Even though most of us know better, it is still far from uncommon today to encounter people who take a disdainful view of those who wish to be more prepared in life.
Seeing it as socially unacceptable or just plain wasteful, it is virtually impossible to get such people on board with the idea. If it is someone close to us, it can be difficult to weather their negative opinions.
Sometimes, it can cause us to doubt our own actions and motivations. Is it possible that prepping is pointless?
No, prepping is not pointless. Done correctly with attention paid to personal context, prepping can be a hedge against natural and man-made disasters, as well as setbacks in finances or health.
If prepping is approached as a hobby or just as an excuse to invest in high-dollar toys, then it might, in fact, be pointless.
But if prepping is treated as a serious endeavor and diligently practiced in all areas of life it will only help someone, and in many ways will enrich their life in unexpected ways.
We’ll talk more about the subject in the rest of this article…
Why Do People Think Prepping is Pointless?
It never fails that some people simply think prepping is pointless, and for a whole host of reasons.
Those who are overly concerned with the opinions of others and with appearances as they move around society seeking validation will no doubt think that it is merely cringe-worthy, a culture or lifestyle choice that will not garner enough likes or heart reacts on social media.
Others might have a genuinely practical cause to disdain prepping. Why, in this time of unparalleled plenty, efficiency and safety does anyone need to engage in contingency planning except as some sort of odd hobby or pastime?
It is easy for those of us who have been at it for a while to waive off these reservations and many more besides, but I don’t think we should do so without critical thought or without some introspection.
Anytime you cannot consider an outside idea or viewpoint means you are falling into the trap of dogma or complacency. Neither is good if you are a serious prepper!
It is perhaps instructive to examine the real causes of attitudes like this among those who think prepping is pointless. In doing so, we can verify that our own efforts are, in fact, anything but useless.
The Good Times Never End
Sadly, one of the most common fundamental assumptions of those who are dismissive of prepping as a concept is that the good times we enjoy will never end.
The idea that our benchmark for life and society is a sort of finish line, a new state of being, is a pervasive one believed by countless millions.
Incorrectly, these people assume that what we have has been the way it is long enough that it can never be taken away, never be tarnished, never be torn down or destroyed. The luxury and sheer abundance that we all can make use of at every level of life is permanent.
Oh, how wrong these poor souls are. They do not realize that our level of success as a nation, even as a species is not the norm.
It is a rocket, climbing, and only kept aloft because it has enough fuel, correct guidance, and more than a little bit of luck. If it strays even a little bit it will come tumbling and fiery back to the ground.
These people don’t realize it or are not willing to accept it. They will not survive such a plummet, but preppers will.
Normalcy bias describes a condition where our brain betrays us, both reinterpreting and recontextualizing signals and stimuli into a framework that supports the notion that things are okay.
Normalcy bias is insidious, difficult to recognize in one’s own self, and virtually impossible to convince another person that they are suffering from it.
It is normalcy bias that causes a person to believe a series of rapid, staccato gunshots and attendant screams to be merely a prank played with fireworks or the backfiring of a bus that frightened a nervous person.
It sounds crazy to you and me, but it is something that is entirely common.
It is normalcy bias that has countless tens of millions of people convinced that things are okay, despite cities being burned to the ground, despite runaway inflation, despite cultural balkanization and despite the corporate and government promotion of ideas that are counter to the very fabric of our nation.
But, no, I’m sure it’s fine…
Be an individual and join the masses, just like everybody else. Humans are social critters, that much we know, but it is sad and a little shameful to find out to what degree so many of us are truly herd animals.
Some people do not have any personality or basic characteristics of their own, not in any real way.
They are like a fluid that is given shape and form only according to the container that surrounds and holds it, and that container is the rest of society, be it the people that we are told by media to emulate or other people in their social sphere that they desperately want the approval of.
When this container does not like something, they don’t like it. When the container hates something they hate it in kind.
It does not matter if they hate something good and adore something bad or something that will actively harm them later on.
If taking radical responsibility for your own well-being and the well-being of the people you care about is it cringe, dorky or passé, then they aren’t into it and that’s that.
They are so desperate for validation that they are selling themselves down the river.
Wasted Time and Money
Prepping, no matter how frugal one is, will cost a certain amount of time and money. That’s it.
I do not judge people who find a serious prepping activity to be a net loss for their personal finances, and so do not engage it.
I have not walked a mile in their shoes, I don’t have their obligations, and I have not done their cost-benefit analysis.
This is something that everyone must do for themselves, and furthermore that only an individual can truly do with any accuracy.
