Run for the Hills: Survivalism Going Mainstream By John Steele
This will be my last article for a while, if things go super-pear shaped with the big virus doing the rounds at the moment and it is The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI), I do not want to be in the Melbourne. Well, maybe not until civilisation is rebuilt. Anyway, I have my supplies, a new Bowie knife with a 12-inch blade, and Cold Steel machete with a 24-inch blade, just as someone named “Steele” would have, so I will be going even deeper into the scrub, bugging out in, my army tent. No nasty bugs here, just clean sunlight, and plenty of heat, but I love the peace and solitude, my version of Walden. Just ask the Americans:
“Cheap housing, deep unease and intense resilience - all forces that are driving a clutch of Americans to swap city life for a fresh start off grid and far from civilisation. Some are survivalists, among them high fliers who fear a looming, urban catastrophe and the mayhem that might follow. Others want a greener, gentler life untainted by the malign forces of capitalism and uncertainty of mainstream politics. Whichever camp, realtors say the new dropouts are not "crackpots" and often include affluent professionals whose run for the hills has boosted rural land values and started to change their property market. "I've had hedge-fund managers and billionaires that have made purchases, and they all have concerns about the direction of the economy and social stability," said John E. Haynes, president of Retreat Realty in North Carolina. "We're on that upward trend," he said. "Inventory of that land on the market is tighter." Haynes has worked in real estate for decades. About four years ago, he rebranded his company to pitch property to a new and growing breed of buyer - those motivated by "concerns about social stability". He had a record year in 2019, and was busy in the run-up to the 2016 election, when Donald Trump came to power.
"I'm sensing that again," he said. "People get uncertain, and they start making decisions on the political environment and what they anticipate. "So I think 2020 will be a good year for my business." Bruce — who values his privacy so would not let his full name be used — is buying 20 acres in remote North Carolina, where trees will become fuel and water springs from the land. He has lived most of his life in cities, New York included. But now the plan is to escape the urban jungle - a place of traffic, noise, poverty, crime and much else Bruce dislikes. "It reached the point where we were tired of being on the defensive," Bruce, in his mid-50s, said of city life and the hazardous technical setup on which it relies. "Amazon can deliver groceries in two hours, but will the grocery store have food three days after a large disaster?" he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, noting the cataclysmic potential of a major disruption in electrical generation. "Our hope is nothing like this happens," he said. "But should it, we'll be better prepared to survive in a rural setting, where more food is grown locally, where we have land on which to raise food or livestock, or hunt."
Good luck to everyone. I hope that James keeps writing even if the ship goes down. Maybe even after the ship has gone down, firing his bullet-like words from under the water.