Earlier today John Robb posted an article on the hollow state. Michael Tanji at HOTS rejoinders with to whom or what is your primary loyalty? Further he asked where would you get your intelligence (as in information)? That is a worthy question worth some thought.
In my bedroom, my home office, my school office, and when I can get away with it my laboratories I hang a sign that says “Honor, Honesty, Courage, Courtesy, Respect”. These are five characteristics I try to live my life with. I guess it was Ben Franklin that had thirteen virtues. By my unreasoned count I have a goal to be about a quarter the virtuousness of Franklin who being a notorious womanizer (false) riddled with gout and of similar proportions to myself I can only aspire to such things being said about me. The truth being much less rancid and wrapped around five simpler goals and that I aspire to better ideals than I may live up to.
I belong to a blended family. When my wife and I joined our two families into the blended heterogeneous mixture of beliefs and considerations ,rules and processes took on new meanings. We have only four family rules and they are in order of importance, “1: Make mom happy; 2: Take care of the family; 3: Take care of yourself; 4: Take care of the community“. No homage to god, nor mistaken apprehension of country or community over family, a sincere and strong attempt at creating from disparate parts a stronger family. In blending two families and the different cultures and expectations the family becomes the central unit.
I could be accused of familial narcissism but I rather think it allows each individual the opportunity to have a strong foundation upon which to build their lives.
If you behave in a way that makes mom not only NOT mad, but happy chances are that choices being made are positive. Unless your mother is the troll under the bridge that is… The family unit is the primary unit of support and without the family there is no survival, there is no extra curricular activities, and more importantly there is likely no you. Like a good boy scout, always prepared, you need to take care of yourself. If you don’t clean your room, do your homework, take care of business in the here and now there is no pay off at the end. If all of the previous is taken care of you can take care of the community around you, and not require the community to take care of you.
One way that I am able to maintain preparedness is to read extensively and evaluate through critical thinking skills the information I am provided. That does mean I work primarily from open source information. I think though by not being an epistemological stovepipe and seeking out contradictory evidence I can find a narrative within the scheme of the world. I do not need a weatherman to tell me it is raining, and I do not need a talking head on MSNBC to tell me the stock market is in trouble. Some people would say pattern analysis is a horrible way to detect black swan events (low likelihood high damage events). I think that the knowledge that such events occur is simple reason enough to integrate strategies that support resiliency while not costing more or very little more than not planning. This is insurance against faulty intelligence or lack of knowledge of impending events.
I cannot imagine a lifestyle that would allow me full self-sufficiency. If the world ended as we know it, if the stock market plunged, the nation became a hollow vessel, the corporate state fractured, and the zombies attack I don’t have all the resources I would need. I am not a doctor though I could do minor surgical tasks and have. I am not a psychiatrist though I have been told a few times by loved ones I might need one. I cannot manufacture fuel but there is technologies that I know of that make such possible. My home is a castle protected only by my insistence rather than moats or concrete walls.
A resilient lifestyle eludes me as I live a terrestrial land based existence. When as a child I lived with my parents on a sailboat we had the capability of manufacturing everything to maintain self-sufficiency at sea for months. Our only needed resource being the wind, and water replenishment absent rain. Before everybody takes off in a dinghy I strongly suggest they consider the ramifications of having a family constrained to the physical space the size of most people’s kitchens for months on end.
I once was a soldier and Marine. My loyalty was to country over all. When I was in law enforcement, I had specific loyalties to the law and the community. I am older, and I am less inclined to be so easily giving of my loyalties and honor. In the state of Colorado they want faculty to swear oaths to the state. I have written a blank check to my country, expressed not only my love but my willingness to sacrifice, both as a member of the military and law enforcement. I do not know if I could so willingly forswear and take an oath like that. Supporting the constitution is a foregone conclusion but swearing a loyalty oath to a job is a poison pill.
My loyalty is to my family first. Perhaps in some small way living a resilient life style, raising children who have no expectation of hand outs, and being prepared for disaster should it come allows me to serve my country by not needing it to serve me. I guess the open question is will have not only the ability to take care of my family but the ability to detect when those risks arrive as threats.