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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Survivalism
Posted: June 17, 2016 at 4:52 am
A retreat is a place of refuge for those in the survivalist subculture or movement. A retreat is also sometimes called a bug-out location (BOL). Survivalist retreats are intended to be self-sufficient and easily defended, and are generally located in sparsely populated rural areas.
While fallout shelters have been advocated since the 1950s, dedicated self-sufficient survivalist retreats have been advocated only since the mid-1970s. The survival retreat concept has been touted by a number of influential survivalist writers including Ragnar Benson, Barton Biggs, Bruce D. Clayton, Jeff Cooper, Cresson Kearny, James Wesley Rawles, Howard Ruff, Kurt Saxon, Joel Skousen, Don Stephens, Mel Tappan, and Nancy Tappan.
With the increasing inflation of the 1960s, the impending US monetary devaluation, the continuing concern with possible nuclear exchanges between the US and the Soviet Union, and the increasing vulnerability of urban centers to supply shortages and other systems failures, a number of primarily conservative and libertarian thinkers began suggesting that individual preparations would be wise. Harry Browne began offering seminars in 1967 on how to survive a monetary collapse. He worked with Don Stephens, an architect, survival bookseller, and author, who provided input on how to build and equip a remote survival retreat. He provided a copy of his original Retreater’s Bibliography (1967) for each seminar participant.
Articles on the subject appeared in such small-distribution libertarian publications as The Innovator and Atlantis Quarterly. It was also from this period that Robert D. Kephart began publishing Inflation Survival Letter (later renamed Personal Finance). The newsletter included a continuing section on personal preparedness by Stephens for several years. It promoted expensive seminars around the US on the same cautionary topics. Stephens participated, along with James McKeever and other defensive investing, hard currency advocates.
In 1975, Kurt Saxon began publishing a newsletter called The Survivor, which advocated moving to lightly populated regions to “lie low” during a socio-economic collapse, and setting up fortified enclaves for defense against what he termed “killer caravans” of looters from urban areas.
In 1976, Don Stephens popularized the term “retreater” and advocated relocating to a rural retreat when society breaks down.
Writers such as Howard Ruff warned about socio-economic collapse and recommended moving to lightly populated farming regions, most notably in his 1979 book How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years, a best-seller in 1979.
For a time in the 1970s, the terms “survivalist” and “retreater” were used interchangeably. The term “retreater” eventually fell out of favor.
One of the most important newsletters on survivalism and survivalist retreats in the 1970s was the Personal Survival (“P.S.”) Letter (circa 1977-1982) published by Mel Tappan, who also authored the books Survival Guns and Tappan on Survival. The newsletter included columns from Tappan himself, as well from Jeff Cooper, Al J. Venter, Bill Pier, Bruce D. Clayton, Rick Fines, Nancy Mack Tappan, J.B. Wood, Dr. Carl Kirsch, Charles Avery, Karl Hess, Eugene A. Barron, Janet Groene, Dean Ing, Bob Taylor, Reginald Bretnor, C.G. Cobb, and several other writers, some under pen names. The majority of this newsletter revolved around selecting, constructing and logistically equipping survival retreats. Following Tappan’s death in 1980, Karl Hess took over publishing the newsletter, eventually renaming it Survival Tomorrow.
Survivalist retreat books of the 1980s were typified by the 1980 book Life After Doomsday by Bruce D. Clayton, advocating survival retreats in locales that would minimize fallout, as well as specially constructing blast shelters and/or fallout shelters that would provide protection in the event of a nuclear war.
Several books published in the 1990s offered advice on survival retreats and relocation. Some influential in survivalist circles are Survival Retreat: A Total Plan For Retreat Defense by Ragnar Benson, Strategic RelocationNorth American Guide to Safe Places by Joel Skousen, and The Secure Home, (also by Skousen).
In recent years, advocacy of survivalist retreats has had a strong resurgence after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York in 2001, the 2002 attacks and 2005 attacks in Bali, the 2004 Madrid train bombings in Spain, and the 2005 public transportation bombings in London.
