will I suggest lead to civil discontent. There’s a lesson of some some sort in the fact that housing in Douglas and Alamo counties of Colorado with no water rights and depending on wells guaranteed to run dry within the next 20 years is still selling as well as housing on Denver water.

    Still be happy to take you and yours shooting with some interesting firearms red dot sights and lasers and such if there’s any interest – might have to remind him of Moscow but with a reminder Dean Wesley Smith might acknowledge that I’m not a sock puppet or at least wasn’t once.

    1. I am worried about this SUMMER — we’re not getting any snow, and one of the hard Colorado droughts THIS COMING YEAR would be bad. Very bad. For various reasons.

  12. Well, since MadMike (Mr Williamson) is only a 6 hr drive from us (via back roads, if necessary), that’s pretty much the “bug-out” plan should it come to that. I do have the advantage of while having actually grown up in the 70s, I was basically raised in the 30s & 40s (by grandparents who had survived the depression). So, I have some essential “life skills” that some may consider “quaint” or “out-dated” by modern standards. Also, the husband comes from a farm family, but Iowa may be a stretch. However, having made it by for years on practically “below poverty level funds”, we have the ability to survive on very little.

    1. I was raised in a subsistence farm. So…

      And I think a few of us who are versatile will be fine in everything but TOTAL collapse. STILL hard times will grind people, and it’s no use pretending otherwise.

  13. Any collapse would occur in several phases and survival strategies should anticipate each phase. And, of course, these phases will happen differently in different areas.

    The NE USA will probably go up in flames — too concentrated a population, too dependent on imported foods, too many eggheads (and empty eggheads, which are even worse.) Look toward Central Pennsylvania and Upstate New York as firewalls. But ANY of the major urban areas will be likely conflagration zones because of their concentration of people who think food, especially meat, occurs spontaneously in the grocery store and who have heeded their enslavers’ words that they are “entitled” to anything. If you are near such a place you need to anticipate a defensible position while you gather for bugging out.

    Elsewhere it will likely be a slow collapse, as deterioration of infrastructure, lack of replacement parts and the like grind down the societies. Basic skills, an ability to jury-rig replacements will be critical. Being able to make black powder and reload ammo and repair guns might be marketable, provided you don’t linger too much.

    So far as I can recall, the USA is unique in the history of the world in its willingness to (mostly) selflessly aid fellow nations in trouble. As Mark Steyn has warned, after us the kindness of strangers is likely to prove strained..

    1. The slow collapse is what I dread most, knowing as I do about the fading of Rome from Europe in the 6th century. All this technology, all this knowlege … just dwindling. And citizens who had known better times looking at their children, knowing that life would be smaller, meaner, worse, for a certainty.
      I despise the so-called intellectuals who have hastened this end. I despise them with such a passion that I can barely be civil. They, of course, will be secure in their enclaves. The rest of us … not so much.

      1. “They, of course, will be secure in their enclaves.”

        Will they? Some will, but many of them, when they can’t provide what they have promised the masses will be brought down. When the masses turn on them they will learn the same lesson the Russians taught the Germans: ‘quantity has a quality all its own.’

        1. Indeed. At this point, there’s not nearly enough in the way of private security to protect the elite. The US military won’t fire on citizens, not without far greater moral degradation that has happened, so is unlikely to defend the elites. Also too well informed to believe the populace doesn’t have a beef with it nominal leadership.

          1. In the event of a collapse, what basis has the elite for supposing their hired mercen … (ahem) private security will remain loyal?

            Will they offer bigger paychecks … that won’t clear the banks? Have they treated their hirelings so very very well that they can rely on bonds of familial friendship?

          2. “….The US military won’t fire on citizens, not without far greater moral degradation that has happened, so is unlikely to defend the elites….”

            Reasoning from the Whiskey Rebellion through the Bonus Army to Kent State I’d have no such confidence though I suppose the Praetorians might have some input in which elites to defend.

            Given the current estimate of this winter’s winter wheat crop is about 1/3 of a normal good not great year and such considerations as Egypt’s upcoming need for imported wheat with no foreigh exchange to buy it then sure a current drought in Colorado will be bad for Colorado – and what’s bad for Colorado is bad for General Motors.

            The songs of Leslie Fish and Foxfire 5 (Diderot’s encyclopedia for the francophil) will go a long ways to keeping the Kentucky long rifle and the Hawken alive but existing stocks will last a couple of lifetimes – perhaps like the end of Earth Abides seeding technology that doesn’t need literacy will be the long term gift to the future?

