|"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.