Apocalypse

Gun-Toting, Disaster-Fearing, Survival-Minded Liberals

Preppers in the Trump era

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Two days after Donald Trump was elected president, a gun-toting Democrat named Colin Waugh set up a Facebook group called The Liberal Prepper. Preppers are people who try to be prepared for sudden, disruptive emergencies; the ones who attract the most media interest have tended to be doomsday-obsessed militia types. If that's your stereotype of the subculture, "Liberal Prepper" will sound like an oxymoron.

In fact, as QZ's new profile of Waugh's group makes clear, preppers have never been an exclusively right-wing crowd. Events like Hurricane Katrina and the 2008 financial crisis have inspired people across the political spectrum to prepare for the possibility of disaster, and those nonpartisan preppers sometimes haunt the same forums as the far-right neo-survivalists. But the Liberal Prepper group, which now has more than 2,500 members and seems to have attracted about as many fascinated reporters, is something different: Its founding fears are rooted in the fact that Donald Trump is president. As a result, its members sometimes bear more than a passing resemblance to those folks on the right who started stocking ammo and canning food because Barack Obama was in the White House. From the article:

Polydor

Despite their shared politics, members' individual reasons for prepping vary. Some fear a Trump-triggered nuclear war; others are worried about economic collapse. Nicole Pilt is a Liberal Prepper who says that the nationalist rhetoric now coursing through Western society fuelled her desire to prep. She says she's "worried about the plethora of natural and social disasters that are occurring." Many of the Preppers' reasons for joining are underlined by a distrust of government—a new sentiment for many Democrats—and the resulting fear for one's safety.

To read the whole thing, go here. I enjoyed this tidbit: "Prior to accepting members, the group's administrators typically vet requestors for alt-right iconography." (New frontiers in security checks!) And then there's the mindfulness instructor from Kentucky who "bought some silver and gold on other preppers' advice. It's a financial security measure, he says, in case the global stock market crashes, paper money becomes worthless, and mass panic ensues." Does Facebook have a Liberals for Hard Money group too?

Bonus link: Back in 2013, when the words "Trump presidency" were an absurdist joke instead of a historical period, I wrote a Reason piece pointing out that

the prepper community includes a lot of political and cultural variety. If there is right-wing survivalist DNA here, there is also the DNA of the Whole Earth Catalog and several generations of bohemian back-to-the-landers, plus a fair number of families whose inspiration isn't much larger than the Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared." Tour the online prepper communities, and you may run into people who have embraced the long-lived conspiracy yarn in which the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is plotting to put us in concentration camps. You may also encounter FEMA itself, which currently has an advertisement on the front page of the American Preppers Network. The ad asks, "Do you meet President Obama's minimum Prepper Standards?"

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82 responses to “Gun-Toting, Disaster-Fearing, Survival-Minded Liberals

  1. I can’t say that I’m surprised. The proggies I know are constantly wailing about how stressed and worried they are that any second now they’ll hear the thump of jackboots and when they look out their windows they’ll see Nazis marching down their streets.

    1. Now that they’ve occupied the airports, they’ll march out under the twin banners of Obama and Bush.
      What? Wrong spin?

      1. What? Wrong spin?

        Surely not!

    2. Too late – Berkeley.

  2. Awesome. Prepper catalogs will have to adjust some of their marketing rhetoric, though.

  3. “worried about the plethora of natural and social disasters that are occurring.”

    I’d hate to ask for an example.

    1. I’ve been to a few parties that could fairly be called “social disasters”.

      1. “Social Disaster” was my nickname in college…

      2. You got Sparky’s Post-It Note, didn’t you, Zeb …

        1. Oh, sorry, that should be Citizen X’s Post-It Note.

          I get my sockpuppets mixed up sometimes …

          1. That’s ok, Tulpa.

  4. I never understood people buying physical gold and silver as a hedge against the end of times (as a hedge against financial downturn, sure). If suddenly there is no digital money and no value to paper money I could care less how much gold someone is offering me, I can’t eat it or defend myself with it.

