Monday, August 4, 2014

When the balloon goes up, there won't be any Amish survivors.

You have to hand it to Survivalist Magazine. They make a big effort not to conform to the guns, gardens, shelter and fire format of most survival magazines.

I know the Amish have excellent survival skills. They don't need electricity, and they have the knowledge and equipment to lead their normal lives in a grid down situation. But there won't be any Amish survivors when the Golden Horde passes through .  The Amish lack one absolutely essential survival skill. They won't fight to protect their families or their property.  That means when the bad guys come through to pillage, it will be easy for them to kill the men and carry off the women, and that's what will happen. The Amish can only exist because they can shelter behind Law Enforcement, which is prepared to do what they won't do.

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

God has a really spotty record in terms of protecting his minions in times of danger. The Christian Missionaries  in China during the 1920's and 1930's, the Jews of the Second World War period, even Christians in the middle east today, are finding that God usually fails to make an appearance when the killers are coming over the walls.

I don't really like the police. I prefer to avoid them, and most of my dealings with them in the last few years have not been calculated to change my attitude. But if they were not there, life would be a lot more tenuous.

Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,
The hour when earth's foundations fled,
Followed their mercenary calling,
And took their wages, and are dead.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

A.E. Housman


  1. Well they did manage to outgrow the early Indian attacks and remain a viable community even after several raids and such. They proved themselves useful to have as friends not slaves in several cases. Admittedly they took some pretty horrible casualties before an understanding was reached in most cases.

    Of course I am not a believer in the so called Golden Horde anyway. I doubt even 1/10th of one percent could ever survive long enough in a rural setting to become a horde and attrition just in the burbs will kill most of them off.

    1. Maybe you could buy off Indians, but you aren't going to make deals with groups of thugs on that basis. The Golden Horde is a philosophical designation more than a tactical unit. One thing is for absolute certain, when the food runs out in cities, those people are going to start heading outward. Since the burbs don't have a lot in the way of food supply, they'll not tarry there long. They'll go out looking for places like yours, isolated farms with animals. Remember "The Day After" from the early 1980's? That's the way things will go. How many of the several million people in a city need to make it out to the Amish areas to eradicate them? They won't resist so they'll be easy, a gang of armed juvenile delinquents could erase the Amish. Remember the huge masses of people who just wandered out of New Orleans after Katrina, heading they knew not where. If there hadn't been someone out there to take care of them, they'd have taken care of themselves, at someone else's expense.

      It doesn't matter if there are 3, 10 or 45 thugs who come calling if you don't have any means of defense. The Amish don't.

    2. Well I would say I have more experience and knowledge of actual Amish and Mennonites than any others I see in our normal blog circles. I pretty much have some contact with them on a daily basis. The trouble is around here at any rate they are not in communities but are scattered about like a patchwork quilt mixed in with all us non-Amish/Mennonites. In a grid down situation they are going to be a part of the community and many of them will fall inside borders and defensive perimeters that local groups will protect.

      Also do not discount the extended families of these groups. The small town down the road from me is full of fundamentalist Christian couples that one or both came directly from Amish or Mennonite families. Some married outside the circles, some decided to leave the faith but remain in the area and they will insist their families are protected and help in doing so.

      As for the horde I think you over estimate the average urban person's ability to travel on foot and under estimate the number of casualties they would take. Even if it is just one at each house, and there are literally 100's of thousands of houses spread out between the cities and real ag land, their numbers would be reduced to nothing quite quickly.

      Hell up here all we have to do it drop a few bridges and some trees across roads and we would isolate ourselves from all but the most athletic looter.

    3. I don't underestimate the things the average person is capable of doing in order to survive.

      Will Amish or Mennonites fight? If they won't, then maybe some of them can shelter with more realistic people in a crunch. I tell you what, I'd be utterly damned if I'd take in a group of people who weren't willing to help with defense in a crunch.

      I don't place a lot of faith in local groups. Maybe I should. Our Sheriff has the legal ability to call out every able bodied man and deputize them in an emergency. But that's based on the theory that men will leave their families on the homesteads and mass in town for the Sheriff. Personally, there's no way I'm going to leave this place and go protect the homes of the local power people out at the lake, which is what I suspect it would turn into.

      There are 356 million people in this country. (the numbers vary depending on source, but this seems a realistic median number) If the urban centers go down, some of them are going to be hard enough, and smart enough, to realize that the happy days are here at last and they can do what they want to do. One of the things Rawles has in his books that I think is accurate is the development of "tribes" who stay continually on the move, feeding themselves through pillage. Let's say of the 356 million, all but one million in each state are sheeple and die off the first week. That's not apt to happen, but it would leave 50 million pillagers roving the countryside. Nor do they have to travel in big, organized bands. We already have a problem here with groups that are under 10 in number but cause innumerable problems with car theft, house breaking, and robbery. And that's with the law enforcement structure still in place, at least theoretically.