Several books published since 2000 advocate survival retreats and relocation. Some that have been particularly influential in survivalist circles are How to Implement a High Security Shelter in the Home by Joel Skousen, Rawles on Retreats and Relocation by James Wesley Rawles, and Life After Terrorism: What You Need to Know to Survive in Today’s World by Bruce D. Clayton.
Online survival websites, forums, and blogs (such as SurvivalBlog) discuss the best locales for survival retreats, how to build, fortify, and equip them, and how to form survivalist retreat groups.
Economic troubles emerging from the credit collapse triggered by the 2007 US subprime mortgage crisis have prompted a wider cross-section of the populace to modify their homes as well as establish dedicated survival retreats. James Wesley Rawles, the editor of SurvivalBlog was quoted by the New York Times in April 2008 that “interest in the survivalist movement ‘is experiencing its largest growth since the late 1970s’. He also stated that his blog’s conservative core readership has been supplemented with “an increasing number of stridently green and left-of-center readers.”
Mel Tappan was quoted in 1981 by then AP correspondent Peter Arnett that: “The concept most fundamental to long term disaster preparedness, in retreating, is having a safe place to go to avoid the concentrated violence destined to erupt in the cities.” 
Common retreat locale selection parameters include light population density, plentiful water, arable land, good solar exposure for gardening and photovoltaics, situation above any flood plains, and a diverse and healthy local economy. Fearing rioting, looting and other unrest, many survivalists advocate selecting retreat locales that are more than one tank of gasoline away from any major metropolitan region. Properties that are not in “channelized areas” or on anticipated “refugee lines of drift” are also touted.
One of the key goals of retreats is to be self-sufficient for the duration of societal collapse. To that end, plentiful water and arable soil are paramount considerations. Beyond that, a priority is situation on isolated, defensible terrain. Typically, retreats do not want their habitations or structures jeopardized by being within line of sight of any major highway.
Because of its low population density and diverse economy, James Wesley Rawles  and Joel Skousen  both recommend the Intermountain West region of the United States as a preferred region for relocation and setting up retreats. Although it has higher population density, Mel Tappan recommended southwestern Oregon, where he lived, primarily because it is not downwind of any envisioned nuclear targets in the United States.
Mel Tappan was disappointed by the demographics of southwestern Oregon after the survivalist influx of the late 1970s. “Too many doctors and lawyers” relocated to Oregon, and “not enough plumbers, electricians, or carpent
While some survivalists recommend living at a rural retreat year-round, most survivalists cannot afford to do so. Therefore, they rely on keeping a well-stocked retreat, and plan to go there “at the 11th hour”, as necessary. They keep a bug-out bag handy, and may have a dedicated bug-out vehicle (BOV). This is a vehicle that the owner keeps prepared in the event of the need for an emergency evacuation. Typically a BOV is equipped with a variation on the bug-out bag that includes additional automotive supplies, clothing, food and water. Survivalists tend to favor four wheel drive trucks and SUVs due to their greater off-road abilities. In the event of a nuclear catastrophe, survivalists may opt into maintaining an older vehicle since it most likely lacks critical electronic components that would otherwise be damaged by the electromagnetic pulse that accompanies a nuclear explosion.
Most survivalist retreats are created by individuals and their families, but larger “group retreats” or “covenant communities” are formed along the lines of an intentional community.
Jeff Cooper popularized the concept of hardening retreats against small arms fire. In an article titled “Notes on Tactical Residential Architecture” in Issue #30 of P.S. Letter (April, 1982), Cooper suggested using the “Vauban Principle”, whereby projecting bastion corners would prevent miscreants from being able to approach a retreat’s exterior walls in any blind spots. Corners with this simplified implementation of a Vauban Star are now called “Cooper Corners” by James Wesley Rawles, in honor of Jeff Cooper. Depending on the size of the group needing shelter, design elements of traditional European castle architecture, as well as Chinese Fujian Tulou and Mexican walled courtyard houses have been suggested for survival retreats.
In both his book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation and in his survivalist novel, Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse, Rawles describes in great detail retreat groups “upgrading” brick or other masonry houses with steel reinforced window shutters and doors, excavating anti-vehicular ditches, installing warded gate locks, constructing concertina wire obstacles and fougasses, and setting up listening post/observation posts (LP/OPs.) Rawles is a proponent of including a mantrap foyer at survival retreats, an architectural element that he calls a “crushroom”.
