Some time ago a online journal for Emergency Management Professionals posted an article proclaiming Preppers to be “Socially Selfish” (The article has since been removed and the site changed names). I was one of many that took issue and rebutted the entire premise.
At the time, I bristled at the idea that preppers are selfish, as preppers are some of the most productive citizens I have ever met. Preppers are fiercely independent so they (as a whole) pay more than their fair share of the taxes used to pay for emergency responders. Yet receive less than benefits of those taxes than anyone else. I could go on and on of the benefits preppers give to society, but
I would rather tell you I was wrong.
After thinking about it, I have come to realize that preppers are selfish. Paradoxically, that is what makes them great for society. Instead of arguing that preppers were not selfish, I should have made arguments that selfishness is a good thing.
That’s right, I said selfishness is good.
Before you stone me or quote scripture, please realize I don’t mean infantile what’s mine is mine, what’s yours is mine, and I deserve anything I want kind of selfishness.
When I say selfishness is good, I mean that mature moderated selfishness is good. The kind of selfishness that says I want to have good things, so I must go out and make the effort to get good things. The kind of selfishness that comes out of the pride of accomplishmen. If you have ever worked hard and earned an award or built something you feel worthy pride you understand. You also won’t willingly give it up to someone that sat on their duff while you worked. It is selfish of you not to share with people that don’t have what you have. But, rewarding those that do not work by taking the rewards from those that earned them is evil.
It is the exact opposite of natural selection. It is an unnatural reward process that co-ops the system into creating the mindless spineless masses of flesh that are overwhelming our countries “support system”.
Infants, babies, toddlers – are all naturally selfish. As parent’s we teach our children to share. However, if we want to produce well-adjusted and productive adults we also teach them to protect themselves. They need to know how to say no to those that would abuse them. Children must learn to delay gratification so that they have a little something put back for the future.
In the essay I,Pencil Leonard Read used a pencil to describe Adam’s Smith’s concept of an invisible hand. The Invisible Hand acts acted in free markets to guide an economies production to the highest and best use. The reason America was able to go from a colony of one the world’s superpowers, to THE superpower in a few short generations was free men acting in their own best interest.
If I want to make a fortune, which is selfish. I have to find out what people want to spend money on. Meaning to assuage my selfishness, I have to produce something that other people want (selfishly). I have to convince people to work for me to produce these widgets. I do that by playing on their selfishness. My job is to offer them things they want in order to get them to do what they do not want to do. They take it because they are selfish.
Every breath of air you take, some else could have used – and I know quite a few people that would do the world a favor if they stopped breathing (but they selfishly refuse to stop).
I do this work because I get something out of it. My sponsors pay me because they get something out of it, you read it because you get something out of it. Everything anyone does is because they want to enjoy their time on this earth (or – for some their afterlife)
Selfish is not wrong as long as it is moderated. “There is an appointed time for everything. Ant there is a time for every event under heaven”. We are supposed to work hard, play hard, and enjoy the fruits of our labor. A core concept of this country is that we have a God given right to try to stay alive, keep free, and go after our bliss.
I prepare because I want to, I work because I want the rewards of my work. People don’t do anything without a reason. Sometimes (rarely, but sometimes, that reason is nothing more than it makes me happy)
However, because I prep, I can share my knowledge with others, so that they can (hopefully) learn how to be more effective at what they want to do. Thus freeing them to do other things.
Because I prep, companies can employ workers to make the things I buy, who then can take their wages and do other things.
Due to my I personal prepardness, I can take care of my own basic needs, so that I don’t have to take a bed in a shelter, or food/water/clothing from distribution points – freeing those resources to be used for other people.
Because I prep, I am free in disasters to respond in my role as an emergency manager, so that I can help other people survive and live to do other things.
I prep because I am selfish, but because I am selfish others benefit.
If I gave everything I had away – I would starve – and then I could not help anyone… Therefore selfishness is good. I take care of myself first, so I have resources available to help others.