Hopefully you think it is prudent to prepare for and even to prevent some problems. If you do, then you are a prepper. Maybe you’re an avid or even extreme prepper; more likely you’re a moderate minor prepper.
Maybe you’re researching the topic from a point of negative ridicule, believing it to be stupid to have emergency preparations for all sorts of possibly future disruptions to our lives and society – this point of view is astonishingly prevalent among large swathes of our society.
But where does this ridicule come from, and why? Look in the mirror – the chances are you’re actually a prepper yourself, but without realizing it.
Preparing for disasters of all kinds is something that everyone does to a greater or lesser extent already. Indeed, some types of prepping are mandatory and required by law.
For example, you prepare for a disastrous event damaging or destroying your house. The first part of this preparation is choosing where to site your house in the first place. You prepare for potential future problems by keeping it off a flood plain, away from unstable banks, and so on. That is as much prepping as anything else.
You continue to prep – you have no choice but to prep – when you follow the building codes that require the house to be built to a standard such as to withstand high winds, rain, and other extreme conditions and situations. No-one says it is stupid to build a strong resilient house, even though it of course costs more money.
The next thing you do is you maintain your house. You paint it, you keep it clean, you repair the roof, and so on. Do your neighbors poke fun at you if you replace your roof? Nope, if anything, they envy you.
And you also insure it. Think about all those insurance premiums – insurance companies make big money by betting against you – they are betting you’ll never have problems with your house, and the ‘odds’ they give you represent the difference between the premium you pay and the amount they would in turn pay you if you had a claim.
More than this – most insurance companies are profitable. They are successfully betting that you won’t have problems. But even though most people never get ‘value’ from their insurance premiums, just about everyone insures their house, perhaps for the peace of mind, even if the things being insured against are extremely remote (has your house ever burned to the ground?). Does anyone poke fun at you for ‘losing’ the bet against the insurance company every year? Do you even decide, yourself, to stop paying insurance because it seems you never need it?
Do you also have smoke detectors in your house – maybe even radon or carbon monoxide detectors too? Do people in the store look at you strangely when you go and buy such devices?
You probably also have medical insurance, car insurance, maybe liability insurance, and who knows what other types of insurance.
Do you need some more examples? Maybe you keep a supply of something in your house ‘in case they run out at the shop’. You’re again preparing for an adverse event. No-one laughs at you. Instead, the rest of your family appreciates your prudent good sense (especially if/when the store does run out!).
Prepping with Money
Do you have money saved in the bank? Unless you’re saving up for a vacation or something, the chances are that at least some of your savings is money that you have mentally set aside as an emergency cushion in case something goes wrong. You don’t even need to make a list of the sorts of things that could go wrong, you just simply set money aside for ‘just in case’ something bad happens which requires money to solve/resolve.
Maybe you carry jumper cables or spare fuses in your car just in case of a problem with your car. Maybe you also pay money each year for a roadside assistance program with AAA or some other provider – again, as a prudent protection against something going wrong. If a friend visits and opens their trunk, and you see a comprehensive took kit inside, do you poke fun at your friend, or do you slightly admire him and his prudence?
Do you have a flashlight and/or candles in case the electricity fails? Do you also have spare batteries in case the electricity fails for a longer time? If you have young children, do you take a change of clothing with you when going out somewhere with them in case of all manner of accidents requiring an urgent change of clothes?
The examples are unending, when you think about it, of ways we all prepare for adversity, every day of our lives.
So – Who Are Preppers?
We’re 600 words into this article already, and we’ve hopefully opened your eyes through enough examples already to make our point :
Everyone is a prepper, every day, in multiple ways.
In other words, no matter what you think of ‘weirdo survivalist preppers’, you’re one yourself. The only difference between you and them is a question of degree of preparing.
The question isn’t whether or not people should prepare for future problems, and who the people are that do. That is already decided by close to unanimous vote – yes, everyone should, and almost everyone does prepare for future problems.
The real question is one of degree. How much preparation should one undertake, and for what types of future challenges should one be prepared?
Now for the puzzling thing. What is there about us – we who feel it prudent to prepare in greater detail, and for more possible future adverse events than do some others – that causes other people, who feel it unnecessary to do the same, to mock us and make fun of us?
Maybe you know a prepper who just went out and spent $100 on a large pail of 25 year shelf-stable emergency food. Maybe you’re laughing about this over dinner with friends. But then the waiter brings you the check for your meal, and you’re paying more than $100 for a single dinner. There’s nothing wrong with spending $100 on a pleasant meal out, but there’s also nothing wrong with spending $100 on a supply of emergency food that can be kept for 25 years. The prepper doesn’t laugh at people who spend $100 on a dinner in a restaurant – but why do some people laugh at preppers who spend $100 on some item to boost their preparedness for future possible problems?
Indeed, the mainstream nature of this pail of long-life food is revealed by the fact that it is sold at Costco!
Preppers vs White Supremacists, Anarchists, etc
Of even greater concern, why are people who prepare for problems often thought of in the same light as white supremacists, anarchists, and so on? Why vilify us for being, at worst, more prudent and cautious and prepared than you? (And think about this – if something adverse does occur, who will you turn to for help and support – us, the very people you were poking fun at immediately prior to the problem occurring.)
It is true that some people in some fringe groups are also keen on preparing for adverse future events (and indeed by their behaviors, it could be argued that they sometimes bring adverse events upon themselves!), but it is just as true that most people who prepare for the future are not bad people.
If you see a rapist pause to give money to a beggar, does that mean that everyone else who gives money to beggars are also rapists?
The other part of this – a belief that in a major social breakdown, we can’t rely on the government to help us, doesn’t mean we hate the government and wish to overthrow it. It is simply a realistic statement of observed fact. Maybe you’ve even had a power outage after a windstorm and been without power for days, perhaps even a week or more. Sure, the ‘government’ (more likely, the utility company) is doing all it can to restore your power, but how helpful is that to you while you’re shivering in the dark and cold with no light or heat at home?
Does deciding to get an emergency generator and some fuel to run it make you into an anti-government white supremacist? Of course not!
So, no matter who you are, may we say hello to you as one prepper to another. There’s no handshake to learn, no secret society to join. You’re just another ordinary human being, the same as us, and we’re both making the decisions we freely choose to do about how self-reliant we are and wish to continue to be, how resilient we will be to future adverse events. We are all preppers.
Return to An Introduction to Prepping
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