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Rebuilding Civil Society

Survival and Sustainability tips and ideas for suburbanites and apartment dwellers

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Rebuilding Civil Society

Postby dogboy » Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:06 pm

After looking at my options for a collapse of civil society, my best plan is to remain in my house and work to maintain civil society in the immediate area.

This addresses not only the best chance of survival, but also addresses the moral issues of how to handle the morally-troubling problems that the collapse of civil society will create.

I've looked at my neighborhood resources, which includes an elemetary school, a 6 acre park, and a flowing creek. We have a normal middle-class suburban neighborhood with plenty of typical suburban skills -- school teachers, nurses, LEOs, engineers, mechanics, and truck drivers -- along with plenty of kids of all ages and our share of old folks.

In my estimate, in a collapse of civil society a fourth of the population will head for the hills, and another fourth will go bunk out at Grandma's. A small number will stay and their extended families will join them. Sadly, the most able will go and the least able will come. Among the ones who come will be my wife's extended family, which will divide my family's stores down to a few weeks at best.

I figure the situation isn't much different for many of you -- though I think that I'm blessed by having a flowing creek and cursed by the nearby shopping malls.

So my plan for building a civil society will be based on the welfare of the children. A refugee will kill for his kids, but a preditor will go away and find an easier and richer target. Refugees who arrive at the edge of the neighborhood with kids will be told that we'll protect their kids and feed them as well as we can while the refugee goes out and hunts for food.

This addresses the moral delimma of how to handle refugees. The refugee adults become foragers, not threats. We teach them what plants to find, how to set snares, and how to build fish traps and send them on their way. If they come back, they will be bearing food for the children, not bringing a gang of armed preditors.

The children could be housed at the elemetary school, where they will be given classes and will tend a garden. Food will be limited, but we will do what we can.

The neighborhood will need to set rules. Among the rules I would hope to see would be that no one can have his posessions taken for the common good -- that path leads to us being preditors on each other and completly dis-incentives anyone to work harder than absolutely necessary. But then, who would hoard more than a bugout bag for the final head-for-the-hills if they spent their days protecting a school full of starving kids?

So, this is the beginning of a long-term suburban survival plan.

I spent a little time investigating what it would take to dam up the creek to ensure a more reliable source of water and wondered what this outpost of civilization would look like after a year without relief trucks. I figure most of us will still end up dying, but that's still a better chance than we'd have without the plan.

How would you enhance this plan? Customize it for your own situation? Or pose situations that would make it unworkable?
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Re: Rebuilding Civil Society

Postby Atreus » Fri Apr 29, 2011 10:18 am

Here is one aspect of concern I have about local groups in a SHTF situation.

It depends on the size of the group but one of the things I'm not looking forward to is group politics. I've belonged to a couple of groups and several sports teams where decisions that effect life and death never have to be made and even then the politics can become brutal. Cliques form and I've seen instances of back stabbing in every group. One of the worst was when I was on the local volunteer fire department.

There will be some instances where strong minded individuals will try to make their religious views the religion of the group.

There will be instances where a few bullies join together to try to rule the group. And in some instances the distinction between bullying and strong leadership making necessary decisions will become blurred.

We may have to make the decision of whether to follow someone else's leadership or leave the group. I don't know how most folks on here think about it but I always consider that I will want to be part of local leadership in a SHTF situation but realize that it might not turn out that way and there may be leadership that causes me great concern and I have to make the decision to stay or go and going might be the worst option of the two.
There won't be a declared "SHTF" day so be prepared.
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Re: Rebuilding Civil Society

Postby Dirk Williams » Fri May 06, 2011 10:55 am

Atreus interesting observation. We have the same concerns regarding groups or block security. We are not interested in being led by the guy down the block with the biggest house or the most money. I think people easily confuse leadership with perception of success.

We are absolutely not interested in being led by sitting elected officials who ares in fact part of the problem and contributed little or nothing to the solution. I was out shooting near our BOL and I started to notice maybe 100 or so interesting flags flying in the front yards of residences. " Don't Tread On Me" with a coiled rattle snake, yellow in color".

I was amazed to learn these were tea party flags's. I was impressed by those people's willingness to boldly make that statement with just a flag. Im looking for one of those flags now.

Anyway we are in line with your point of view and share your concerns.

Good Luck.

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Re: Rebuilding Civil Society

Postby Y2KNOWAY » Fri May 06, 2011 12:08 pm

Regarding post SHTF communities: This subject interests me as well, which is why I want to have a copy of the constitution among my preps. I like our constitution. It's a good model.