Bruce D. Clayton and Joel Skousen have both written extensively on integrating fallout shelters into retreat homes, but they put less emphasis on ballistic protection and exterior perimeter security than Cooper and Rawles.
Anticipating long periods of time without commerce in the future, as well as observing documented history, retreat groups typically place a strong emphasis on logistics. They amass stockpiles of supplies for their own use, for charity, and for barter. Frequently cited key logistics for a retreat include long term storage food, common caliber ammunition, medical supplies, tools, gardening seed, and fuel. In an article titled “Ballistic Wampum” in Issue #6 of P.S. Letter (1979) Jeff Cooper wrote about stockpiling ammunition far in excess of his own needs, keeping the extra available to use for bartering.
In their books, Joel Skousen, Mel Tappan and Howard Ruff all emphasize the need to have a one-year supply of storage food.
Mainstream economist and financial adviser Barton Biggs is a proponent of well-stocked retreats. In his 2008 book Wealth, War and Wisdom, Biggs has a gloomy outlook for the economic future, and suggests that investors take survivalist measures. In the book, Biggs recommends that his readers should assume the possibility of a breakdown of the civilized infrastructure. He goes so far as to recommend setting up survival retreats: Your safe haven must be self-sufficient and capable of growing some kind of food, Mr. Biggs writes. It should be well-stocked with seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc. Think Swiss Family Robinson. Even in America and Europe there could be moments of riot and rebellion when law and order temporarily breaks down.
Survivalist retreats, both formal and informal exist worldwide, most visibly in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany (often organized under the guise of “adventuresport” clubs), New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Construction of government-built retreats and underground sheltersroughly analogous to survivalist retreatshas been done extensively since the advent of the Cold War, especially of public nuclear fallout shelters in many nations. The United States government has created Continuity of Government (COG) shelters built by the Department of Defense and Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”). These include the massive shelter built under the Greenbrier hotel (aka Project Greek Island), military facilities like Cheyenne Mountain Complex, and the Raven Rock Mountain Complex and Mount Weather sites. Other nations’ facilities include the Swiss redoubt fortress system and its dual use facilities like the Sonnenberg Tunnel and Norway’s Sentralanlegget bunker in Buskerud County.
Robert A. Heinlein featured survivalist retreats in some of his science fiction. Farnham’s Freehold (1964) begins as a story of a small group in a survivalist retreat during a nuclear war. Heinlein also wrote essays such as How to be a Survivor which provide advice on preparing for and surviving a nuclear war, including stocking a fallout shelter and retreat.
Malevil by French writer Robert Merle (1972) describes refurbishing a medieval castle and its use as a survivalist stronghold in the aftermath of a full-scale nuclear war. The novel was adapted into a 1981 film directed by Christian de Chalonge and starring Michel Serrault, Jacques Dutronc, Jacques Villeret and Jean-Louis Trintignant.
Lucifer’s Hammer by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven (1977) is about a cataclysmic comet hitting the Earth, and a group of people struggling to survive the aftermath.
Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse by James Wesley Rawles (2009) describes how the lead characters establish a self-sufficient survival retreat in north-central Idaho.
Jericho (2006) is a TV series that portrays a small town in Kansas after a series of nuclear explosions across the United States. In the series, the character Robert Hawkins uses his prior planning and survival skills in preparation of the attacks. Although it is not fortified, the town effectively becomes a large scale retreat, for its residents.
The text of some books discussing survivalist retreats can be found online:
Read more from the original source:
Posted: March 26, 2016 at 3:45 am
“Survivalism” (also known as “Halo 23”) is the first single by industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from their 2007 album Year Zero. The song is the third track on the album. The single was released digitally on the iTunes Store on March 13, 2007, and the CD and vinyl singles were released internationally on April 2, 2007.
On February 14, 2007, a clip of the chorus to “Survivalism” was first heard by fans calling the telephone number 1-310-295-1040, which was found by joining discolored numerals on the back of a tour T-shirt. FMQB reported that “Survivalism” would arrive at radio stations on February 27 with an add date of March 6, but 102.1 The Edge in Toronto, Canada debuted the song on February 15, and on the next day, it was officially played on radio stations across the United States. It was later made available on Nine Inch Nails’ MySpace page.
