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Thread: Survivalism.................Survivalist

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Linden, New Jersey

    Default Survivalism.................Survivalist


    Survivalism is a commonly used term for the preparedness strategy and subculture of individuals or groups anticipating and making preparations for future possible disruptions in local, regional or worldwide social or political order. Survivalists often prepare for this anticipated disruption by learning skills (e.g., emergency medical training), stockpiling food and water, preparing for self-defense and self-sufficiency, and/or building structures that will help them to survive or "disappear" (e.g., a survival retreat or underground shelter).

    The specific preparations made by survivalists depend on the nature of the anticipated disruption(s), some of the most common scenarios being:

    1. Natural disaster clusters, and patterns of apocalyptic planetary crises or Earth changes, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, and severe thunderstorms, etc.
    2. A disaster brought about by the activities of mankind: chemical spills, release of radioactive materials, nuclear or conventional war, or an oppressive government.
    3. General collapse of society, resulting from the unavailability of electricity, fuel, food, and water.
    4. Monetary disruption or economic collapse, stemming from monetary manipulation, hyperinflation, deflation, and/or worldwide economic depression.
    5. Widespread chaos, or some other unexplained apocalyptic event.


    The roots of the modern Survivalist movement in the United States and Britain can be traced to several sources, including government policies, threats of nuclear warfare, religious beliefs, writers warning of social or economic collapse, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction and climate change.

    The Cold War era government Civil Defense programs promoted public atomic bomb shelters, personal fallout shelters, and training for children, such as the Duck and Cover films. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long directed its members to store a year's worth of food for themselves and their families in preparation for such possibilities. Also, the Scout movement lives by the motto: Be Prepared!

    The Great Depression that is associated with the stock market crash on October 29, 1929 is often cited by survivalists as an example of the need to be prepared.

    Survivalist scenarios and outlooks

    Survivalism is approached by its adherents in different ways, depending on their circumstances, their mindsets, and their particular concerns for the future. The following are some examples, although many survivalists fit into more than one category or orientation:

    Safety Preparedness Oriented - Learns principles and techniques needed for surviving life-threatening situations that can occur anyplace, anywhere. Makes preparations for such common calamities as structure fires, dog attacks, physical confrontations, snake bites, lightning strikes, car breakdowns, Third World travel problems, bear encounters, flash floods, home invasions and even train wrecks. Reads: Survive Safely Anywhere series, Worst-Case Scenario handbooks.

    Wilderness Survival Emphasis - Stresses being able to stay alive for indefinite periods in life threatening wilderness scenarios. These can include: plane crashes, shipwrecks, being lost in the woods. Concerns are: thirst, hunger, climate, terrain, health, stress, fear. Prepares with: knowledge, training and practice. Survival kit often includes: water purifiers, shelter, fire starters, clothing, food, medical supplies, navigation and signaling gear. Reads: Nessmuk (George Washington Sears), Horace Kephart, Bradford Angier, and Ray Mears.

    Self-Defense Driven - Individuals concerned with surviving brief encounters of violent activity. Focus is on personal protection and its legal ramifications, danger awareness, Boyd's cycle (also known as the OODA cycle - observe, orient, decide & act), martial arts, self defense tactics and tools (both lethal & less-than-lethal). They often read: Rex Applegate, Massad Ayoob, Jeff Cooper, Bill Jordan, James Wesley Rawles, Mel Tappan, Chuck Taylor, and Sun Tzu.

    Natural Disaster, Brief - People that live in tornado, hurricane, flood, wildfire, earthquake or heavy snowfall areas and want to be prepared for the inevitable. Investment in material for fortifying structures and tools for rebuilding & constructing temporary shelter, perhaps have a custom built shelter, food, water, medicine, and supplies, enough to get by until contact with the rest of the world resumes.

    Natural Disaster, Years Long - Concerned about long term weather cycles of 2-10 years, unusually cold or warm periods, that have happened on and off for thousands of years, and that cause crop failures. Might stock several tons of food per family member and have a heavy duty greenhouse with canned non-hybrid seeds.

    Natural Disaster, Lifelong or Multi-Generational - Possible scenarios include: severe global warming and the coming ice age, the greenhouse-effect-gone-wild, environmental degradation,warming/cooling of gulf steam waters, large meteor strike, shift in earth's axis or reversal of geo-magnetic fields... Owns maps of previous ice age glacier patterns and hopes that where they live will be south of the permafrost line. May have purchased snowshoes. Reads reports by the National Academy of Sciences and Wood's Hole Physical Oceanography Department.

