My post of the link to "Doomsday Preppers are Socially Selfish" caused some argument back and forth, on email as well as the post. Looking for an Absolved quote to use from Rawles fictional work Survivors, I chanced upon this discussion which speaks to some of the points of contention. The conversation is between Lars Laine, a disabled veteran of the Iraqi conflict and L. Roy Martin, a wealthy owner of a gas generation plant who saw the collapse of the economy coming and moved to the Four Corners area of New Mexico. Both have a vital stake in the security of the area against large, sophisticated attackers.
Martin carried on: "Without central authority, people don't just starve and go away. They form their own polities -- their own governments. These polities are often organized around town or city government or local churches. They may call it a city council or a committee or a senate. The bottom line is, 'We the People' will do whatever 'we' have to do to survive. That's your 'we/they paradigm' in its essence, all the way to the point of xenophobia. And that specifically includes taking away NAPI's grain or even just stored food that was prudently set aside by the more forward-thinking individual families. When things started to unravel, I realized that when -- not if -- a polity formed, I'd better be part of that process. If not, my refinery and my employees would be looked upon as 'resources' instead of part of -- members of -- the community."Laine jumped in: "You've nailed it at its essence. The local polity will pass a resolution -- or 'emergency order' or whatever -- and 'legally' confiscate anyone's goods if they're deemed to be 'they' instead of 'we.' If you resist, you'll be crushed. They will have the resources of a whole community to draw upon including weapons, vehicles, manpower, electronics, tear gas, the whole works. Every scrap of government-owned equipment and weaponry will likely be used -- by someone. Anyone who plans to hold out against that kind of threat is kidding themselves."L. Roy again gave a thumbs-up and continued: "That is why I pushed as hard as I could to get the county sheriff to set up roadblocks. I planted the seed and laid out the details, and now he thinks it was all his idea. Hey, whatever works! My fear is that the local polity that is now coalescing is almost certainly going to make mistakes. Some of these could be lethal blunders. I frankly don't think the locals, except for a few of us, have given a lot of serious thought to facing long term survival. They'll squander resources and they'll delay implementing necessary actions -- like planting more food, or converting irrigation water systems into also handling domestic water, or working together to defend a harvest. Even worse, they may decide to take in thousands of refugees from the big cities. That will amost ensure longer-term starvation."Laine chimed in: "A much better approach is to be an integral part of the community and use the combined resources of the community to defend all of our resources together. This would be much easier if a high percentage of the community were like-minded folks who are committed to sharing and cooperating while still adhering to the free market -- nothing communistic or command-driven: you know 'top down.' I agree that any communities like ours with ag(riculture) production are going to have to somehow survive while facing even larger polities, like the cities, counties, or even state governments -- or people that call themselves by those names, to give them themselves an air of authority and legitimacy. . ."
Later in the same conversation:
Martin continued: . . . "Small farming communities can support a few outsiders, but not very many. The community will need to both politically and, if need be, militarily deal with outside polities of we'll face a war that we can't win. In any case, the twin communities of Farmington and Bloomfield need to have a plan, and some resolve. I just hope we can muster it.""God willing, we'll be able to shape that plan as community leaders instead of 'resources,' Lars added. After a moment Laine went on, "Well, my roadblock proposal is going up for a vote next week. Hopefully common sense and the new realities will prevail."