Zerohedge: A Moral Code For The Post-Collapse World

People are very seriously starting to consider our behavior when the chaos of the collapse arrives. I cannot say strongly enough to plan to stay in your homes — and off the streets  . . . ~J

Submitted by Brandon Smith via,

Popular media today, including television and cinema, are rife with examples of what is often referred to as moral relativism — the use of false and fictional moral dilemmas designed to promote the rationalization of an “ends justify the means” narrative. We are also bombarded lately with entertainment depicting an endless array of “anti-heroes,” protagonists who have little to no moral code fighting antagonists who are even more evil, thus vindicating the otherwise disgusting actions of the heroes. From “24” to “Breaking Bad” to “The Walking Dead,” American minds are being saturated with propaganda selling the idea that crisis situations require a survivor to abandon conscience. In other words, in order to defeat monsters, you must become a monster.

This theme is not only unavoidable in film and TV, but also in military journals, politics, and even within liberty movement discussion.

What I see developing is an extremely dangerous philosophy that rests on the foundation that victory (or survival) is the paramount virtue and that it should be attained at any cost. Moral compass becomes a “luxury” that “true” apex survivors cannot afford, an obstacle that could eventually get one killed. I have heard some survivalists and liberty proponents in anger over the trespasses of the corrupt establishment suggest a strict adherence to the eye-for-an-eye ideology, up to and including torture, harming of the enemy’s families, and even harming the children of those who would harm us.

There is also a small but ingrained subculture within spheres of survivalism that embraces the strategy of the “prepper pirate,” essentially planning their subsistence around the idea of taking what they need from others as a form of evolutionary realism. They believe that the “survival of the fittest” is more important than the survival of the principled.

In mainstream yuppie culture, this attitude would be labeled insane. Yet urban and suburban television addicts often cheer the concept of the ends justifying the means in their favorite prime time shows and consistently argue for morality stretching policies within government (as long as their “team” is in control of the football in Washington, D.C.). I have little doubt they would adopt such thinking in the event that disaster does strike and they find themselves unprepared amid desperate conditions.

In “Understanding The Fear Of Self-Defense And Revolution,” I discussed the inevitability of self-defense against criminal oligarchy and why common methods of pacifist activism are dangerously inadequate in the face of psychopathic tyranny. When self-defense or revolution is initiated, though, the movement does not necessarily fight only for its own benefit; nor does it fight simply to eliminate the threat. Our survival as individuals is not the primary concern; the survival of the principles and truths that drive us to fight is the ultimate goal. If there is such a thing as the “greater good,” truth and honor must be the apex of that vision.

If we cast aside our principles in the name of victory, then, ironically, we have still lost everything. Our war is fought on multiple levels, from the physical to the spiritual. Lose the spiritual war, lose sight of one’s conscience, and the physical war becomes meaningless.

I believe the formation of a liberty movement code, a kind of warrior’s code, is absolutely vital to our future. Without a new kind of oath, an oath not only to the Constitution but to our own internal values, the temptation to use our darker natures against the enemy during greater trials of the soul may be too much to bear. While conscience is an inborn gift, it sometimes requires a more outward affirmation in order to remain strong. Here are some elements I believe should make up the foundation of our code.

Defense Of The Innocent

We will do everything within our power whenever possible to ensure the safety and liberty of those people around us caught in the currents of collapse. Some might claim that the unprepared are not “innocent” because their lack of vigilance contributes to the decay of our society. I would say that while the ignorant are a danger to us and themselves, we would also be contributing to the decay of our society by refusing to help others when we have the ability to do so. Someone somewhere has to end the cycle. And if that requires us to sacrifice some of our energy and the satisfaction of saying “we told you so,” then this is what we must do.

I would also point out that the defense of the innocent does not begin when our economic and social structures end. We help them now, by offering them the knowledge to prepare and organize for mutual aid. We go to our town centers, to local churches, to our lecture halls; and we openly educate those who are willing to listen — not to preach politics or to indoctrinate, but to offer practical knowledge. We give them useful tools through neighborhood watch programs and Community Preparedness Teams. We teach them today how to defend themselves, their families and their property and how to invest in survival, so that tomorrow they will not feel compelled to become part of the problem, but part of the solution.

