Uncoupling Self Reliance from Y2K

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The self reliance/homesteading movement existed long before Y2K. It is possible to believe in self reliance (what I call "smart living") regardless of your Y2K opinion.

I looked in vain for a post on the archives where I talked in detail about smart living, e.g. staying out of debt, saving, etc. As I recall, one response correctly pegged my post as the kind of speech you used to hear from your grandparents. My great-grandmother, who lived into her late 90s, was a great practitioner. Frugality was so ingrained as to be reflexive, even when she had plenty of money in the bank. I supppose country life has a way of assisting folks into smart living.

Too often, our differing opinions on Y2K often overshadow our common ground on smart living. As a rough guess, I'd say 80% of Y2K "preparation" is just smart living. Of course, there are folks who take preparation to a level where it moves into serious homesteading, self reliance or survivalism. For example, I don't think smart living requires you to exist off the grid with a complete, independent power system. At least my great-grandmother didn't have one.

In saying this, I hope when we debate the impacts of Y2K, we can avoid knee-jerk accusations of wanting people to "not prepare." Even if you think I am a pollyanna, this does not mean I advocate a "grasshopper" approach to life. In my opinion, the more folks who practice smart living, the better. I also think it is unfair to assume people who have an optimistic outlook on Y2K are not practicing smart living.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 07, 1999


I agree completely, Mr. Decker.

But in a media environment where "smart living" is equated with whacko "right wing extremism" and membership in a "terrorist" militia, you shouldn't be puzzled at the defensiveness of those who are being told they (and their non-smart-living neighbors) will have no need for preparation in Y2k. For every optimistic person simply claiming Y2k will be a bump (and not making accusations of sociopathic anti-government whatever), there are 100 t.v. reporters doing stories on Y2k-crazed dupes who are so paranoid and unhinged that they are "STORING FOOD!" There is a huge PR campaign afoot to demonize self-reliance. In a real crisis, these anti-social "hoarders" will be criminalized, to one degree or another; at the very least forbidden to sell or barter what they have invested in storage. Obviously, the government and media are attempting to discourage self-reliant behavior, even that which was commonplace a few decades ago. They fear self-reliance in their own population! So you are complaining about pollyannas being accused of anti-self-reliance - in this context. If you want to prove how self-reliant you are, post a canning recipie or something.


-- Dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), May 07, 1999.

to the exact extent you are not encouraging people to prepare for y2k, you are also encouraging them to remain dependent rather than self-reliant. There's just no way to weasel out of that one. If, in fact, you do believe in self-reliance (something which remains unproven), then the only non-hypocritical action you could take would be to encourage y2k preparers to move further in self-reliant directions. You simply have not done so consistently.

Arlin Adams

-- Arlin H. Adams (ahadams@ix.netcom.com), May 07, 1999.

Something tells me Mr. Decker is going to be trolled unmercilessly until he leaves this forum. That's a shame.

-- Bingo1 (howe9@pop.shentel.net), May 07, 1999.

Are you claiming that Arlin's or my response were an irrational attack, that of a "troll?" We differ with Decker, and stated our differences. YOU are the one attacking, without contributing.

You are pissing into the wind, Bingo. Try entering the conversation, like an adult, instead of mindlessly waving a polly flag. Come on: what do you have to say on the topic of self-reliance, media perception of same, etc., etc.. Contribute something, for God's sake. Decker did, and no one's asking him to go anywhere. You, however, should put up or shut up.


-- Dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), May 07, 1999.


I attempted to e-mail you with my response. Unfortunately you have provided a false address to the forum. Mine is real. Please contact me if you are interested.

-- Bingo1 (howe9@pop.shentel.net), May 07, 1999.

Please e-mail me Dano.

-- Bingo1 (howe9@pop.shentel.net), May 07, 1999.


1. I define a troll post as one which attempts to bait one or more people into flame wars for purposes of creating frustration, anger, confusion, etc.

2. My reference to trolling came from my own frustration after having read numerous threads in which a few respected Yourdonites had set upon Mr. Decker as ravenous dogs upon a meaty carcass. I have tried to understand the personal attacks upon Mr. Decker, to no avail.

3. I read Arlin's post & found it did not make sense in relation to Mr. Decker's opening post. As this is highly unusual, I surmised a few regulars may have conspired to troll Mr. Decker at every turn in order to frustrate him into abandoning this forum.

4. Your request for him to "post a canning recipe or something in order to prove how self-reliant you are" is most hilarious. :-)

Anyway, apologies to anyone offended by my prior statement.

And please give REAL e-mail addresses when posting, if at all possible. This explanation would have best been given privately.

Best Wishes,

-- Bingo1 (howe9@pop.shentel.net), May 07, 1999.

You cast aspursions on Arlin and myself in public, using the tired "poor, hounded pollys, beat up by the big bad doomers" routine, and you did it in public; why can't you respond to me in public? You lurk and attack, and STILL offer nothing to the conversation - why should I expose myself something that unprincipled? Again, I ask you: what do you have to offer on this topic? It's nothing personal. I don't want to know you. I want to see what you have to contribute, on the general topic of self-reliance that was being discussed here, instead of baiting doomers and turning it into a polly v. doomer mess. I'm waiting.


-- Dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), May 07, 1999.


I apologized. I meant it. I did not call you or Arlin a troll. I referred to the posts on this thread as possible trolling. Big difference.

You know nothing of me, obviously. My family is prepared for an 8+ on the scale. This includes food & water for friends & neighbors. I've been on this forum since July 1999. First time the term polly has been used in relation to my outlook on Y2K!

As to why you don't wish to give your e-mail address, that's your call. No problem. Too bad, though. This should have been handled off forum.

What is to be said on self-reliance that hasn't been covered here ad nauseum? Check the archives, my friend. Mr. Decker's post made sense to me. Smart living dictates preparation for the down times in our lives. This can equate to Y2K preparation. Enough said.

I hope you find a little peace, Dano. Hug your loved ones.

Smile from the Heart.

-- Bingo1 (howe9@pop.shentel.net), May 07, 1999.

I posted my last post before your apology. I see where you're coming from now. People like Y2k Pro and Flint have me on the defensive. I think a lot of pollys are here to disrupt, and I mistook you for one - sorry. But you might have asked Arlin to clarify his position.

To get back to the topic, though, I think Arlin has a point. No way is Arlin a troll. Like me, his considered opinion (as I see it) is that vocal Y2k *optimists* (I'm minding my language here :)) are going to get people killed because they are minimizing a very desperate and serious situation that requires preparation. Just like a sinking ship. Corporations are preparing. All the IT people I know (that will talk about it) are preparing. They aren't practicing mere self-reliance as such, but being jolted into it by Y2k. If you are really for preparedness and self-reliance, EVEN IF YOU THINK Y2k IS A BUMP, you should welcome Y2k preparedness. It's turning a lot of previously highly dependent people into the self-reliant types that make us a strong nation. The only reason to persist in saying Y2k is a bump is to prevent panic. If everyone practiced self-reliance, or adjusted their finances to reflect the reality of the predicament, there would be panic. Therefore, you have to choose: minimize panic and risk literally leaving millions out in the cold; or tell people to go ahead (or without saying anything, let them go ahead) and respond to the situation as self-reliant INDIVIDUALS, rather than ideal banking statistics. There is no middle ground - because even a few hundred dollars of withdrawls per depositor will crash the banks, and the sum of individual demand for tools, fuel, etc. would create havoc in the markets. I'm saying: it's too late. We will have panic. Better to have it in the Spring than when the snow starts falling. You are either for banks (and other big money) or for people in this situation.

Decker is saying that he can go ahead and tell people that Y2k is a big nothing, and it will do no harm, because smart people should be self-reliant anyway. Well, they aren't. And people who are choosing to live the way their grandparents did are being held up by the media as dupes and sociopaths. Less than two percent of the population are seriously preparing. In this environment, when you tell people not to panic, you are doing them a disservice. It's May. Maybe people shouldn't have been panicking 6 months ago, but if they aren't prepared -for at least a year without income, food or water- they should be panicking now.


-- Dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), May 07, 1999.

Yes- self-reliance is great. We are working in that direction ourselves. But, in reality, most of us- even those attempting it, are not nearly there. We are all to some degree, dependent on the infrastructure. Even in our situation, where we are off-grid, have a spring and septic system, livestock, tools, and farm, we are still very tied in to the system. could we make it without it. yes- to some degree. that is of course until a medical emergency that basic medical supplies couldn't handle arose or similar situations. the reality is that there is no such thing in my opinion as being truly self-reliant. there are instead, degrees of self-sufficiency. And people function best with a division of labor. For an individual to be able to raise their own food, cook, chop wood, haul water, sew clothing, build structures, doctor himself, etc, it would be a prohibitive task. it works best if the work is shared among a group/families, etc.

So- as Mr. Decker says, yes it's true that the problems of Y2k will/should hit those who have higher degrees of self-reliance less than the general public, the impact will still be felt. Very few are self-reliant/sufficient to the degree that significant changes in lifestyle wouldn't occur were y2k a significant event.And with the major population centers we now have in cities, and the dependence on technology for survival for many, the very idea of achieving any degree of self-sufficency in their current suroundings in this amount of time is a cruel joke.

-- anita (hillsidefarm@drbs.com), May 07, 1999.


Do we just sing them a lullabye, like Greenspan? Disrupt forums like this to prevent (postpone) panic? Or keep helping those who are able prepare, while they can? You seem to be admitting it's hopeless for huge numbers of people. I agree. But that volcano is going to blow in December. Or September. Or tomorrow. Until it does, we should help everyone we can to get ready for it. Not just prepare for disruptions in food, water and electricity; but for hoards of panicking people: a panic caused by government and industry's lies, and complete abdication of responsibility.


-- Dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), May 07, 1999.

I just wanted to separate the two issues... self reliance and Y2K.

