I thought is was a good idea to add a page on the site about the core philosophy I have about being survival minded and modern survivalism. My hope is that individuals from those areas will enjoy this site but that the “average Joe” and the “average Jane” will also get a great deal from my site and podcast as well.

The core of my philosophy about being prepared, life style planning, self sufficiency and energy independence can be summed up with in the following 10 core values…

1. Everything you do to “prepare” for emergencies, disasters or economic turmoil should be blended into your life in a way that improves your life even if nothing disastrous ever occurs.

2. Debt is financial cancer! Minimize it, pay it off early and stay away from credit cards.

3. Growing your own food is for everyone not just people that want “organic” fruit and vegetables. To produce your own food, even as little as 10% of what you use reduces your dependence on “the system”. If nothing else gardening is good for your emotional and physical health and increases the value of any property.

4. Tax is theft, the best way to combat it is to understand every legal deduction you can take or create. In general I think “the system” is bad but when it comes to taxation either learn the system or hire a damn good accountant to work it for you. Every dollar you keep can be used to improve your self sufficiency, every dollar taken from you can be used to make your dependence on the government stronger.

5. Food stored is an exceptional investment. Food is increasing in cost faster than just about any investment right now and certainly faster than the rate of inflation. You simply can’t lose by storing additional food that you use on a regular basis.

6. Plan for disaster in the following order of priority – Personal-Localized-Regional-State-National-Global. Despite the real possibility of a true economic melt down or catastrophic terrorist attack or some other major global disaster the most probable “disaster” for any individual is personal. Loss of a job, loss of a family member, a fire or localized weather event are the most probable threats to impact any individual. So plan and prepare for those first, then continue to build going forward.

7. Renewable energy is great if you do it in a way that saves you money (short or long term) but your solar panels are not going to save the planet.  If you want to promote solar, wind, hydro, etc. the best way is to develop it in a more cost effective manner. Fuel efficient vehicles are also great. I personally drive a 2006 Jetta TDI diesel that puts many hybrids to shame at 44 MPG! That’s doing 80MPH on average by the way. I bought it because it was affordable, well built and incredibly engineered and cost me a lot less to run even with diesel being a lot more expensive than gas. The lesson is that the best way to promote “green energy” is via economics.

8. Owning land is true wealth. I advise people to strive to own land in the country where taxes are low and restrictions are limited. Even if you live in the city finding, buying and improving land within 3-5 hours of your primary residence makes a lot of sense. If you can use it to get out of the city at some point so much the better.

9. In addition to food, water and other common survival stores use common sense methods of hedging against “disaster”. Pragmatic things like, cash emergency funds, good insurance and secondary income streams are not just for people in “the system”. These types of protection can make you life a lot less miserable when something goes wrong. Make them part of your planning.

10. Your personal philosophy is more important for you than mine! You are the master of your own life and if you don’t agree with my views, great, define, understand and implement your own. The biggest thing you can do is understand that you are in control of your life and that what you do matters. Those two factors have the greatest impact on individual survival across every demographic you can imagine.


Modern Survival Philosophy — 24 Comments

  1. Thanks for the advice.. your Modern Survival Philosophy is great reading..# 10 did for me.Because we all are different in locations and how we were taught as children, many strugle with the so called survivalist,we are seen as extreamest.But having lived in Detroit in the 60s and experencing major storms in Florida,it has taught me to put away certain things.Im sorry that the rest of America has to learn the hard way..But as dad would say “a hard lesson wont be soon forgot”…the only thing I see missing is how to create a net work of others that hold on to the same beliefs,if and when the shit hits the fan we will need to contact and trade to help each other…Some say contact Churches..well good for some but a commitee ?? wont be taken serious,I know .So a network in what ever state your in would be nice..a contact area (like here) that we could link up with others,but have the advantage to screen each other also. The distrust of others is what is stopping us all from doing what we realy need to do..will listen to any Good advice on the Matter..
    Thanks Matt..