As with “The Hand That Feeds” and “Only,” the “Survivalism” multi-track GarageBand file was released by the band for fan remixing on March 13. It can be downloaded on the album’s website.
In July 2012, Canadian house musician deadmau5 did a remix of the song. This remix was later included in his 2014 album while(1
Nine Inch Nails was scheduled to begin shooting a video for “Survivalism” on February 5, 2007, in the Los Angeles area. It was directed by Alex Lieu, Rob Sheridan, and Trent Reznor.
The video was circulated on the Internet on March 7, 2007, when Nine Inch Nails played the Carling Academy Brixton in London, England. USB pen drives containing low and high resolution versions of the video were found at different locations in the venue by concert-goers.
The video consists of a series of images from a console of secret cameras installed in an apartment block. As the camera moves between the footage, viewers are able to see into the lives of a number of residents, including:
There are also cameras directed at hallways and stairs inside the apartment block. After about a minute, these screens show a SWAT team armed with submachine guns assembling outside. They enter in formation, and eventually break down a door (on which the letters “REV 18 3-4” are stenciled, a reference to a passage in the Bible) and enter the apartment where a band is playing. The noise disturbs all the residents, who momentarily stop what they are doing and move off to investigate, then return to their activities. At this point, a number of cameras have been turned off and show static. The band is no longer in their room. It has been torn asunder and a large smear of blood is visible on the floor. The final shot shows a bleeding corpse being dragged around a corner and out of sight.
The Bible passage referenced by the door is from the Book of Revelation, a passage describing the fallen city-nation of Babylon and how she has been corrupted by luxury and adultery, and how people are being called to leave this whorish nation behind and not share in her immorality to keep from sharing in her judgement. (see here)
The time code in the monitor sometimes changes the last digit for a letter. This eventually spells out “THE_TURNEDTO_”. In addition, several Bible verses that reference water and blood are shown throughout the video. “Isaiah 15:9” on the graffiti wall, “John 19:34” on the picture of Jesus behind the couple, and “II Kings 3:22” and “Exodus 7:21” in the board behind the man with the laptop. This led to the discovery of the Year Zero website, thewaterturnedtoblood.net, which is a collage of a hand picking a man up out of the wreckage of a crumbling bridge, claimed to be drawn by a prison inmate. There are various biblical quotations surrounding the drawing, and capital letters (un-capitalized letters in the second paragraph) align to form the word “francesca” once in the first paragraph, and twice in the second. Francesca has two documented meanings; ‘free’, and ‘from Franconia’ or ‘from France’.
The music video is available for download (both the lo-res and hi-res version) at the album’s website.
At the end of 2007, Rolling Stone readers voted the video as the best music video of year.
“Survivalism” had 501 plays and debuted at #28 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart in the week ending February 23, 2007. It eventually climbed to #1 for one week, becoming NIN’s fourth consecutive number 1 single (as well as their most recent), and debuted at number 68 on the Billboard Hot 100. Since Linkin Park’s enormously more successful “What I’ve Done” single debuted at number one and replaced “Survivalism”‘s position, the song however had fallen drastically after 1 week at #1, almost dropping off the top 20 modern rock tracks within just one month. The song dropped from #7 to #19 during the week of May 12, 2007, proceeded to fall to #26 during the week of May 19, 2007, then hit #37 in the week of May 26, 2007 leading the song to stay on the chart for only 13 weeks, a disappointment as a few other notable songs, despite not reaching #1 on the chart, stayed in the top 20 for longer, such as Breaking Benjamin’s “Breath” (#3), Papa Roach’s “Forever” (#2), Incubus’s “Dig” (#4), and Rise Against’s “Prayer of the Refugee” (#7) (“Breath” stayed on the chart for 39 weeks). “Survivalism” debuted at number two on the UK Rock Singles Chart  and on #29 in UK Singles Chart. The song is Nine Inch Nails’ forth consecutive top ten single on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.
The single debuted at number one on the Canadian Singles Chart (the only time a Nine Inch Nails single debuted at the top of a chart), a position which it maintained for six weeks.