Another workable form of government is the tribal council.

You start with a community which adheres to a system of beliefs, etc, and probably has a charismatic leader who brought them together. You then bring in refugees and tell them that to stay, they must adhere to the rules. As time goes on and factions begin to form, I would give them representation rather than to squash them (i.e. tribal council or constitutional model).

The tribal council can also be used to manage the various interests / efforts in the group: farming, cooking / preserving, security, sanitation, mechanical / power, education / spiritual care, etc. A representative from each could sit on the 'council'.

The 'leader' who forms the community should immediately begin mentoring a possible successor. They would fill the leader role in times of illness or un-timely death. I think that after the first 'crisis year', if the community is doing well, they need to look at their form of government and see if it needs to be modified.

Hopefully other communities survive as well and alliances can be formed. Then a 'new level' of government would have to be formed, one with a representative from each community. Hopefully they will remember their history lessons and not re-form an intrusive 'federal' government.

They should also look at what would happen when they 'bump up against' the remains of the old U.S. government. Depending on how strong it is, they may have leveraging power to make deals.

Wye
Fear allows or makes people do stupid things. They don’t make good decisions. Well, if there’s a crisis that they have not prepared you for, you will be fearful. Glen Beck, 11/8/2010
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Re: Rebuilding Civil Society

Postby Atreus » Fri May 06, 2011 1:35 pm

Re-reading my post, I may have overstated my desire to be a leader when instead I think my biggest desire is not to be forced into being a follower.

Dirk, that "Don't Tread On me" flag is a piece of art, IMO. It's hard to beat that one except with the ole Stars and Stripes. But, as for me, I don't advertise what I'm thinking to the general passer-by.

I do think that dealing with a group of bullies will be a real concern for some of us. What if you can't get sufficient support from the rest of the group who are afraid for themselves and/or their families that will be punished if they stand up to bullies and fail?

"Live Free Or Die?" Even if it means your wife, kids, grandkids will also be punished? I feel that if there is a total collapse of society, there will be many that will have to make such decisions.

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Re: Rebuilding Civil Society

Postby Carborendum » Mon May 09, 2011 8:15 pm

Dogboy,

It looks like you've been carrying on a similar thread of your own. :)

I like the idea of training the refugees rather than sending them away and possibly dealing with a bigger problem down the road. It is better to make a friend than an enemy. Here are my questions or alterations:

1) If you send away a single adult, they may also join a gang and tell them about you and yours. That might be worse than just taking them in. You could just as easily train them and have them forage. Instead of caring for their children, you offer security in the off hours. You offer a place to sleep. That is incentive.
2) "For the children" sounds good and all. But I've got children of my own. A lot of them. At some point, you're dealing with an immigration problem. You can only train so many people at once. You've got to be able to train and have the "immigrants" contribute enough to make up for the additional population. Can they forage enough to do so? What else can they offer? While my heart goes out to their children, I've got my own to think about too.
3) If you plan your garden properly, you can keep it going and growing indefinitely. It may be a pre-industrialized town, but when you've got water, there is no reason you'd have to say "most of us will still end up dying". You have enough food, warmth, and security. Barring a disease or some such, you could carry on for a very long time.
4) "a year without relief trucks". If we're talking about a Japan type situation, it will probably be less than a year. If it takes longer than a year, there aren't any trucks coming. And if we're talking about a collapse type situation, you can probably accept that there won't be any trucks. But if you last a year with this plan, you're there, baby.
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Re: Rebuilding Civil Society

Postby Dirk Williams » Mon May 09, 2011 8:46 pm

David agreed, Sometimes the bully's need culling just like wild and domestic animals. Ive always said Im not looking for a fight, But im not leaving mine behind to duck a fight. Worst case, We bingo to the BOL. In a week or a month, or six months or a year I will come back in the middle of the night, in the middle of a snow storm, sit in a "hide" and without hesitation or ill thought deliver the bully's last memory from an unknown distance and direction. ;)

Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Rebuilding Civil Society

Postby dogboy » Tue May 10, 2011 8:50 pm

If it's a bully from within, that problem's been around forever.

I read an intersting article on the domestication of wild animals, and how their brains shrink over successive generations. Then the article comments that human brains decreased in size during the lead-up to civilization and supposes that we domesticated ourselves. When a bully appeared in a group, it eventually got so bad that the other members of the group got together and said "we've got to do something about Bob". After many many generations, each removing the most violent of their members from the gene pool, we've become fairly peaceful animals.

