By May 12, 2012 Read More →

Socrates, Franklin & What it Means to be a Prepper

“The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms”

So speaketh Socrates.Socrates

A Prepper takes personal responsibility and self reliance seriously. Serious enough to prepare 72hr kits, a years worth of food storage, water storage and products necessary for their families healthy sustenance. Preparing the family emotionally, mentally, physically & spiritually for possible unemployment, illness, disasters man-made & natural…etc with the intent that the family may rely & support  one another.
Preparedness is the essence of a Prepper.  Followingthe Five Principles of Preparedness while  Walking the Path of the Prepper.


Preppers Are Proactive:

A Prepper earnestly believes that no challenge is insurmountable with the proper dedication, determination, investment and focus.  A Prepper looks proactively at the challenges life brings, and discovers the blessings hidden within difficult circumstances.



The family is the central purpose to all we do and integrated as an extension of the family is community; individuals and families whom believe that it is more important to sacrifice leisure and entertainment today, so that in future calamities they are able to sustain an appropriate standard of living; one that sustains the virtues, principles & doctrines of a God-fearing, neighbor-loving, golden rule-following family of americans.


Preppers & Survivalist:

While a Survivalist is a Prepper, a Prepper may not be a Survivalist. Survivalism, by definition is continuing on “in spite of” survivalist are often without proper tools, means or even skills. Survivalist are by nature minimalist preparing for atrocious circumstances that are often lonely and without expectation. There is an element of selfishness with survivalism and often refer more to defending, rather than sharing.

Preppers & Survivalist do share a large set of skills & knowledge, they sustain the constitution, attend firearm expos, self-reliance expos, as well as Home & Garden Shows.
The core values of preppers are community-based, and without community there is very little purpose is surviving.

The selfish element of survivalism is better described in Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” where he writes at one point

“may remain brave, dignified and unselfish, or in the bitter fight for self preservation he may forget his human dignity and become no more than an animal.”


The Virtue of Preparing:

Benjamin Franklin & Sam Adams both have significant statements about what personal quality that must be rendered by all people for freedom to be sustained in our society.

On Virtue

“Only a virtuous people are capable freedom. As nations become more corrupt…they have need of more masters.” ~ B. Franklin

Samuel Adams taught us the same principle

“I thank God that I have lived to see my country independent and free. She may enjoy her… freedom if she will. It depends on her virtue.” ~ Samuel Adams

These founding fathers’ expression of virtue are a few of many from those whom established our great nation. Preppers are silver-lined with the virtue described by these great men. Preppers defend and sustain the Country’s founding documents with meekness and often are long-suffering as their influence is mocked by those whom claim citizenship under the same documentation.



Often I hear families talking in aggressive speech about protecting their preps. I myself, have had these thoughts and feelings, after all I too have invested thousands of dollars on guns, ammo, training, food, gardening, tools, bug out bags and everything else. It is hard to conceive that this all may be lost and my plans thwarted by a few procrastinators. However, charity remains as a one-word mission statement. To help combat these dangerous thoughts of selfishness preppers invest in formal training. Formal training is tremendously effective, and of course places you in scenarios that seem to confirm initial assumptions about the pain wicked or unprepared individuals could inflict on  the family, but offer you the tools and appropriate responses during scary times.

It is only natural, and to be expected that parents would protect their children, and the means for which we provide health, nutrition, safety and their well-being.

Training, of all things appeals to me the most. Honing in and fine tuning the ability to be precise through mock-experience exposes us to thoughts and circumstances that test and develop our moral character. When I think of training plus moral character I often think of our military men.

“The SOF warrior/diplomat is expected additionally to have the training, experience, understanding and wisdom to appropriately deal with those who fall in between — people who may or may not be innocent, but whom he is required to protect. Precision, experience, intelligence, moral maturity — these are what America expects of our SOF warriors. If it were easy, anyone could do it.” ~ Bob Schoultz, Ret. SEAL

Taking the time and finances to invest in proper training will hedge against risk & fear, while offering safety to your families future. Training will also help to insure that you do not find yourself in a situation that may cause deep regret and life-altering results.


Insuring Life’s Challenges:

Auto, home, life, health, renters & pet insurance are all on the docket of preparedness. your insurance policies help you to be a responsible provider and offers significant peace of mind for your current lifestyle. Insurances help you to be a responsible citizen of your community. Family preparedness accounts for the aforementioned insurances, and includes shelter, food, water, first aid, fiscal savings, personal protection often valued & justified exactly the same as other insurances.

There are hundreds of reasons to value all insurance policies, when purchasing auto insurance, for example, we generalize the value to protect us in the event of an ‘accident’, and spend little time thinking about the types of auto accidents that may occur. An accident is an accident. The reasons to prepare should be generalized in the same manner, with little concern for a particular type of disaster that may occur. Spending too much time and energy on a specific threat or theory will distract you from the general essence of preparedness, and you may find yourself fettered with fanaticism, extremism, mania, bigotry or anxiety, which are the children of fear.

