Preparedness: Nothing Short of Common Sense

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Why is it that the preparedness community is so marginalized by society? Why have we forsaken what is nothing more than common sense? In this article, I want to encourage my fellow preppers. Being prepared is not atypical. This is how humanity has always dealt with life.

This is our history.

For thousands of years, humanity has worked to plant and grow in the spring and summer and harvest in the fall to store food for the winter. 

common sense

Were they “fringe” elements? 

No: people used to dry, smoke, and salt meat to store over the winter months. Even before the age of canning and mason jars came about, the root cellars existed; cold storage, and also storage for dried grains such as wheat, oats, corn, and hay.

News flash: that’s “prepping,” or preparation.

Humans were given a beautiful gift: the gift of common sense. 

It was that “common sense” that led the rulers of Britain and the United States to ask people to grow “victory gardens” for both WWI and WWII to prepare for times of shortages during those world wars.

We’re in an artificial “biome,” little more than a cage. And when the substance hits the fan, there will be no time to prepare. Your common sense will have been squandered.

Yesterday, self-sufficiency was the norm. It was common sense.

Now, it’s fostered dependency and you better believe it’s fostered! Study Cloward and Piven and their strategy for “top-down, bottom-up” economics. 

At the time, LBJ was the crook-in-charge, and with his help, those two managed to initiate/create the welfare state and look at it today. Look at how the entire economy of the United States is coming apart, akin to a poorly-knitted sweater.

The gross inconsistency with the labeling is that the same people deride those who prepare. They squander their money on entertainment, alcohol, partying, and traveling around. Then they act as if those who prepared are evil. They have the audacity to say, “Well, they have something, so they have to give it to me because I don’t have anything!” They say it’s “hoarding” or “unfair.”

The rulers agree with you – the same vile, corrupt rulers who come after you for every dime while they party at Boca Raton or at Martha’s Vineyard – on taxpayer dollars. FDR wrote an executive order banning “hoarding,” and this was updated by virtually every President in office since then in some capacity. Just take a look at that article I wrote recently, entitled The Government Plans to Survive the Apocalypse…Without Us.

While they have us at each other’s throats arguing about who is allowed to go into what bathroom, they’re quietly stockpiling food, medical supplies, fuel, vehicles, and everything imaginable in underground bunkers all on taxpayer money. Are they preparing, or are they hoarding? Read that article I just mentioned, and see how products that are “removed from stores for safety concerns” mysteriously disappear. If they act as if prepping is common sense, shouldn’t you?

(Knowing how to preserve your own food is common sense as well. Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to home canning to learn more.)

Now we’re coming to a critical juncture in present-day society. 

The supply chains are drying up. Food production plants are “mysteriously” blowing up or catching fire and they’re being destroyed. Transportation is slowly being ground to a halt. California just made it impossible (and illegal) to operate in that state as an independent trucker. They practically forced the truckers to go into another state to ply their trade.

common sense


The supply chain hasn’t recovered from all the business-killing edits by the rulers and the stringent restrictions that have caused, at times, millions of tons of produce and supplies to go bad, sitting on the docks with no way to be transported.

Ask yourself these questions: 

  • Do you want to place your fate in the hands of those who are corrupt?
  • Do you really think anyone occupying a political office will provide for you or your family when they’re without food?
  • Have you done all that you can to make sure your family can eat when those times arrive?
  • Will you be able to tell them that you did your best to provide for them and deliver more than just an apology?

Preparation should be as natural as anything else that you do around the house.

It doesn’t have to occupy every minute of your time, and it certainly isn’t something that you have to worry about to the point of panic. It doesn’t take much to truly and accurately assess what you have in your home and what you would do if all of the food deliveries, sales, etc. if they just stopped tomorrow.

It won’t “break” you to buy a case of food per week and some dry goods…in place of that beer or that night out on the town. I wrote one in May entitled Last-Minute Preps on a Shoestring Budget to provide some thoughts and suggestions on the matter. It’s a simple task with a point that’s clearly evident: as simple as Aesop’s Fable, “The Grasshopper and the Ant.” The little ant warned the grasshopper to set food aside for the winter, and the grasshopper paid him no heed. Then when the winter came, the grasshopper came straight to the ant’s door…for a handout.

That’s the way it will be.

You do what you want with your supplies and use discernment to determine how “good” a Samaritan you want to be. Just remember: the helpless beggar might have a whole squad of marauders with weapons right outside in the bushes, just waiting to find a soft heart, and a “soft” target. That’s also a part of common sense: take care of you and yours first, and then worry about taking care of others if it’s not to the cost of your own family.  

