An unspoken essential of survival.

One thing that I never see written anywhere that is either assumed or avoided is the concept of leadership in a survival (short and long term) situation. I’m going to attempt to provide a bit of opinion on both of these situations and why determining leadership in these situations is a priority.

Survival is all about making the best of the resources you have available; however this seems to mean different things to different people in any given survival situation. Generally I’ve never really seen any structured method to establishing leadership in a situation. It seems that at the moment of impact, people tend to follow the one who is less stunned by it and seems the most in control of themselves if there is no clear remnant of a leadership structure. Alternately if there is a remnant of a leadership structure people seem to cling to that… at least for a little while. Oftentimes in critical breakdowns of the machinery of government you can see people going on about their business as if nothing is happening. Dmitry Orlov’s blog goes into that pretty well during the breakdown of the USSR. It’s worth reading, then re-reading, then re-reading again.

Another good one to follow is:

Both of these two have seen collapse firsthand; they know what it looks like. So from a long term standpoint, they can tell you a great deal about what works, what doesn’t, and what blows up in your face.

What bothers me is you see two stereotypes for survival situations. One:
Group one – every man for himself, fuck the rest. This is the school of “Don’t be the slowest backpacker and you won’t get eaten by the bear.” This has it’s merits, but in a long term view really has it’s difficulties with making sure that numerically people survive. It does push for a ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality, however, which can improve pack strength.

Group two – Communal hippies. I don’t know any other way to put it. This is the group that the moment shit hits the fan people decide that it’s time to share and share alike. They couldn’t do it when they were living amongst each other normally but now that things have gone to pot, we’re all in this together. This is good for group survival numerically but tends to support the weak at the expense of the strong. This diminishes individual survival.

Now in short term situations, these are not entirely inclined to get you killed. They do, however, have a large impact on survival mentalities.

Moreover, what if you end up with bad leadership? Everyone’s made at least one bad vote in their lifetime. Make sure you have provisions for easily transitioning out a bad leader to minimize your headaches.

As to me? I’m sticking with a representative democracy when TSHTF. How about you?



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