If we let our distaste for the unaware lead us into an attitude of “us versus them” against our own neighbors, then we will miss every chance to strengthen our communities. Our purpose is to bring others up, not to stand in pious judgment as they fall down.

We Prepare To Offer Aid, Even To Those We Think Might Not Deserve It

Many survivalists and preppers may scoff at this idea, but they would not be looking at the bigger picture. Offering aid to your community serves not only to help them, but to help you in the long run. Look at it this way; when FEMA arrives in a disaster-struck city or county, its “authority” means little to the shell-shocked citizenry. What does matter to them is that FEMA brings food, water and sometimes shelter. FEMA does this in its own sweet time and often allows numerous people to die before the aid is given, but it still maintains its authority over a region simply because there is no other alternative.

You must offer that alternative.

Imagine what would have happened if during the nightmare of Hurricane Katrina, while FEMA was lounging around watching the carnage and even denying access to private institutions offering supplies, New Orleans residents were greeted with liberty movement teams defying government mandate? What if liberty advocates from across Louisiana and the nation had marched right over the top of FEMA, escorted those trapped in the Superdome to a safe place, and gave them food and water? The movement raised millions of dollars for Ron Paul’s campaign (twice!), why couldn’t we do the same to save lives?

Imagine if we were to prove that FEMA is an unnecessary and frivolous organization ready for the dustbin? Imagine if we were to prove that communities can provide their own security and aid without the state, as Oath Keepers did in Ferguson, Missouri?

Even at a local level, this methodology could mean the difference between freedom and tyranny. Stockpiles of grain bought directly from independent farms can be had for very little money and strategically placed for use in future calamities. Affordable water filtration could prevent disease and dehydration for thousands. A team of engineers could solve waste and grid-down dilemmas. A team of well-trained security personnel could prevent looting, rape and murder. Imagine if the catastrophe the elites wish to engineer was mitigated or thwarted by the very people the disaster was meant to target? Imagine how much satisfaction that would give you.

Our Actions Are Inspired By Conscience, Not Rage

To fight in self-defense is entirely moral, but there are lines that, if crossed, destroy our moral high ground. Without the moral high ground, we become no better than the elites we seek to remove from our lives. This means that we do not harm people unless they are attempting to harm us. We punish criminals, not their families and not their children. We do not torture, not only because it is a useless tactic with little concrete proof of effectiveness, but because it is a morally reprehensible psychopathic act designed to fulfill a sick desire for sadistic power. It is not who we are.

When we fight, we fight in the knowledge that we have first and foremost protected our moral foundation. We see those who promote moral ambiguity and moral relativism as an element destructive to the purpose of liberty. Winning means nothing and survival means nothing, unless we endeavor to deserve life.

We Do Not Run Unless We Plan To Return

In an asymmetric revolution, there is rarely such a thing as a “front line” or a piece of ground that must be defended at all costs. That said, successful asymmetric warfare requires that the enemy pay an overwhelming price for every attack he initiates. This means that said revolt must always be aggressive, never relenting, always striking, and resting or retreating only to stage a more effective counter. Every time a totalitarian system advances without consequence, it generates political, social, psychological and tactical momentum. Without the courage to engage such advances, revolt is impossible. Fear leads to moral rationalizations. The fearful cannot adequately defend themselves, let alone defend others; and, once again, the moral high ground is lost.

Zero Tolerance For Piracy And Criminality Within

Prepper pirates and others on the very fringes of the survival movement who seek to thrive at the expense of others are not only criminal according to natural law, but they are also a blight on the reputation of the liberty movement itself. Our principles will require us to stamp out such people as a priority. Those who would viciously impose upon the innocent as a preplanned strategy are not redeemable. Even if they claim to hate the same elites we fight against, the enemy of our enemy is not necessarily our friend. Prepper pirates are rabid dogs who should be put down.

We Are Professionals, And Guardians Never Satisfied With Half Measures

We carry ourselves as quiet professionals. We strive to represent the best potential of what the liberty movement has to offer. There is no problem we cannot solve and no opponent too large. We do not know the meaning of the word “impossible.” We operate best under pressure and during disaster. We move to disrupt crisis before it begins when possible, and we refuse to stand back as spectators when crisis does develop. We work diligently to master all knowledge and training that could be used to achieve our goal, which is a free, prosperous and independent citizenry. We do not seek leadership over others; we only wish to teach others how to lead themselves. We will not stop until this goal is accomplished or until we are no longer breathing. We are not mutable or flexible where tyranny is concerned. We are entirely uncompromising. We are stubborn bastards, here to drive oligarchs even crazier than they already are. We are here to undo them and their treacherous world. And in this mission, we find ultimate comfort and peace.

