There’s no doubt in my mind that my Mormon upbringing nurtured a sense of apocalypticism. I remember being in a “Super Saturday” lesson sometime in the late 70’s or early 80’s in Bloomfield, Connecticut where the discussion turned to whether Jesus would return precisely in the year 2000 to usher in the sabbath-like Millennium, or whether, as in Third Nephi in the Book of Mormon the time might be pushed back for a while in order to test the faithfulness and resolve of the Saints. As I recall, the instructor from the church educational system leaned toward the latter. I never enjoyed musicals, but I knew the Lex de Acevedo play Saturday’s Warrior was meant as a depiction of the upcoming Mormon generation, saved for the final apocalyptic showdown with the forces of Satan.
Today I am a 54 year old who is not really convinced there was a first coming of Jesus but, at the time, I remember being really bummed that my “normal” life on earth would end sometime before my 40th birthday. Still, it isn’t surprising that “end of days” commentary ticks a box in my brain and gets my attention. I’ve tried to turn this predilection into a strength by using it to help prepare myself and my family for the unexpected in terms of household expenses and destructive meteorological events: We have more than enough in savings to buy a new boiler, water heater, roof, automobile, etc; we’ve got more than enough food and water to last at least a few weeks without going to the store; we have small scale electrical Chargers, wind up flashlights and radios, oil lamps and candles; we can heat the house without natural gas or electricity with a wood stove and a solar furnace; we have places to meet in case of emergency, and people we can count on inside and outside the neighborhood if we are in need.
Our garden augments our food supply; apples, peaches, grapes, asparagus, and strawberries arrive in amounts varying from barely significant (strawberries) to more than we can possibly consume (peaches). Tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and a little lettuce, some potatoes, and a squash here and there round out what we harvest most years but we’d be hard pressed to survive for a month on what we produce.
None of this comes close to providing the sort of total independence that someone living off grid on a rural prepper compound might aspire to; because we don’t aspire to that. I don’t think we have either the abilities or the inclination to go that route. Knowing that things will break in a house, and having seen first hand in the last 10 years (more than in my entire life before that) that natural disasters can emerge out of nowhere to shake things up in life my wife and I have made a conscious decision to be thoughtful about the things we can do to be prepared.
Jim Kunstler was a huge influence on my thinking as my religious doomerism morphed into a more secular strain. How odd, then, to have the apocalyptic trigger in my brain tripped by a guest on the Kunstlercast who, when asked directly by Jim about the status of suburbia in the impending economic crisis instead diverted attention to “the worst place to be”: the city! Upon reading some essays by this guest from his own website I can see that he has, in his own words, a Mad Max view of the near term future in and around most major cities.
More perusing of websites publishing pieces as retrospectives on the year ending or making predictions for the year ahead led me to a really insightful essay on Chris Martenson’s Peak Prosperity blog. After reading that post I clicked over to the daily news digest, and on a link to this. Be warned, this is some out there stuff: It gets so detailed at certain points that I half expect him to say something like:
“There shall in that time be rumors of things going astray, and there shall be a great confusion as to where things really are, and nobody will really know where lieth those little things with the sort of raffia-work base, that has an attachment. At that time, a friend shall lose his friend’s hammer, and the young shall not know where lieth the things possessed by their fathers that their fathers put there only just the night before, about eight o’clock…”
In delving (scarily) deeper into what he calls a MUY (Minority Urban Youth) rebellion, it turns out that it will be sparked by any cutoff of ebt payments. The author is absolutely certain of the very specific details on which he elaborates and I will say that his is not the only postulation that the end of food stamps will bring with it the destruction of most major urban areas.
Getting back to Kunstler’s guest, he is it seems, a firm believer in the Pizza-gate hypothesis of the Podesta emails. Those emails which, I think, theoretically are at the core of the ongoing Russia-Trump collusion investigation. He says he thinks the Pizza-gate theory that references to cheese pizza and hot dogs in those emails were really about child exploitation is “100% true”. I remember a time, not so long ago when Kunstler incessantly described himself as “allergic to conspiracy theories”…back when the conspirators were the military-industrial complex (Eisenhower, what a nut job?!), but now that it’s pizza and hot dogs as pedophilic code it makes sense I suppose.
In reading and listening to these opinions I’m struck by how different they are from the more measured takes of John Michael Greer, David Collum, and even Johnny Sanphillippo. Comparing the two genres I can see how they fuse when taking into account the assertion that the future isn’t evenly distributed. If you lived in Paradise, CA in 2018 then you’ve already experienced your own personal Thunderdome. Ditto Puerto Rico in 2017. Will 2019 be my year, or your year to meet Mel Gibson (or Charlize Theron) on the road to dystopia, or will that privilege once again be reserved for someone else?
If the hordes of the ebt-less do alight upon my homestead and strip bare my larder and leave me and my family to die in the hulking ruin then I hope you’ll look upon this and my other missives as a cautionary tale of high mindedness and hubris gone horribly wrong. If, on the other hand, we live to see the dawn of 2020 may it find you well and full of hope for the year to come.