  2. A great stop and think posting.

  3. I wonder if the Amish Mafia will step up and defend the farms....

    1. snickering..............

    2. Not likely. They need to import some Korean shopkeepers to have any chance at all.

    3. Have you seen the show "Amish Mafia" ? Its on Discovery channel. My neice lives in Wrightsville, PA and they film it near her in Lancaster. She worries about the guy Lebanon

    4. I watched part of an episode once. The show is specifically addressed in the latest issue of Survivalist. They say that true to form, Discovery Channel dug up some malcontents and exploited them. I don't know the truth of it, but I know Discovery Channel has an unsavory reputation for doing whatever it takes to get their shows ratings up, including fakery.

  4. If any demographic is going to come out of this in okay shape, it'll be the homeless. They already live a post-apocalyptic lifestyle. While its true that the carcass they scavenge off of will no longer be as fat, they'll still have the acquired adaptability to be okay with living in cardboard boxes, eating whatever they can find, forsaking personal hygiene, etc, etc.

    Only other demographic that will come out on top will be the Mormons.

    1. The Mormons have it together. They plan ahead, they have group cohesion, they practice a lifestyle that supports them in tough times. And they will kill anybody who threatens them stone dead without hesitation. If the fewmets hit the windmill I may convert.

      Homeless people are probably going to pull through, but I'm not sure their life style qualifies as living. There's a little settlement of folks like that along a creek in the national forest here. I saw it once. Some people were down on their luck but a lot of them were plain crazy or druggies, or both.

    2. As best I can tell, very few homeless folks live on anything other than handouts and dumpster diving. So while they may be good scroungers, I doubt there is going to be much in the way of handouts. I am on the fence. My guess is the hobo crowd will do o.k., but the urban types will not.

  5. Harry, Until I discovered your blog and starting reading your blogroll I had never really heard about "Survival Preppers". It is something that I have never come across in Australia, I suppose the closest we have down here are what you would call "homesteaders", people who want to get back to a more basic way of life on the land. The biggest difference with "homesteading" in Oz is that a good proportion are fairly hippie in outlook or else are into sustainability etc. and I would say also guess that the large majority are not shooters or armed in any way.

    Of course the majority of people on the land are still the traditional farmers & stockmen who have usually come from generations of farmers and they all know how to shoot and hunt.

    1. Sgt, we've had survivalists here since the 1950's , at least. During the Cold War a lot of people built bomb shelters, because we all believed that we'd have to fight the Russians, and when we did it would be the end of everything. I remember doing "duck and cover" drills at school, and we used to get Civil Defense pamphlets at school to take home, showing how to make a shelter in your home against radiation, and what food and water to store.
      Then, in the 1970's, that basic thread started branching out into different lines of thought. The Sixties were not so great here, with race riots and the society really fragmented by the war in Vietnam. People began to wonder if it would hold together or just fall apart.

      That's when more people began to give thought to a post society life style. They weren't mainstream, and were largely ridiculed or relegated to the ranks of the harmlessly eccentric by the vast majority of the population.

      By the 1980's, survivalism was a distinct subculture in the U.S. but still not mainstream. I think what really gave it a kick start was hurricane Katrina and the show "Doomsday Preppers" on National Geographic. Katrina showed people who had relied on the government to address their every need, that in a disaster they were going to have to fend for themselves. It also illustrated how fast things can go to hell, and how far people will sink, when "the system" breaks down. The Doomsday Prepper series was flawed, in that it was simplistic, and it intentionally chose some of the more bizarre denizens of the survivalist community to highlight, since that boosts ratings. But it did start a lot of people thinking that it couldn't hurt to have some food and water stored against a bad day.

      2007 came along and a lot of people lost their life savings as a result of chicanery on Wall Street. That knocked a lot of complacent, bovine individuals into the new reality.

      Now most people prefer to be called Preppers because it's more politically correct, but it doesn't really matter what people call themselves as long as they take some responsibility for their own well being .

      I have always thought of Australians as tough outdoorsmen who could survive hardship with aplomb. I realize that's simplistic and doesn't take into account a lot of city dwellers. But it's how they are generally portrayed in our county. It wasn't til I saw that Australian television series "The Slap" on one of our obscure satellite tv channels that I really got a feel for Australian society as a whole.

