Doomsday Prep for the Super Rich
January 24, 2017 7:51 AM   Subscribe

Even after the world ends, we won't be rid of these people. Some of the wealthiest people in America—in Silicon Valley, New York, and beyond—are getting ready for the crackup of civilization.

There's a couple paragraphs worth of the voice of reason:

'To Levchin, prepping for survival is a moral miscalculation; he prefers to “shut down party conversations” on the topic. “I typically ask people, ‘So you’re worried about the pitchforks. How much money have you donated to your local homeless shelter?’ This connects the most, in my mind, to the realities of the income gap. All the other forms of fear that people bring up are artificial.” In his view, this is the time to invest in solutions, not escape. “At the moment, we’re actually at a relatively benign point of the economy. When the economy heads south, you will have a bunch of people that are in really bad shape. What do we expect then?”'

But otherwise this is your 'tearing your hair out' link of the day.
posted by TheProfessor (119 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
 
If survival means this kind of company, I'll take a quick death.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:55 AM on January 24, 2017 [20 favorites]


If we've all got to go I say we figure out a way that these guys go too.
posted by Artw at 7:56 AM on January 24, 2017 [7 favorites]


Okay, sorry, this is garbage and these people are smart but dumb. Looking to Russia after the collapse of communism or bombed out cities in WWII makes sense, but the idea that the whole system is just going to collapse overnight, leaving you and your guns and motorcycle (rather rough on everyone you love unless they have their own motorcycles, eh? These people are sociopaths) is pretty ridiculous.

Also:

Huffman has calculated that, in the event of a disaster, he would seek out some form of community: “Being around other people is a good thing. I also have this somewhat egotistical view that I’m a pretty good leader. I will probably be in charge, or at least not a slave, when push comes to shove.”

Sociopaths.
posted by Frowner at 7:59 AM on January 24, 2017 [60 favorites]


My new survivalist plan is to eat the rich, literally this time.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:59 AM on January 24, 2017 [59 favorites]


This didn't feel germane to the original post, but I wanted to get it in early:

I don't understand how every American's first impulse can be "I've got to have guns."

I thought one quoted Silicon Valley guy was going the right way:

'García Martínez wanted a refuge that would be far from cities but not entirely isolated. “All these dudes think that one guy alone could somehow withstand the roving mob,” he said. “No, you’re going to need to form a local militia. You just need so many things to actually ride out the apocalypse.”'

But no, it's that he wants a militia instead of being the lone gun-everybody-down guy.

If and when the government can't respond to a crisis, you want community, and books, and know how, and if it gets that far, farmers.

When the earthquake happened in Mexico City in 1985 and the government couldn't respond, the people of the biggest urban area on earth came together to rescue themselves and organize food and shelter.

If the same thing happened in the Valley, it feels like it'd go Mad Max in an hour.
posted by TheProfessor at 8:00 AM on January 24, 2017 [43 favorites]


Some people want to be eaten first by Cthulhu; while others will strive to delay being eaten for as long as possible. One is tempted to send the super-rich letters, e-mails and text messages explaining that, in fact, NOBODY CAN SAVE YOU: WE WILL ALL BE EATEN! but I suspect such warnings would be disregarded.
posted by misteraitch at 8:01 AM on January 24, 2017 [9 favorites]


Between this kind of thing and all that "life-hacking" shit these guys are into like draining the blood of the young, I sense a kind of derangement. You can buy mansions and jets, but you can't buy time, dudes. You're all going to die. It's part of the deal that comes with being born. Since these people (I'm guessing they are all men; I don't read New Yorker articles online: I get the magazine.) are not much into reality, why don't they try another fantastical solution: get Beelzebub on Line Two and try your fabulous deal-making abilities with him?
posted by kozad at 8:07 AM on January 24, 2017 [18 favorites]


La-moes
posted by Molesome at 8:10 AM on January 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


These people are welcome to eke out a meaningless, tedious existence bereft of art and culture in an underground bunker or an ICBM silo or whatever if they feel like that's preferable to being dead (or, heaven forfend, sharing their money and resources in order to improve society before it collapses). Go nuts.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:12 AM on January 24, 2017 [16 favorites]


I don't understand how every American's first impulse can be "I've got to have guns."

Half of America is eager for an apocalypse so they can rule over a post-apocalyptic dystopia.

The other half is praying for the apocalypse to rid them of the first half.
posted by qi at 8:16 AM on January 24, 2017 [47 favorites]


“Being around other people is a good thing. I also have this somewhat egotistical view that I’m a pretty good leader. I will probably be in charge, or at least not a slave, when push comes to shove.”

I feel like that's a great line from classic era Simpsons/Monty Python/Arrested Development where they cut away to the post-apocalyptic future with a shot of the character that just said that locked up in stocks.

I can't find the link to it right now, but I recall an FPP about someone having the brilliant business plan of selling access to the best ever doomsday shelter for millionaires whose security was so tight, you couldn't ever visit it prior to the world ending. But they'd totes text you and tell you where to fly the helicopter when the time came.
posted by Candleman at 8:16 AM on January 24, 2017 [21 favorites]


but the idea that the whole system is just going to collapse overnight, leaving you and your guns and motorcycle (rather rough on everyone you love unless they have their own motorcycles, eh? These people are sociopaths) is pretty ridiculous.

I wish I could agree with you here, but it really didn't take very long for the USSR to collapse and there have been other large modern states (like Japan) that have very suddenly and dramatically collapsed in a relatively short period of time. What is it that makes you feel so confident that can't happen here? (Please make a persuasive argument back because I could use the comfort!)
posted by saulgoodman at 8:17 AM on January 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


i feel like anything i say about this will only get another flag on my electronic file in the shiny black building in utah
posted by entropicamericana at 8:18 AM on January 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


Back in the last Cold War, a lot of people bought (or at least made plans to relocate to) bomb shelters and fallout shelters and whatnot. And a lot of other people made a lot of money feeding into that fear and selling those people the supplies to stock those shelters. The difference between that apocalypse scenario (which, n.b., both was fairly likely and remains a possibility) and the contemporary ones is, in the previous case, the people preparing for the apocalypse couldn't bring it about themselves through collective action. None of those preppers had their hands on the big red button, thank heaven.

