Have you ever uttered these words or simply thought them to yourself? Have you maybe been talking to someone online or reading the comments on your favorite prepping site’s latest article and thought that the person commenting was an idiot for what they said their main concerns about the world were and their reasons for getting prepared? From time to time I will write about a topic and although the comments are 99.5% positive (almost unheard of nowadays) there are times when someone will mock either a commenter on an article, or what I wrote specifically. They will essentially say that what someone else is saying is stupid.
Why would they react this way? It’s human nature I guess and each of us have our own ideas of what makes sense and what is irrational. We view the world through our own filters and judge what is right, wrong and plain old wacko. This could be for all manner of things from religious beliefs, politics or social issues. I am not saying I don’t do this myself to some degree, but I started to wonder why people react with just as much disdain on prepping issues as you might with a political race. I can understand if you have political differences and while I would like to hope everyone stays civil, I can see where you would disagree with my positions on any one of a number of things and come to your own conclusion that my stance is just plain wrong. Or stupid.
But what I am talking about is prepping and more precisely the reasons people give for prepping. The overall goal of preppers is what? It is to be prepared for whatever life throws at you, is that not correct? Maybe you believe that one event more than another is most likely to happen but if you are prepping in a smart way you will be ready to deal with a wide variety of situations. Preppers all over ascribe to this philosophy I think but there are others still who think they know exactly what is going to happen. Why do I say that? It is because if you don’t believe exactly as they do, or if you believe something is possible that they don’t…you are an idiot in their eyes. What they are doing to prep is rational but your ideas are crazy. When we look at what you are doing, prepping is stupid.
You are just being paranoid
Actually, it doesn’t start out like that. It is more nuanced I believe and maybe it wasn’t intentional, but I think on a subconscious level, it is an effort by these people to present themselves as mentally superior to the person they are denigrating and to avoid getting lumped into the “crazy prepper” category. How is this done? They simply say you are being paranoid. That one simple word does two things. First, it minimizes what you believe based upon your knowledge, intuition and experience. Secondly it positions them above you because they are obviously not paranoid. Paranoid has a negative connotation since it is derived from a mental condition. If you are someone exhibiting the symptoms of a mental condition, you are not to be trusted, you most likely need psychiatric help and we should ignore you as quickly as possible.
It would be one thing if this was coming from someone who we call the ‘sheeple’ – the people who go through life thinking that nothing is wrong and who steadfastly believe that the government will always take care of you. No, in this case it is coming from someone who claims to call themselves a prepper too so I don’t understand why one person who believes it is rational to take steps in case of a disaster believes that another person who is taking steps to be prepared for another disaster is a nut-ball.
I have experienced this in several ways over the last couple of years but most recently I was viewing a conversation between several preparedness bloggers. Yes we have a secret community where we all get together and talk about you. No, seriously, there is a forum for preparedness bloggers to share information and on this forum one blogger who has a site geared toward prepping was describing the content that they most wanted on their site. Among other various topics they mentioned “nothing paranoid” as in I don’t want to have anything paranoid on my site. To be fair to this blogger, I didn’t ask for clarification so they might have had a different understanding of the word but the impression is the same. I don’t want anything that I think is stupid on my site. This was also repeated on another blog I contacted almost two years ago about partnering and they told me that they didn’t want to associate with anyone who preached ‘paranoid doom and gloom’ topics or subjects.
OK, fair enough. It is your blog and you get to say whatever you want to. I understand that and believe me I feel the same way. What I don’t get though is where we have this bias on prepping topics and more specifically, what makes you think you have all the answers? Each of us is saying that in order to prepare you need to do X, Y and Z. None of that is really in dispute. Oh sure, there are differences in opinion over the best garden types and whether or not you should stock up food or learn how to forage for wild tubers in your backyard but everyone agrees you need to eat.
We talk about home security and there are worlds of differences in opinion about what is the best handgun or rifle and what situations you may find yourself but we usually agree that everyone needs some form of personal defense. We are all talking about preparing, but as soon as you start talking about what you are preparing for, you enter the uncomfortable zone. Tell anyone you have some extra food stored up and they don’t blink an eye. Tell them you have extra food stored up because you are afraid government will declare martial law… well you are just being paranoid. And stupid.
Who cares why I am prepping?
Let’s take this to a more extreme example and use our favorite “crazy” prepper issue of zombies. Now if someone truly believes that they are prepping because zombies are a real and credible threat what does that mean to you? They have food stored up, water, security in the form of firearms and self-defense training (zombie based naturally) and they have medical supplies on hand to deal with injuries resulting from contact with the undead. If they really believe that zombies will be shuffling down the street one day, how does this bother you?
In your frame of mind this is stupid. It can never happen and maybe you are right but what difference does it make? I am preparing my family for all sorts of events. What if a tornado never takes down my home? What if an earthquake, mudslide or wildfire never happen? What if the economy suddenly turns around and we are all millionaires in a few months? What if the government suddenly says, “hey, we know we have been wrong about… almost everything, so let’s start over.”? Does that make my preparations stupid?
People have compared prepping to life insurance and I like that analogy. It doesn’t matter how I die as long as I am covered by life insurance from the perspective that there is something in place to provide an income to my family. Would you call someone who gets life insurance because they live in a bad town paranoid? Would you say that someone who has a large family to protect and takes out a life insurance policy is stupid? Of course not. Insurance for a million reasons makes sense and I can’t think of anyone ever who was called paranoid for getting insurance for their family’s sake.
At least within our own prepping community I think we should have a little more grace and understanding. I don’t care if the grid goes down and my neighbor has food and provisions stocked up because he thinks we would be invaded by little green men. He is prepared and that is something I value and respect. Maybe that is what we should be focusing on instead of whether or not your reason is PC or something I agree with. Then again, maybe I’m just stupid.