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  4. i value and enjoy the reading from sources such as these. i see and speak to so many people that in this time of economic challenge simply cant fund any preparedness activities. its taking everything they’ve got to stay housed and fed. this includes me and mine to some extent. so i find myself thinking outside the box. example no money, no job, probably got time. the best investment for those without money is knowledge. study at the public library! about? whatever you think will be of value to yourself and others. when shtf the people that have or appear to have wealth will quickly become targets. bunker up to protect loved ones and wealth! but if your found, an impromptu effort such as a log or large rock against your entrances and exits could turn all your efforts into a prison cell or worse a grave. i know some that have become determined to develope themselves physically (strength, agility, mma, genuine badass). many will see that person as a leader and teacher, others will see him as a threat and will eliminate them as quickly as possible. strength is generally and more safely found in groups with common standards beliefs and goals just try to make sure you bring something to the group of value honesty, fairness, cooperation, integraity, happiness.

  5. I like this information, but you lose me when you say that man made global warming is a scam. You wreck all credibility and respect with that one sentence.

    • I understand your contention Alan, I don’t think any of Jack’s listeners follow all of the things he believes.

      That being said, if you allow one single point of disagreement make you ignore all of what another person has to say, then the only person you’re going to be listening to is yourself.

    • Did we cause global warming? I don’t think so.
      Can we, humans, do anything to destroy the planet? I don’t think so. Why do I think this? Because the Bible says that Jesus is going to come back and destroy the Earth, and there is nothing we can do to change that.
      That being said, I do believe we can make our time here better by living in a way use what God has given us in a RESPONSIBLE manner. Note: We use what man has made is not always ordained by God.

      • New to the site and the podcast. Turned off by the global warming denial, which is a huge threat to every one of us, from both a local and global perspective. Don’t believe in an afterlife, either. And if the crap really hits the fan all the guns and food in the world won’t keep you safe (or alive). But beyond the unlikey spector of total social chaos, there are a lot of good reasons to be self-sufficient, especially for short periods of time, such as with a natural disaster. And because this is the only planet we have. So, why I don’t share your perspective on everything, I do look forward to learning from you.

        • Exactly what threat does Global Warming play to YOU, to YOU DAVID. I ask this while Nigra Falls is FROZEN by the way. Remember by 2012 Mr. “Lockbox” said there’d be no ice in the arctic at all.

        • Also I have an open offer of 1,000 dollars of my personal cash to anyone that can conclusively disprove ONE fact presented here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5c4XPVPJwBY so far no one has claimed a dime and about 120,000 people a day listen to this show. Frankly no one has even tried. Go for it!

  6. I just happened to be looking back for old episodes on your tenets of modern survivalism. Since you originally wrote this, I think you have updated your philosophy to add two more tenets. Having a means of defense and have full documentation. It might be nice to update this article to reflect that revision for new listeners/readers. Just a thought…

  7. I have to disagree about the global warming comment, I would agree the politics as they always do are trying to make money from it. I do however believe that man made global warming is real there’s just to much science to back it up.

    That being said I also believe that science too can help cure our plant. For example we need wood for almost everything does that mean we just go cut down whatever tree we want? NO! what we do instead is selective logging that opens up the canopy and allows the rest of the trees to grow. You turn logging into farming and use modern growing and copicing techniques to force rapid truck growth like they do in the modern tree farms of the northwest.

    I don’t go around chaining myself to trees or lobbying for the stink beetle habit or any useless nonsense like some stinky hippie. Technology applied with a permaculture mind set.

    The mindset of permaculture as defined by David Bloom..”… the problem is the solution… every process creates a co-product not a by-product.” Stop disgarding the co-product.

  8. Jack — THANK YOU !

    For years I have felt like a fish out of water … a stranger in all camps … a misunderstood recluse amongst recluses. I found a little comfort and solace with Libertarians; but far too often they are nothing more than a minor, insignificant political party within a behemoth, corrupt political system.