But the apocalypse today's preppers are expecting is essentially within their control. Anybody can decide that Shit has hit The Fan pretty much whenever they want to. Or they can decide to, as it were, throw their own shit at the fan preemptively, either out of sheer madness or a kind of twisted game theory. I am increasingly concerned that, just as the increased flow of military hardware to the police creates its own justification for the use of that hardware, the calculus of apocalypse prep renders it inevitable, on at least small, local scales. The people making these plans will eventually require that those plans be exercised. They are wildly underestimating what a total societal breakdown would require, but there's still nothing stopping them from deciding that, well, maybe [current state of affairs] is a societal breakdown. So maybe we're already Without Rule of Law. We're all sitting together in a tinderbox with the heat rising; we can arrest everybody who's visibly playing with matches but none of us know the flashpoint.
posted by penduluum at 8:18 AM on January 24, 2017 [9 favorites]


I wonder what these people will think when they live full, probably boring lives and die the same way most people do.
posted by defenestration at 8:18 AM on January 24, 2017 [9 favorites]


I wish I could agree with you here, but it really didn't take very long for the USSR to collapse and there have been other large modern states (like Japan) that have very suddenly and dramatically collapsed in a relatively short period of time. What is it that makes you feel so confident that can't happen here? (Please make a persuasive argument back because I could use the comfort!)

Sadly, my point was only that the USSR "collapsed" but there were still jobs, a functioning state (for some values of functioning), money, food distribution, etc. Things got pretty shitty, yes, but the idea that what you needed in that moment was a gun and a motorcycle, or even a bunker, is ridiculous.

If you actually want to go live in a bunker now as a lifestyle choice, that makes a kind of sense, but the idea that there's going to be a giant collapse that happens one morning and then you flee to your bunker with your gold bars and slave physician and live happily ever after - that's not how complicated societies fall apart.
posted by Frowner at 8:20 AM on January 24, 2017 [38 favorites]


Frowner gets this right, I think. Don't think Mad Max: Beyond San Jose.

Think Cuba in the 90's. Maybe with a touch of George Saunders, or DFW, to taste. Post-collapse Moscow. Oligarchs in furs in disco clubs for some; Rapidly inflating CPI's for most.

Year after year of things getting worse. Shittier, more expensive 'stuff.' Fewer and fewer 'careers.' More and more 'gigs' and 'sharing economy' type stuff served on a shitty App spoon with glitter on top to make the medicine go down.

Of course, as has happened in every recorded human civilization, when living standards go down, wars and authoritarianism go up. Young kids of every color, but mostly brown, being turned into red-colored confetti.

And so on. In the background, the polar caps break apart. Cereal yields go down. Certain highly populated parts of the world starve. Here in the first world, at least you can eat, so shut up and be grateful. Pay your taxes.

That data center in Utah hums.
posted by mrdaneri at 8:26 AM on January 24, 2017 [79 favorites]


Oh no, Frowner, I was hoping you had more! I already agree with you there. I think the reality of collapse is less romantic, more disempowering, painful, and frustrating than the exciting adventure into reclaimed masculinity and personal power some of the preppers seem to imagine. Death by a thousand paper cuts is more what collapse is like. Basically, it's like what we've been going through the past 20 years with ordinary systems and processes failing more and more and each person's sense of sharing in democratic power gradually slipping away.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:26 AM on January 24, 2017 [10 favorites]


I don't understand how every American's first impulse can be "I've got to have guns."

Well, apparently I'm going to need one to keep the Venture Capitalists from disrupting my subsistence garden.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:27 AM on January 24, 2017 [35 favorites]


Anyway, all the great bits like millionaire code-bros boasting they've taken archery lessons aside, this was my favourite part:

> Even financiers who supported Trump for President, hoping that he would cut taxes and regulations, have been unnerved at the ways his insurgent campaign seems to have hastened a collapse of respect for established institutions.

"I don't want to pay my fair share to maintain our established institutions, but I'm scared that they might collapse!"
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:28 AM on January 24, 2017 [87 favorites]


If even ten percent of these scared rich white men would do something civic in their local communities, a) they wouldn't feel so helpless that they needed a twelve story hardened underground silo as their woobie, b) and the fabric of the US would be markedly stronger.
posted by zippy at 8:31 AM on January 24, 2017 [44 favorites]


yes but what if someone got something for free who didn't 'deserve' it
posted by entropicamericana at 8:33 AM on January 24, 2017 [45 favorites]


These silos...when they close the hatch, we can just thread a padlock through the latch, eh?
posted by maxwelton at 8:38 AM on January 24, 2017 [27 favorites]


How can we convince these people that the only thing that'll save them is fixing America? It's a wise thing to stockpile for an earthquake... but if society really goes, they're going with it sooner or later. Sure, they have canned food. It'll last for a while. But can they farm? Where do they think food comes from? Soylent.com? What actual skills do they have? The guy mentioned learning archery. What a joke.

The fact that they brag about their prep in print shows they don't take it too seriously - or else they wouldn't breathe a word to anyone about what they've stockpiled. As an ex-army lady I know observes about her braggadocios doomsday prepper neighbor: if doomsday actually happens, she would just go to his house with her gun and army training and kindly request all his stuff. Not that she had high hopes of surviving in the first place. (She's realistic).

It's just a way of convincing themselves that their worth/merit/wealth is somehow independent of the society that gives it any value.
posted by Emily's Fist at 8:39 AM on January 24, 2017 [30 favorites]


When I saw this thread, I looked for and found Dee Xtrovert's much-favorited comment about life in wartime Serbia. For those who don't want to RTFC: people, for the most part, pulled together and helped one another out. Yes, it was an awful experience, sometimes fatal, but not in the Mad Max, militias-with-guns way that Richie Rich McPrepper envisions.

I think these guys are throwing money around LARPing their end-of-the-world fantasies.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:39 AM on January 24, 2017 [53 favorites]


posted by Emily's Fist at 8:39 AM on January 24 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]

God that is such a good username.

And fuck these rich fucks. I'm going to spend five minutes fantasizing about running an elaborate con where I sell them all very expensive memberships in the most secure amazing Mad Max bunker service available (but only to the select, obvs), complete with remote panic buttons and emergency pick up service, just so I can press the panic button and whisk them all out to a fucking desert somewhere, where I will lock them in their isolated bunker for a while so they can think about what they've done while the rest of the world laughs at them.

All proceeds going to social causes.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:47 AM on January 24, 2017 [14 favorites]


I was really hoping the future wasn't going to be "WOOL" but I guess I was wrong.
posted by chavenet at 8:48 AM on January 24, 2017 [8 favorites]


“Most people just assume improbable events don’t happen, but technical people tend to view risk very mathematically.” He continued, “The tech preppers do not necessarily think a collapse is likely. They consider it a remote event, but one with a very severe downside, so, given how much money they have, spending a fraction of their net worth to hedge against this . . . is a logical thing to do.”

