The Gentleman Adventurer nails it:
Of course you will be much better prepared in a location like rural Kentucky than in downtown Los Angeles, but the idea that in a better position you can get on with your daily life as civilization collapse around you is somewhat naive. I mean, come on people; look at history for God’s sake.
Assuming you survive the balloon going up, you will still get on with your daily life the day after. But your daily life will be very different than it is today and than you might expect.
Your life will in all likelihood quickly coalesce around the activity that has demanded the most time of most people in most societies forever: the production, preservation, and preparation of food. Your great grandmother did not spend long days in the summer kitchen because cooking beans outdoors was more fun in 1936 than it is today. She spent them there because cooking for a lot of people takes a lot of time and it was too hot to cook in a house without air conditioning or even electric fans.
If you want to get a feel for how things will be “out in the country”, turn off the power and don’t buy anything for a month. You’ll have no fresh milk and no Cheerios to pour it on. Unless you have chickens, you’ll have no eggs for that bread dough. You probably have no oven to bake it in. Unless you stored feed for the chickens, they will not survive long after the first frost takes out the bugs. What are you going to eat next month if the power doesn’t come back on?
That said, the subsistence farmers of East Prussia ate during the Turnip Winter of 1916-17. In 1923, they ate while the nation hyperinflated away its war debt, and while the professional and middle classes in Berlin rented their daughters out by the hour in exchange for bowls of dog stew. The rural farm can negate a good number of balloons going up.
But it is not an idyllic life until one masters it. Very few people – definitely excluding me – have mastered it today. Life is about to get hard everywhere. Really freaking hard and unforgiving. It’s going to kill most of us. That’s just the way it is. But it will be marginally less hard away from starving hordes of game journalists.
Which brings me to another point that is overlooked in a lot of “escape to the country” bugout fantasies.
You are going to need a lot more than beans, a camp stove, and an AR to get along in this future that is really the past, the normal condition of mankind. You’re going to need men. You’re going to need men to dig the gardens that you will have to put in*. Men will be necessary to haul the manure, to cut the wood, and if things go big-bad like I suspect, to protect the men hauling manure and cutting wood.
You’re going to need neighbors for sure. But you’re also going to need your sons, your daughters’ husbands, maybe your brothers and your dad as well. Men you can trust. Men you must lead.
You’re also going to need women who can cook, who can sew, who can make cheese and applesauce**.
And you have to prep for them. Today.
There’s this idea afloat – and it’s a very lazy idea – that stored food is a survival item. It is not. Your stored food is a transition item, designed to get you through your mistakes as you learn to live your new daily life. You cannot store enough food to relax the rest of your life, unless it’s a short life. But you can store enough to get you and yours through the next winter. Shoot for that, then shoot for the winter after that one.
And Gen X beware: there’s an attitude in our generation that runs, “Hey, I told my parents and the lazy Boomers didn’t do anything, so they’re on their own.” If you’re a Christian and you turn your folks away in their time of need, you’re worse than an infidel (1Tim 5:8, Mark 7:9-13). Our responsibilities before God do not change with the rise and fall of GDP. Prep for your mom and dad. Maybe especially if they are insufferable Boomers who have ignored prior advice and squandered their living on Carribean cruises and Woodstock fan art. It’s not about being right or wrong, wise or foolish; it’s about obeying the Lord’s commands.
Be ready to accept your brothers-in-law and their bedraggled families, even if you’ve previously declared them unwelcome. Prep a couple of “refugee bags” as well – 72 hours’ worth of canned goods, water, and Sterno.
When they arrive uninvited, hand him a shovel and a pair of gloves, and say, “We work here. So I need ten wagon loads from that manure pile moved down to the new raised beds. After that, we’re having 9-bean soup. My bible says ‘Whoever doesn’t work, neither shall he eat.’ And that bible is the law here.”
Then hold out a refugee bag. “Or you can take these supplies for your journey.”
His choice. And his wife and children – your blood relatives – will live or die by it. Our responsibility ends where another man’s begins.
As we swing away from globalism toward nationalism, I do not suspect that the pendulum will stop anywhere peaceful or convenient.*** Once collapse gets rolling, I suspect it will swing further and faster than any of us are prepared for. And if you do see the rise of the tribe, you’ll likely not see the return of the nation-state. That may lie centuries in the future.
But it really doesn’t matter, so far as the man who follows Christ is concerned. The politics of far away, unless you are in a position to do something about them, don’t matter. What matters is that you live the best you can in the time you’re given:
I know that there is nothing better for [a man] than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.
— Eccl 3:12-14
Your isolated farmstead cannot save you, only Christ can. Fear God and walk upright before Him. Care for those he has put under your authority to the best of your ability. And remember that only deeds last forever. The stuff is all going to burn sooner or later.
*As I write this on August 19th, there is still enough time to start a fall garden most places, even without a greenhouse. Do you have enough shovels, work gloves, and seeds that you could plant one in a week given enough men?
**You have those kinds of cookbooks on hand already, right?
***The natural organization of mankind is not the nation-state, it is the tribe for barbarians and the polis for civilized men. From those bases empires are built. We might see clans in the shorter term as well. What we will not see is democracy. Good riddance.