Based on all the evidence thus far, I cannot find reasonble grounds to anticipate a nationwide lack of basic services (electricity, water, telecommunications) for an extended period of time. Now, we can debate if the grid will stay up... but I think the data so far suggests it will. Reports from these three sectors are positive and improving. Worst case Y2K scenarios are usually predicated on a loss of basic services. If the power stays on, folks, we have a solvable problem. Uncomfortable, maybe, but with power we have heat, hot water, refrigeration, cooking and information. In short, we have civilization.

With the grid intact, we are really talking about the economic impacts of computer-related failures, disruptions in the supply chain, etc. Now, even in this moderate-severe environment smart living will serve you pretty well.

First, you'll have money saved and be debt free. Trust me, debt collectors have functioned in the darkest days. No matter how bad it gets, no one is going to forget you owe them money.

If you have invested in your skills, you'll have a decent job... and you'll be able to find new work if you are laid off due to economic problems. Remember, during the height of the Great Depression the employment rate was 75%. Three out of four people had jobs... and most of us will work no matter what happens with Y2K.

If you are living smart, you'll have a tight budget, you'll know how to fix your own car and take care of small repair jobs around the house. You'll know how to find a bargain and how to buy in bulk; how to cook and bake. You'll be in good physical condition (if not disabled). You'll have friends and family to help. In the words of my great grandmother you will: "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."

Listen, if you want to prepare as if you are stocking Fort Apache, have at it. But remember, even remote outposts on the western frontier relied on trade. Someone else made their guns, iron cookpots, shoes, tack, etc. I have already talked about the myth of self sufficiency on an earlier post. I think it's better to see how interdependent we are and how much we rely on trade. Even if Y2K problems are horrible, our economy will still produce goods and services. And it will prioritize the goods and services necessary for basic living. Right now, only a small percentage of our GDP actually goes towards life sustaining commerce (leaving health care out of the picture for a moment). We spend staggering amounts on entertainment, luxury items, fast food, silly cars, etc. All of our productive capacity can be be redirected... even if diminished. Remember how we came together during the second world war? Yes, there were victory gardens and ration cards. But we also won the war through sheer productive capacity. In reality, the Germans had better equipment... but we had much, much more. As much as any factor, capitalism won.

This is why I have faith in our nation of Yankee traders. Right now, while I am writing, someone is fixing a Y2K problem. Not because it has been ordered by the central government, not for charity or for amusement... but because he (or she) is free to work, free to profit, free to gain. Listen, the Republic has some warts... but for my money, it's still the best game in town.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 07, 1999.


Glad things are a bit clearer now. Please know I have a great deal of respect for Arlin. He has contributed a great deal to my enlightenment on certain issues. It's his & others recent change in tone that concerns me. As I said previously, Mr. Decker has been villified by several Yourdonians. I don't like it a bit. 'Nuff said.

I can see you are sincere in your desire to help folks. Very admirable indeed. IMO, you attribute too much power to people when you state, "vocal Y2k *optimists* (I'm minding my language here :)) are going to get people killed because they are minimizing a very desperate and serious situation that requires preparation."

Anyone who would be swayed one way or another by a few posts on an internet forum is not operating from a state of mental balance. Yes, I know there are many people like this. The term is SHEEPLE. They don't think. The walking dead. Not because they aren't prepping, but because they don't even have the sense to become informed. I can't tell you how many sheeple I've come across in the last year or so. I will not waste my time preaching, so to speak, about the importance of their doing research on Y2K. If a person doesn't have the curiosity to spend some time looking into Y2K, so be it.

The stance Koskinen, Clinton, Gore, the mainstream press & others unwilling to push for full disclosure have taken makes me ill. But I do understand their thinking - roll the dice & hope it doesn't come out craps. I don't agree with it at all, but understand these people are not HEROIC in nature. Look, I'm a pessimist when it comes to humanity & our individual abilities to grasp the big picture. The Feds are no different than the rest of us. Myopic. Self-absorbed. Insensitive. Lack of compassion. The human condition isn't pretty.

Dano, you write as if a disaster is certain. How can you be so sure? This puzzles me. More & more folks here are sliding to one extreme or the other. Based on speculation? Not me friend.

Bottom line for me is this: I expect people to take responsibility for their actions. For the most part, this simply does not take place. Whatever will be will be.

One last thing. The archives contain some incredible threads on subjects such as this one. If you haven't yet done so, check them out. Rob Michaels, in particular, has poked & prodded us to stretch our collective minds & hearts. Maybe Rob, Kevin, Diane or another longtimer will supply a few links.

Thanks for pushing me to put some effort into this thread! :-)

Best Wishes,

-- Bingo1 (howe9@pop.shentel.net), May 07, 1999.

"Feed my sheeple"

-Jesus Christ (paraphrased)

Means we are responsible for others, even (or especially) if they are lazy and stupid. And especially if they are being misled by others. We must take care of ourselves, of course. There are limits to what we can accomplish with such people, of course. But we mustn't fold up. Some people will listen and respond, and those are the people that make it worth it. None of us came out of the womb knowing everything; we were taught by our fellows. "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing."


-- Dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), May 08, 1999.

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