Aesop wrote that fable a few thousand years ago, and it stands. 

We’re already “long in the tooth” to be setting stuff aside. There’s still some time. Prepare as best you can, and pray without ceasing. Just as important as the supplies is the mindset that it takes to go with it: you provision for times of shortage before they occur. Do what you can now, and do the best that you can while there’s still some time left. Stay in that good fight, and fight it well!

What are your thoughts regarding preparedness? Is it a natural thing for you? Has it helped you in the past? Was there a time you found yourself unprepared for an emergency? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

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About Jeremiah Johnson

Jeremiah Johnson is the nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the U.S. Army Special Forces.  Mr. Johnson is also a Gunsmith and a Master Herbalist.  He graduated from the Special Forces course at SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, and escape) School, and is an expert in small unit tactics, survival, and disaster-preparedness.  He lives in a cabin in the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana.

Jeremiah Johnson

Jeremiah Johnson

Jeremiah Johnson is the nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the U.S. Army Special Forces.  Mr. Johnson is also a Gunsmith and a Master Herbalist.  He graduated from the Special Forces course at SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, and escape) School, and is an expert in small unit tactics, survival, and disaster-preparedness.  He lives in a cabin in the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana.

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  • I have to laugh, I was never a big drinker, having got that phase out of my system in my early 20’s. Friends used to stop by and be amazed at all of the toolsvI accumulated over my life. They’d often ask “How could you afford this?” Usually while holding their beer can. I’d reach out, tap their can, and tell them “That’s how.”

    It’s amazing what you can save money wise when you cut out booze.

    • When I was a smoker, cigarettes were .75/ pack from my business school vending machine. That was 1980-1981 ( I quit in ‘82)Now they’re $10+per pack. That’s $70/wk for a ‘pack a day’ person. Add beer, weekly happy hour drinks, several streaming services, UberEats delivery, upgrading their phone every year and all the cool, ‘must have: gadgets like Alexa, Ring, workout mirrors, Pelotons, SmartWatches ( even if the have a phone, tablet; laptop and desktop), etc. I don’t smoke or drink, have basic cable, my phone is the 2014 model, my used tablet was given to me from my employer, have no tech toys, workout in my basement with 4 sets of dumbbells and cook mostly from scratch ( we get takeout once a month). Some may think I’m not fun or ‘with it’. Believe me when I say how ecstatic I get when I score reduced produce and marked down meat, tinkering in my vegetable garden, the absolute joy of watching bunches of tomatoes ripen from one tiny seed, foraging for dandelion greens, decluttering stuff so I feel less restricted and stressed, fixing something on my own, earring g food grown by my own hand, seeing colorful canned jars lining my shelves – that feeling beats the rush of substances or video games

    • IF you wanted to, you could do both. I’m sure your msg isn’t about being a religious tee-totaller but everything in moderation dude. I have been to MANY yard sales and liquidators to build my prepping store but I also go to the liquor store for my whiskey. You can’t just shut “life” down so you can put all your energies and extra cash to good use forever.

  • My parents grew up as children in the Great Depression in rural NH and they as well as my grandparents passed along the importance of the essential life skills that were commonly practiced in rural areas of that time. From a young age we learned to plant a garden, harvest and preserve that harvest. In the fall we helped with the canning, freezing and storing root crops, cabbages, apples and such in the root cellar. We helped put up wood for the winter to burn in the two wood stoves that heated our family’s home.We learned to hunt, fish, camp and generally survive in the wilderness being shown how to forage to eat.

    As vegetables were my father and grandfather often set aside a portion which was broken down into portions which we as children were tasked to distribute to older folks and others in need in the neighborhood. My grandfather always said, “Folks don’t like to accept handouts even if they need them so when you knock on their door tell them that we had a bigger harvest than expected and could they please take some off our hands so the vegetables don’t go to waste”.

    It never seemed a chore and was in fact enjoyable. A way to get in quality family time. My wife who I met while away at college grew up outside NY city and her first trip back to NH with me before we were married was an eye opening experience seeing first hand for the first time wood stoves in use and home canned vegetables. After we moved to NH and were married she quickly took to gardening and preserving & canning our harvest.