    1. Presumably after shit settles down after whatever disaster you want to imagine, and society starts to rebuild, gold and silver will be obvious choices for value holders like they have always been. But you are right, food and ammo are probably worth a lot more if the shit really hits the fan.

    2. I know, right? I would imagine canned beans would have more value than gold in that scenario.

      1. Medicines are equal to food and weapons. The most valuable things are skills.

    3. You obviously grew up after the Lone Ranger trod the silver screen.

      Gold and silver are soft and heavy. Bullets and fishing weights.

      😉

    4. I can’t eat it or defend myself with it.

      You could bash someone’s head in with a gold brick though. Or use it to kill a small game animal.

    5. Too much of “disaster prepping” mentality only prepares for one type of disaster, often of a sudden collapse that is close to global in character and generations in duration.

      The larger the spread of the crisis, the less likely it will happen. But you loosing your job, or a local weather event affecting your immediate area are more likely to happen. Don’t go all in for gold, but it is does have a valid place on wealth assurance after more immediate needs have been started to be prepared for- Food Shelter…(emergency money, stores, etc.)

      Deflation is possible, and Fiat currencies are sometimes go to hyperinflation. But if you get to another country you can most likely cash in your gold.

      People who get swept up in the specific crisis de jure, are good sources garage sales/craigslist for cheep prepper supplies in 6 months when Y2K or whatever does not occur.

      Focus instead of disaster commonalities and things that help with your basic needs in most circumstances- Food, Shelter, Fuel…

      [ comments roughly based on Jack Spirko’s podcast http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/ ]

    6. In any sort of SHTF scenario that the preppers are imagining, barter is going to be far more important in the short term as a medium of exchange than any precious metal. Gold and silver would only really matter once things settled back down and there was some measure of social stability.

      I have a bit of gold and silver stocked away, but reading about people who had up to 40 percent or more of their net worth in these things always struck me as batty, as if they think they’ll be sitting on a hoard of precious metal like Smaug when society collapses. I wouldn’t keep more than 10 percent, if that.

    7. Honestly I think luxury items would be the go to commodity for bartering. Things like alcohol and tobacco.

      1. Coffee. I think my wife would trade a troublesome teenager daughter of ours for a fresh cup after a few days without. If there would be any takers.

  5. Gun-Toting, Disaster-Fearing, Survival-Minded Liberals

    Es gibt nicht.

  6. President Obama’s minimum Prepper Standards
    ROTFLMAO

    I also note that an argument I heard over and over, “Why would the American People ever need guns to oppose their government?” has disappeared since November.

    Personally, I welcome the liberal preppers. Shooting is good therapy.

    1. This is hilarious of course because, remember first, that these idiots are brainwashed Marxists first.

      They want some form of big government to dispose of the big government they don’t agree with.

      They also, absolutely undoubtedly, believe that the biggest fear is global temperature change. So they are certainly very early since the current nearest prediction of our doom via evil capitalists is probably another 75 years away.

      And it will likely be wrong too.

      Would love to hear these dipshits prepping for doomsday while they try to figure out how to survive without petroleum products.

      1. Would love to hear these dipshits prepping for doomsday while they try to figure out how to survive without petroleum products.

        They plan to take turns running on treadmills to power their generators I’m sure

    2. Personally, I welcome the liberal preppers. Shooting is good therapy.

      I agree 100%. Anything that gets the left remembering why we have a right to keep and bear shooty and stabby things is a win-win scenario.

  7. There was a good bit of self-induced panic before Y2K. As far as I could tell, there wasn’t a clear political pattern to the thinking errors, or to the cottage industry that built up around selling people overpriced junk. In general, the groups seemed more white and more religious than one might expect. And there were some liberals who lost their minds along with the others, stockpiling beans and toilet paper. In fact, I suspect there are a few people still eating and shitting their way through their bunkers. People have been predicting the end of days since, well, the beginning of days. There’s probably some psychological fascination as to how one would far in a post-apocalyptic nightmare.

    1. Would love to watch the average liberal douche try to survive without the recycling truck and overpriced organics at whole foods.

