Get a Van!

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Gary North recently wrote: “In every recession, there are permanent victims. The RV industry is the poster child as this recession’s permanent victim. The industry is finished.”

Yes — and so now is the best time to buy an RV.

In the next few years, an RV could be a vital part of your plan to survive the economic catastrophe which the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, and the federal government have unleashed. Whether the RV industry thrives or not, the RV itself is positioned to ride the economic storm.

True, with respect to the economics of recreation, an RV costs more than a lifetime of trips to Disney World. But the cost is typically an order of magnitude cheaper than a home, and that’s how you should think about it: an RV is an emergency back-up home.

People who think they don’t need an emergency back-up home don’t realize how bad the current crisis is. We face economic collapse, and survival may soon depend on being prepared for a desperate world where food, clothing, and shelter are scarce commodities.

Many libertarians are aware of the danger of hyperinflation, and how money could become worthless, reducing society to barter and food riots. They respond by stockpiling staples. All well and good — but wouldn’t you also rather be a moving target than a sitting duck?

That’s why you need an RV, trailer, camper, or utility van. Consider the havoc of economic collapse. If rioters set your town on fire, will your neighborhood be spared? Will firefighters be on strike, will hydrants have pressure? When a wall of smoke approaches your street, a back-up home on wheels will seem like an investment in gold.

If the economy collapses, cities could turn unlivable. You’ll need to move into the countryside. How will you transport all of the non-perishable food that you amassed? Do you intend to live in your car for the years it may take the economy to recover?

Living out of a car soon feels intolerable, but even a utility van can be accessorized for survival with style. For a few thousand dollars you can mount solar panels on the roof to provide electricity for heat, cooking, refrigeration, a computer and widescreen TV. Add a stuffed chair, and a lot of guys could happily live in there now.

Modified hybrid vehicles can be propelled on batteries charged from rooftop solar panels. The daily charge is only enough to drive a few miles, but that will seem like a lot when gasoline becomes unobtainable.

Some people will gasp at the thought of living for perhaps years with only a van as home. But consider the alternatives: to be caught in the crossfire of civil unrest, to painfully die of exposure. Economic Armageddon won’t be pretty.

Even if society doesn’t revert to savagery, a back-up home on wheels can make a big difference in tough times. Suppose you lose your job and miss the payments on your house and you’re evicted. Suppose that having the foreclosure listed on your credit report prevents you from renting an apartment. What then? Sleeping in a mobile home beats a homeless shelter or tent city.

What if there are job openings in another region of the country? You can hop in your van and arrive while they’re still hiring. If that job is only temporary, you can then drive somewhere else just as readily. Living in a van means you can immediately go wherever the jobs are.

Sure, you could establish a refuge in the wilderness, but federal forces have a proclivity toward confronting the "fortress mentality" — for example, with snipers at Ruby Ridge and troops at Waco. For Galt’s Gulch, they’d probably call in air strikes. So let’s leave the barricaded compounds to the cultists.

The feds won’t hassle RV owners as much, because most people don’t think of an RV as a sign of "survivalist nutterism." Stacking soup cans in your broom closet may arouse suspicion, but purchasing an RV usually makes people think only that you’re going on vacation.

That the vacation may encompass the downfall of civilization is not necessary to mention to friends, neighbors, or government agents. When the time comes, just get in and drive away. And if the time doesn’t come, make sure you bought the vehicle used so that it retains resale value.

Today, investing in the RV industry doesn’t look wise. Investing in one vehicle, however, is a bargain as economic collapse insurance. A van may help you avoid becoming a permanent victim of the escalating economic crisis.

So get yourself a mobile survival machine — and keep the gas tank full.

Joe Schembrie [send him mail] is a writer who lives in Bellevue, Washington.

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