    General Social/Political Decline, Liberal Outlook - Concerned about growing cultural problems and the slow destruction of both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Into anti-crime strategies, both passive (alarms) and active (Neighborhood watches). Most often anti-gun, pro-choice, pro-environment, anti-war, against prayer in school, against the death penalty. Supporters of the ACLU, Amnesty International, The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and Greenpeace.

    General Social/Political Decline, Conservative Outlook - Concerned about growing cultural problems and the slow destruction of both the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Into anti-crime strategies, both passive (alarms) and active (Rottweilers and guns). Most often pro-gun, anti-abortion, pro-business, pro-national defense, for prayer in school, pro-death penalty... Supporters of talk radio’s Rush Limbaugh, the National Rifle Association, and the Alaska Support Industry Alliance.

    Cold War Carry-Overs - Fear homeland invasion by nation's enemies, whether foreign or domestic. This was a group of substantial size before the fall of the Soviet Union. True-believers currently suspect the U.N. of one-world domination plans and fear Black helicopters, government intervention and taxation. The majority of these people have relocated to safe Survival retreat areas. Favorite movies: Red Dawn and the Mad Max trilogy.

    Nuclear War Preppers - These folks know all the primary, secondary and tertiary targets, and downwind fallout patterns. They often chose to live in locales they deem to be safest in the event of all out nuclear war. They've built fallout shelters and have the necessary food, water, tools, radiological monitoring equipment, and skills to see them though. Other groups also prepare for nuclear war as an exercise, in that if you are prepared for nuclear war, you are prepared for all other scenarios. Reads: Cresson Kearny, Bruce Clayton and Dr. Arthur Robinson.

    Bio-Chem Scenario - Concerned with the spread of fatal diseases and terrorist use of biological agents and nerve gases. Examples: E.Coli 0157, Solanum, Botulism, Dengue Fever, Cruetzfeldt-Jacob, SARS, Rabies, Hantavirus, Anthrax, Plague, Cholera, HIV, Ebola, Marburg virus, Lhasa virus, Sarin, and VX. Might own NBC (nuclear, biological & chemical) full-face respirators, polyethylene coveralls, PVC boots, Nitrile gloves, plastic sheeting and duct tape. Reads: CDC reports, HazMat manuals, Richard Preston's The Hot Zone and Jane’s Chem-Bio Handbook.

    Technological Mass Destruction Concerns - Concerned with unintended consequences of genetic manipulation, nano-technology, transgenic crops, psychological engineering, genome hybridized cloning, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, engineered organisms, self-replicating molecular robotic assemblers (“gray goo problem”)... Techno-Luddites fear human extinction. At the other end are the bioethicists who believe policies and self regulation will avert disaster. Reads: Ray Kurzweil, Ted Kaczynski, Hans Moravec, and Freeman Dyson.

    Malthusian - Soaring increase in world's uncontrolled human population growth impacts available fresh water, food, health-care, environment, economics, consumerism, spread of diseases and just about every other facet of life. Projections indicate that world population of 6.6 billion may again double in fifty years. Some warn that this will result in a Malthusian population crash. Survivalists in this camp range from those who've foregone children and have had voluntary sterilization to those who've had large families and later sounded the alarm, like Al Gore, David Packard (Hewlett-Packard founder) and Sripati Chandrasekhar (India's best-known birth control advocate). Supports: Family planning, birth control and voluntary sterilization.

    Monetary Disaster Investors - Believe the Federal Reserve system is evil. Newsletters suggest hard assets of gold and silver bullion or coins and in some cases other precious-metal oriented investments such as mining shares. They are preparing for paper money to become worthless through hyperinflation. This is presently a very popular scenario. Most survivalist in this camp have a good burglar alarm system and enough food and supplies to last a couple of months, or perhaps even a year, until a new monetary system (formal or informal) is re-established. Reads lots of Barton Biggs, Peter Schiff, Ayn Rand, Howard J. Ruff, and Ludwig von Mises.

    Biblical Eschatologist - These individuals study End Times prophecy and believe the Savior is going to return soon, and that the final battle with Satan on the Plains of Meggido might occur in their lifetime. Most believe that the rapture will follow a period of Tribulation, though a smaller number believe that the rapture is imminent and will precede the Tribulation. ("Pre-Trib rapture".) There is a very wide range of beliefs and attitudes in this group. They run the gamut from pacifist to armed camp, and from no food stockpiles (leaving their sustenance up to God's providence) to decades of food storage. A small subset are Messianic Jews, and an even smaller fringe subset follow a charismatic leader's interpretations of the Bible. The Branch Davidians are one such sect.

    Peak Oil Doomer - The Doomers are convinced that Peak Oil is a genuine threat, and take appropriate measures, usually involving relocation to a Survival retreat region that is agriculturally self-sufficient.