This sounds superficially plausible, but if your big concern is the risk of high-impact low-probability events, why would you ride motorcycles and keep guns in your house? Isn't that far more likely to expose you to a "severe downside" in the long run?
posted by rollick at 8:49 AM on January 24, 2017 [20 favorites]


This also reminds me of apartheid South African society designing its townships to be bombed and its suburbs as mini-fortresses. The privileged people preferring a constant state of terrified paranoia to giving up some privilege and taking care of the vulnerable.
posted by Emily's Fist at 8:50 AM on January 24, 2017 [18 favorites]


At least the collapse of civilization is something that could actually happen, as opposed to Roko's Basilisk.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:50 AM on January 24, 2017 [9 favorites]


“Anyone who’s in this community knows people who are worried that America is heading toward something like the Russian Revolution,” he told me recently.
I read a few weeks ago that an estimated 17,000 people were killed in Russia in terror attacks in the couple of decades before the Russian Revolution, including a few thousand government officials and several government ministers. Even that amount of pressure against a regime that everybody knew was doomed wasn't enough to bring it down; it took repeated massive military disasters in WWI to do that.

Anyway, I suppose I'd better stock up on insulin.
posted by clawsoon at 8:51 AM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


My dad once told me about a conversation he had with his father during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when a lot of people were building fallout shelters. "Why don't we have one? Son, there are some things you don't want to live through."

I agree with grandpa.
posted by Blue Meanie at 8:51 AM on January 24, 2017 [34 favorites]


One of the guests was skeptical, Dugger said. “He leaned forward and asked, ‘Are you taking your pilot’s family, too? And what about the maintenance guys? If revolutionaries are kicking in doors, how many of the people in your life will you have to take with you?'"
If you go by the classic collapse scenario - the fall of the Roman Empire - bringing along all those people is exactly what you have to do. Welcome to the New Manorialism.
posted by clawsoon at 8:55 AM on January 24, 2017 [11 favorites]




Blue Meanie I'm with your grandpa: You're sitting at your desk in some cube farm somewhere, and briefly you have the impression the sun is rising at 3 PM in the afternoon.

I'd take that to decades of meanly grasping at vaguely-remembered first-world prosperity against backdrop of ecological and social collapse.
posted by mrdaneri at 8:56 AM on January 24, 2017 [11 favorites]


mrdaneri please get out of my head kthx
posted by PMdixon at 8:58 AM on January 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


This also reminds me of apartheid South African society designing its townships to be bombed and its suburbs as mini-fortresses. The privileged people preferring a constant state of terrified paranoia to giving up some privilege and taking care of the vulnerable.
posted by Emily's Fist at 8:50 AM on January 24 [2 favorites +] [!]


Also Israel
posted by TheProfessor at 8:59 AM on January 24, 2017 [7 favorites]


These people bring to mind John Scalzi's "objectivist jerky" piece from 2010:
"...possibly enter a gambling pool regarding just how long after their no-tax utopia comes true that their generally white, generally entitled, generally soft and pudgy asses are turned into thin strips of Objectivist Jerky by the sort of pitiless sociopath who is actually prepped and ready to live in the world that logically follows these people’s fondest desires. Sorry, guys. I know you all thought you were going to be one of those paying a nickel for your cigarettes in Galt Gulch. That’ll be a fine last thought for you as the starving remnants of the society of takers closes in with their flensing tools."
posted by Zonker at 9:00 AM on January 24, 2017 [29 favorites]


where they cut away to the post-apocalyptic future with a shot of the character that just said that locked up in stocks.

In the stocks? On a serving platter!
posted by praemunire at 9:07 AM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


I'm going to spend five minutes fantasizing about running an elaborate con where I sell them all very expensive memberships in the most secure amazing Mad Max bunker service available (but only to the select, obvs), complete with remote panic buttons and emergency pick up service, just so I can press the panic button and whisk them all out to a fucking desert somewhere, where I will lock them in their isolated bunker for a while so they can think about what they've done while the rest of the world laughs at them.


Schadenfrau, please turn this into a movie script. Because I would watch that movie.
posted by emjaybee at 9:09 AM on January 24, 2017 [12 favorites]


Whoever i want to remind myself how unrealistic these zombie-apocalypse type scenarios are, I remind myself of the Nazi invasion of the USSR, which was basically as close of an analogue I can think AND was premised on the very type of collapse that these people imagine. The Nazi plan was basically that they would overrun the Soviet Union, and then the Soviet government would collapse into chaos, and Germany would be able to sweep up the remainder.

The Nazis were half right-- they DID overrun the Soviets and the military WAS useless in the face of them. But the government didn't collapse and instead moved its resources out of reach of the invading army and was able to organize a massive resistance that turned them back.

What happens is that the structure for maintaining local social order remains intact or is quickly replaced. Rarely does civilization collapse into roving bands of violent hordes except in cases of genocidal violence which itself requires a functional government/authority to organize.

What mattered to your survival was not about whether you had a bunker but about whether you had continuous access to food, not just a few months of canned goods. The money they're spending on bunkers would be better spent on a small farm and learning how to live off the land and preserve vegetables and meats.
posted by deanc at 9:12 AM on January 24, 2017 [22 favorites]


the real heartbreaking thing is we can't all eat the Reddit founder
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:18 AM on January 24, 2017 [27 favorites]


If you actually want to go live in a bunker now as a lifestyle choice, that makes a kind of sense,

I was actually thinking that when I got to this part:

by raising tilapia in fish tanks, and hydroponic vegetables under grow lamps, with renewable power, it could function indefinitely, Hall said.

You have the basis for a fully-self-sustaining arcology! You could build a shelter for any homeless families who would prefer to come there and collectively work the arcology! It's an elementary building block for a utopia! What the heck dude!

Also:

Some survivalists disparage Hall for creating an exclusive refuge for the wealthy and have threatened to seize his bunker in a crisis. Hall waved away this possibility when I raised it with him over dinner. “You can send all the bullets you want into this place.” If necessary, his guards would return fire, he said. “We’ve got a sniper post.”

The Mad Max references in this thread feel pretty right on to me. Absent any larger ideological social order, the winner of this scenario is not going to be the paternalist wealthy Job Creators hiring their cheerfully-obedient militias; it is going to be an Immortan Joe, one of the militia men who realizes it only takes a bare minimum of charisma to convince the other militia men that nothing is stopping them from seizing the whole bunker themselves.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:19 AM on January 24, 2017 [31 favorites]


> Peter Thiel has purchased some land in New Zealand and has become a New Zealand citizen.

Oh neat. Does that mean he was in violation of U.S. election law for funding the Trump campaign as a foreign citizen?
posted by at by at 9:35 AM on January 24, 2017 [8 favorites]


If survival means this kind of company, I'll take a quick death.

Ya sure you don't want to live out that childhood dream of running a bulldozer and mounding earth of the entrances and exits of spider-holes?