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5 Responses to Zerohedge: A Moral Code For The Post-Collapse World

  1. lecox says:

    Anyone at any level can be a criminal or play into a criminal’s game. It has been suggested that the entire physical universe has been rigged to encourage criminal behavior. Why do we tolerate such ambivalence concerning what is “moral?” The data I have studied tell me that it’s because we have all been involved in both “sides” of the issue, and most of us at this point are genuinely confused by the situation we now find ourselves in.
    How old is the term “might makes right?” It only dates to 1846 in the English language, yet similar concepts have been expressed in ancient Greece, and I am sure elsewhere even earlier. There are certain basic attitudes about life that seem indelibly written into the psyche. And one of those is that it is “right” to win, and “wrong” to lose. This is only logical if the intention is to win, and the contest to be won is agreed to. In the physical universe, all contests can be seen as contests of force. Thus the contender who can exert the most force will win, and be “right.” If you identify yourself as simply a part of the physical universe, then you have basically agreed to this. Criminals do so identify themselves, and thus have agreed to “play” by these “rules.” The rest of us aren’t so sure, but have become nearly convinced that we are indeed only physical animals run by brains that operate according to various chemical reactions.
    If you do not agree to this identification, especially if you know with conviction that it is false, you are in a distinct minority in this universe at this time. If you feel ambivalent about this, well join the masses. The situation, then, devolves into a sort of Grand Contest. The criminals want everyone to agree with them that we are all mere animals and that nothing higher than the forces of physics actually exists. Those with strong spiritual convictions want everyone to realize their true spiritual nature and the potential to rise above the merely physical to higher games that dance on the border between physicality and possibility. That everyone alive is in fact essentially a spirit is evidenced by the durability, even among the confused majority, of ideals of morality, honor, right conduct and selfless help that simply will not die no matter how thoroughly they are trampled on.
    Though this Grand Contest could be seen as just another “phase” our planet is going through, as we are all intimately involved in it, it seems more than appropriate to point it out and talk about it.

    I would not be writing this if I thought that those in agreement with the physical universe have this contest sewn up. At this particular point, we have technologies and awarenesses – and thus opportunities – that we have never really had before. The Grand Contest could actually be turned against the “inevitable realities” of the physical universe. There is nothing really that inevitable or that real about this universe. We agreed to it, that’s all. That doesn’t mean we can’t change our minds.

  2. Lisa says:

    The liberty movement people shot folks trying to escape after Katrina. They weren’t the solution the were the problem

  3. Bill says:

    Disaster: the gift that keeps on giving, or finding paradise in hell
    by Carolyn Baker, originally published by Speaking Truth to Power | Sep 21, 2009

    The conundrum we call human nature readily rises to the occasion of a crisis and as readily slacks off when the living is easy. During its decade of prosperity based on precarious financial schemes, Iceland grew politically apathetic and a little dull and demoralized. When its mismanaged economy crashed spectacularly in October 2008, furious citizens took action and a vibrant civil society emerged; it was the best and worst of times as the country lost its economic wealth and social poverty. A young member of the demonstrations that toppled the neoliberal government wrote to me of those days of bonfires and drums. ‘I felt as if Iceland was being born again.’ That the worst of times becomes the best is interesting, but hardly ideal. That the best of times, the safe and affluent ones, become the worst poses other challenges, of how to maintain a sense of purpose and solidarity in the absence of emergencies, how to stay awake in softer times. The religious language of awakening suggests we are ordinarily sleepers, unaware of each other and of our true circumstances and selves. Disaster shocks us out of our slumber, but only skillful effort keeps us awake.

    ~Rebecca Solnit, “A Paradise Built In Hell”~

    I can’t recall when or where, but recently, my attention was drawn to Rebecca Solnit’s A Paradise Built In Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise In Disaster (Viking, 2009). Thoroughly hooked by the title, I ran to my computer to scan online reviews and ultimately order the book. What I write here about A Paradise Built In Hell is not a book review, but rather, an urgent invitation to read and assimilate it because of the momentous implications it offers regarding the unprecedented transitions by which we are all impacted.

