You know that prepping has gone mainstream when the popular financial magazine Fortune has a positive write-up about the wisdom of being ready for whatever may come.
Columnist David Z. Morris attended a preparedness expo called Life Changes, Be Ready! in Lakeland, Florida last week, where he discovered that our concerns are the same as those of the average American. ”LCBR gave an immediate sense of one big way that the preparedness crowd isn’t marginal at all – economically.” He wrote:
More and more Americans are spending money to get ready for an uncertain future — gathering food, water, tools, and skills to help them weather anything from a hurricane to a pandemic. Contrary to images of deluded or gun-obsessed “lone wolves,” many preppers are average consumers reacting to concrete worries, and their way of thinking is spreading, fueling an emerging lifestyle trend. That lifestyle is generating demand for a broad spectrum of products offering survival — or even comfort — when large-scale systems go down…
…The diversity and type of products on offer was also remarkable. Egger’s seeds, for example, were prominently labelled “Organic” and “Non-GMO” – and so were all the other seeds on sale at the show. Those are distinctions you might not think were important to the same crowd in the market for a crossbow, but according to Egger, “you don’t have to explain to people anymore” why eating organic matters. That was just one element of the unique mix of gritty survivalism, back-to-the land self-sufficiency, and outright hippie dream-science on display at LCBR. There were earthworm farms and beehives for sale, and two different companies dealing in essential oils. In a back corner, Mike Mah, or “No Stress Mike,” offered $30 pain reduction sessions using his “Hoy Chi” energy healing techniques. Mah’s flyers proudly advertised that he attended every Tea Party event he could, and he manipulated the spines of dozens of willing customers with a pistol tucked discreetly in his waistband. (source)
Morris’s article pointed out that education was a large part of the expo, and that many of the mainstream stereotypes about preppers were not necessarily accurate. He cited the non-threatening atmosphere and quote vendor Jim Egger. “If you go to the speaking engagements, you won’t hear any racist crap, you won’t hear any discriminatory talk. We don’t allow it.”
As preppers know, the end of the American way of life is upon us. Less than half of the population is employed, and as incomes are dropping, expenses are increasing. The divide between the rich and the poor in this country has never been greater, and the advent of Obamacare will widen the chasm even further. More than half of the population is receiving some type of government benefit in order to feed their families. The response is slow when natural disasters occur (think Katrina and Sandy), and when the EBT cards stop getting topped up, we can expect widespread civil unrest. Never has the need been greater to stock up on beans, bullets and band-aids. (If you’re new to the idea of prepping, check out some sites like Ready Nutrition (especially the 52 Weeks to Preparedness Series), Survival Blog, Survival Sherpa, Prepper Website, Lew Rockwell, and SHTFplan. Check out the Pantry Primer series on The Organic Prepper to learn how to build a one-year food supply in 3 short months. ) The clock is ticking, so buy as much as you can, while you can. Despite what many veteran preppers may tell you, it’s NOT too late!)
Although most of the review was positive, the article concluded with the obligatory “doomsday crackpot” reference.
Still, it was impossible to completely ignore the presence of an element many would consider reactionary. Political and social initiatives represented at the show included the Polk County Libertarians and the admirable entrepreneurship mentoring program Patriot Mission, Inc. – but also the marginal, conspiracy-minded John Birch Society. After a relatively measured primer on the threats of inflation, featured economist Dr. Kirk Elliot encouraged me to look into how the Rothschild and Rockefeller families continue to own the Federal Reserve – a common canard among New World Order conspiracists of the Alex Jones stripe.
Finally, at the end of my conversation with John Egger about the rise of “suburban homesteading,” a man with a white shock of hair interjected himself into the conversation. “You know what chemtrails are?” he asked, referring to another conspiracist trope that sees chemical tampering in jetstream vapor trails. “They’re changing the weather, then selling drought tolerant seeds. George Soros and Bill Gates are behind it.” Egger nodded politely and smiled, tolerant of a potential customer’s eccentricities.
While normalcy and centrism may be the goal for businesspeople like Cindy and Jim Thompson, it seems the preparedness lifestyle hasn’t completely shaken loose its extremists and kooks. (source)