Tuesday, January 3, 2023

2023 Quincy Adams Wagstaff Lecture

"You asked for this lecture, and you're going to get it, good and hard.
These are my principles.
If you don't like them, I have other ones."

Ladies and gentlemen, faculty, students, and friends of Huxley College,

When 2022 dawned just a short year ago, like the janitor watching the cattle train pull in at the Chicago stockyards, we had no idea what a colossal load of reprocessed hay and grass was about to descend upon us from every direction.

So rather than waste your time recounting the byproducts that even the finest steaks and ribs left behind last year, we focus our attention on the things you need to keep in mind, rather than the sorts of things that come and go faster than your retirement savings.


You need water to stay alive. A cup will buy you a couple of hours. A canteen might get you through a day. And a barrel might help you see the end of the month. If you want to live longer than a month, you're going to need more than that, and a way to get all you need, for as long as you'd like to live. And you're going to find out all too soon that a tap to city supplies equals exactly nothing when things get tough. And they're going to get tough. And then they're going to get even tougher.  When they do, it's too late to look for someplace to drill a well. Stop waiting.


"Man shall not live by bread alone." He won't live without anything to eat for very long either. Inflation, real inflation, on food, is running about 100% over pre-COVID days' prices. That's right, about 100%. There are some exceptions. Take advantage of them, while you can, and stock up. In several places. Find someplace to put some away. Then put away some more. Then more than that. It still won't be enough, but it will buy you enough time to avoid the panic, avoid crowds, and come up with another plan. And if you haven't got it together by then, don't worry. Your problems will all be over in about 40 days. The chances are, if your ancestors hadn't gotten enough to eat, you wouldn't be here. Learn from that.


A place of safety, all yours, that provides continual water and food isn't a luxury. It's a vital necessity. People living with modern conveniences and distribution have ignored that for a century. They're about to get the sort of reminder on that score that sets civilization back every thousand years or so. You're here because your ancestors made wise choices. Whether you become an ancestor will depend upon you doing the same.


War. Famine. Disease. Death. Those are the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. Unlike in the Bible, the above order is also how they appear IRL, as a rule. You've got  them all pawing up dust in the barn right now. Get busy before they come out of the stall and go for a stroll. The past few years have seen the total abdication, by modern medicine, of any pretense of following the Hippocratic Oath (and to which they'd only paid lip service for a generation anyhow) or ethics anything like it. That means you're entering the era where you are your own doctor, nurse, and paramedic. This lesson is graded pass/fail. Fail means someone dies. Maybe you, maybe a loved one. Knowledge, tools, and medicines are relatively cheap, for the moment. They'll become priceless in the blink of an eye, and five minutes late means failure.


Precious metals are money. Fiatbux are finely engraved toilet paper. Since ever. Keep enough actual greenbacks (a few months' worth of expenses), because while they still work, they'll solve a host of minor problems time and again. Until they don't. After that, it's precious metals, period. 

In order of value, those are

Lead and brass: This comes in plain paper boxes, and olive drab cans. Unless you're drowning or on fire, you don't have enough of that. And it should go without saying, you need the heavy metal and training to send that precious metal in the direction of those who most desperately deserve it. This last is covered by the Rittenhouse Theorem Of Precious Metal Distribution: two to the chest, and one to the head.

Silver and gold: Old circulating coinage is the most handy. Silver for everyday usage, and gold for a compact store of value. And once again, all you can get still won't be enough, but it can be a great help. Like eggs and baskets, don't keep everything all in one place.


Timeless knowledge, skills, and experiential hands-on training. That means you need a library that doesn't live in digital ones and zeros. And the experience to put things into practice, instead of learning to do them five minutes after it's too late. Get self-sufficient now, while there's no penalty for coming up short. Sure, get all the things you can while you can get them, but learn how to work around not having them or how to come up with the alternatives from the last generation, or from a century or two before, say, electricity. People who are jacks- (and jills-) of-all-trades will be resilient, useful, marketable, and likely to last a lot longer than specialists with no practical skills will, in any place and time. Let alone any number of possible futures even as little as a year hence.