Yes, I'm sure that if we are in a survival situation, our peacful little communities will banish the uncooperative and kill those that return.

In effect, that's the penal system before the creation of prisons -- corpral punishment,then banishment, and then death.
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Re: Rebuilding Civil Society

Postby Carborendum » Tue May 10, 2011 11:43 pm

Dogboy,

I'm not sure I buy that theory. I'll take a look at the article if you have a link.

Two reasons why I don't really buy it:

1) Take a look around the world as well as our own country. Humans are still violent. It is only societal order that keeps us from being more so. See the story about gasoline below.

2) Being a "peaceful animal" really means that we give into slavery. That is a cultural effect, not an innate human characteristic. To achieve peace is really a balance between the violent and the passive.

I believe an alternative explanation of dogs' brains is that humans breeding caused several traits to be bred out/in all at the same time.

GASOLINE:

During the gasoline rationing under the Carter Administration, long lines were ubiquitous. One man had his engine off. Because of that extra second or two to start the car prior to pulling forward, a second man was able to cut him off and get to the pump.

The first man had been waiting for an extended period of time. The second man had a car with the gas tank access under the rear license plate. When he came to place the pump into his tank, the first man rammed him, breaking both his legs.

Gerald Celente's mantra lately has been: When people have nothing to lose, they lose it.

It is only societal structure that keeps us peaceful, not our biological nature. That's why I hope we recover as soon as possible.
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Re: Rebuilding Civil Society

Postby Atreus » Wed May 11, 2011 9:35 am

Carborendum, your story about the gasoline reminds me of another story that, when I heard it a while back, reminded me of a warning I got from one of my older brothers when I was a kid.

An elderly woman was tooling down the road in her car going a little under the speed limit and just taking her time. A big guy on a motorcycle was behind her and getting frustrated because he had trouble finding an opening to pass her.

When he finally got past her, he cut abruptly in front of her and gave her the finger. Then a little ways ahead he had to stop at a red light. He must have been watching his rear view mirror and realized that the old woman was not going to stop for the red light and wanted to run him over. So he ran the red light just in time as the old woman ran the light too and she had sped up trying to run him down. He did manage to get away but hopefully learned a good lesson.

The lesson I was taught when I was a kid was not to mess with old people. You will come across one that feels they have nothing to lose and they won't think twice about killing you.
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Re: Rebuilding Civil Society

Postby Dirk Williams » Wed May 11, 2011 5:25 pm

Nothing to loose, Or everything to loose. EVERYTHING that I love and believe in will be counting on me, as the leader of our family I try hard to get it right on a normal day in normal times and am often wrong. If SHTF, Im not prepared to be wrong even once, that could be fatal flaw for my family.

We as humans are pre wired to survive. We've just live such a commfy life we have shoved that skill to the back of the brain. I'll say it again it took this site and others like it to get my head back in the game, for that Im greatful to you all for your encouragement and helpful hints.

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Re: Rebuilding Civil Society

Postby dogboy » Wed May 11, 2011 8:09 pm

Actually, I wasn't supporting the idea that we've been tamed as much as the intersting idea that even pre-civilization men evenutally got fed up with the village bullies and took care of the problem.
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Re: Rebuilding Civil Society

Postby OrionDarkwood » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:39 pm

I always say the veneer of civilization is thin indeed. What keeps us from anarchy is the belief that if in trouble the cops/fire/EMT's will help us out. A believe in that the government will keep the playing field equal by laws and enforcement of those laws. Failing that the military will enforce a strict code of conduct. What happens when all that is gone/When the lawmakers are the lawbreakers?

IMHO in a SHTF deal I figure at most 72 hours before the total collapse of society as we know it (more or less depending on what causes life to go south). What follows is up in the air but my guess is the first organizations to take place under the new world order will be fiefdoms carved out by strength of arms or strength of charm. This is how things started in caveman times, one needed to create a stable enivorment for settlements to be build, crops to be grown and families to be made. Probably years later tribal and council law will arise...
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Re: Rebuilding Civil Society

Postby Crusis » Fri Aug 12, 2011 12:04 pm

I better work on my diplomacy skills then, Orion. I can shoot just fine. ;)
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Re: Rebuilding Civil Society

Postby OrionDarkwood » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:03 pm

Crusis wrote:I better work on my diplomacy skills then, Orion. I can shoot just fine. ;)


I am fairly good at diplomacy, so if you can handle the gun I can handle the tongue :lol:
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