    While Solnit makes no mention of the Transition Town movement in her book, the essential message of it resonates exquisitely with the movement’s mission and methodology and powerfully underscores the need for the vision and strategic planning that Transition initiatives around the world are working to implement. That’s because Solnit isn’t just writing a book about how people come together in crises, but more importantly, how crises can meet our deeper need for meaning in our lives and even positively transform the social and political landscape of communities permanently.

    Drawing on the data produced by numerous sociological researchers, Solnit emphasizes that in the wake of disasters, people are more often “…altruistic, urgently engaged in caring for themselves and those around them, strangers and neighbors, as well as friends and loved ones”, rather than becoming panicky or behaving savagely. Most importantly, she asserts, disaster offers us “a view into another world for our other selves.” That other world, according to Solnit, is a world of compassion, empathy, cooperation, and service. Moreover, that world brings not only meaning, but joy to most survivors of disaster. Of them the author notes, “They abhorred what had happened, but they clearly relished who they briefly became.”

    Relevant to the Transition model is Solnit’s assertion that the health and justness of our communities determines who lives and who dies, and paradise can only arise in hell if the usual order and attendant systems are suspended. She repeatedly reminds us that disaster scenarios are not unlike revolutions in that there is temporary chaos, the collapsing of systems and services, and the emergence of a newfound spirit of community:

    But in disaster people come together, and though some fear this gathering as a mob, many cherish it as an experience of a civil society that is close enough to paradise. In contemporary terms, privatization is largely an economic term, for the consignment of jurisdictions, goods, services, and powers-railways, water rights, policing, education-to the private sector and the vagaries of the marketplace. But this economic privatization is impossible without the privatization of desire and imagination that tells us we are not each other’s keeper. Disasters, in returning their sufferers to public and collective life, undo some of this privatization, which is a slower, subtler disaster all its own.

    In short, disasters give us flashes of a “who else we ourselves may be and what else our society could become”-an ideal which the Transition Town model serves to make real and operative.

    As a wordsmith, I am particularly fascinated by definitions Solnit offers for words like emergency-that is to emerge or rise out of, implying our need to rise out of the familiar and rise to the occasion. Catastrophe, she points out, comes from a Greek word which originally meant the upset of a plot or twist, and of course, disaster is derived from a Latin compound which means to be without a star or planet, or we might say, without grounding, without a center. Most importantly, disaster “requires an ability to embrace contradiction in both the minds of those undergoing it and those trying to understand it from afar.” The principal contradiction to which Solnit is referring is the toppling of old orders and the opening of new possibilities. (Anyone who has read my book Sacred Demise: Walking The Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization’s Collapse will be familiar with the concept of holding the tension of opposites as an essential doorway to inner and external transformation.) Simply put, in Solnit’s words, we “manage to hold both irreconcilable experiences, the joy and the grief.”

    Why is disaster research important? According to A Paradise Built In Hell:

    Disaster is never terribly far away. Knowing how people behave in disasters is fundamental to knowing how to prepare for them. And what can be learned about resilience, social and psychological response, and possibility from sudden disasters is relevant as well for the slower disasters of poverty, economic upheaval, and incremental environmental degradation as well as the abiding questions about social possibilities.

    Major loss in our personal lives usually isolates us from the community whereas “When the loss is general, one is not cast out by suffering but finds fellowship in it.” One of the most profound impacts of disaster for its survivors is the extent to which their deep longing for community is typically met as they come together to meet each others’ needs.

    Solnit notes that horrible disasters have shaped the lives of some people who have become luminaries of healing and social change. One notable example is Dorothy Day who was eight years old when the San Francisco earthquake struck, and the most profound memory she took from the disaster was that “While the crisis lasted, people loved each other.” The impact of that love shaped Day’s life and work as she devoted herself entirely to organizing people to meet the needs of the poor and to create a more just and magnanimous society.

    In the popular, consumer-driven, and therapy-based culture of modernity, we live isolated and disconnected lives where the sense of self is “privatized”, and sadly, we know little of sharing in collective suffering until disaster forces us to do so. The culture of civilization invariably sucks all meaning out of our lives, unless we consciously seek to find it. Solnit comments that “Meaning must be sought out; it is not built into most peoples’ lives. The tasks that arise in disaster often restore this meaning.”