And while you're training your minds, and your hands, get up off your fat sofas and lounge chairs and train your bodies. 


How far can you walk in a day? Draw a circle that big around where you are, or will be. Keep in touch farther than that, and keep an eye on the horizon, in every way possible. But get used to the idea that anything beyond a day's walk is far less important to you and yours than what lies inside that distance. The people most likely to make trouble for you are inside that day's walk-sized circle. Including all the trouble in the world. Aliens from space aren't likely to vex you nearly as much as any mob of idiots from less than five miles from where you're sitting in front of the computer or TV screen each night.

The same is true of the people that can help you the most. If they're inside that circle, those are 3AM friends. People aren't going to come flying in to save you on air cavalry gunships from the next county or state over. But the friend or neighbor two plots over, or a block down, is much more valuable.

Not least of which because you can't have too much of everything, but if you and twenty friends each have too much of something, chances are each of you will have too much of something different. Now you've got people to trade and barter with, and everyone makes out better with every deal. Then, and now. (Bonus: there's no sales or income tax on trading a jar of jam to someone else for a dozen eggs or a quart of milk, nor trading charging up somebody's batteries for an oil filter or a fuel pump, or any ten thousand other things you could think of.)


To even keep the above is going to be exceedingly hard to do. It was so for your parents and great-grandparents when all they had to worry about was the weather.

It is overwhelmingly likely that you're going to have to fight to have and keep that. And we don't mean bloody noses and silly buggers at the playground.

You're going to have to be willing to face killing and dying. Theirs, and yours. Until you're sick of it. And then, some more. And probably, even more than that. You should ponder the full meaning and import of words like insurgency, underground, and auxiliary, chiefly because you are liable to have far more firsthand experience with them, and all applicable lessons regarding them, in the coming days than anyone has ever had in the last generation or two.

The list of, and numbers of, those who are already ready and willing to take everything - including life itself - away from you and yours is growing by the tens of thousands, every single day. The proof of the pudding is they aren't even shy any longer about telling you outright, in public, even to your face, exactly that. Trust them.

And God help you, if you aren't ready and willing to take them out at the drop of a hat, the minute they so much as twitch a muscle forward on their plans, yet again, you won't have to worry about later on. "The quick and the dead" isn't just a poetic phrase. Be the former, or you'll default to the latter.

Those issues are the subjects upon which we at Huxley College commend to your higher education, with the firm hope that you will willingly and cheerfully apply yourselves, in order to achieve the restoration of the civilization and liberty some of us are yet old enough to fondly remember as being the birthright of free men everywhere, and throughout all time.

May it be so again. 

No one else is coming to save you. (They never were.) 

You're going to have to save yourselves. Godspeed.


  1. Amen. And thus endeth the lesson

  2. Perfect.

    Keep this up and I'll have to bump you higher on my RSS list ;-)

  3. You got the basics, but there is more to think about.
    Tangibles. Got land? Productive farmland is the sinle most important investment you can make with the future we face.
    Then you need machines, tools, jacks, fencing, Tposts, anything garden related.. Seeds, pesticides- you have no idea how much it matters until you've been gardening and farming for 40 years. A little goes a long way, none means the bugs eat and you don't. Spare parts are already a big problem in the business, but get extra filters, hydraulic fluid, and engine oil. Add antifreeze to that list. It will keep a long time in the factory packaging.
    Weapons obviously, but a diesel tractor with a loader is worth 100 men in the field.
    You'll need diesel fuel to make it work, so storage tanks are essential.
    Bush hogs, post hole diggers, and if you can go there, hay equipment. Mowers, rakes and balers. And TWINE.
    That livestock won't feed itself through the winter. If it dies, so will you.
    Our entire standard of living in the west is based on the success of farming.
    And we're about to learn why.

    Josey Wales

    1. Some of us don’t have this option. But we’re willing to sign on with those who do. We can bring assets. Be an asset. Keep that an open option if you do have land.