    Years went by and we were finishing raising our family and life was good. Even though a lot of those life skills were not forgotten we did not practice them in our daily lives. It was as if I had been given a message that it was time to prepare, but prepare for what I had no idea. my wife and family tolerated my preparedness practices but I was looked upon like that old eccentric uncle that you wee once or twice a year at family gatherings. They thought I was needlessly wasting time and resources that could be put elsewhere.

    In 2010 I gave my wife a copy of Dr Forstchen’s book, One Second After. She finished it in a very short period of time and often had tears in her eyes as she read. The book hit close to home as we lived in NC in fact very close to where the Boughton Hospital scene took place in the book. She came to me half way through the book and said she now understands my need to prepare. we have been partners in preparedness ever since.

    In 2016 as my partner and I were in the process of selling our shares in our company to the junior management team my wife and I began our long term goal of looking for a retirement homestead in the mountains. We searched for over 6 months looking from Northern GA and Eastern TN and across NC. During that time we worked with one realtor who had a reputation for helping preppers find mountain homes. From our conversations she knew we were into preparedness. She told us while on one trip looking at properties that no one in that area of the mountains ever thought about preparedness because preparedness just an everyday way of life to the people who grew up there.

    We finally found our homestead 6 years ago and haven’t looked back. Each season is one step closer to self sufficiency as we try to live bu those life skills so common so long ago. We are truly have been blessed to live in a time we can sharpen those skills where a set back is a learning experience not a matter of life or death. This year we first had no rain, the too much rain, a plague of deer and rabbits getting into gardens as well as insect and other problems that have led to poor harvests. But last year was a year of plenty so much is left that can still be used. Our freezers and pantries are full and we have not seen severe shortages in the grocery stores here that are being reported around the country. Beyond that are our long term preps stored away for when they are needed.

    Well Merle I think “the good times are really over for good” especially for those who do not have the necessary life skills that will be needed to survive the coming depression and who have not prepared. May God have mercy on us all and may we be lucky enough to be part of the remnant that makes it to the other side. Before there will be the next big Awakening we will see perhaps the greatest Unraveling this world has erre experienced.

  • I started young, being raised in a military family for generations. Started in the civil war till now. It came natural, being raised in foreign countries as a youth taught me to live differently than the consumeristic throw away American society. When I came back to the states I wandered barefoot and shirtless in the deserts of arizona, through dust storms and monsoons in the wonderful heat.
    I was dark. A burnt sienna color,, I sucked on pebbles, rarely drank water on my ventures for years. Looking at wildlife and plants. Eating what I could such as pomegranates, citrus and dates.

    Then I became a prepper at a late stage. It helped me now negotiate life as a almost 60 year old, learning to live with less, not eat as much, and lots of camping and backpacking didn’t hurt as well. It help Me to examine my gear, field test assorted foods, and gear. I think I’m fairly mentally prepared for just about anything. At least mentally.

    Being from a military family I’m fairly comfortable around weapons as well. So I think I’m ready for the future, as I said mentally. But uncertain of it. Time will tell. And thanks to sites like this, i learn more.

  • My Dad loved grocery stores when I was a kid. He would often push two baskets full through the line and it would end up in towers of cans and jars in our laundryroom or in the upright freezer. All summer my brothers as nd I would toil in the garden under his direction, a beer in his hand. Mom would lean in close and say, “your father grew up poor”….but we always ate well and he would horsetrade constantly. Thier both gone now but we all keep large stocks of food on hand, and we are not Mormon! When a friend handed me One Second After, it turned into a new name, prepping. That was 20 years ago. No matter what name it has, its just common sense to want to eat steadily no matter what. Natural selection is the way of human grasshoppers.

  • A friend of mine once compared societies/nations as standing on the rung of a ladder.
    The more the advanced, the higher on the ladder they are.
    And the farther they have to fall when things come apart.

    Past few days, been reading about the energy situation in the EU, UK. In Germany they are already hitting historic highs in energy costs. And it is not even winter. Of note, one German politician is already framing anyone who protests/complains is a radical. Germany is also seeing record highs in food costs. I dont think complaining about being cold and hungry is radical. Google searches in Germany for “firewood” is trending.

    In the UK, as much as half of the population could be in energy poverty by this coming January. They too are facing high food inflation. The UK government has been warned of possible civil unrest.

    In France French President Macron recently said the French should expect deep sacrifices, and the “end of abundance.”

    Note a lot of this “end of abundance” has to do with the EU and the UK dependency on cheap Russian gas/oil. In the past more than a few EU, UK leaders declared they had to punish Russia for the war. Who is really getting punished?