Fortifications as defense went out of style once the cannon came into existence. A $2500 .50 cal lets you, as the Bell System used to say, reach out and touch someone.

And at the point where things are bad enough your "sniper post" comes into play - do you think the money you are paying to have that nest occupied will somehow matter to the person who's gonna go and hang out in that post?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:40 AM on January 24, 2017 [7 favorites]


Found the fpp about the scammy bunker company. They're apparently still around and crazier than ever - their Facebook page tries to link Nicole Brown Simpson, Megan Kelly, and Tanya Simpson in some meaningful way that doesn't make sense to me.
posted by Candleman at 9:42 AM on January 24, 2017


But otherwise this is your 'tearing your hair out' link of the day.

What, another one?
posted by acb at 9:48 AM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


yes but what if someone got something for free who didn't 'deserve' it

This article is pretty strong evidence that that's already happened. And come the Apocalypse, will happen again.
posted by Gelatin at 9:49 AM on January 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


This is either some self-indulgent one-up-manship game that they honestly believe makes them look cool and posh, or these people have seriously sold their souls to the devil and did things, that they have to be seriously ashamed of and worry about if it became public knowledge it would spark some sort of revolution and are putting some other spin on it.

In either case, cowardly snowflake robber barons do not make interesting reads.
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 9:50 AM on January 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


The New Zealand thing is much more pedestrian than some doomsday prepper scenario. If you're a billionaire, you pay less tax than you would in the US (currently, anyway), so it's a popular haven for them.
posted by fragmede at 9:55 AM on January 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


The worst part among all of the terrible parts of this? We basically know how to stop the collapse of America already! Fight against inequality, make people feel safe and heard and make sure people feel like members of a community. And the things we need to do those things are money and political power (which comes down to money).

I bet that if every penny these assholes spend on helicopters and ammo and New Zealand real estate had been spent on housing first initiatives, student and consumer debt forgiveness and education programs for the underserved, we'd be almost free of the problems that scared these brogrammers into stocking up on Soylent.
posted by AmandaA at 10:07 AM on January 24, 2017 [28 favorites]


These silos...when they close the hatch, we can just thread a padlock through the latch, eh?

And then erect a latrine over the air vent.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 10:18 AM on January 24, 2017 [8 favorites]


And pipe in the macarena, on repeat, until the speakers melt.
posted by mochapickle at 10:23 AM on January 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


Oh neat. Does that mean he was in violation of U.S. election law for funding the Trump campaign as a foreign citizen?

Heh. Like laws exists for the likes of him anymore.
posted by Artw at 10:24 AM on January 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


We need an Orson Welles figure to run a 'War of the Worlds' broadcast to get the spineless super-rich running to the bunkers and then pop round and drop a bit of cement over the doors.
posted by quarsan at 10:26 AM on January 24, 2017 [8 favorites]


As an expatriate New Zealander, the end of that article gave me the bleakest feeling. I mean, I haven't been home for a long time but I always figured the country would still be there if I needed it in an emergency. All I would need would be a plane ticket and my nice silver fern passport. But now I get this weird sense like I'm now being priced out of this particular post-apocalyptic fantasy. As someone wise once said, "you can't go home again."

Also, the vision of the private land holding for rich foreigners, complete with private beach access, with which the article ends ... The principle of public access to beaches and waterways is deeply embedded in the Kiwi psyche (if in practice something of a myth). That heedlessness about local customs and life worlds (both Maori and Pakeha) is precisely what generates the backlash against foreign land ownership alluded to in the article. It's like inequality and economic injustice endlessly ramifying and reproducing itself across the globe. You can't escape the effects of inequality, as the very act of escape generates new forms of injustice and inequality in the places you take refuge in.
posted by Sonny Jim at 10:41 AM on January 24, 2017 [12 favorites]


What's to prevent their armed guards from taking over and turning them into a slave force? For people who don't have any faith in humanity they sure have a lot of faith in humans.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 10:46 AM on January 24, 2017 [19 favorites]


Assholes who think they are above society fear collapse of society.

Film at 11.
posted by lmfsilva at 10:51 AM on January 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


This is my "these people are morons" link of the day.
posted by Slinga at 10:53 AM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


I'm firmly of the opinion that here in the United Kingdom our "betters" are more than likely planning to implement a "lifeboat britain" policy and that they have conservatively about 30-50 years left before things really go tits-up. Discovering that people with money are already thinking about these scenarios is literally no surprise to me whatsoever.

What is amusing to me is that they think they won't end up on fire in a ditch.
posted by longbaugh at 10:55 AM on January 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


These are the people who believe you can outrun an explosion.
posted by srboisvert at 10:55 AM on January 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


Sorry, New Zealand. :-(
posted by clawsoon at 10:56 AM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


What's to prevent their armed guards from taking over and turning them into a slave force?

They're no doubt stockpiling bottle caps to pay the guards with for when the dollar becomes worthless.
posted by longbaugh at 11:01 AM on January 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


A lot of loyalty, for a hired gun!
posted by Apocryphon at 11:28 AM on January 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


Yeah, these preppers are dumb. If you're worried about the sudden collapse of society, just buy an old farm in the western half of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. No need for armed guards or anything. If someone comes in with their militia in July, just wait 'til late December, those people will flee the farm and you can just walk right back in and retake the farm without worry of them coming back ever again. I mean, have you ever experienced a western UP winter?
posted by NoMich at 11:29 AM on January 24, 2017 [14 favorites]


Once again, a terrific piece of writing from the New Yorker. Just colors in the picture of selfish sociopathic jerks without coming out an saying it in so many words.

But I can't help noticing that every prepper quoted in there is a young male billionaire. (Or centi-millionaire, a word I didn't know but is perfect for conveying their insecurity and shame. A mere centi-millionaire.)

So when I read something like this:
> He, too, had eye surgery for survival purposes, eliminating his dependence, as he put it, “on a nonsustainable external aid for perfect vision.”

Don't they have any aging relatives? Surely they understand that things like insulin and cholestrol drugs and pacemakers and Parkinsons' medication don't stockpile well? Or are they planning to lead a perfectly healthy existence until they drop dead at age 120?

I mean, ok, my grand-uncle used no medication until he died at 88, but that's hardly something one can plan on, no?

(Mr. Thiel, I think I see a flaw in your vampirism scheme inside a secret billionaire-only condo.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:31 AM on January 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


This connects the most, in my mind, to the realities of the income gap. All the other forms of fear that people bring up are artificial.” In his view, this is the time to invest in solutions, not escape.

Which most likely is completely lost on a group of people not typically known for having a long horizon view of things.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:36 AM on January 24, 2017


What's to prevent their armed guards from taking over and turning them into a slave force?

