Monday, November 18, 2019

Dystopian Survival Skills - A New List for a Dangerous Future

By Timothy Gamble

Dystopian dis-ˈtō-pē-ən adj.: 1) of, relating to, or being a world or society in which most people lead wretched, dehumanized, fearful lives; 2) a world of high technology, marked by authoritarian government and powerful corporations, with a huge divide between a privileged elite, and a disempowered underclass they rule over.

In science fiction, a dystopian world is typically presented as one in which a small class of elites use a combination of authoritarian government, powerful & wealthy corporations, and highly advanced technology, to rule over the common people. The world the elite create for themselves is one of extreme wealth, power, and privilege. It is created at the expense of a much larger underclass, who have slowly lost their personal liberties, economic freedoms, and privacy rights. A deep network of unelected bureaucrats and corrupt politicians, often financed and aided by the deep pockets of the corporate elite, work diligently to entrench this new order into the regulations, laws and treaties governing their world.

The propaganda used by the elites to justify this situation is marked by twisting seemingly positive words such as progress, equality, fairness, and diversity in ways to fit their agenda. This twisting of language, a creating of newspeak, is made possible by their near monopolistic control of the news media, popular culture, and academia. Traditional institutions and ideas, such as the family, God, and patriotism, are intentionally ridiculed and destroyed, leaving government as the only remaining source of authority and focus for loyalty. Thus, this new order is firmly accepted in the minds of most of the disempowered underclass. 

Sound familiar? If this is a description of a dystopian future, then the future is now. No longer in the realm of science fiction, dystopia is playing out before our eyes, if only we are willing to look. And it is not going away anytime soon. Dystopia is rising.

But what does that mean to preppers and survivalists? What difference does it make what the threat is? How is preparing for the reality of dystopia any different from preparing for anything else we are preparing for?

In modern prepper and survivalist fiction, the storyline typically goes something like this:
  • Things have been getting bad of awhile 
  • The "sheeple"  aren't paying attention, suffering from normalcy bias, dumbed down by public education, and bought off by "free stuff" from the government
  • At some point there is a Trigger Event (SHTF) that causes a relatively quick collapse 
  • The Trigger Event is followed by a period (a few months to at most a few years) of intense anarchy, violence, and even civil war
  • Modern infrastructure collapses
  • Many of the sheeple are shocked out of their long slumber by this harsh reality
  • The sheeple that don't wake up, die
  • Eventually, the good guys (the newly awakened sheeple, lead by preppers & survivalists) win!!!
  • The world is saved, the Republic is restored, and our rights are protected for all time to come
  • Technology is still around, but plays a smaller role, controlled in a way to be less prone to abuse
Sounds great. However, it is far more fantasy than anything else. The emerging reality of dystopia will be much longer lasting, less obvious, and more brutal. And there will not be a happy ending anytime soon.

Here is how I see dystopia unfolding: 
  • Things have been getting bad of awhile 
  • The "sheeple"  aren't paying attention, suffering from normalcy bias, dumbed down by public education, and bought off by "free stuff" from the government
  • Things actually get even better for the elite class, as their wealth, power, and privilege increase
  • Things continue to get worse for the underclass (which is most of us), as our freedoms, opportunities, and privacy continue to erode
  • There is no Trigger Event
  • Most of the Sheeple don't wake up (a few do, but not nearly enough)
  • A new, permanent civilization emerges, with a very small elite class ruling over all, a small (much smaller than currently) middle class serving the ruling elites, and a very large underclass, living small, desperate, fearful lives
  • Technology grows ever more powerful, and is successfully used by the elite to control the underclass
Not very pleasant sounding, is it? But I would argue that it is the emerging reality.

In the prepper and survivalist fantasy scenario, emphasis is placed on those things that would help us survive a short-term emergency and collapse - food and water storage, homesteading skills, wilderness survival skills, and so on. While those skills are useful and important, they don't go far enough for survival in a true dystopian future.

Dystopian Survival Situations: 
  • Loss of Freedoms & Privacy (directly though legislation such as "hate speech" and "red flag" laws, or indirectly, via political correctness, Big Tech censorship & data mining, etc.)
  • Continued (and intentional) breakdown of traditional institutions such as the Family and the Church
  • Recession, Job Loss, High Inflation, and Economic Turmoil
  • Workforce Displacement via technology
  • Political Turmoil & Police State Actions  
  • Civil Unrest, including Riots & Looting
  • Identity Theft 
  • Cyber Threats 
  • Violent Crime 
  • Active Shooter Situations 
  • Terrorism 
  • Epidemics & Pandemics 
Knowing how to build an emergency shelter or start a fire in the rain probably won't do you much good in most of those scenarios. Not that there is anything wrong with those skills. They are useful and are worth learning. But there are many other skills that you should also learn in order to survive dystopia.

Dystopian Survival Skills

Dystopian survival starts with awareness of potential problems and developing self-reliance. 

Awareness requires us to take an honest look at the dangers of the world around us, and not just adopt the idea that "nothing really bad will ever happen, and even if it does, that is why we have a government," an attitude so common among most Americans today.

Self-reliance is an attitude of responsibility and accountability. It is up to us to take care of ourselves and our families - not society, the government, public schools, or any other "authorities." It is our duty to watch out for life's potential pitfalls, and to take proactive steps ahead of time to prevent or survive those pitfalls.  

Building on the foundation of awareness and self-reliance, there are many other useful skills for surviving dystopia, including:

  • Situational Awareness & OODA Loop 
  • Operational Security/Privacy Protection 
  • Dealing with an Intrusive Government 
  • Dealing with busybody neighbors, landlords, etc. 
  • Local Knowledge (knowing your area) 
  • Being the Gray Man (fitting in and going unnoticed) 
  • Making yourself an unappealing target for bad guys (know how to not look like a victim) 
  • Mobility (the ability to pull up roots and move away from threats and towards opportunities)
  • Money Management & Personal Finance Skills 
  • Computer and Technology Skills (using technology to your benefit, while knowing and protecting yourself from the risks)
  • Self-Defense and Home-Defense Skills (more than just guns & ammo) 
  • Knowing what to do in an active shooter situation 
  • Knowing what to do if you get caught in a civil unrest or riot situation 
  • Health & Fitness (you do not want to be dependent on the government public healthcare system)
  • Stealth/Alternative Medicine (you do not want to be dependent on the government public healthcare system) 
  • First Aid (including dealing with gunshot wounds and other severe trauma) 
  • Employability in an era of High Tech and Artificial Intelligence
This list is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg of needed skills. If you have suggestions for other needed skills, just put them in the comments section below.


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