If we consider that the term peak prosperity indicates a high point in availability of energy and in standards of living, we should also be concerned that it indicates peak security for the individual and the group, assured at one time as it was by various federal, state, and local agencies. As these agencies decline, either through funding cuts, increasing demands on services leading to dispersal of resources, institutional priorities trumping the security of the individual, or as central controls tend towards becoming increasingly irrelevant, it is perhaps advisable to consider what next? How are we to assure our security in an environment of increasing potential turbulence? If the choice becomes one between trust in a failing system and self reliance, then self reliance looks a good option. But how do we become self reliant in security?
To most of us security is a blank page, it’s been a given for a long time, do we really need to think about it? But this is only a safe response in an already secure environment. In an era when “Call the cops,” is no guarantee of anything beyond a reference number to claim from your insurance policy we might need to reassure ourselves with something more concrete. If we are moving from a secure environment into something more volatile there are going to be areas in which a lack of familiarity with self defense will leave us vulnerable and slow to respond.
Dmitry Orlov addresses security issues in passing in his books “Reinventing Collapse” and “The Five Stages of Collapse,” and gives a flavor of his experience of living through a society in a state of collapse. He tells us : “Along with the other municipal and government services, police departments cease to function. Particularly important installations are guarded by soldiers or by private security, while the population is left to fend for itself.” This is a logical progression as central governments run out of money and the means to facilitate rapid response, and increasingly focus their protective capabilities on items which have value to them. And there’s no guarantee that that will include us.
Orlov suggests that criminal groups, which have a hierarchy and organization already in place, may fill the vacuum left by the failure of central security systems. No argument with that, whatever is in existence will fill the vacuum. It is not a good option, but it would provide for a ruthless form of security, acceptable enough to those in the gang. If you’re not in the gang bad luck. Is that the future we see for ourselves? Marginalized victims for as long as we manage to survive? Or could we circumvent that with a little forethought? I guess forethought is what I am suggesting as an option. We should be in a position to fill the vacuum with something which suits our aspirations and allows us to combat the ungodly.
Individuals can survive as individuals in an environment in which peaceful co-existence is assured by a variety of external mechanisms. Codes of conduct, central enforcement, local preference, whatever works for you. Where those mechanisms have deteriorated, or are likely to do so, individuals will be well advised to group themselves into communities which provide a local environment to enable a level of local co-existence to ensure their own safety. Whether this sort of coexistence grows from intentional community, communal living, or community living in small or large numbers doesn’t really matter as long as the result is local and viable. And it’s viability depends on the ability to survive emergent threats.
Discussion of community as a concept in peak prosperity covers a number of critical issues, but I find little or no mention of preparing communities to fend for themselves in real security terms. Perhaps it is a sensitive issue, but it shouldn’t be, it’s a basic reality and need. It’s a building block for community success. Because if you can’t hold your own you are not your own master, you are someone else’s victim, and that’s not a desirable result.
The idea of Peak Prosperity appears to be to facilitate the conservation of values and property in a world which is predicted to become increasingly unstable. That instability will come from the collapse of systems which we currently take for granted, but for the survival of which we are increasingly pessimistic. The premise suggested is one of disruption of what we regard as normal society, and evolution into another, very different, form of living. Historically such periods of change have been eras in which breakdown of central control leads to violence among those who have, and those who have not. The resultant turbulence is fuelled by have nots trying to access something held by the haves. As central control breaks down, the likelihood is that local survival will rely on local solutions and local communities. One problem with that is that while local communities have a tendency to be small and manageable, they also have a tendency to be small and vulnerable.
Since the intent of community living appears to be to ensure that the community is in a “have” situation, it would appear that such communal groupings will feature as desirable targets for displaced predators, for the surviving “have nots”. And as survivors in rough times the have nots will certainly have a willingness, an ability, and a need to target us. In such circumstances self protection will be an important component of the daily affairs of a lifeboat community in heavy seas.
Self protection is better approached with lead time, and Peak Prosperity appears to aim to provide lead time and preparation for communities in most areas, but perhaps misses helping us survive circling predators.
In the circumstances there may be a value to some planning and preparation being given to the security of our communities. That is not to say paranoia and obsession, but planning and preparation based in current situations, with realistic and effective plays available for rapid adoption in response to a deteriorating security situation. It’s not hard to assure our own security, but it does need thought and structure ahead of time. Where we are now is ahead of time, but maybe not for long. Is everyone comfortable with their preparation?
If not, it is easy enough to gauge a scale of threat from zero to absolute, and then to plot where we are on any given day. It is just as simple to lay down counter measures ranging from nothing at all at the bottom of the scale, to everything you might need at the top of the scale. With those two scales linked and in mind, we can make a start at considering how we would secure ourselves and our communities as and when the situation deteriorates. At this point it is mainly theoretical, but it might be wise to plan how to put community security into action in advance of an awkward situation becoming a crisis.
There are two options for communities considering their own local security in the absence of state provision :
· Hired security – equating to a standing army system in which an external security team is paid from the pockets of the citizens to provide protection
· Organic community security – equating to citizens giving up some of their productive time to assure their own security in concert with other community members according to an effective and agreed plan
Both have a cost to the community, either in cash for the former, or time away from productive work for the latter. In my view the second option is the sensible one, since historically, hired hands with guns become overlords once volatility sets in. Then it's a little late to rethink the system.
The best time to think this through and establish a community solution (which includes adjoining communities) is going to be before volatility becomes an urgent issue.
The big issue in commercial security is getting decision makers to take the trouble to examine the information which helps them understand how their security works and impacts their operations, and which enables them to make appropriate and effective risk mitigation decisions. Ideally they should do that ahead of a security linked crisis. Then security is implemented as decided. That's the ideal model, but it rarely happens because the structures are either not understood, or are too loose, too tight, too little considered, or the crisis hasn’t arrived yet except in the paranoid minds of the security group.
That ideal model can be applied just as easily to the use of community organic militia, which is what will be required in the event communities actually need to secure themselves.
All members of the community will need to have a transparent understanding of what they could usefully be doing at any threat level, – from calling for help from existing authorities, – to relying on their own resources in the event the existing authorities are either unable or unwilling to respond, – to a meshed supporting system between adjoining communities using similar methodology.
This will be simpler to achieve if adjacent communities are philosophically aligned, and furnished with a good, compatible, self controlled security model which is capable of minimal action most days, but which is able to ramp up rapidly and effectively on the (hopefully) few days when a threat eventuates. And everyone needs to be involved, which means that everyone needs to understand what they are dealing with. It also needs to be simple enough that it works.
Security is not an arcane science. It is everyone's responsibility in time of threat. Planning to a good system will help, and may give a level of comfort and confidence to a community.