Yeah, I was thinking, if your plan involves anyone that you are paying to stick around, in the best case scenario they'll be leaving, probably with your boat / plane / 4x4, as soon as stuff starts to collapse. Worst case they'll be taking your other stuff and/or killing you too.
posted by ghharr at 11:38 AM on January 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


Over and over these days I flash back to an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon in which the cat picks up a newspaper and reads the fatal news "YOU NEED A HEART TO LIVE", only it's "YOU NEED A SOCIETY TO LIVE".
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on January 24, 2017 [8 favorites]


Obligatory...
posted by cybrcamper at 11:59 AM on January 24, 2017


I just fundamentally do not understand this level of snark being directed at people who think society may fall into chaos when the election thread detailing how we are all about to actually fall to chaos is still up and running.
posted by corb at 12:00 PM on January 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


To add umbrage upon injurious insult, their choices for imagining the post-apocalypse are wholly unvisionary! If you're a would-be techno high-priest, you should be modeling yourself after Hari Seldon or St. Leibowitz, storing the world's information and technology so that future generations can rebuild! But no these guys just want to do the masque of the Red Death thing like those unnamed Paris Hilton/Bill Maher/Ann Coulter celebrities who get eaten in their bunker on Long Island in World War Z
posted by Apocryphon at 12:00 PM on January 24, 2017 [13 favorites]


120 Days of Sod Them.
posted by Artw at 12:01 PM on January 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


Leslie Fish's Digwell Carol covers most of my thoughts about this. (Sorry about the low-quality sound; it was converted from tape.)

Dudes have watched too many Mad Max movie clips. Not even too many movies - they missed the part where every little pocket civilization had a functioning community, not one guy at the top with All The Guns. (WTF, do they want to become Immortan Don? Did they watch Fury Road and think, "I wanna be that guy?")

You want to survive the collapse of civilization (nevermind that, as has been mentioned, civilization doesn't collapse like that--there's a lot more inertia than these people believe) and rule your local community: you learn to farm, and stock up on coffee and aspirin, not bullets.

Bullets can, if applied properly, keep people from taking stuff from you. But they can't keep you from dying of gangrene from a papercut. They not only can't bring you soup and clean water when you have a cold, they can't make anyone else do so, because if you're sick, you're not going to aim well. And you can't pay your guards in bullets forever.

Who wants to bet that most of these guys "stock up on foods" plan is missing at least one essential vitamin and they'll have to trade with the surrounding communities or die of something like scurvy?
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:06 PM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


I just fundamentally do not understand this level of snark being directed at people who think society may fall into chaos when the election thread detailing how we are all about to actually fall to chaos is still up and running.

a. we blame them for getting us to this point
b. they are not going to survive the apocalypse any better than we are because of numerous factors they fail to consider because money seems to make you stupid in very specific ways.
c. seriously, we blame them for this even being a likely thing.
posted by emjaybee at 12:07 PM on January 24, 2017 [21 favorites]


> I just fundamentally do not understand this level of snark being directed at people who think society may fall into chaos when the election thread detailing how we are all about to actually fall to chaos is still up and running.

Not to speak for others here, but the aspect I find personally repugnant is the utter amoral abdication of the social contract.

You stand at the top of a pyramid built on the labors of many (seriously - roads, contracts and courts of law, clean air and water, schools to educate your employees - yeah, you didn't build that). The least you could do is offer a helping hand, or try to avert the coming chaos, instead of making plans to pull yourself up by your bootstraps into a golden Ayn Rand paradise.

I'm sorry, this whole thing makes me unreasonably angry because of its shortsighted callousness.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:10 PM on January 24, 2017 [26 favorites]


Or are they planning to lead a perfectly healthy existence until they drop dead at age 120?

It has been many, many years since I knew Yishan personally, and I didn't know him well even then. But I feel reasonably comfortable guessing that yes, he intends to optimize himself, lead a perfectly healthy existence, and then drop dead at a ripe old age.

I do wonder what his plans are for his tribe of pet rabbits when the apocalypse comes, though. But perhaps he either no longer has rabbits, will eat them when the apocalypse comes, or is including them in his doomsday prepping activities. Tiny rabbit bunkers for all!
posted by Stacey at 12:13 PM on January 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


I just fundamentally do not understand this level of snark being directed at people who think society may fall into chaos when the election thread detailing how we are all about to actually fall to chaos is still up and running.

That's a good, empathatic question.

We're not snarking because we think the world can't end, we're snarking at the billionares who think their wealth should earn them a way out of it and leave the rest of us to our doom. Especially since they could be using that wealth for making things better instead of building pointless fantasy bunkers.
posted by Emily's Fist at 12:28 PM on January 24, 2017 [14 favorites]


I just fundamentally do not understand this level of snark being directed at people who think society may fall into chaos when the election thread detailing how we are all about to actually fall to chaos is still up and running

Because these people are indulging in childish wishfulfilment fantasies, rather than actually doing anything constructive. These are supposedly people with money, power and influence, so why not use it to change society for the better, rather than indulging in post-apocalyptic navelgazing?
posted by MartinWisse at 12:29 PM on January 24, 2017 [11 favorites]


Preppers all imagine themselves as Lord Humungus in the wasteland. It's like past-life regression, where the gullible determine they were Alexander the Great or Cleopatra.
posted by bendybendy at 12:30 PM on January 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


Perhaps the real truth is that these people can indulge in prepping because any of the real issues the rest of America has to grapple with: loss of health insurance, racist attacks, dismantling of government services in general and such will have little to no impact on them. Who cares about climate change if you can just move to New Zealand if the US gets too muggy?
posted by MartinWisse at 12:34 PM on January 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


I was struck by "the people who’ve been the best at reading the tea leaves—the ones with the most resources, because that’s how they made their money—are now the ones most preparing to pull the rip cord and jump out of the plane."

Alternative reading: the conmen know they need to get out of town before reality catches up with them.
posted by clew at 12:36 PM on January 24, 2017 [9 favorites]


"the people who’ve been the best at reading the tea leaves—the ones with the most resources, because that’s how they made their money—are now the ones most preparing to pull the rip cord and jump out of the plane."

These are people who are good at reading the tea leaves as far as making money in a hedge fund is concerned. It doesn't necessarily translate into predicting the collapse of society, something that has been falsely predicted time and time again.

A lot of times people like this are actually much worse at this sort of thing, because they're convinced that they're the smartest ones in the room and they think their narrow experience translates over, so they'll be more overconfident and do more wrong things faster.