  4. Spot on, Dude!

    Put slightly differently, "Prepare now! Being someone's ancestor doesn't always come easy."

  5. Roger all that. Much obliged for the lesson--straight from the School of Hard Knocks, best school around. And the knocks will be coming soon--at the double-quick.

    Plus--keep the weather in mind--hot 'n cold. Last month a blizzard roared through my AO with 68 mph wind at actual minus ten below zero ground temp making a -50*F wind chill. We buttoned up and had few issues, even with the power lines down. We have Plan(s) #A, #B, and #C and fine tune them in monthly drills. Every two-legged resident here has a job to do. Four leggers on duty 24/7 with great eyes and ears.

    Unprepared families down the road froze their arses off. No food, no running water, no power--the kids freaked. Parents not much better. Things now back to "normal" and unprepped families back living in cloud cuckoo-land with unicorns and fairy dust abounding. They learned zero.

  6. Good advice. Much of it taken to heart already. The 'war' part of the 4 Horsemen seems very apparent now. This will hit most of the population as a big surprise (spurring the "we've got to do something" cries) as the DC zipper-heads, Four-Star-TV-fools and MSM are manipulating the Ukraine narratives to this outcome. I saw an commentary entitled "WWIII then Civil War" (or something to that effect) on one of the alternative news sites which I frequent/haunt... and this is now likely to become a reality.

  7. Josey knows. The Redlegs came for him and his back in the Day. Redlegs and Jayhawks always come back.

  8. http://grahamcombat.com/the-killhouse-rules/

    Parallels your thoughts pretty closely.

    Great minds, DO think alike!

  9. While I agree with all of the advice written and heartily appreciate the soundness of it, I would just like to make an observation.
    Well into my 60's now, with some hard earned mobility and back issues which preclude me from heavy work, and owning a nice off grid property; we've been talking about the "balloon going up" since the early 70's. I've watched, listened and read about every kind of apocalypse, man made thru the biblical, be predicted and not happen. I really do wish I had all of my "hard earned, well wasted" money back. Not one damned thing predicted has ever happened. No bombs, ridiculous seemingly never ending wars, (with no apparent winner), one crock of bovine scatology after another. Now I realize there's lots of folks will say' "You just wait and see!" Well I've been "waiting and seeing" since 1974. NOPE! Nothing yet. If I had HALF of what I've spent on "being prepared" for whatever, I could have retired on the beach drinking margaritas.
    Now, I appreciate living local. I've ranched for years. Cattle and horses are a PITA. They're nothing but trouble in a leather sack and I owe them for all of my infirmities, but it ain't worth all of the heartache, worry and doing without. Find a well paying job or business, make money and go ENJOY life. A couple of extra cans of beans is one thing, but maintaining stockpiles is a waste of time. I'm still shooting cheap .22's for target practice from the days of .50 cents a box. Whoop de doo! I saved a few bucks. HORSE HOCKEY! Go live your life and enjoy all of the good stuff that's out there instead of worrying about the damned apocalypse that you can't predict or foresee OR prepare for.
    I hate to say it, but you can't prepare. PERIOD. Unless you have a small army of family or folks you can trust, a LOT of money and you want to live a most rural and frugal lifestyle, NEVER knowing just WAITING, for your entire life....STOP the predictions and the fretting!
    Sorry if an old guy ruffled any feathers, but I've been watching and reading about this nonsense for far too long to NOT make an observation.
    A happy and prosperous new year to all!

    1. I myself an 67, and same here with the apocalypse isright around the corner predictions since Paul Ehrlich book The Population Bomb in 1968 and Hal Lindsay's Late Great Planet Earth in 1970.
      Kept to my career though, now retired.
      Look at it this way - we made it this far without seeing it all end for us, that's something to be thankful for.
      You did good, you didn't waste your life, your money or your time. You did the best you could do at the time with the information given and acted in the manner in which you thought best.
      Next step is to identify who is going to get your property, your wealth, your guns and other gizmos when you pass away of natural causes. That's my concerns now.
      If shit finally blows up in a big way this year? Not being all that mobile myself (though trying to improve to the best of my ability) I plan to Die In Place, and I have enough to last me as long as I am reasonably able to hold out, and I plan tp give a good accounting of myself.
      Peace and good wishes to you brother, and everyone else here.

