Two recent articles on survivalists:
“From the outside, Jerry Erwin’s home … is a nondescript house … But tucked away out of sight in his backyard are the signs of his preparations for doomsday, a catastrophic societal collapse that Erwin, 45, now believes is likely within his lifetime. … Erwin and others like him in the United States and elsewhere see political upheaval and natural disasters as clear signs that civilization is doomed.” (more; HT J Hughes)
“Vivos goes all out by promising a survival shelter stocked with power generation, water wells, filtration systems, sewage disposal, a year’s supply of food, security devices and medical equipment. Of course, you’ll need all that if you believe disaster may strike at any moment because of a polar shift, super volcano eruptions, solar flares, nuclear war, and `even the return of Planet X (known as Niburu or Nemesis),’ Vivos cheerfully states. Did we mention that there’s a 2012 countdown clock on the company website?” (more)
Sadly, as with cryonics patients, while survivalists do society a great good, the media mostly snickers at them. This makes sense when you realize: Charity Isn’t About Help. Given a choice between praising acts that show devotion and loyalty, or acts that actually help, humans usually praise loyalty.
On the good: The world faces existential risk, i.e., a risk that the world will die. Such a death is bad not only for those who live here now, but also for vast future generations who might descend from us now. Cultures and ethnicities face related risks. By preparing to save themselves under various disaster scenarios, survivalists also tend to make their culture, ethnicity, and world a bit less likely to die. An effort for which future generations should be quite grateful.
On snickering: On average, survivalists tend to display undesirable characteristics. They tend to have extreme and unrealistic opinions, that disaster soon has an unrealistically high probability. They also show disloyalty and a low opinion of their wider society, by suggesting it is due for a big disaster soon. They show disloyalty to larger social units, by focusing directly on saving their own friends and family, rather than focusing on saving those larger social units. And they tend to be cynics, with all that implies.