            1. Large chunks of the U.S. Army refused to raise their hands against selected portions of citizens once. We called it the Civil War.

              One reason why it lasted as long as it did was that one side started out with an advantage in officers, because of its military culture. Counterbalancing that was the North’s manufacturing ability.

              What do the blue states have to counterbalance the red states’ advantage in military forces?

              1. I’d challenge any assertion that the South had an advantage in officers suggesting the South rather suffered from officers who fought the last war while the Union fought the current war – see e.g. Attack and Die: Civil War Military Tactics and the Southern Heritage. University Alabama Press
                “The authors argue that the Southerners’ consistent favoring of offensive warfare was attributable, in large measure, to their Celtic heritage: they fought with the same courageous dash and reckless abandon that had characterized their Celtic forebears since ancient times.”

                I’d also argue that there is not and never was a Southern proper combined arms military culture as in say Starship Troopers or mission first as Tom Kratman has described it but rather what has been described as a Jacksonian culture. A desire to be left alone is not the same..

                Grant’s successes at Forts Henry and Donelson more or less doomed the Confederacy – though Union and Confederacy each in its own way suffered greatly from the lack of a unified command – Arguably, like perhaps Rommel, Lee was a great divisional commander but did not fill a greater role – so leaving a greater hole in the Confederate military.

                What the red states have is cannon fodder if the blue states have the cannons or in today’s terms the 3rd and later generation night vision devices, the encrypted signals to and from armed UAV and the rest of technology. Manufacturing ability trumps the gallant rifleman once again. It’s not the guns that will decide but the NVG and the rest of the sensors combined with explosives not bullets.

                1. Manufacturing ability? I think you need to look again at where the actual manufacturing centers are. The ones in this country, anyway. The Blue States have the financial centers, but not the manufacturing ones, and if it comes down to a shooting conflict, they won’t be getting their fancy-dancy equipment shipped to them.

                  I live 20 miles from two large steel mills, one ordinary steel and one stainless, plus a tool and die maker. I guarantee they would make a huge difference all on their own.

                  1. Plus, they have a central control mindset. While their leadership is making up their minds what to do, hundreds, if not thousands, of small groups from rural areas would be getting things done.

                    1. Nevada– who turned blue (arg) in only two counties not only has casinos (that ended up in the blue areas), but also has mining– heavy mining in the red areas. The biggest military base in Nevada was in the red area.

                    2. Are we talking past each other in the blue state red state usage? Taking the Wikipedia * mapping based on Tim Russert’s usage making the red states Republican then overlaying mapping from say e.g. Spatial Distribution of Economic Activities in North America Thomas J. Holmes University of Minnesota and Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and National Bureau of Economic Research John J. Stevens Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System June 27, 2003 which uses census data – nothing special in the research just a handy impartial source for the data in convenient form – then the Democrats – blue states – live where the heavy industry is and vice versa with some confusion about the expansion from the Great Lakes manufacturing region and the introduction of foreign industry (many nominal foreign label car plants) to the Piedmont of the south. But Newt Gingrich to the contrary the urban south – Atlanta say is as pure a Democratic machine as Chicago – with the same propensity to graft see e.g. Grady Hospital or the Hartsfield-Jackson airport. Of course the dry side of Washington state might be Republican but Boeing is Seattle – and Chicago with some expansion to the South.

                      For heavy industry Colorado has a circa 5K employed by Coors in Golden but that’s not saying much in a field where cottage industry is as good.

                      Consider the basic individual load out this from Strategy Page:

                      “Currently, the lightest load carried, the “fighting load” for situations where the troops were sneaking up on the enemy and might be involved in hand-to-hand combat, is 28.6 kg (63 pounds). The “approach march load,” for when infantry were moving up to a position where they would shed some weight to achieve their “fighting load”, is 46 kg (101 pounds). The heaviest load, 60 kg (132 pounds), was the emergency approach march load, where troops had to move through terrain too difficult for vehicles”

                      Then consider the question of how much of that load can be efficiently duplicated in a Red Dawn scenario in Colorado (or Idaho or……) today.

                      *Red states and blue states refer to those states of the United States whose residents predominantly vote for the Republican Party (red) or Democratic Party (blue) presidential candidates. This terminology came into use in the United States presidential election of 2000 on an episode of the Today show on October 30, 2000.

        2. And you’re forgetting A LOT of them are rock bottom stupid. They’re credentialed, and therefore think they’re smart, but that’s not true. In some senses they’ve been selected for ideology not intellect for three generations already and we’re approaching that seventy year thing.