  10. Bravo, Professor!

    All true. Thank you.

  11. Best ever, Brother.
    Thank you for all of the gems you have put before us over the years and above.
    See you on the other side, God willing.
    Boat Guy

  12. There's truth here but I have now reached my biblical age limit. So much of the advice no longer applies as my physical abilities have sadly declined.
    I believe there is a collapse coming, but I might not live to see it,as it appears to me to be a slow and gradual avalanche rather than a sudden drop. The US citizenry will simply slide into third world social status. Regardless how it happens, I will not survive it.

  13. During the Cold War when I was a teenager in 1974, our biggest concern was the WarHawks starting WW 3 nuclear just for spite. We observed the world and news media with a wary eye, we read Revelation and correlated with a rational observation as technology and politics overtook humanity.

    The signs are here and anyone with an ear and an eye will see that we are entering hyper inflation, invasion and occupation- the Great Replacement. After Al Gore's Carbon Credit Carbon Tax, the writing on the wall is upon us.

  14. Regarding point 5: would you or other commenters expand on old circulating coinage vs bullion with the very great price differential. In the case of a man with a young family, what percentage silver vs gold would you recommend and how much of your investable income would you put in physical metals vs fiat vs stock vs ira? I appreciate your posts, and the amount of great info gleaned from the comments section.

  15. Old circulating coinage is a known commodity: weight, measurements, PM percentage, etc. Published in multiple reference works. Bullion can (and has been found to be) gold-plated lead, on more than one occasion. It looks like gold or silver, but no one can tell what's inside.
    I'd put at least 10% of savings into PMs, as a minimum, and I'd stick with silver only until your hoard is worth more than $10K at face value (i.e. 10,000 silver dollars, or 40K pre-1965 quarters, etc.). After that, gold, in ounces or fractional ounces (half ounces, quarter ounces, 1/10th ounces), consolidates value while minimizing bulk.
    I'd also accumulate savings of 6 months' income in cash, readily available (i.e. not in a bank or safety deposit box) as an emergency fund cash float. 90% of your problems in life will be solved by a withdrawal from the Bank Of Ready Cash. That's $15,600, if you're working full-time at minimum wage, which is about $15,000 more than most (90%) people in the U.S. can lay their hands on right now, at any salary level below $200K/yr. Start with having one month. Then add on until it's two. Keep going until you get to six months. Any problem you can't solve with half a year's income is either a massive catastrophe, or you're a prize-winning walking disasterpiece.
    Any other savings could be whatever level and mix of real and personal property you feel comfortable with. Think long and hard about what you're planning for, if nothing goes wrong, if something goes wrong, and if everything goes wrong. Whatever you chose could be brilliant, or incredibly stupid, depending on a host of circumstances completely beyond your control. Land? What if there's a flood? Or it's adjacent to Mt. St. Helens, which then erupts? Stocks? Nifty in 1980, not so much in 1999, and disastrous in 1929. Crypto? Great idea in maybe 2014; trainwreck now. Nothing is for certain. You makes your choices, and you takes your chances.
    Diversifying a range of things protects you from losing everything. It also insures you won't make the metric craptons of money as you would have if you'd picked the one great idea, while also guaranteeing you won't lose your pants if your big move turns to sh*t.

    So you'll have to assess where you are, where you want to be, and what calamity(ies)you're trying to avoid.

    Step One: Pay yourself first. If you won't set aside money for your future before anything else, yours will be pretty bleak, come the day.
    Step Two: Get rich s-l-o-w. Look at the timeframe you're looking at, figure out how many years, months, weeks, etc. from now until then, and figure out how to get from here to there financially, week by week, paycheck by paycheck, month by month, and year over year.
    Step Three: DO IT! If you never start, you'll never finish. 100% Guaranteed.