Members of the American libertarian movement, particularly extremist preppers, are often associated with a belief that a complete breakdown in society is the only outcome from government economic policies and will lead to complete social disintegration. At the centre of their concerns is monetary destruction, with other issues, such as the erosion of personal freedom and the right to bear arms, important but peripheral. They cite history, particularly the hyperinflationary collapses, from Rome to Zimbabwe, and now Venezuela. They draw on Austrian economic theory, which fans their dislike of government and their expectation of total chaos.
Properly reasoned economic theory certainly reduces the science to one of black and white conclusions, which suits conclusion-jumpers. But the whole point of it is to explain society’s errors, so that they may be corrected. It is only by understanding the errors of state intervention and socialism, both communistic and fascist, that solutions can be found. Solutions then need to be applied, not taken into a mountain or forest retreat never to be implemented.
The real world does not work on black and white economic theories. It progresses along a muddled course, torn between statist mistakes and society’s unending patience with government intervention. Governments are the source of all wars and wealth destruction, but societies tolerate them. Philosophers have argued over this from Plato versus Aristotle onwards, and we are still here, two and a half millennia later, chewing over the same bones.
History records our philosophical chewing, and Man’s continuing conflict with and tolerances of the state. It records the rise and fall of kings, emperors, dictators and governments. Hermits and other preppers come and go, either unrecorded or, like Saint Simeon Stylites, noted as little more than historical footnotes. To future generations, prepping will almost certainly be a bygone curiosity, and humanity will continue despite government suppression.
This article is an attempt to rationalise an apparently apocalyptic future into how it is likely to evolve over the coming years. In the absence of a nuclear Armageddon, what we fear, more than anything else, is actually uncertainty and change.
Out with the old
Uncertainty and change are with us all the time.