    - Readers of SurvivalBlog editor James Wesley Rawles often prepare for multiple scenarios with fortified and well-equipped remote rural survival retreats. Most are politically conservative. Nearly all place an emphasis on both being well-armed as well as being ready to dispense charity in the event of a disaster. Most take a "deep larder" approach and store multiple years of food. They also emphasize practical self-sufficiency and homesteading skills.

    Medical Crisis Oriented - Has very complete medical pack in house and in car. Donates blood and is active in the Red Cross. Has taken CERT, paramedic EMT, and CPR courses, knows vital signs, stockpiles medicines, etc. Concerned with vehicle accidents and emergencies involving injuries. Focus is on helping family, friends and community survive medical emergencies.

    Common preparations

    Common preparations sometimes include preparing a clandestine or defensible 'retreat' or 'safe place' (Bug Out Location or BOL) and stockpiling non-perishable food, water, water-purification equipment, clothing, seed, firewood, defensive/hunting weapons, ammunition, and agricultural equipment. Some survivalists do not make such extensive preparations but instead incorporate a "Be Prepared" outlook into their everyday life.

    Many survivalists also have a bag of gear that is often referred to as a Bug Out Bag (BOB) or Get Out Of Dodge (G.O.O.D.) kit,[52] holding basic necessities and useful items weighing anywhere up to as much as the owner can carry.

    Survivalists aim to remain self-sufficient for the duration of the breakdown of social order, or perhaps indefinitely if the breakdown is predicted to be permanent (a "Third Dark Age"), a possibility popularized in the 1960s by Roberto Vacca of the Club of Rome. Some survivalists allow for the contingency that they cannot prevent this breakdown, and prepare to survive in small communal groups ("group retreats") or "covenant communities."

    Changing concerns and preparations

    Survivalists' concerns and preparations have changed over the years. During the 1970s, survivalists feared economic collapse, hyperinflation, and famine, and prepared by storing food and constructing survival retreats in the country which could be farmed. Some survivalists stockpiled precious metals and barterable goods (such as common caliber ammunition) because they assumed that paper currency would become worthless. During the early 1980s, nuclear war became a common fear, and some survivalists constructed fallout shelters.

    In 1999, many people purchased electric generators, water purifiers, and several months or years worth of food in anticipation of widespread power outages because of the Y2K computer-bug.

    Instead of moving or making such preparations at home, many people also make plans to remain in their current locations until an actual breakdown occurs, when they will--in survivalist parlance--"bug out" or "get out of Dodge" to a safer location.

    Religious beliefs

    Other survivalists have more specialized concerns, often related to an adherence to apocalyptic religious beliefs. Some New Agers anticipate a forthcoming arrival of catastrophic earth changes and prepare to survive them. Some evangelical Christians hold to an interpretation of Bible prophecy known as a post-tribulation rapture, in which Christians will have to go through a seven-year period of war and global dictatorship known as the "Great Tribulation." Jim McKeever helped popularize survival preparations among this branch of evangelical Christians with his 1978 book Christians Will Go Through the Tribulation, and How To Prepare For It (ISBN 0-931608-02-3).

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has an official policy of food storage for its members. Some very small religious sects have also been known for their belief in a coming apocalypse and the adoption of some survivalist practices. Among the best known of these groups are the Branch Davidians, an offshoot of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

    And the Maya Doomsday prediction for December 21, 2012 has mystical/religious underpinnings. Promotion by The History Channel has given rise to a mystical belief that the Mayans were able to predict cataclysmic events or even the end of the world at this date. December 21, 2012 is the end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar.

    Mainstream emergency preparations

    People who are not part of survivalist groups or apocalyptic-oriented religious groups also make preparations for emergencies. This can include, depending on the location, preparing for earthquakes, floods, power outages, blizzards, avalanches, wildfires, nuclear power plant accidents, hazardous material spills, tornadoes, and hurricanes. These preparations can be as simple as following Red Cross and FEMA recommendations by keeping a first aid kit, shovel, and extra clothes in the car, or maintaining a small kit of emergency supplies in the home and car, containing emergency food, water, a space blanket and other essentials.

    Mainstream economist and financial adviser Barton Biggs is a proponent of preparedness. In his 2008 book Wealth, War and Wisdom, Biggs has a gloomy outlook for the economic future, and suggests that investors take survivalist measures. In the book, Biggs recommends that his readers should “assume the possibility of a breakdown of the civilized infrastructure.” He goes so far as to recommend setting up survival retreats: “Your safe haven must be self-sufficient and capable of growing some kind of food,” Mr. Biggs writes. “It should be well-stocked with seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc. Think Swiss Family Robinson. Even in America and Europe there could be moments of riot and rebellion when law and order temporarily completely breaks down.”

