Every so often WND runs an article about the possible repercussions of a long-term power grid failure due to an EMP or a massive solar flare. The articles usually run along the lines of the inherent vulnerability of our national grid, and what the societal impact would be should the power go down. It’s worth adding that WND is one of the few news organizations which routinely covers this possibility.
These articles are interesting, as much for their content as for the comments that follow. It astounds me – absolutely flabbergasts me – how few people understand what life would be like without electricity. I’m not talking about losing power in your home – we all do, from time to time. I’m talking about losing power on a national scale for the long term.
It seems too many people are flippant or dismissive of the potential hardships. “An electromagnetic pulse is a joke and would be minor at best,” notes one person. “I say that because most people know how to survive without all the modern conveniences.”
Or, “We’d go back to the 1800s. Big deal. People lived just fine in the 1800s.”
I’m not here to argue about the odds of an EMP taking out the grid. I’m not going to discuss the technicalities of Faraday cages or the hardening of electronics. I’m here to state that if you think life in America without electricity will merely revert us to pioneer days, you are dead wrong (no pun intended, I hope). We wouldn’t regress to the 1800s; we would regress to the 1100s or earlier. Life would become a bitter, brutal struggle for survival.
Society thrived in the 1800s for four very simple reasons: 1) a non-electric infrastructure already existed; 2) people had the skills, knowledge and tools to make do; 3) our population levels were far lower, and most people lived rural and raised a significant portion of their own food; and 4) there were relatively few people who didn’t earn their way. To be blunt, if you didn’t work, you seldom ate. Those who couldn’t work (the disabled, the elderly, etc.) were cared for by family members or charitable institutions. There were no other options.
These conditions no longer exist. Homes do not come equipped with outhouses, hand water pumps and a trained horse stabled in the back. Many people don’t have the faintest clue how to cook from scratch, much less grow or raise their own food. Eighty percent of Americans live in cities and are fed by less than 2 percent of the population, which means farmers must mass-produce food for shipments to cities. And there are far too many people on multi-generational entitlement programs who literally know no other lifestyle except an endless cycle of EBT cards and welfare payments.
Additionally, the interconnectivity that exists in today’s society is complex beyond belief. It’s been proven again and again that a single weak link can bring down the whole chain. A trucker’s strike or a massive storm at one end of the country can mean interrupted food deliveries at the other end.
Even the most humble object – a pencil, for example – has a pedigree of such unimaginable complexity that its manufacture requires the cooperation of millions, and not one single person on the planet knows how to make one from start to finish. Read this essay to see what I mean. How much more complex would it be to rebuild a fallen electrical grid than a pencil?
And yet some people claim that a grid-down situation will be a minor inconvenience. They think that because they line-dry their clothes and have a few tomatoes on their patio, that they’ll be able to survive a situation in which all services cease. They think food production and distribution is somehow independent of fuel and electricity. In fact, it’s intimately connected. Ever try to till a 3,500-acre wheat field by horse-drawn plow? Shut off power and you shut off food. Period.
Some people contemptuously dismiss the hardships that would ensue after grid-down by noting that we already posses the know-how for technological and medical advances. We know how to treat or cure illness and injury. We know how to provide electrical power. We know how to make engines. Therefore, it will be easy to rebuild America’s infrastructure in the event of a grid-down situation.
And these people are right – we do possess the knowledge. What we would lack is the infrastructure to rebuild the infrastructure. We lack the stop-gap services that would allow engineers and manufacturers to rebuild society without facing starvation first. And if the people with the specialized knowledge to rebuild die off in the interim before the infrastructure gets rebuilt, then where will we be?
America’s connectivity, more than anything else, will cripple our society should the power fail. It’s all well and good for a surgeon to have the knowledge of how to operate on a cancerous tumor, but if sterile scalpels and anesthesia and dressings and other surgical accouterments are not available, the surgeon’s abilities regress almost to the point of a tribal witch doctor by the lack of infrastructure, services and supplies.
In short, society is no longer (if it ever was) comprised of self-sufficient and autonomous individuals who can shear their own sheep, weave their own cloth, grow and preserve their own food, manufacture their own tools, doctor their own illnesses, accept death at a young age and otherwise live without outside services. Instead, we’re all soft, specialized cogs in a wheel of dependency powered by electricity. If we lose electricity, we will break into millions of lost, useless, bewildered and starving pieces of organic material. Cheery thought, eh?
None of this is to say an EMP is likely or will have the repercussions that some people claim. My point is that if – if – a grid-down situation ever happens for whatever reason, we won’t be reverting to the 1800s. We will be reverting to the brutal conditions preceding the early Middle Ages, at least. The oopsy-daisy notion that America without power will merely revert us to a jolly pioneer lifestyle is naïve, idealistic and immature. This is why it’s theorized that 90 percent of Americans would die in the aftermath of a grid-down situation: They’re not capable of surviving.
For a host of reasons, I firmly believe everyone should become preppers and stockpile beans, bullets and Band-Aids. But more importantly, stockpile a relationship with your Savior. You may not survive a grid-down scenario, but you can survive in the Lord. It’s the best strategy on the planet and utterly immune to a failing grid.
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