America Is More Like Haiti Than We'd Like to Think

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The
recent earthquake in the island nation of Haiti illustrates the
fragility of all societies. While Haiti is unusual in its lack of
infrastructure and its high dependence on foreign aid – more
than half of its annual government budget comes from foreign aid
– it is still similar in many ways to other nations: From the
1960s to the turn of the 21st century, as in many other nations,
Haiti became an urbanized nation. Before the 1960s a substantial
portion of Haitian society still lived on rural semi-self-sufficient
farmsteads. But as urbanization and specialization went on, fewer
and fewer people lived off the land and more and more citizens became
dependent on foreign aid and a scant number of industrial jobs.
This trend has been repeated around the globe, making nearly all
societies increasingly vulnerable to disasters, man-made or natural.
The resiliency of traditional agrarian societies has sadly become
a thing of the past. Here in America, 2% of the population now
feeds the other 98%.
This is now something that First, Second,
and Third World nations have in common. America is more like Haiti
than we’d like to think. Human nature is the same in every culture
and nation: fundamentally sinful.

The Thin
Veneer

With a few
exceptions, most notably in Oceania, traditional Christian values
have slipped away in much of the western world. When times get tough
the citizenry of most nations loses all compunctions about using
violence to expropriate the property of others. As I’ve written
before, modern societies have just a thin veneer of civilization
that covers something quite odorous beneath. Here in modern western
societies, folks like to think of themselves as highly civilized,
but when the Schumer
hits the fan, there’s no difference between people in the First
World and the Third World.

As prepared
individuals, we have the opportunity to set ourselves apart with
a higher standard of behavior than those who resort to their baser
instincts in time of crisis. It’s important that there are some
of us that have both the means and the willingness to help restore
order and free commerce in the event of societal disruption.

The recent
events in Haiti should be a reminder that in times of crisis things
can easily fall apart. What happened in Haiti was dramatic, and
a naturally occurring event, but because of the vulnerabilities
of all modern societies, there could just as well be a reversion
to savagery in a situation such as an economic collapse. We need
to have our Beans, Bullets, and Band-aids squared away, so we can
focus on more important things in a disaster than just finding food
and water. Not only do we need to just prepare for surviving the
next day, but also to be useful in rebuilding infrastructures and
free commerce. This requires preparing with logistics as well as
training and practicing to be ready to step into the breach.

The Charity
Imperative

First World
nations have become focused on large organizations, both governments
and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), dispensing charity. The
collective psyche is geared toward watching suffering "someplace
far away", and dialing an 800 number to make a contribution
via credit card. While I truly appreciate people’s generosity, it
is something quite far removed from preparedness to dispense charity
locally.

Read
the rest of the article

January
20, 2010

James
Wesley, Rawles is a former U.S. Army Intelligence officer and a
noted author and lecturer on survival and preparedness topics. He
is the author of Patriots:
A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse
and is the editor
of SurvivalBlog.com
the popular daily web journal for prepared individuals living in
uncertain times.

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