Maybe that money must be spent on basic life support in the form of rent or mortgage, groceries, utilities, and upkeep.
Maybe someone simply desires new and better toys in place of very real and practical insurance against disaster.
In any case, there are more than a few people who pass on prepping because it doesn’t make dollars and cents to them.
Why Prepping Isn’t Pointless
Virtually every prepper I know is a highly practical person, whatever other attributes they might have.
Preppers tend to be problem solvers, and every good problem solver knows that the best way to solve it is by being prepared with material and knowledge to confront the problem when and if it does occur.
However a person might frame the notion of prepping to themselves, prepping is nothing more than a lifestyle choice and endeavor directed towards the solving of scary, but practical, problems that can and do occur in individual lives and in society.
The most obvious of these problems that every prepper knows to be real, if not imminent, are below.
Supply Chains are Intricate and Fragile
Why does someone need to be prepared when you can just get what you want at any time of day or night?
Now, for the first time in history, it is possible for a person to buy literally every single material thing they need and have it delivered to their home within 24 hours.
What a wondrous time to be alive. It is too bad that most people have no idea how maddeningly, dizzyingly complex the supply chains that produce, transport, and deliver these goods are.
From food and water to tools and clothing, we are one major catastrophe away from the whole thing crashing to the ground.
Preppers know that if you don’t already have it on hand or know how to make it yourself you probably aren’t going to get it.
Disasters Happen All the Time
You have to admit that society feels pretty bubble-wrapped these days. People are living longer than ever, more and more diseases and other ailments seem to be snuffed out by the march of medical science, and even interpersonal violence seems to be, statistically, increasingly confined to certain areas.
That’s all good news, but there is a certain amount of carnage that we just cannot stop.
Be it terrifyingly powerful natural disasters that can plunge entire regions into turmoil or the evil actions of our fellow man, there is no shortage of things that can result in mass casualties.
Nine times out of 10, these events cannot be predicted and cannot be stopped. They can only be prepared for, and if you aren’t prepared for them when they do happen you are leaving your fate and the fate of your loved ones up to luck alone.
When Seconds Count, Help is Minutes Away
This goes hand in hand with the previous point. When bad things happen, when people get hurt, or when bad people are about to do violence, you need help right away, in seconds.
Unfortunately, the people that society has made responsible for responding to said incidents will only, at best, be minutes away. They might be many tens of minutes away…
If it is you or one of your family members lying there injured and perhaps bleeding out, that isn’t good enough.
Sure, you might hope that they are closer or you might hope that a bystander or Good Samaritan has the necessary skills to prevent loss of life, but all preppers know that hope isn’t a strategy.
Be a Better Provider and Neighbor
It is only those who are disdainful of prepping that think preppers are inherently selfish.
These people think that preppers fancy themselves the survivors and inheritors of a world made clean after the apocalypse, or else they plan on setting up iron-fisted malicious or bandit kingdoms to rule.
Yes, that idea is indeed as awkward as it sounds, but no prepper that I know subscribes to it. Quite the opposite!
Virtually every prepper I know has in part undertaken the lifestyle in order to be a better provider, a better parent, a better spouse, a better sibling, and a better neighbor.
There is a certain amount of selflessness in that, for sure! In any case, it is a good thing, and I can only wonder what our society might be like if everyone was charged with that sense of commitment to others.
Self-Reliance is a Virtue
Last, but not least, self-reliance is a virtue unto itself. People who are harder to kill, people who won’t let themselves become casualties, ease the burden on everyone around them, particularly those charged by society with picking up the pieces after bad things happen.
Dependency and weakness are not virtues, no matter what so-called values society and our government might be peddling these days.
What if the World Doesn’t End? (Prepping went to Waste?)
In the end, every prepper and non-prepper will be confronted with two possible outcomes for their action or omission of action in preparation respectively.
For non-preppers, not prepping eliminates the fear of looking stupid, the fear of wasting energy and money, and time on things that are unlikely to happen, and the fear of missing out on other activities and acquisitions.
They choose to go on and live as they always have, and if their luck holds as it has they will not have to pay the piper for their lack of investment.
But for preppers, not prepping means that they and their loved ones might be hurt or killed by a natural disaster, by a random act of violence, or even by accident, dying from entirely preventable injuries or circumstances.
It also means that the loss of a job, an unexpected illness, or any other pitfall on the road of life could spell poverty and lack. A one-way ticket to the poor house.
As for me and I suspect most of you reading this, I think I know what I can stand and what I can stand to miss out on when comparing these two eventualities.
Is prepping pointless? No, not by a long shot…
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.