Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Is Society Safe?

Survivalism is right back in vogue, just as it was in the Cold War. They don't call themselves survivalists any more. They call themselves 'preppers'.

I try not to worry about civilization collapsing - I have a pretty clapped out thyroid and can't survive without my medication, so I definitely wouldn't last long in a true collapse.

Do I think one is likely? Surprisingly I do think that economic change is inevitable. I do think that things may well get worse before they get better. But I don't envision a post-apocalyptic scenario (why is it, by the way, that after the apocalypse there are shortages of everything but gasoline and tires? Seriously, watch any cheap post-apocalyptic movie). I don't envision a new dark age.

However, I do think we need to be careful. We need to make sure that the most vital information of our civilization and technology exists in secure archives in hard copy. In Roger McBride Allen's The Depths of Time series characters visit a great library on the moon...and they mention a second book depository in the outer system. Hard copies. Books.

We need to address the concerns of the people taking to the streets, so we don't end up with a violent revolution that could lead to worse. We need to start working on economic principles that don't depend on artificial scarcities of necessities.

I understand the preppers. Heck, I share some of their fears...although some people want to see society collapse, I don't. And there's nothing wrong with stockpiling canned food in your basement. You never know when you might need it.

But I think their fears are as overblown as those of 1960s survivalists.

On the other hand, civilization collapsing always makes for a good story.