A New Form of Social Order
Out of even the direst chaos, some new structure inevitably evolves. We see two areas of evolution that will slowly start to allows for anarchy.
On the apparently minus side, the bad guys will start to form into organized groups. There already are groups of bad guys in place – biker and street gangs – and they will grow enormously in size and power. Other groups will form on an ad hoc and semi-random basis.
We say this is an apparently minus development. The good part of this is that any type of organized group starts to get a structure, some controls, some vision, and some concept of a future. Most of the ‘lawless’ groups on the planet, both now and in the past, have actually been bound by very strict internal codes of conduct and behavior – their lawlessness, as has been perceived by ordinary society, is more a form of culture clash between the culture and values of the group and the society in which they live, and a harsher set of consequences for people who broke their own internal rules of conduct than society imposes on people in general.
This is as true in nature as it is in human society. The most effective parasites do not kill off their hosts; indeed some parasites create classic win-win systems with their hosts so that both benefit from the association. We see this with organized crime too, with the classic win-win being the payment of protection money to a local gang.
We won’t debate the interesting point about the differences between paying protection money to a gang or paying taxes to fund the local police department; but if you look at it dispassionately, you’ll see that in both cases, the people making the payments do so in the hope of getting a positive consequence (protection) and in the matching hope of avoiding a negative consequence (a beating or a term of imprisonment).
So we see formal gangs setting up regional territories. If you pay them protection money, they’ll otherwise leave you alone, and will endeavor to keep other would-be predatory groups away from you. If you want to travel along ‘their’ road, you’ll have to pay a ‘toll’ to do so. And so on.
We will also see groups of citizens getting together to re-constitute some sort of citizen based law enforcement, first in some sort of mutual defense agreement, and subsequently by sharing in the costs of full-time law enforcement officers, aided by citizen deputies as needed.
Some areas will be controlled by citizen groups, and others by gangsters. The citizen groups will have no interest in attacking gangsters out of their area, while the gangsters will occasionally be tempted by the thought of expanding, with ‘border clashes’ occurring from time to time as the two groups test each other’s resolve. An uneasy truce will lie over much of the country.
Within the alternating framework of either citizen or gangster controlled areas there will still be crime on a more individual rather than organized level. We predict that penalties for crime will increase – a return to the earlier settler days with summary hanging being the punishment for cattle-rustling, for example.
There may also be marauding gangs who opportunistically tour through areas, whether gang or citizen controlled. Life will be dangerous, but survivable.
Crime detection/solving will be massively less effective than previously, due to the loss of the high-tech aids the police have come to rely upon. More crime might be unsolved, but the flipside of that will be that criminals who are caught will be subject to more severe penalties.
Any people incarcerated will have to ‘work their passage’ – society will not have spare resource to feed, shelter, and entertain criminals. Whether as a punishment or just as a necessity, criminals will find themselves involved in hard labor and harsh conditions during their imprisonment.
The liberal ‘touchy-feely’ crowd who likes to fill prisons with better food and televisions and recreational equipment than many people have outside the prison walls will either have died off (been killed) or will have had their eyes opened and their value systems changed to the point where, like reformed smokers now being aggressively anti-smoking, they may be the first to demand more and more hangings for lesser and lesser offenses.
The key social and support elements will become family based as the smallest support unit, and then faith/congregation (or, in secular areas, block associations) based. Formal civic government will be bare-bones and will be focused primarily on getting essential life-support services to everyone, rather than funding minority empowerment projects that benefit only narrow groups of special interests.
People will be too busy concentrating on surviving to care about topics such as gay rights (either pro or con) or women’s issues or black history. Environmental concerns and constraints will vanish – as we see in the world today, only wealthy people enjoying comfortable safe lifestyles can afford such concerns.
The prevailing attitude in this phase will be a grim determination to survive, and a return to a social code of acceptable behavior.
The duration of Phase Five is hard to guess at. A decade? A generation? It really depends on how society as a whole feels it has learned lessons from the circumstances of the Level 2/3 event, and how it might redefine itself for the future, and also on how fast or slow ‘civilization’ in terms of services and products return to something equating to normal.
Phase Five slowly starts to blend into Phase Six, and one of the tools for this will be the growth of trading and contacts between individual settlements.
A Return to Normalcy
As the things that took man from the stone age to the wood age to the iron age to the industrial age to the information age return, so too will society start to adapt and become more refined and nuanced.
As trading starts to spread from one settlement to the next – made possible by the restoration of safety to traveling between settlements – this will help encourage further economies and efficiencies of scale, and economies will start to become less micro-economies and more regional in nature, with improvements in overall living standards for all in the region.
People will start to have the luxury of spare time, and spare money, and will stop living lives constrained by their immediate neighborhood and this year’s crop. Instead, they’ll again start to think of other things and the longer term. As Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs explains, as each level of essential survival is achieved, a new set of objectives and challenges replace them, evolving to higher order issues such as esteem and, at the top, self-actualization.
The prevailing attitude will become one of confidence and assuredness.
What We Need to Do as Preppers
At the very beginning of the six phase cycle, we need to take advantage of the ‘grace period’ that is ours during Phase One. and use this to give us a head start towards getting to our retreats and preparing for the difficulties that will follow.
Ideally, of course, we want to bug out before the civilian authorities start to impose restrictive emergency/martial law controls on people and their movements.
We need to be alert to the onset of a Level 2/3 event, and as soon as we view one as underway, we need to immediately bug out. During the Phase One ‘False Calm’ we won’t draw so much attention to ourselves driving somewhere in a vehicle, and we’ll encounter fewer threats and problems on the way.
But as soon as the situation clicks over to Phase Two and Three, life becomes much more difficult if we are still in transit on the way to our retreat location.
Hopefully we’ll miss most of Phases Two and Three, because we’ll be well away from the larger cities. Hopefully, also, we’ll be prepared to confront Phase 4 in a way that will enhance our chances of surviving through it.
More to the point, our understanding of this process is such that – hopefully – we are already laying the seeds of establishing a Phase Five for the region our retreat is located; we want to very quickly make not just our personal retreat but the area it is part of become a haven of citizen-supported mutual cooperation and safety, with sufficient resolve and strength to fight off both uncoordinated attacks and also to stake your claim to your area as being citizen-controlled rather than a gang-controlled area.