    As I have noted in Sacred Demise, we are the only species that hungers for meaning, and to that end, I quoted Victor Frankl, the famous physician who survived Auschwitz and had asked himself what distinguished those who survived from those who didn’t. Finding and holding meaning, he argued, mattered most. Those who had something to live for and who struggled accordingly often survived. Frankl asserted that human beings do not need a discharge of tension and physical and emotional comfort above everything else, but rather “the call of potential meaning” which we need so badly that we sometimes choose it over survival.

    The famous sociologist, Charles Fritz, gave birth to what we would call today, disaster studies. At first deemed a radical premise, Fritz argued that everyday life in a soul-numbing, alienating, consumeristic society is already a disaster and that actual disasters liberate us. Fritz researched how community identity is nurtured during disaster because, in the words of Solnit, “disaster offers temporary solutions to the alienations and isolations of everyday life.” Fritz believed that everyday life is actually more difficult to live than dealing with disaster because in the latter, we know what to do and who to be.

    As I have endeavored to clarify in Sacred Demise, there is a spiritual component in all catastrophe. Solnit elucidates this beautifully by reminding us of our hunter-gatherer origins in which as a species, we faced nearly constant disaster or at least, protracted crises of survival. We wisely moved beyond that existence but at the expense of leaving “the forces that bind us to each other, to the moment, and to an inherent sense of purpose.” Disasters, the author says, provide us opportunities for community and a changed sense of self.

    Moreover, in numerous situations such as the Mexico City earthquake of 1985 and the Nicaraguan earthquake of the 1970s, disaster ultimately precipitated a shift in those nations’ political processes, leading to more grassroots, bottom up leadership. Disasters usually dismantle hierarchies and require small groups of people to very quickly create makeshift, and even perhaps long-term, structures for meeting their needs. In this way, they are not unlike revolutions, and in some cases, result in similar outcomes over time. Typically in such a milieu, elites are threatened because “power devolves to the people on the ground in many ways”, demonstrating the viability of “a dispersed, decentralized system of decision-making.” In these moments, says Solnit, “Citizens themselves constitute the government”, and…generosity are demonstrated, as well as the depth of our longing for connection and purposefulness.

    Nicaraguan novelist and poet, Gioconda Belli, referring to that nation’s disastrous 1972 earthquake said: “You realize that life has to be lived well or is not worth living. It’s a very profound transformation that takes place during catastrophes. It’s like a near-death experience but lived collectively.”

    Solnit believes that many disasters are ahead of us in terms of resource depletion and climate change, and she says, “The current global economic depression is itself a vast disaster.” Whereas governments give lip service to “disaster preparedness”, their motivation is primarily driven by the need for order and control. Typically, disaster preparedness is exceedingly pragmatic and addresses only issues of physical well being. On a soul level, however, A Paradise Built In Hell brilliantly and sensitively analyzes what disasters do for us and the joy that is almost always found in certain aspects of them. As Solnit says, “Disasters may offer us a glimpse, but the challenge is to make something of it, before or beyond disaster: to recognize and realize these desires and these possibilities in ordinary times.”

    One aspect of my involvement with the Transition Town movement is precisely the vision expressed above by Solnit and throughout her book. The Transition model is not unique in its mission to nurture in “ordinary times” the qualities that disasters almost always manifest-compassion, cooperation, the pride of place, and yes, even joy. However, it offers myriad tools for creating, not structures and communities that “arise” in disaster, but those that are already in place and that provide an ongoing sense of meaning and purpose which may be savored with or without catastrophe.

  4. Ilex says:

    This may seem unfounded but it is bothersome. I feel a very bad choice of wording has been chosen. Instead of “prepper pirate” why not use what they are MARAUDERS. This may have been done intentionally to give the Preppers a bad name? If so, it worked. I know a ton of preppers and NONE of them would even think of this.
    What they describe is a marauder pure and simple. Now, when you get a group of marauders together, it’s not going to be good. Do they need to be “put down?” Well that may be a little extreme as well. This article is about not killing but it turns right around and says it’s ok to kill the preppers. I have a huge problem with that. Subliminal messages would be my guess. Is the word MARAUDER so uncommon that folks don’t know what they are? I think not.

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