    Survivalist terminology

    Survivalists tend toward using military acronyms such as OPSEC and SOP, and terminology common to the gun culture, but they also frequently use acronyms and terms that are fairly unique to their own lexicon. A few of these cross over with those used by Peak Oil adherents. Some key survivalist terms and acronyms include:

    * Alpha Strategy: The practice of storing extra consumable items, as a hedge against inflation, and for use in barter and charity. Coined by John Pugsley.
    * Ballistic Wampum: Ammunition stored for barter purposes. Coined by Jeff Cooper.
    * BOB: Bug-out bag.
    * BOL: Bug-out location.
    * BOV: Bug-out vehicle.
    * Contrapreneur: Someone that foolishly invests in a declining market. Coined by James Wesley Rawles.
    * Doomer: A Peak Oil adherent that believes in a Malthusian-scale societal collapse.
    * Goblin: A criminal miscreant. Coined by Jeff Cooper.
    * Golden Horde: The "anticipated large mixed horde of refugees and looters that will pour out of the metropolitan regions WTSHTF." Coined (in the survivalist context) by James Wesley Rawles.
    * G.O.O.D.: Get Out of Dodge (City). Fleeing urban areas in the event of a disaster. Acronym coined by James Wesley Rawles.[64]
    * G.O.O.D. Kit: Get Out of Dodge Kit. Synonymous with Bug-Out Bag (BOB).
    * Pollyanna or Polly: Someone that is in denial about the disruption that might be caused by the advent of a large scale disaster.
    * SHTF: **** hits the fan. Sometimes rendered as Schumer hits the fan.
    * WTSHTF: When the **** hits the fan. Sometimes rendered as When the Schumer hits the fan. A term used generically by survivalists to describe disaster situations.
    * TEOTWAWKI: The End of the World as We Know It. Acronym coined by Mike Medintz.

    Perceived extremism

    In the popular culture, survivalism has often been associated with paramilitary activities, though real world survivalism rarely includes such activities. Some survivalists do take active defensive preparations that have military roots and that involve firearms, and this is often emphasized by the mass media, often for the sake of sensationalism.

    Some survivalists take a militaristic approach and a smaller number have a strong concern about government involvement in their affairs. A world view occasionally develops that growing interference from the Federal Government and the United Nations (perceived to be, or to be aiming for, a World Government), is best countered through distancing oneself from society, adopting a survivalist stance, and the acquisition of suitable firearms for defense.

    Kurt Saxon, who besides publishing a survival newsletter is also the author of a book on improvised weapons, The Poor Man's James Bond, is one proponent of this approach to survivalism. Saxon's writings on survival tend toward Social Darwinism and Eugenics, with survivalism defined by Saxon as "Looking out for #1" and a need to be sufficiently armed to defend one's refuge and belongings from hungry people who might demand that others share them if society breaks down.

    The potential for Societal collapse is often cited as motivation for being well-armed. Thus, some non-militaristic survivalists often have developed an unintended militaristic image.

    Societal collapse has recurred throughout history. The modern day interest in survivalism is concerned in part with preparing for the possible collapse of the contemporary technologically complex society with its long chains of supply and "Just in Time" kanban inventory control systems that emphasize lean inventories.

    In the event of such a collapse some militaristic groups theorize that roaming hordes of looters and/or organized gangs will unleash terror in competition for limited resources, and that government resources to control such events will be immediately overwhelmed. Thus, being armed is a crucial aspect of their survival plan. The need for firearms in common military chamberings is often cited by survival web sites and blogs. This contributes to the perception by some outside the movement that survivalism is militaristic.

    Such a militaristic approach is not shared by all survivalists. Nevertheless, its prominence in popular depictions results in the term "survivalism" being sometimes used interchangeably with right-wing reactionary paramilitary activities. In particular, the mainstream media tends to loosely label many militants and miscellaneous extremists as "survivalists", whether or not they are actively preparing to survive, and regardless of having any survival experience or any affiliation with survivalist groups.
    Last edited by Harleyhog; 03-01-2009 at 01:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Nashville, TN


    I've read a lot of that on wikipedia. It's pretty good info. I don't recall the terminology being there though.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    One Floor above Hell


    One is lost if they do not have a B-O-B.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Las Vegas,Nevada


    Well done and very informative....

  5. #5


    "Doomer: A Peak Oil adherent that believes in a Malthusian-scale societal collapse."

    Glad to see my boy got a mention.

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