      From what I see on the off the grid shows, the hard core hippies are lot more desperate, and stupid, than some of the tougher guys who don’t seem to give a shit about the world around them.

      1. I’m not sure what an “average” liberal douche is, any more than an “average” conservative douche. Years ago, I might have said rural residents may have an easier time of things during a major meltdown due to the necessity of greater self reliance. I’m not sure that’s still true. I think modern America is accustomed to considerably more luxury than say, the “average” citizen of the 1930s. I’m not sure the conservative douches will do any better without power or running water.

        1. Water and electricity aren’t a problem I’d think.

          Wells and small scale power generation are not impossible to set up. Kinda expensive, but not impossible.

          Its grub that’s really an issue.
          If you don’t already have a good sized garden providing you with winter staple foods, you aren’t going to last long.

          1. I tend to agree with the old saw: three hours without shelter, three days without water, three weeks without food. All, of course, are situational. A person living in a Manhattan apartment obviously will have a different challenge securing food than say, someone living in rural Missouri. As a general rule, in any upheaval, the poor suffer the most. The affluent tend to find a way to buy what they need. The best preparation is to have vast sums of money (and trade goods), or so I imagine.

            1. I guess what I’m saying is, for the rural living person:
              You can prep for water/electricity ahead of time and once its done, its done. You can live on grid power/water until such time as the off grid systems are needed and the only additional labor necessary is whats necessary to keep the system in a ready state.

              With food though, if you aren’t already living primarily off the food growing in your garden prior to when the SHTF you are probably screwed for food.

              On the other hand, I suppose if you are willing to put the money up for an off grid electrical system, and drilling a well, then I suppose you can also put away a store of a year or more of non-perishable food so you can let your garden grow after SHTF…but then you just have to hope that the seeds you’ve got stored aren’t duds, or that you even know how to grow food, your garden size is big enough, weather doesn’t screw you, etc etc.

        2. I still think rural people would have a better time of it, on the whole. Not as much as they would have in the 30s.
          And your typical urban conservative isn’t going to fare any better than urban left-liberals. I really don’t think that political inclinations correspond very much to knowing how to take care of basic necessities. I’d guess that the main reason you see more conservative or libertarian preppers than left-liberal ones is differing trust and confidence in institutions.

          1. You’ll need to better define “rural”. I live in the Idaho panhandle. There are many ex-Californians living on five acre plots that think they are rural. They still shop at Costco and have no idea how their well works.

            1. Well, better as a class overall. I live in a fairly rural area of NH and am also surrounded by many people who can’t do anything practical. But there are far more who can.

        3. Years ago, I might have said rural residents may have an easier time of things during a major meltdown due to the necessity of greater self reliance

          What you’d probably see is a massive de-scaling of operations, a la the western Roman empire during the Dark Ages, where problems even in the large urban areas would be resolved on a local scale out of sheer necessity. However, even considering the high use of welfare programs by the rural poor, the biggest concern for urbanites is what happens when their own welfare class suddenly has their food stamps cut off, particularly since the black and Hispanic sectors of that population already have an embedded social framework in place for gang organization that would establish a feudal-type system fairly quickly. The rural welfare class might actually have a better chance of pooling labor and resources with their neighbors since these tend to be very homogeneous communities, and trust-bonds tend to be higher.

          Regardless, the collapse of a complex society engenders a massive population drop, and even here I suspect the die-off in the first 5-10 years would be huge as the status quo tried to sort itself out.

    2. Yeah, I’m kinda flummoxed about how he did this without using the word ‘Millennial’. I’m pretty sure the 2nd paragraph is where the article veers off the road sharply. Commune-ists were, if only for lack of a name, prepping in the 60s and right-wing groups have been, again if only for lack of a name, prepping since the 70s and 80s. The only way you ever believe that no liberals ever held guns, is if you ignore militant racial, ecological, and/or marxist groups and assume modern history started with W’s presidency.

      1. I’m pretty sure the 2nd paragraph is where the article veers off the road sharply.

        I’m not sure if you mean the second paragraph of the QZ piece or the second paragraph of my post, in part because the rest of your paragraph doesn’t really seem to be about either one.