    I am VERY new to your site and podcasts. I look forward to hours and hours of reviewing past content; and even more so to being a part of future content. And – to give credit where credit is due – I thank Paul Wheaton for introducing me to you.

    That said – you can probably guessed that – as a Wheaton follower – I am VERY into Permaculture. I consider myself to be a “Green” advocate; I love trees (I love trees more than I love most people). I love renewable energy – the more passive the better. Fiscally I’m a Conservative; Politically I’m a Constitutionalist; Socially I’m a Libertarian. Though these are the parameters of my life – each day I live my life as a Permaculturalist.

    However – most of the Permaculturalists I know are VERY liberal (socially and economically). Most align with the Democratic Party and the Progressive Movement. Few believe in your 2nd tenant “Debt is Financial Cancer”. They actually believe that debt is necessary for economic growth and stability. Almost none would agree with your 4th tenant “Tax is Theft”. Most Permaculturalists condone “sharing the wealth” and the “equal distribution of assets”. I have actually met many Permaculturalists that disagree with your 8th tenant “Owning Land is True Wealth”; they do not believe in Private Ownership – it should all be shared … by the community … managed by the government. Even my good friend Paul Wheaton on a recent podcast with you – discredited the only conservative national news-station in this country (Fox Network Channel).

    So — to have stumbled across you, your site, and your philosophies – has given me hope. And for that, Jack, I am very grateful. BUT (and there is always a “but” – right?). Though I agree 99% with your 10 core values, I would like to express my opinions regarding #7 in the next two posts. And based on core value #10 – you’re okay with that.

  9. “7. Renewable energy is great if you do it in a way that saves you money (short or long term) but your solar panels are not going to save the planet.”

    Jack, that is too emphatic. I actually believe that “your solar panels” … the solar panels of freedom loving individuals may very likely save the planet. But I am a nobody who knows very little. I would like for you (and your readers/listeners) to consider a study and report done in early 2013 by the Edison Electric Institute (typically a stodgy, backward-looking institution with leanings toward the US Power Utilities). I would encourage you to read an article by David Roberts entitled Solar panels could destroy U.S. Utilities, according to U.S. Utilities that references the document and findings of the Edison Electric Institute.


    Now this is all WAY BEYOND my pay-scale or knowledge level. So I ask you, Jack, and any of your readers: Is this bullshit? Is there some backhanded political movement to distort these findings? Or do solar panels actually have a chance of capturing energy from the sun to such a degree that the multi-billion dollar power companies have been advised to alter their business model?

    How many private homes in the US do (or at least could) have south-facing roof slopes? How many roof tops of apartment buildings, condos, office or retail complexes do (or at least could) support dozens of south-facing PV solar panels? I’m not saying we have to build massive solar panel farms across the open flat lands of this great country. I’m just saying that perhaps we could (and should) replace every petroleum-based bituminous asphalt shingle with an energy capturing solar panel. What would the benefits be?

    My last point on this subject is a concern for the lower socio-economic millions in this country. If all of us who can afford to convert to PV solar power (and other renewable energy sources) do so, this will leave the US Power Utilities high and dry. They will be forced to charge exorbitant fees for electricity to those that can least afford such fees. Who will fund the maintenance of our eroding nuclear power plants? Who will fund the fracking and piping of natural gas and petroleum. This will lead to our government stepping in — paying all electricity bills for the lower 50% of Americans and recuperating those costs from the American taxpayers (present or future). Just think in terms of Obama-bucks, Obama-phones, Obama-Care, and now … Obama-Utilities.

  10. #7 goes on to state: “Man made global warming is a scam designed to force the U.S. into a global taxation system.”

    … hmmmm …. maybe? Does that mean that global warming doesn’t exits? Or that it exists, but isn’t man-made? I can find a dozen experts that say Global Warming is real, another dozen that say it’s not, another dozen that say it’s real but not man-made, and another that say it is. There is an increasing number that say it’s not so much “global-warming” but “global weather-pattern changes”; and some say the pattern changes are man-made and some say not.

