By now most casual preppers and survivalists have become at least moderately aware of the basic essentials of survival.
The more hardcore survivalist has gone on to ponder more advanced scenarios and techniques necessary for long-term sustainability. First by building upon the three basics outlined above and making those immediate necessities something that can be readily available at all times. Essentially making your makeshift shelter into a long-term survival situation.
Most of those preppers have contingency plans for just about everything. Plans to pivot from bug-out to survival and finally to homesteading in the event that there is nothing to go home to. Idea’s for repelling hostile invaders and trading goods and services with non/semi-hostiles, cross-country egress routes, underground bunkers. On and on the preparations go.
One thing that I have heard bandied about regularly is exactly what the most valuable commodity would be in a post-apocalyptic scenario. If we are suddenly plunged into a Mad Max meets The Walking Dead, every-man-for-himself world, what exactly would be the most valuable commodity?
Precious Metals? For sure Gold, Silver and Platinum will be of considerable value in the early days of a doomsday situation as people will expect that everything will return to normal soon enough. People looking to take advantage of a temporary situation will likely trade surplus gasoline for gold early on. When society doesn’t rapidly rebound, watch for the value of precious metals to slowly be eclipsed by the following items.
Gasoline? Without mechanics to keep the cars running gas will slowly lose value. Unless we learn to make more, this will eventually run out regardless of what we do.
Ammo? Similar in scope to gasoline, this too will eventually run out unless we have the knowledge to make more.
Water? While water will always be of considerable value as it doesn’t take very long to die of dehydration without it. Those who control the water supply will certainly be in a position of great strength, but there is one commodity that makes all of the aforementioned ones attainable by anyone will the willingness to crack down, while we have the chance.
It is the contention of this article that the one commodity that will be in the shortest supply, and one that people will most likely be short on from day one is…
Of the hundreds of thousands of books written over the centuries, I would wager to say that most people will not think much about throwing a couple of the most important tomes in their bug-out-bag. In the event of a catastrophic collapse, most of the ones we’ve left behind may well be gone by the time we find our way back to where the Libraries once stood.
Sure, we will all know how to make fire, how to shoot, hunt, build a cabin, find water, and may even become great traders within our realms of fellow survivors but what do we do when we need a Judge, or a Doctor, or a Sheriff?
Eventually, the rule-of-law will have to be re-established. We can’t just keep shooting intruders, regardless of how reasonable it may look on TV. The reality of our situation will likely be nothing at all like that. People will expect due process, fair trials, juries of their peers, and in fact, the long term existence of mankind will depend on those kinds of civilities being employed.
I fully understand that part of the “attraction” of going off-the-grid is the fact that one will no longer have to answer to bureaucrats, politicians, and would-be tyrants. However, in a lawless society, or even a major city under an extended period of martial law, the murderous thugs and wannabe king-pins would rise among us in fairly short order without those bureaucrats and politicians. As stated before, we can’t just keep shooting people!
How many of us could re-build a government or even a simple judicial system that functions fairly and justly, with just the knowledge we already have locked inside our cranium?
I’ll be the first to admit…I’m not there yet!
There is so much to know that we overlook in our current state of comfort.
What is the extent of our knowledge of first aid? We might be able to stitch a wound, but what if we had to amputate a limb, deliver a baby or perform an emergency surgery?
What about Self-Defense? Are we trained in hand-to-hand combat? Can we even run a hundred yards, let alone miles?
How many of us give as much consideration to our actual physical fitness and our ability to perform the tasks that may one day be the difference between life and death as we do to the gear we have in our bag?
Can we even do basic vehicle repairs, with a manual, a full toolbox, and three buddies leaning over the hood on a Saturday afternoon, let alone in the bush with a pair of pliers and a hammer?
We might be able to shoot a gun, but can we make a gun? Can we reload our own cartridges?
It is my belief that the preacher, the carpenter, the mechanic, the blacksmith, and the country doctor will have just as prominent a role in the new world, that we may one day find ourselves forging afresh, as any Wall Street Trader or Politician does in our current reality.
I have, of late, taken to learning many of these types of things of which I formerly had very little knowledge. I have taught myself to make knives and bladed weapons, primitively if necessary, from scrap metal and lumber. I have begun studying The Constitution, The Federalist Papers, and other founding documents and I have resumed my lifelong study of The Bible with zeal, among other things.
Currently, in our safe secure homes, we have the wealth of knowledge of the ages right at our fingertips via the internet. In fact, we don’t even have to read to learn, we can just watch Youtube! There is literally no reason whatsoever for us to not become as intellectually prepared for as many things as we can, while we can.
Read, study, learn and pack some books if you can. You never know if there will be any to come back to. The long-term survival of your offspring will depend more on what you know than on what you have.