So I read a book recommended to me by a nice dealer at the Lewisville Gun Show a few weekends back: Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse, by James Wesley Rawles. I’ll give a brief review, then I thought it might be interesting to open up the comments to ideas on prepping and survivalism, since these are recurrent themes in a lot of the circles that radical constitutionalists and libertarians run in.

I am sorry to say the book disappoints. The writing is didactic in the extreme. People regularly refer to their gear by both the brand and model number, and their weapons by brand, model, and caliber. In casual conversation. I don’t think at any point during my time in the Army National Guard did I ever refer to my equipment by anything more than it’s most generic name, i.e., “Hey hand me my LBE”. The names of specific companies where supplies were purchased are given, and even the names of the clerks at the companies that the protagonists deal with, only to never be used throughout the rest of the story. The author goes into agonizing detail on how to weld steel shutters over your windows, set up traps, etc. Frankly it reads more like the author wanted to write a how-to manual on setting up your own Cwazy Compund, but decided to do it through the medium of a novel.

There are, of course, the usual fringe-right fever dreams. The villains are cardboard cutouts: the UN, lead by nefarious Europeans, wants to conquer America because they simultaneously hate/envy us because we’re free, and two traveling communists are found to be literally eating children. Only religious people can be moral, and one of the most important things you ask refugees when you first meet them is if they’re Christian. It’s formulaic: everyone who has a Bible or mentions going to Bible study is found to be a good-guy, and the ones who don’t, well…see the second sentence of this paragraph. There is a Jew who is one of the main protagonists, though he several times reminds the group that they worship the same God. Their Christianity is repeatedly invoked as being the reason they don’t go around raping and pillaging. The main protagonist is leery of leaving two young people alone at his compound, because he won’t tolerate “fornication”, but his wife assures him that as Good Christians they can be trusted to be celibate until they are married. And the Waco and Ruby Ridge killings by the government are described as specifically being the massacre of Christians who just want to be left alone. Would those incidents have been less tragic if they were Buddhists?

There is a happy ending – a Libertarian gets elected president! Hooray! But aside from that, I’m afraid it doesn’t resonate with a person like myself, who is taking sensible precautions for a several week disruption of supplies and services (accompanied by potential looters or attempts at street violence by bolsheviks), but doesn’t have the time or money needed to create your own private Fortress of Solitude in rural Idaho. Even if it sounds like a fun project, I have no doubt that a divorce would be in my near future should I attempt the thing!

That brought me the idea for the post: if you’re reading this, presumably you, too, are of a libertarian-ish bent. That means that it is likely that you have thought about prepping in some form or other. Personally, I have several weeks worth of water and non-perishable food stored, a bug-out bag with the usual contents, and a variety of weapons in several common calibers, with a few hundred spare rounds for each.

So I’ll open it up to the comments: do you consider yourself a “prepper”? What thought, if any, have you given it? What preparations have you made? What’s in your bug-out bag? What’s your main plan (bug-out, bug-in, etc.)? Perhaps we can have future articles on BOB prep, good fall-back locations, tips & tricks on making do without utility service, etc.


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