It's cute to see the whole "I'm going to buy a home in New Zealand! Full of canned goods! And a helicopter pad!" Realistically, though, for the money they could do a lot better. Go buy an entire block in Detroit, rehab all the houses, rent them at below-market rates to folks who need help. There's your "militia."
posted by Slinga at 12:45 PM on January 24, 2017 [18 favorites]


I just fundamentally do not understand this level of snark being directed at people who think society may fall into chaos when the election thread detailing how we are all about to actually fall to chaos is still up and running.

There's not going to be a new-feudalism or whatever rubbish they think is going to happen after a collapse. They're going to be killed and their toys are going to be taken. If they spent some of their hard earned money on making the world a better place now they'd never even be at risk, the gormless spunktrumpets.

This is incidentally the same reason that Batman is literally the most awful superhero in the entire history of comics.

"Hmm... Shall I use my massive wealth to invest in jobs, housing and support for the underclass? Fuck no! I shall dress as a flying rodent and beat these poor, mentally-ill people to smithereens instead!"

He's the worst.
posted by longbaugh at 12:49 PM on January 24, 2017 [22 favorites]


I think these guys are throwing money around LARPing their end-of-the-world fantasies.

Well at least that money is going back into the economy amirite
posted by Existential Dread at 12:50 PM on January 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


The idea that these people are the smartest of the smart and are therefore accurately assuming that society is going to degenerate into some kind of free-for-all is absolutely ridiculous.

Every single dollar of these people's wealth comes from their ability to play along with the security state and big advertising. Palantir? Google? Hedge funds? That's not about being a genius about society (even if it is about being very good at programming - and surely we all know someone who is great at programming but who couldn't predict sunrise tomorrow), that's about riding the coattails of a large, nasty empire which needs surveillance and sales. And, for most of them, coming from incredibly privileged backgrounds which enabled them to rise far higher than if they'd been smart but poor.

If I want to know what's going to happen in society, I'm going to listen to people who have history and policy backgrounds, not Vampire Thiel and the other assorted fruitbats.

Ugh. I mean, I could be persuaded that we need a benevolent dictatorship of tech overlords if I weren't persuaded that they are idiots about everything that isn't money and government contracts.
posted by Frowner at 12:59 PM on January 24, 2017 [17 favorites]


Worthless, sniveling, cowards.

O Lord, what a morning, when the stars begin to fall, and the shitlords of Silicon Valley waddle quickly toward their escape helicopters!
Why should we simply elect to survive when glorious martyrdom and the inheritance of the saints is calling out to you?
As your sweat-drenched body presses against the taut seams of your flight suit, you fumble to load buckshot into your brand new Mossberg, and lo, like a terrible oracle I burst from the bushes before you, screaming eddas and baptized in kerosene!
Together, embracing, we experience the sacrament of resurrection! It'll sound like this: "FOOMP"

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 1:03 PM on January 24, 2017 [13 favorites]


I'm pretty sure I read this book. There were these peaceable people, but they were called "hobbits" instead of "New Zealanders", and the quiet corner of the world they lived in was called "the Shire" instead of "New Zealand". After the evil people had been chased out of the rest of the world, a few of them tried to set up shop in the Shire and had to be chased away.
posted by clawsoon at 1:05 PM on January 24, 2017 [11 favorites]


Directly related: Peter Thiel has purchased some land in New Zealand and has become a New Zealand citizen.

Hmmm, how's that gonna impact his run for Governor of California? Let's see here:
Summary of Qualifications and Requirements for the Offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor

QUALIFICATIONS

Every candidate shall:
Be a U.S. citizen.
Thanks for taking him off our hands, NZ. We owe you a beer or three.
posted by Existential Dread at 1:07 PM on January 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


what i want to know is, why is nobody working to design a shit-resistant fan?
posted by indubitable at 2:00 PM on January 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


That would be the macerator in upflow toilets, indubitable.

There's a metaphor in here somewhere. (Still shoveling.)
posted by clew at 2:08 PM on January 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


Thread title would also be a good title for a 1980's movie where rich kids have to fight off a zombie apocalypse.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:12 PM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


This worldview of "we're more deserving of life than everything else because we can afford it" is a sick and poisonous one, and the fact that so many people proudly hold it is disturbing.

In high school, Atlas Shrugged was on our required reading list one year (the Ayn Rand Institute paid our school to teach it). I thought what the main characters did at the end was morally wrong and vastly screwed up, and was honestly disturbed that we were supposed to see Galt and his people as the heroes. I don't think it's just the money that does it, since there are rich people who understand the importance of charity, the environment, and helping others, but that worldview of "the lives and health of the privileged few are worth more than a country full of worthless peons" corrodes a person's moral compass - or at the very least, their enthusiastic response to the idea reveals what kind of person they are.

In any case, I doubt they'll be the ones puking their guts out or choking on fumes when deregulation hits the fan. People like Thiel and Huffman don't have to suffer the consequences of what they do, which I'm willing to bet contributes to their little 1-percenter bubbles.
posted by thedarksideofprocyon at 2:28 PM on January 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


One of my favorite bits about The Walking Dead is that the people with the prepper mentality are almost always the ones the cast finds dead in their bunker when out searching for supplies. You aren't a target if you don't have a pile of things other people want. The bigger the pile, the harder people will work to take it from you. You can't stay awake forever.

Funny how the people who have had to work for things in life are generally able to get by when life requires work, huh?

Also, the New Yorker! Come for the story on ultrarich preppers, stay to admire our love of the diaeresis...
posted by caution live frogs at 2:45 PM on January 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


stay to admire our love of the diaeresis

RIGHT? That "reëlection" has to be pulling our leg, it's so pretentious. Talk about real life monsters.

edit: I googled and turns out the New Yorker wrote an entire article about it. Good lord.
posted by Emily's Fist at 2:53 PM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


Alternative reading: the conmen know they need to get out of town before reality catches up with them.

*empty dilapidated BART car bursts forth from beneath Market Street, obstructing limo caravan of fleeing VCs and founders*

Monorail, bitches
posted by Apocryphon at 2:55 PM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


What's to prevent their armed guards from taking over and turning them into a slave force?

Those other Founders did it by getting their foot soldiers addicted to drugs. There are probably real examples of that in human history, but I don't know enough to cite any.
posted by indubitable at 5:26 PM on January 24, 2017


I just fundamentally do not understand this level of snark being directed at people who think society may fall into chaos when the election thread detailing how we are all about to actually fall to chaos is still up and running.

Because their plan, if they could, would be to fuck off tomorrow in a rocket to some space ark where they'd live on their librotarian horse jizz until the rest of the savages back home would kill each other and they could return to serve as emperors for life with the survivors as their stack of slaves.
Because they can't, it's buying their way into NZ and take a few hundred gallons of horse jizz with them.