      2. Anne McCaffrey’s short novel “Black Horses for the King” is set in a just-barely Post-Roman Britain, where the Britons are trying to maintain some semblance of order and of the Roman traditions. It’s an intriguing little book.

  14. I’m going to delurk to say a couple of things.

    First, I’m pleased to know I have similar viewing tastes as an award-winning author. Ain’t I cultured.

    Second, I think people talking about collapse are making the same fundamental error about the economy that liberals do. The economy isn’t a machine to be managed or break down, it is nothing more than the interactions between people. The economy has existed for as long as we have, heck, there’s evidence that trade predates our species. Even after the fall of Rome there was trade, it was just with the villa down the river rather than Egypt. I think a better analogy for what we’re going through is a phase change. Our economy is like a supercooled liquid. The uneasiness we’re feeling is because we know there isn’t enough energy to stay liquid and we are waiting for the disturbance that will precipitate the change. On the other hand, some parts, like technology, look like they’re superheated, just waiting for the right thing to initiate the explosion. I guess we are at an economic triple point.

    1. Jeff,
      You seem to be arguing semantics. We have more than the same viewing tastes. You just said what I did, only in a more … uh… metaphorical way.

      My whole point and the reason for faith in the first alternative being the most likely is that collapse doesn’t happen like in the movies. It’s never a uniform thing. Slow downturns forever do (Ask Dave Freer about South Africa.) BUT just one day doesn’t work normally doesn’t.

      OTOH currency collapse AND government collapse do happen and out on the streets we might as well call it “economic collapse.”

      1. My argument probably would have been clearer if I had remembered to include my point, which is you’ll most likely be OK if you have a skill set that can be traded locally. Even if greenbacks become totally worthless there will still be a barter economy, and even that won’t last long. Every community has bankers, and people will remember the utility of money.

        1. um… I have those. BUT I suspect, as others have said, the internet will persist, and if there’s internet I can haz sell stories too. (I mean, I’m fine at sewing and cooking and stuff, but… I like telling stories.)

        2. You want an “in demand” skill set for after the collapse? Learn to brew beer and distill liquor. Both are effective (and POPULAR) methods of preserving crops in easily transportable, easily exchangeable form.

    2. Jeff, I tend to agree – and am hoping that the effects for many of us tech-minded folks are not as dire as predictions; I think you and Sarah are correct in your estimation of the advances coming – barring an EMP, LOL which I think unlikely. We live in a rural area where we are trying to prepare on a small scale. The unfortunate problem with where we live is internet service – not good – stuck with either satellite or cellular. I’ve opted for cellular and have been paying a huge price for it for the last three years, just hoping that it will eventually get better. But I have maintained to family and friends for years that withholding technology from your children at this stage of the game in the US is to handicap them greatly. As a work from home freelancer I’m doing my best to mentor my daughters into similar work from home. Surprisingly, over the last four years, my alternative revenue stream photography biz has also grown, providing me income for spring break, summer, and holidays. But I digress. The point is, as Sarah says, none of us knows for sure what this period is going to look like. Never before in history have we had something like this internet phenom, and it seems highly unlikely to me that anyone would be able to entirely shut it down. (Conspiracy theories to the contrary . . . and I come from a long line of conspiracy theorists, but I fight hard with myself to not succumb to them!) Hard to put the genie back in the bottle once is has dispersed . . .

      1. My only option used to be satellite, and it used to work much better when I got it than it has the last couple years (I was one of the first connected when they put up some new satellites, so at first there was nobody else to take up bandwidth). They put up a wireless broadband tower a couple miles from my house though, and I switched to it yesterday. Three times as fast, no upload/download thresholds, and cheaper to boot. So far I am really liking it, we’ll have to see if it is more reliable than the satellite or not.

        1. Yeah, my cellular wireless seemed much faster even a year ago – I think lots more folks in my area discovered it – but we’re supposed to be getting an upgrade to 4G in the next few months which should help if they also increase our tower capacity – so hurry up and wait 😉 Can’t complain, it’s fast enough to stream Amazon Prime through a Roku box – closest thing we’ve had to cable tv in 20+ years!

  15. Most of you have places you can run to — people you can join up with.

    I don’t.

