Re: The Great Extropian Fire Drill

From: James Rogers (
Date: Thu Oct 25 2001 - 22:57:33 MDT

On 10/25/01 6:36 PM, "Alex F. Bokov" <> wrote:
> 1. Most of us are not full-time hardcore survivalists. We have jobs,
> families, school, etc. The evacuation plans must be simple and present
> minimal disruption to the participants' lifestyles and finances.

Having effective and useful long-term evacuation plans is neither simple nor
non-disruptive. I think you underestimate the amount of resources and
effort required if someone was serious about this.

> 3. We're not talking about all-out nuclear winter here! Far more
> likely is the collapse of the global economy, communications
> infrastructure, and rational, secular, civil society. That is easier
> to prepare for, since you can assume able-bodied adults living in an
> area with sufficient resources will be able to fulfill their basic
> needs. That means more attention can be devoted to preservation of
> memes and rebuilding of society (perhaps in a more Extropic image this
> time around ;-).

Your concept is at odds with itself. You and your friends can't pack up and
evacuate AND actually accomplish something useful while not putting any
significant amount of time or resources into the scenario up front. It just
doesn't work out that nicely. What most people imagine it would be like is
not what it WOULD be like. The devil is in the details.

> 4. That being said, locations should be chosen such that they are in
> fact in areas with adequate farmland and a local supply of drinking
> water, a day's or so drive from where most of the participants
> live. They also need to be far from potential military and economic
> targets and have low populations.

You make far too many assumptions. How do you get a local supply of
drinking water without some investment in having access to clean drinking
water (with all the things that go along with that)? You have to think like
this about every single item in your list. If you want the convenience of
things automagically being available to you, you'll be shelling out some
serious money and time. Nothing simple or non-disruptive about it.

Furthermore, what do most people know about subsistence survival? This
isn't the same as going backpacking, where your time horizon is limited by
design. Most conventional solutions to survival problems are short-term
ones, not long-term like you are talking about. And you don't pick up these
skills overnight by reading a book. You can't survive as a tourist of the

> 5. The effort should be capable of scaling to an arbitrary number of
> participants, but should have a fair chance of succeeding with only a
> dozen or so.

You could have a hundred modern city dwellers and still not have enough
skills among you to survive well. The relevant abilities of the individuals
matter more than the numbers. Scalability is almost a non-issue. If every
person is autonomously prepared, then presumably they have everything they
need for their own survival. However, having lots of people does allow some

> So, does anybody have any refinements of the above principles or
> additional principles they'd like to add? Any specific logistical
> ideas (locations, packing lists)? Anybody interested in starting an
> Extropian Fire Drill Club in Texas?

With all due respect, you've romanticized a scenario. There is nothing
fundamentally wrong with the concept, but the difference between your vision
of it and reality is immensely wide. I'm a fairly confident that there is
only a handful of people on this list that could pull off what you are
suggesting for a long-term scenario and actually do it well at this point in
time. You've overlooked so many issues and problems that I don't really
know where to begin. As for gear, that should to be matched with a specific
scenario, even at the level of basics, though there would be some


-James Rogers


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