Society is not unfixable, but it takes work and willpower, as well as selflessness and a commitment to the common good. All traits missing from the "fuck you I got mine crowd", and snark is all they're getting from me.
posted by lmfsilva at 6:24 PM on January 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


Haven't any of these Silicon Valley types read any JG Ballard?
posted by Gotanda at 6:36 PM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


What's to prevent their armed guards from taking over and turning them into a slave force?

The dynamic is actually pretty effective. You have joined and probably sworn allegiance to become a member of that praetorian guard. So you are having buyer's remorse, comrade? Every contact you make with one of your fellow soldiers carries the risk that they will really be loyal and report you as a traitor. Developing a network large enough to mount an effective attack without getting caught or at least alerting the leaders that something is going on is almost impossible unless the dissatisfaction is almost universal among the ranks. And unless they are being burned by fire in the moment most people are willing to trust that their leaders have Got This for the moment. And oh, you're rewarded handsomely if you're the loyalist who reports a traitor.

You are, incidentally, seeing a less lethal version of this exact dynamic play out right now in the White House.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:39 PM on January 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


I just fundamentally do not understand this level of snark being directed at people who think society may fall into chaos when the election thread detailing how we are all about to actually fall to chaos is still up and running.

Because in actuality, the danger is not society collapsing into chaos. The danger is that a malicious government will take power and oversee violence. Meanwhile, you would think that the people who made themselves wealthy with a functional government in place would be openly advocating to ensure that society and civilization works. Instead, their big obsession is post-apocalyptic survival, which isn't even a problem.

Now-- acquiring a second passport, and buying a home in a stable country? Makes perfect sense. The people who made that decision in Europe in the 1930s were the ones who survived. But the bunker-scenario is a blatant "fuck you, I got mine" move. The only thing that makes me happy is that it's like the Magninot Line: a very expensive method to protect against something that will be bypassed, exposing them to a greater danger.
posted by deanc at 6:48 PM on January 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


Oh neat. Does that mean he was in violation of U.S. election law for funding the Trump campaign as a foreign citizen?

NZ allows dual citizenship, so I'd assume he's retained his US citizenship...

Incidentally, he took NZ citizenship "some years" before 2014, per the NZ Minister of Internal Affairs.
posted by Pink Frost at 7:28 PM on January 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


Actual, one thing about the bunker mentality that just occurred to me: Like creeping fascism/authoritarianism, there's probably not going to be one moment where you know it's time to go to the bunker. Like, some things slip a little bit, some bad things happen to some other people, but you're rich and the bunker is boring and there's still sun and restaurants and parties and most of your friends are just out there keeping up appearances. And then when you realize you should bail out, it's too late.
posted by ghharr at 8:10 PM on January 24, 2017 [2 favorites]




But this is a very American thing though, isn't it?

The idea of rugged and exciting self reliance- that with enough gumption you can pull yourself up by your own bootstraps and become a millionaire.

That when it all falls apart, I, as a rugged and self reliant person with gumption shall ride free on the plains like Clint Eastwood on horseback (except on motorcyle like Mad Max) as everyone else without sufficient gumption wallows in the mire of their own lack of gumption, I shall rise above it all?
In this fantasy, my accumulated millions is proof of my ruggedness and self reliance, and so is my willingness to display my plan for success when every one else suffers catastrophic failure

I don't see nearly the same degree of apocalyptic fantasy in other countries- and the examples of real life crises- fall of Russia, mass disruption events like earthquakes and power outages end up with groups of strangers not shooting and looting, but pulling together.
But those examples are all outside America.

Its a very American fantasy. But, given the prevalence of it, and the access to the means to make it a reality (seemingly limitless weaponry) is it also a potential American reality?
posted by Plutocratte at 1:33 AM on January 25, 2017 [2 favorites]


As to American crises, you might find the story of the Common Ground collective, which organized a huge amount of post-Katrina clean-up, rebuilding, routine medical/food distribution, etc, to be of interest. It's an almost unbelievable story, except that I know a couple of the participants (distantly, but enough to know that it's real). And one reason it's unbelievable is that it happened largely below media radar and was hugely harassed by the police.

Another example: Occupy people did a great deal of volunteering after Sandy when the state didn't help.

Both these stories contradict the idea that Americans can't organize and the idea that the radical left is a bunch of useless idiots. The radical left often kind of sucks on policy, frankly, speaking as a radical left person*, but in an actual "we need to organize an encampment and/or clean out houses full of sludge and/or help people who are stuck in their apartments" way, a lot of people are very good indeed.

One of the lessons of Katrina, at least, is that the state itself will be a huge enemy in the aftermath of disaster, if that disaster happens to poor people. Because the emphasis will be on corralling them and preventing them from making any visible demands for anything except, like, FEMA trailers made out of toxic materials or whatever.


*But this is changing - SEIU organizing by their radical wing, campaign for $15, Black Lives Matter and related organizations' policy work on policing and voting are all very good.
posted by Frowner at 6:04 AM on January 25, 2017 [9 favorites]


> the real heartbreaking thing is we can't all eat the Reddit founder

One year, for the holidays, Cards Against Humanity bought a genuine Picasso sketch, cut it into tiny pieces, and sold them each for ten bucks or something.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 6:39 AM on January 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


One year, for the holidays, Cards Against Humanity bought a genuine Picasso sketch, cut it into tiny pieces, and sold them each for ten bucks or something.

I might be missing your point. They bought a Picasso and then let donors vote on whether they should cut it up, or donate it to a local museum. 71% of people voted to donate it, which they did. There's probably a lesson to be taken from this.
posted by Emily's Fist at 6:50 AM on January 25, 2017 [2 favorites]


Is that lesson "29% of people will destroy Picasso/society for the lols"?
posted by corb at 7:05 AM on January 25, 2017 [5 favorites]


It is known. (Not that I endorse the specific language used there, but I think the basic idea is essentially correct.)
posted by tobascodagama at 8:26 AM on January 25, 2017 [2 favorites]


Okay, sorry, this is garbage and these people are smart but dumb. Looking to Russia after the collapse of communism or bombed out cities in WWII makes sense, but the idea that the whole system is just going to collapse overnight...is pretty ridiculous.

Things could get really bad really fast, though. For example, supermarkets generally depend on short-term credit to order more stock. If the credit markets seize up, supermarkets would run out of food in a matter of days. Probably a day, if there was panic buying (there would be panic buying). Then... no more food.

This very nearly happened in 2008, by the way.

Stuff like that.
posted by Automocar at 9:08 AM on January 25, 2017 [5 favorites]


Is that lesson "29% of people will destroy Picasso/society for the lols"?