    So I’m not bothering to do any prep work — except to work on my oratory skills, so I can direct The Mob towards places which Have. Most of The Mob become a moving wall of ablative meat (either “self-deploying sandbag”, “incoming fire interception device”, or “autonomous mobile biological mine-clearing device [single-use]”). Iif enough are left to overrun the target, well and good; if not, they’re not going to be taking what I have. Either way, I win. (The one who survive, if any, become my Storm Troopers….) >:)

    I find it funny so many here mention the French Revolution — my model for that period is Joseph Fouche, a man who survived all the periods of the Revolution, plus the Napoleonic Era, and died in bed afterward. Nothing matters except Survival — without it, nothing else can be accomplished, non? >:)

    1. Did I ever share an apartment with you? Because you remind me strongly of a former roommate of mine… 🙂

      1. It has been a long time, but as I ponder what I recall learning about that period in History, Bonaparte’s rise to power essentially began when, as a young artillery officer, he turned his cannons on a mob. I suspect there are many young officers in our military who know that bit of History. In the event of such a collapse as we’ve been discussing, one wonders what they might be tempted to act upon that knowledge.

        1. I think a military response is going to depend as much on the mob as the military. Marching down the mifddle of the street with signs, vs a rioting mob smashing windows and looting as they go.

          There’s a middle ground, with mob/marchers as well. I worked in San Francisco for three years in the early 70’s. While the Ayatollah was still in France, his supporters were numerous, organized and held regular “impromptu” marches through the business district. Faces hidden, screaming in, I suppose, Farsi, The aura of violence was shocking. I hadn’t realized how much hatred, how much _threat_ of violence could be conveyed by people walking down a street.

          Remembering that, I can see American soldiers firing on American citizens “Marching.” I can see them firing on a rioting mob, looting and burning.

          But a straightforward, genuinely peaceful, march? Nope. Not going to happen. Troops, these days, are taught to think twice before shooting foreign apparently-civilian arabs who look just like the guy that killed their friend the other day.

          1. The climax of Tom Kratman’s “State of Disobedience:” no one will shoot at the little old lady governor of Texas as she leads the crowd, all singing “We Shall Overcome.”

            1. One of the small suspension of disbelief issues with that scene is that such a “peaceful” march requires an extraordinary amount of discipline. Discipline that requires far more training and preparation than people believe.

  16. I read this last night, but decided to sleep on it before I commented. That was a good decision on my part.

    First, Sarah, remember – if you need it, I’ve got your back. I’ve already written and asked my brother to bring me my guns from Texas.

    Secondly, I, too, was raised on a “subsistence farm”, which included cows, pigs, chickens, and rabbits for meat, milk, and eggs, and about an acre of broken ground for row crops. Colorado is a really ROTTEN place to try to subsistence farm, although I’ve done some of it.

    Thirdly, I see the coming disaster as being a slow, long-drawn-out affair with a few major shocks, especially at first. Inflation will be part of the trigger, along with the inability to borrow money (banks aren’t going to lend when there’s a 90% chance they’ll lose money on the deal, no matter what the interest rate is, and that’s a distinct possibility in the near future).

    Fourth, be ready for the United States to split. The so-called “red” states will be pushed to support “blue” states that will collapse due to poor policies. Expect the “red” states to finally say “enough”, and refuse.

    The majority political divisions in the United States right now are between urban socialists and suburban and rural conservatives. Unfortunately, there is not a conservative political party at the moment. Conservatives are going to be sold down the river, and they will object.

    I can’t say which way the military will go, but the best I can hope for is that they join with the conservatives in refusing to support the extravagant lifestyle of the “blue” states, especially when their own salaries are either frozen or reduced, their benefits slashed, and their dedication treated with contempt.

    I can’t say at what level the coming split, if it occurs, will take place. I would hope that it would happen at the county level, allowing those who wish to join either “red” or “blue” areas. If it does happen, I see the “red” areas remaining more like 20th-century America, and the “blue” areas becoming more and more like Europe – with the corresponding debt problem, high unemployment, and stagnation. Any way you look at it, it’s going to be a mess for a decade or more. The only thing that is certain is that there is no way we can continue as we’re currently heading without major – and massive – changes taking place. Those changes will be forced upon us. The only question will be how many changes will take place, and when.

    1. Remember, they think that they are the net supporters and the blue states the net beneficaries.

      This is because they really imagine that a military base is the same sort of thing as a welfare mother with seven children by seven different men, all of whom five second’s reflection would have told her would be very poor fathers, or a tenured professor teaching Marxism and race-mongering in a “Studies” course.