    Why do I mention the energy situation in the EU and UK?
    The USA is only a few rungs above (or below one could argue) on the ladder.
    Our electrical grid is woefully antiquated, fragile, and only getting worse as everyday passes. Read an article yesterday from American Affairs titled, The Rise and Fall of the American Electrical Grid. The author notes that to promote the adoption of green energy, it is given preferences over traditional power plants. Those traditional power plants are then too costly to operate. Hence they are closing while the green energy lacks the production to fill those gaps.
    In the near future we could see prolonged power outages.
    A long enough outage, your entire fridge and or freezer full of food could go bad.
    Those old time methods of food storage or perserving may have to make a come back as we as a society/nation would have a very long way to fall.

  • Just for the heck of it
    Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
    – Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
    – Why the early bird gets the worm;
    – Life isn’t always fair;
    – And maybe it was my fault.
    Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
    His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
    Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
    It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student, but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
    Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses, and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
    Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
    Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
    Common Sense was preceded in death:
    – by his parents, Truth and Trust,
    – by his wife, Discretion,
    – by his daughter, Responsibility,
    – and by his son, Reason.
    He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers:
    – I Know My Rights
    – I Want It Now
    – Someone Else Is To Blame
    – I’m A Victim
    – Pay me for Doing Nothing
    Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

    • Excellent! Absolutely excellent! Thank you for sharing it with us. Did you write it?

      I know of at least one commenter on TOP that’s going to object.

      • Unfortunately, no. I found it several years ago online. Don’t remember where. I just knew I had to save it.

  • We were married 53 years ago. Shortly after that, my husband lost his job. He got another one rather quickly, but had to wait for his first paycheck. Because I had just shopped for a week’s worth of groceries at a time, we did not have a lot of food in the house when that happened. I swore that I would never be caught without food in the house again. That thinking served us well in the many years we lived on ranches, farms and dairies way out in the boonies, 40-50 miles from town, where roads would become impassable during bad weather (rain or snow). Now that we are retired and live just 15 miles from town, on a paved road, I still keep all of my food and other supplies stocked up. Just in case.

  • My prepping journey began through the experience of Hurricane Andrew 30 years ago. Homes decimated, no power or phones for 6 weeks or longer, national guard patrolling the suburban streets several times a day, the blimp in the sky communicating updates and pointing where to go for help, etc etc etc. I had a crash course from the natural disaster and learned many things I’d otherwise would have never known.

    It’s been 15 years now since I left all I had known in suburbia, and moved to the mountains in the area sawman talked about. It was easy in some ways to make that move because I was incredibly naïve and had no idea of all that rural farming in the mountains entailed. It was as if I had signed up for an unconventional college course that I’ve never graduated from, but that has taught me skills I otherwise would have never had.

    I was a prepper long before that move but my prepping after it provided an opportunity to take those skills deeper. Raising the livestock and all the other things one can do when they have land has afforded me the ability to thrive in the days ahead especially since many of the preps are from renewable sources. The independence is actually mind blowing.

    I put it into overdrive this year with food preservation and I’m tired :). But, it’s a good tired that at least presents the fruit from the labor. And you’re right, JJ, there still is some time and I love how this site continues to educate others that:

    1. There is hope, and;
    2. There are those that will gladly and freely share their experience in the hopes that it will help someone else.

    There is an independent aspect to prepping but that doesn’t negate the fact that in some ways we need each other…or, at least, it’s a blessing to have other like minded people who trudge this unconventional path.

  • In a search for the original author of “The Death of Common Sense” the following two references turned up:

    1. Snopes claim that surprisingly proved credible:
    This essay is actually the work of Lori Borgman and was first published in the Indianapolis Star on 15 March 1998.

    2. This webpage is from Lori Borgman and it’s about her book (that’s also titled “The Death of Common Sense”). The book also includes that original essay:

    The obituary for Common Sense by Lori Borgman that went viral (published in nine countries and translated into six languages), is now available in book form. This pithy little book contains the original essay, great illustrations and new essays on those who knew Common Sense best. Read about his wife, Discretion, their two children, Reason and Responsibility and C.S.’s step-brothers, Half-Wit and Dim-Wit.

    The 50-page book’s link on Amazon:

    The full description and the reviews are very enjoyable reads.


    • Thanks for the update. As I posted above, I don’t remember where I found it, but it was a long time ago.

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