29% of people will vote for the joke option in a perverse modern update to the Prisoner's Dilemma
posted by Apocryphon at 10:52 AM on January 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


All Blacks & Tech Utopians vs. 50 Gigatonne Decadal Methane Pulse Scenario.
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:05 PM on January 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


Is that lesson "29% of people will destroy Picasso/society for the lols"?

My impression is that Picasso took an interest in the commodification of his work and would have been amused by this. My guess is that he would have voted for its destruction, because he himself was not above doing things for the lolz.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:34 PM on January 25, 2017 [2 favorites]


My understanding about how these things work out historically is that the rich find shelters and hole up in them, sending the remaining surviving troops to control/massacre the poor people, just in case the poor people try to storm their shelters, or claim the ruined estates they want to keep but not to return to. The troops will shoot a few people who are trying to salvage their own possessions for looting, and then will dissolve when their pay fails to materialize and they start to worry about their mothers, so they go home. The poor people however will just try to look after each other and give up on fighting with their enemies fifty miles away because it is just too hard to travel that extra fifty miles to throw rocks or shoot at the people who speak with the wrong accent, and anyway, if anyone does have to go in that direction their priority will be trying to trade for some essential like seed. (It's easier to trade than to raid, because if you trade they bring the seed to you, whereas if you rob you spend hours hunting for the seed that may not exist before their defense shoots you in the back while you are peering into a cellar. Maybe it is distasteful to trade with them on the other side of the tracks, but we got to have the seed.)

The rich, poor souls, will last for awhile, but they believe in society, since they need enforceable contracts and property law and stuff like that. But having isolated themselves from the mob of people who are busy scavenging the ruins and setting up new town crier communication systems, and hospitals and food pooling areas, they no longer have a society that will either defer to them, or follow the law to protect them. So all it will take is one or two criminals who will look at the bunker and decide that if 148 of the wealthy condo units were empty, they could sell them to brand new investors. It's possible the guy that goes through the silo-condo will be one of the hired security guards, but unlikely. More likely it will be the son of one of the wealthy survivalists, who is bored and pissed off at being included in the chore roster, so he will get four or five of his cocaine buddies to join him and hold a shooting spree.

The rich are relying on the other people in the shelter being invested in the status quo. The elderly rich retirees will be committed to the status quo, the pilot will be committed to the status quo. His family will be committed to the status quo. But one or two or five of the oligarch heirs, and perhaps the odd criminal who is passing himself off as just being a illegal offshore tax oligarch but in fact has a line in paying people in other countries to shoot people in other countries, will decide that a handshake in the country club notwithstanding, it would be very poor business to allow their fellow rich to keep their riches.

There are probably already a few people like this who have bought condos. As far as I know the guy selling the condos has not talked loudly about ensuring that no one who cannot pass an investigation into his social behaviour and morality will be permitted to buy a unit. They are likely not screening their purchasers for previous anti-social behaviour as they belong to a gentleman's club where you don't ask how dirty other people got to obtain their money. So. I am betting that one of the guys on the condo association has a business plan written up which perhaps first involves getting the other condo owners to turn over all their valuables in return to allowing them to stay in their units, and then moves on to phase two, which involves the evictions.

My understanding is that there was a lot of this in Russia after it fell. If you were rich it meant that you were not a target for the poor and hungry, but a target for the criminals who were smart enough to go for the most lucrative opportunities first.

The rich do have a lot to be afraid of. Someone like Jimmy Carter might survive awhile because there are enough people who admire him that they would include a place for him at the table in the food pooling centre, if he backs up quick when the school friend of his nephew arrives with the guns, but someone like Mark Zuckerberg is unlikely to have enough people that admire him enough that they are willing to give up their kids' supper to feed him. Both Zuckerberg and Carter will be the target of criminals, because they are visible, recognizeable and hey, they gotta be rich, rigth? And while there will be predators going after the poor people we won't be a target worthy of going to a high risk to rob. We are going to be dying of starvation and dystentry and exposure, but not violence. That will only happen after society picks itself up and organizes itself enough to have wars again and at that point it will be either a few weeks or decades later and we will be in the feudal age and the new kings and erstwhile criminals will be strongly committed to law and order so that people follow their laws and respect their property so that their children get to inherit.
posted by Jane the Brown at 1:39 PM on January 25, 2017 [32 favorites]


See, that’s what’s sad about all this: the post-disaster world will be just like this one, only worse. All the lousy coworkers and squabbles and crap, but none of the luxuries. The winners won’t be the zombies, just another set of bosses. The end of the world is what you call it when your tribe loses. It may be the end of the world for them, like it was for hundreds of native tribes all over the world, but when your world ends like that, you don’t get to play out the game in some cool ruins out of a video game. Some other tribe takes over, that’s all. And when they do, there’s no way on earth you can hole up in your townhouse with a semi-automatic weapon and hold out. Because it’s organization that wins, not lone gunmen. If you want to survive, join a club. It only looks like chaos to the losers.
The Mormons and Pentecostals will inherit the Earth, or at least LA. War Nerd: Apocalypse Never
posted by Apocryphon at 3:15 PM on January 25, 2017 [7 favorites]


My impression is that Picasso took an interest in the commodification of his work and would have been amused by this. My guess is that he would have voted for its destruction, because he himself was not above doing things for the lolz.

not to continue this derail too far, but I absolutely think the artist vote would have been to cut the painting up and distribute it to the 150k donors. As Picasso said: "Every act of creation is first an act of destruction." & "We have already destroyed the old masters. We must now destroy the modern ones."

As is, the painting ended up in the Art Institute of Chicago. If they'd have cut it up, some of those pieces would have ended up in the MoMA or Centre Pompidou. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Art is funny.
posted by Emily's Fist at 7:30 AM on January 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


"Once upon a time there were a bunch of evil fucks.
Hardly anyone knew, because they were so good at keeping it quiet, but these particular evil fucks owned the world.

And they made the world a cruel and terrible place.

They ran the great industries that poisoned the air. Their businesses turned whole countries into slaves. The money they made could have fed and healed the population of the Earth twice over -- But all they could think to do with it is hoard it. They got away with it by being expert salesmen. These were men who could sell anything to anyone. They made puppets out of Presidents and started wars for profit. Eventually, they came to believe that there was nothing that they couldn't do.

And so one day, inevitably--

They pushed the planet's luck too far."


"You could sit out the war you knew was coming, the way you were running the world. You could stay down here and breed, and if the women couldn't concieve, you knew you had a back-up plan.

One way or another, the future would be yours. Everyone else could burn.

-Punisher, "The End"
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:36 AM on January 26, 2017 [4 favorites]


Holy shit Uther Bentrazor I think that Punisher comic gave me the frisson.
posted by Bringer Tom at 5:44 PM on January 26, 2017


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