Friday, May 16, 2014
Old Habits Die Hard.
Before the advent of the Preppers, and before survivalism under that banner became mainstream, most survivalists tended to be a low profile group. It was almost exclusively male. That's not to imply women weren't involved in survivalism amongst the "hard core" but they were usually the spouses of survivalists more than being adherents themselves.
Operational Security is a term you hear a lot these days, but it becomes harder and harder to practice when you communicate with large numbers of other like minded people. Being like minded doesn't mean everybody shares the same methodology or philosophy. Today it really means that you have common interests in some aspects of self sufficiency, but that's generally as far as it goes.
In using the blog as a means of communication, especially when commenting or responding to comments, you have to be very careful about inadvertently compromising someone. Even the most innocuous statement can tell the world something about an individual that they would prefer not to have broadcast about. You can also compromise yourself. After awhile, if you get careless, the aggragate result can be very surprising, and uncomfortable. I sometimes feel that at my age, there's isn't a lot I can lose by these slips but depending on who is reading them and what their motivation is, that may not be true.
If one of your correspondents lives in a country where it's illegal to discuss certain aspects of life, and you do so in a comment left on their blog, can you get them into trouble? I'm not talking about third world countries, either. I have frequently left notes on comments I've sent to English bloggers, and said "if this might land you in trouble, don't post this." Sometimes, they don't. Some other parts of the world that might surprise you are light on the "freedom of speech" aspect of blogging. I don't want to cause difficulties for anyone so I have to take that into consideration. I would never be upset if someone did not post one of my comments because they were protecting themselves. I would be very upset if I got someone into difficulties. It's easy for an American to do that because we aren't used to the idea of being arrested for expressing our views.
The Internet has changed everything. There was a time when I might drive two days to meet with people and exchange ideas. Meetings like this were usually set up through mutual acquaintances. They ordinarily involved tightly organized groups and frequently had strong political overtones. Often there was such a degree of suspicion and distrust that nothing positive could be achieved.
I think the number of groups devoted to mutual support and coordinated activity is much lower than it was then. I know there are still some outfits quietly motoring along below the surface, but they tend to be much less common than they were. Today it's more a case of individuals sharing ideas , point to point through the internet. Even the old events where bloggers who shared the self sufficient lifestyle would meet at some prearranged location for a "blogfest" don't seem to happen anymore.
Whether these are positive developments or not I genuinely don't know. Because blogs are necessarily open to anyone who wants to read them if you want to achieve the maximum communication, there's a lot you can't discuss on blogs that could gainfully be communicated to others. I don't know of any way to address this. Setting up a "restricted access" blog is technically feasible but it seems to defeat the purpose.
One aspect of laptops and tablets is that you can go on maintaining your blog , updating it and reading others, from anywhere. You can pursue your interests without having to lose contact with other bloggers. Sometimes that's difficult for me to remember and I have to struggle against the idea of shutting down for a bit when I'm involved in something outside my normal routine.
It's the tendency to fall between two stools, the old way of doing things and the new technology that has changed those old ways. Over the last thirty years I've learned to be flexible and I've tried to adapt. I've made a lot of good friends that way, but it's certainly a different ball game these days.