      1. Yep – Hard to believe, but I think they have stuffed cotton wool into their ears and stuffed it with knitting needles to come up with what is plainly apples and oranges. I was pretty disgusted with the ads that equated military retirees (and military members) with welfare recipients who haven’t worked a day in their lives (or at least many days in their lives).

  17. Minus the plague, Oh John Ringo No’s scenario is probably not that far off. People drop back to their local groups, churches and other civic groups form the core of local reorganization, and the feds just get in the way. Judging by the weather in Europe and the Southern Hemisphere this year, his prediction of lower small grain yields is probably accurate as well. (Watch soy prices climb the next few months if the weather in Brazil does not improve and the drought in the Great Plains of the US does not lift).

    1. For the record, as someone who has lived a lot of other places, the US has the greatest civic tradition at local levels. As an exchange student I spoke at places like sewing circles, and my jaw just dropped seeing Roberts Rules of Order employed. You guys have no idea how odd we Americans are…

    2. People drop back to their local groups, churches and other civic groups form the core of local reorganization, and the feds just get in the way.

      I take it, then, you have been reading and watching the developments in areas of NY devastated by Sandy. FEMA and Red Cross are offering — at best — a hot meal, while local ad hoc neighborhood groups are rebuilding kitchens.

  18. Sarah, you’re looking in the wrong place for the reasons behind the world’s prosperity. It wasn’t god, the angels, the USA, or democracy. It was technology, developed in many countries, and the increased use of hydrocarbon energy that allowed prosperity to happen. Nothing else. In the 1800’s, it was coal and steam, followed rapidly by oil and natural gas. Lately, nuclear has come along. Useful, but not portable enough to compete with hydrocarbons.

    It isn’t politics that will take our prosperity away either. It will be the fact that the remainder of the world’s hydrocarbons, even if they are greater in absolute quantity, represent far less net energy than what’s been available up to this point. The energy in a barrel of oil in West Texas in the 1960s got you 100 barrels back. In the Canadian “oil” sands, that energy might you might get four barrels back. We don’t have an oil supply problem. We have an energy problem. We can keep up supply for a while, at a price.

    The final breaks in the world’s “just-in-time” supply chains will happen when transportation fuel gets too expensive for all but the most critical commodities, and then, not even those.

    On the good side, anyone over 30 probably won’t see that final day. Your grandchildren, however, if they live, certainly will.

    1. Dearheart — should you be posting from your mom’s computer? — I didn’t say anything about G-d or angels. Inventions have a way of happening in the freer countries, it must be “luck”

      As for hydrocarbons, please chill. We have enough HERE — if we’re ever allowed to drill — to supply us for 300 years. The rest is a fairytale to make government more powerful and people like you happy.

      Unless you’re fourteen and believe everything you hear in school, it’s time you grew up.

    2. … the remainder of the world’s hydrocarbons, even if they are greater in absolute quantity, represent far less net energy than what’s been available up to this point. The energy in a barrel of oil in West Texas in the 1960s got you 100 barrels back. In the Canadian “oil” sands, that energy might you might get four barrels back.

      You are aware that this assertion, as it stands, makes no sense?

    3. Lately, nuclear has come along. Useful, but not portable enough to compete with hydrocarbons.

      If we were allowed to build a significant nuclear infrastructure, you would find that you are incorrect. Oh, it’s true that you can’t build a nuclear powered car, or even train (probably could, but that’s still a little too vulnerable for my liking), but an abundance of nuclear-generated electricity would allow us to extract Hydrogen cheaply, and there is a company who has as storage and delivery technology which would enable us to use it in EXISTING cars, even though it’s a few years away from commercial production yet:

    4. You know, you really shouldn’t use that “cold water of reality” as an enema — you’ll freeze your brainbox and become even more historically illiterate.

      It is countries where innovation was allowed that spawned the industrial revolution. Up until the 18th century, technology was pretty much the same all over the world. Then some countries allowed innovation, and others did not (China, for example. There were ‘approved’ ways of doing things. Nobody was allowed to use ‘unapproved’ methods).

      It was not an ‘accident’ that the countries which allowed their people the most freedom had the greatest strides in innovation. Yes, having access to coal, and, in the 20th century, access to petroleum *helped* — but, if that were all it took, why are all the Middle East oil producing nations not the hottest hot beds of advanced innovation?

      You have a preconceived notion that some public school ‘teacher’ drummed into your head which paints the West in general, and the USA in particular, as giant demons feeding off the energy that should belong to the entire planet. Grow. Up.

Comments are closed.