    2. Harry, back in the 50,s & 60,s that stereotype was actually pretty accurate, now the majority of Aussies live in cities. The largest cities such as Sydney & Melbourne have sizeable populations of what I call latte sipping lefties (another term used here is Chardonnay Socialists), however the majority of Australians are still conservative by nature, despite occassional experiments with electing socialist governments they always come back to a conservative one in the end.

      My father was born on a farm out in Western NSW (sheep & wheat country) but I was born and bred on the outskirts of Sydney,however I spend as much time out in the bush as I can. I have no illusions of being able to live off the land but unlike many inner city dwellers the bush holds no fear for me.

  6. Hello,

    I enjoy your blog. I agree with your post. Unfortunately the supposition that the "Amish", or those in Pennsylvania were able to buy off, or negotiate a peaceful existence with the Indians is false. In colonial times the populace and Commonwealth government would not take up arms, nor provide arms for a militia and the Indian incursions of the mid-18th century produces quite a lot of casualties amongst the peaceable populace of friends. The action taken by the government was to import Ulster Scots to populate the frontier and act as a buffer between the communities and the Indian threat. From the mid-1700s there was that great increase in the population through this that spread down the Great Wagon Road throughout the mountains into the Carolinas. A second act was taken by a private citizen to organize and arm a militia, Benjamin Franklin funded the first militia from his own funds. Third, we know that historically the Commonwealth had a shortage of firearms continuously. Here is a reference to that from the Journal of the American Revolution.



    1. Thanks for the information. I don't really have a good grasp of that part of history, Pioneer Preppy knows more about the Amish than I do, since he sees some of them from time to time. I don't think either of us had the details you furnished though. I can well believe the Scots sorted out the Indian problem in short order. My own ancestors were Scots Irish and came to North Carolina in 1742. Coming from that blood line, I have little patience with people who won't fight to defend their own families and property. I wouldn't beat up on them or be hateful, but I wouldn't want them around when the fewmets hit the windmill either.

  7. As someone who, if TSHTF, would be trapped against the east coast I tend to thing a bit about how "cityfolk" and us suburbanites will deal with it. And dealing Sandy helped to some degree but needs to be kept in context.

    When you talk about "cities" there are matters of scale. The great metro areas that exist around the east coast cities from the Boston area down through the Atlanta are harbor an ENORMOUS number of people. Roughly 1/4 of the entire nation (perhaps more) lives in that corridor. This is replicated, to a somewhat more contained extent, along the southern shores of the great lakes and again along pockets of the west and gulf coasts.

    The true urbanites in these areas are not likely to head for the hinterlands until it is too late. What they know is the city. They'll not flee it lightly and they won't have any tools and supplies to pack with them. And depending on the nature of the S that HTF, transportation will likely be crushed to a halt. Think of the road scenes in Walking Dead. The trains will not go, 1/2 or more of urbanites in MAJOR cities do not own personal transport and even if they do it will be impossible to fuel it and move it. Bicycles will work but are easy to stop and most aren't fit enough to move many miles on them or haul much in the way of supplies. Urbanites will be hard pressed to get into, let alone through, the decreasingly urban areas around them.

    Suburbanites will have plenty of personal transportation and generally some supplies they can grab and go, but where and how? It is an astonishing thing to watch how easily roads are clogged in this area. And that is without road blocks both legit and illegit. As we saw with Katrina, local areas can easily set up roadblocks and forbid entry to the wandering hoards trying to even get through. Automobiles and trucks are going nowhere in pretty short order.

    Which is all to say that if what happens is a major pandemic or truly massive disaster, the urbanites and even most suburbanites from the MAJOR metros are not going all that far and they'll be largely on foot, hungry, thirsty, and clueless in short order. The gangbangers and thugs will stay close to prey on the target rich environment.

    Inland cities are a different ball of wax. But I suspect the rural and semi-rural would be able to pool resources and skills sufficiently to feed and protect themselves.

    JMO of course.

    1. Sounds like a reasonable premise to me. The best portrayal of this scenario I can remember seeing is the old History Channel "docu-drama" After Armageddon.

      In that show, the people living close in to the city tried to stay in their house. But as the gangs of looters moved closer into their area, breaking into homes looking for food, the family that the show focused on realized they would have to flee. They had a stern reality check. Unfortunately, it didn't really work out too well for them.

  8. The Amish are not anti-technology per se, but anti-invasive technology. So they are not exactly 19th century types. But the earlier pacifist Quakers seemed to have survived well in their day. My guess is that there is an advantage to being peaceful, cooperative, and godly that doesn't guarantee survival, but can be an alternate path.