    I’m not smart enough to state my opinion emphatically one way or the other. I’m a degreed architect in MN, I’ve spent most of my career coding software, but I’ve made most of my money trading the Forex, which has funded my retirement plan that I call a self-sustaining, permaculture-based homestead. Given all of that — does anyone give a shit about my opinion on Global warming? Probably not. But here goes anyway:

    All energy comes from the sun (well at least 99.99% of all energy relative to Earth comes from the sun). A 100-year old tree has stored up 100 years worth of solar energy. A 10-year old tree has stored up 10 years worth of solar energy. A corn stalk has stored up 3 months worth of solar energy. Etc.

    Fossil fuels (petroleum and natural gas) represent millions of years of stored up solar energy. Coal represents tens of millions of years in stored up solar energy. Nuclear power represents hundreds of millions of years in stored up solar energy.

    Today we live in a biosphere called “planet Earth”. Today – just today – a bunch of solar energy has penetrated the atmosphere and will become part of this planet’s energy (heat) store. If we utilize just “today’s” delivery of energy/heat, we should be able to maintain a theoretic equilibrium of (global) heat. If – on the other hand – we not only utilize today’s solar energy/heat deposits (all of the radiated solar energy captured within our atmosphere whether we use it or not) AND – in addition – we burn a whole bunch of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear …) how could this result in anything BUT a thermal heat or energy gain?

    Go out and sit in your car on a sunny day. (FYI – I live in MN and have experienced this 365 days out of the year for the last 30 years.) The sun warms the car. The solar energy finds its way through NON-SOLAR gaining glass, hits the various surfaces that are NOT designed for solar conversion or thermal mass, and has difficulty escaping the car that is NOT designed with high R-Values that would retain such solar heat. Our cars are specifically designed NOT TO work as solar collectors — AND YET THEY DO!!

    Think of this as a very small version of our Earth’s biosphere. Now, start the engine and start converting petroleum into thermal energy, and pipe that petroleum energy/heat into your car’s interior. On a 30 degree day, your car was naturally warmed to 50 degrees. After running the petro engine / heater, the interior of your car will now reach 70 degrees. In the backseat there is a space heater powered by a (electric) battery that was charged by some nuclear plant. Reach around and turn it on … heat your car’s cabin to 90 degrees. Whoa, now it’s too hot. Adjust the car’s dashboard heater to A/C and start cooling down the cabin. (But make no mistake – BTUs spent to cool STILL raise the overall temperature.)

    I know that most of us would simply roll down the windows and cool the cabin through natural ventilation. But our biosphere – we call planet Earth – has no windows to roll down. When we want it cooler, we burn BTUs to cool down our immediate space (while warming the overall environment). When we want it warmer, we burn more BTUs to warm it up. When folks in the southern hemisphere are warm – they burn BTUs to stay cools; and at the exact same time, folks in the northern hemisphere are burning burning BTUs to stay warm. That’s like the guy in your back seat is running his electric space heater while you in the front seat are running the car’s petro Airconditioner.

    Bottom line: I cannot imagine a scenario where we are NOT warming the overall atmosphere or our planet Earth biosphere.

    Is this killing Polar Bears? I don’t know. Is this melting polar ice caps that will flood the coastal regions of the world? I don’t know. But – if we choose to error on one side or the other – wouldn’t it be prudent to error on the side of caution? Or in Jack’s words:

    “Everything you do to ‘prepare’ for emergencies, disasters or economic turmoil should be blended into your life in a way that improves your life even if nothing disastrous ever occurs.”

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  12. Wow! I think a few people have missed the 10th tenant:
    “Your personal philosophy is more important for you than mine! You are the master of your own life and if you don’t agree with my views, great, define, understand and implement your own.”
    There is some valuable content here.
    Use what is useful to you. Add to it if you can. But if you disagree, I don’t want to know about it!

  13. #2 has evolved a bit to “Credit Cards are Cancer and only useful for renting cars.” Sad that cards backed by money and not debt are no longer valid at most rental counters.

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