Friday, May 27, 2022

Nature Abhors a Vacuum

 Aristotle wrote it down, but others probably noticed it before him: the natural order of things doesn't allow empty spaces to remain empty for very long -- something will fill the void.

For preppers, this is a necessary part of our planning. When something goes missing, we need to think about what will fill its place. This covers more than just physical things, however; organizations and ideas are also subject to the rules of nature. Here are some examples.

There is a lot of chatter about the US dollar losing its place in the world economy. People have relied on the dollar as a foundation for commerce since the end of WW2, but recent events are eroding the confidence that people had. Something will replace it, maybe several somethings; there are other currencies in use around the world and something will become the new standard. It may fall back to hard currency like gold and silver, or it could be a different fiat currency backed by nothing but promises, but something will take its place.

For preppers, barter and exchange of services will likely be at least short-term replacements for any currency failures. These also have the advantage of being difficult to tax and regulate, so they're popular among the more fringe elements of the prepper-sphere.

Many people desire leaders, and big projects require them. Here in America we have a tradition of being more self-directed than many cultures, and my time in the military taught me the differences between our way of fighting and most other countries. The loss of a leader is less of an issue for the US military, because someone will step up and take control of the situation; that's the way we were trained. The armies of many other nations teach blind obedience to their leaders, and the loss of those leaders leads to troops that are lost and ineffective.

Politics is similar in that we have layers of control, and the loss of a leader is rarely a total disaster. We've had Presidents assassinated without the system falling apart, because someone filled the position in an orderly fashion. We have a written plan for who takes over next; it's one of the basic parts of our form of government. Compare that to the times a dictator dies in office and the chaos that ensues.

Try to make arrangements within your team/tribe/family to cover the loss of leaders, because it will keep things going in trying times.

Times of peace are aberrations in human history; our natural order involves conflict on some level or other. Look at history and you'll see that there is always a war or dispute of some sort going on somewhere, and this isn't going to change. The end of WW1 led to the conditions that started WW2, and at the end of that we got the Korean conflict and Viet Nam along with a Cold War that lasted until it was time to start wars back up in the Middle East. Going further back in history shows the same trend, with constant conflict somewhere is the default setting.

Looking at it from a more personal level, how often does a bully retire after breaking a victim? They don't, they just start looking for the next one. They have to have conflict in their lives to feel alive. The same goes for the drama queens that are found in any group of people; they need to stir the pot and create conflict as much as they need to breathe.

Preppers should be aware that conflict is part of life and try to learn methods for dealing with it. De-escalation works on small conflicts, but force may be required to settle larger ones. Shut down or shut out the drama queens for your own mental health and the well-being of all in your tribe.

Recreational Chemistry
The use of various compounds to alter reality is at least as old as humanity, and there are documented reports of other animals knowingly using naturally occurring drugs to get drunk or high, so it's not unique to humans. The “Temperance” movement of a century ago thought they could ban alcohol, but all they did was create a black market and a very wealthy bunch of organized criminals. The “War on Drugs” is having a similar lack of effect on the amount of drugs available to those who seek them, and has fueled a synthetic drug industry that is producing some scary concoctions. I have contacts who have worked for the DEA and Coast Guard and some of the stories they've told me about the smuggling trade are impressive. If the profit margin is high enough, people will find a way around any law or border because their customers will find a way to feed their addictions.

Know your people and their personal addictions. Like most human traits, addictions come in various shapes and sizes and some people handle them better than others. Alcoholism runs in my family, so I keep a close eye on my personal consumption. I've seen how it can affect a family and don't want to make those same mistakes. I've also known drug addicts of all sorts over the years; some of them lost their lives to the drugs, while others were able to be functional members of society while still being hooked to heroin or meth. The loss of supply will make addicts to anything do strange things to feed that need, so at least be aware of your peoples' vulnerabilities.

Being a prepper is more than just stocking up on beans, bullets, and band-aids. We have to plan for the long term, and find ways to keep going even though everything around us is falling apart.

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