        The only way you ever believe that no liberals ever held guns, is if you ignore militant racial, ecological, and/or marxist groups and assume modern history started with W’s presidency.

        Many liberals have held guns throughout history. But Marxists aren’t liberals.

        1. A bit pedantic, Senior Walker. I think MC was simply using “Marxist” as lazy synonym for left wing. If he/she had said “Trotskyite” on the other hand, it would have been precise/esoteric enough to take him to task.

          The wonderful-horrible thing about the Internet is that one can find almost any subgroup imaginable. Liberal preppers aren’t any more surprising than Bronies for Trump.

          1. Many liberals have held guns throughout history. But Marxists aren’t liberals.

            OK, now I’m completely confused.

            Am I supposed to act surprised when a gun-toting, disaster-fearing, survival-minded liberal wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt turns out to be a gun-toting, disaster-fearing, survival-minded Marxist or am I supposed to be surprised that white, quasi-religious, gun-toting, disaster-fearing, survival-minded-types like the Founding Fathers might identify as liberal?

            Your definition of several the terms prepper and liberal are so all over the place that you can, IMO, lump together effective opposites under a single umbrella.

            If that’s your stereotype of the subculture, “Liberal Prepper” will sound like an oxymoron.

            If that’s not your stereotype, the following paragraphs may make no sense whatsoever.

          2. Sorry, that was meant in reply to Walker above.

            1. I’m afraid Walker can’t make any sense of what you’re saying.

              1. I’m going to go out on a limb here, but it doesn’t look like we’ll be discussing Hegelian dialectics or the pre-1848 Marx today.

    3. There’s probably some psychological fascination as to how one would far in a post-apocalyptic nightmare.

      This is about it.

      It’s fun to wonder how one would do or survive if the ‘lectricity went off.

      Nothing wrong with it. But in my opinion, a lot of shit people think they’d do or need to do is wrong– ie, probably wouldn’t work in a real Zombia Apocalypse scenario.

      1. Having lived without power or running water for some extended period of times, I can say a few things without reservation. The novelty of living without wears off very quickly. The hot shower is one of mankind’s greatest inventions, followed closely by the gin-and-tonic. It’s one thing to watch a cracking good apocalyptic movie and quite another for life to become “nasty, brutish, and short.” Of course, the same can be said about dating and marriage.

        1. he novelty of living without wears off very quickly.

          Abso-frickin-lutely.

          It’s also hard to really imagine– really know what it’s like to live not just without power and electricity, but live without it while all of the ancillary support systems that come from other people having electricity or diesel/fuel are also without it.

          1. fascination as to how one would far in a post-apocalyptic nightmare

            I find the idea fascinating precisely because it’s just a fantasy to me and I sure hope it stays that way. I would never for a moment consider living it by choice.

            1. And that’s why people are leaving Syria.

        2. Ok, I need to find an alternative way to either power my well pump, or to pump the water mechanically.

          I haven’t gone long periods without running water, but a week waiting for a paycheck to do the well house repairs I felt unqualified to tackle did suck. (I needed the 90 feet of drop pipe and the pressure tank replaced.

          That’s why a prime emergency prep that I need to do is an emergency fund. I hate ‘liquidating’ most of my assets for the week at the gas station.

          1. There are tons of place on the Internet where DIY, homesteaders, solar/renewable folks will help you design something that will push water. The place to start is a list of relevant variable like your well depth, head, etc. No matter what the solution… it will cost $.

            1. And luckily, with the solar installation, until the real ZA hits, he’ll be able to buy replacement lead-acid batteries when they inevitably go bad.

              1. After the zombie apocalypse, I think some kind of zombie hamster wheel might charge the system.

  8. Its founding fears are rooted in the fact that Donald Trump is president. As a result, its members sometimes bear more than a passing resemblance to those folks on the right who started stocking ammo and canning food because Barack Obama was in the White House.

    Partisan morons, in other words.

  9. Is that… is that a man bun?

    Jesus… over under on when he shoots himself in the foot with his Glock?

    1. I’m sure he’s played enough GTA to know how to handle a “gat. ” /sarc

  10. 2,500 members and seems to have attracted about as many fascinated reporters,

    So it’s like Twitter.

  11. About 20 years ago I ran for office (as a Libertarian… insert frowny face emoticon) in a medium-sized midwestern state and went to a survivalist convention to do a little stumping. I met equal numbers of paranoid, off-grid hippies and paranoid right wingers. My favorite exchange —

    Paranoid Right Winger: “The Clinton Administration has been putting special messages on the backs of highway signs to direct UN Troops on where to go when the invasion to take over the U.S. goes down!”
    Me: “Why don’t they just look at the front of the highway signs to figure out where to go?”
    PRW: *blank stare*

    1. You haven’t answered the question on everyone’s mind: Did you win?

      1. Don’t be fatuous, Paul. He said “as a Libertarian,” so of course not.

        1. It was my nice way of asking how badly he lost.

          1. His mom didn’t even vote for him.

            1. Look, he’s libertarian. I’d estimate his mom letting him live in the basement is all the support she should provide. Now she has to vote for him too?

          2. Within the margin of shitiness of the vast majority of other Libertarian candidates throughout the land.

    2. Paranoid Right Winger: “The Clinton Administration has been putting special messages on the backs of highway signs to direct UN Troops on where to go when the invasion to take over the U.S. goes down!”
      Me: “Why don’t they just look at the front of the highway signs to figure out where to go?”
      PRW: *blank stare*

      PRW’s inner monologue: Illuminati, confirmed!

      1. Was he a rubber red necker?

    3. LOL, like Dale in King of the Hill.

  12. Look, they aren’t news until they fit into the narrative. Duh, McFly!

  13. Gun-Toting, Disaster-Fearing, Survival-Minded Liberals

    *barf*

    None of these assholes is a liberal because none of them hold individual liberty as a core value.

  14. Why have there been no props for the alt-text?

    Well done. It’s good to know a man bun is useful for something.

  15. It’s a lot easier to prep for anarchy, social disruption, and the collapse of civilization if it’s you and your buddies that are the ones planning on triggering the chaos.

  16. Preppers are people who-

    I WILL NOT BE YOKELSPLAINED TO BY THE LIKES OF YOU, WALKER.

    1. He is egging you on.

  17. RE: Gun-Toting, Disaster-Fearing, Survival-Minded Liberals

    I read somewhere recently that more black females in this country are buying more guns to defend themselves.
    Apparently, the times are a changing.

  18. “fears are rooted in the fact that Donald Trump is president. As a result, its members sometimes bear more than a passing resemblance to those folks on the right who started stocking ammo and canning food because Barack Obama was in the White House”

    Considering that Obama was buying up ammo at record pace and threatening to outlaw guns I would say the right had reason to be wary of Obama where as Trump has not threaten anyone but illegals

  19. Oh good, I wasn’t even going to bother because I didn’t want to spend the post-apocalypse with a bunch of bearded cretins.

  20. I am glad to read this. Since I am not a prepper in the sense of this article, after I eat through the stuff in the house, I now know where I can go and find friendly sharing folks who believe in income (food?) equality who will joyfully share what they have with me.
    Plan B; a local church. I will not need much, because with the collapse of the mandated mail order pharmacies, I will be dead in six months. The interesting thing is that the DHS says to keep at least thirty days of all your meds on hand, Obamacare says you have to use mail order, and can only get more when you are down to you last 10 days worth. As long as the collapse occurs just after a refill, I am OK for three months. Otherwise three weeks. Either way, I really don’t care. I will just sit by the side of the road with a sign that says “I told you so”.

  21. My reaction to anyone who said Trump = Hitler has been “So have you bought a gun yet to protect yourself and others?”

    I’m strangely glad some of them have actually been consistent on that

  22. Would love to join the group to remind them that their first obligation is to society as a whole. They should share their resources sans means testing, and attack those who do not share in order to distribute resources equally…
    Because, somehow, I don’t think that’s what’s on their mind.

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