Reasons & thoughts that motivate & inspire preparedness, but which result in emotional discomfort to you, your loved ones & community are harmful to the values of preparedness and less time should be spent on the specific reasons to prepare.

Remember that if you are not having fun you are doing something wrong. Preparedness is wrapped in the arms of family time; teaching, helping, learning and laughing are the indicators of ideal prepping.

‘Prepare for the worst and hope for the best’ was often the message my dad taught us. I wondered at times how that is to be accomplished, and at times I have struggled to maintain the healthy balance of preparing. I have learned to laugh more, stress less, and mostly be God-Reliant through self-reliance.

Preparing eliminates fear. Laughing indicates peace of mind.

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17 Comments on "Socrates, Franklin & What it Means to be a Prepper"

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  1. Robert Dunn says:

    According to your definition there can be no atheist preppers….is that right? Why is a belief in the supernatural a pre-requisite for being an effective prepper?

  2. Duane says:

    While I am a Christian, I have to agree with Robert here….just because someone is an atheist does NOT mean they can’t be a prepper

  3. To many times we focus on the Hardware (the latest “tactical” equipment), when we should be focusing on the Software (Mindset and Training) !!!! I’m not talking about high speed “tactical” training that is on par with seal team 6 !! Nothing wrong with that , But the average American Pepper family needs training in basic combat firearms techniques and mindset, then adding some stress so the student can utilize these skills in real life situations !!!!

  4. “Remember that if you are not having fun you are doing something wrong. Preparedness is wrapped in the arms of family time; teaching, helping, learning and laughing are the indicators of ideal prepping.”   EXCELLENT – I will be stealing that and using it in the future on everyone I know. Thanks for your thoughts on prepping as always Mr. Vail.

    Robert & Duane – Really guys? He didn’t say that. No where in the article (I read it twice) did he say “you can’t be a prepper if you were an atheist.” It’s not even implied. Not every mention of a higher being is a red flag purposely being waved in the face of all atheists. 

  5. Hugh says:

    “God-Reliant” is my preferred choice, the 3 Founding Fathers quotes ironically, mention God or religion, but not by my design. The virtue of tolerance and the spirit of compromise with every facet of life, including our personal spiritual beliefs, must be exercised- though we may agree that the bible-thumping is kind of challenging to get along with, but that’s probably just me. It’s obvious to me that being a prepper is not reliant on a particular spiritual belief system.  

  6. Hugh says:

    Stephanie: that makes me feel good, thank you for your feedback, oh and you can use whatever you want, thus you do not have to “steal” and I can feel all warm and fuzzy again – knowing you are not a thief :)

  7. Karen Graham says:

    I must say Hugh, this is an excellent article. I especially liked your definitions of preppers and survivalists. This is an issue that has confounded me for some time. I write a “prepper” column for, and most of my stories involve preparedness for natural disasters, such as those we see in Central Virginia, where I reside.

    I have watched all the “prepper” shows on television, just to sort of use them as a learning tool. I was to the point of, well, being disillusioned over what I was seeing. I think I can safely say the people profiled are more like survivalists in many, not all, cases. Now, after reading your article, I can continue to write, knowing I was on the right track. If I may, would it be possible to quopte you, sometime based on what you have written on this?

    • Hugh Vail says:

      Karen: Thank you, that is a very kind thing to say, and I really appreciate you taking the time to say something. 

      I like the examiner, and wrote an article for Vicki Lynn about 1 1/2 ago – a detailed explanation of dehydration and its various methods.

      I do not have the stomach for the prepper shows. I love the people, and I appreciate their dedication to preparedness. I am VERY sensitive to what I listen to and watch. In fact, some may find reason to criticize my careful approach. As a result though I feel like I am able to keep the virtue of preparedness properly balanced in my life. This article is a result of such careful selection of my readings & viewings.

      I am glad that you feel like you can write again, and I hope that you speak from the core values of your life and snuggle in some preparedness principles. You can use whatever you like, whenever you like.  

  8. April McQuay says:

    I really enjoyed this article. Considering that we constantly live in the “unknown”, as in things can happen beyond our control, I feel the reminders of the importance of preparation are so essential for all of us. Thanks Hugh for these insightful reminders.

  9. charlie potatoes says:

    any australian brother organisations  of prepars or associated contacts for australians of similar interests and for future sharing…cheers

  10. I appreciate that you are considering the idea of sharing, protecting and having enough for your family. I am of a mind that the more we can do to share now, like in this forum, the less families that we will need be concerned about in a teotwawki situation. Good writing!

  11. Christy R. says:

    Very insightful. I have to say that I really appreciate the the concepts and principles that this article outlines. The article put my personal thoughts on preparedness into an organized way that will help me express to my friends and family. Thank you for writing this.

  12. Collapse Survivor says:

    Agree with you completely. There is a great prepper book about surviving a collapse called Rohan Nation: Reinventing America after the 2020 Collapse that gets into these responsibility themes and passes on lots of great prepper advice in the form of an action adventure novel about Americans surviving and recovering from a collapse caused by a bioengineered viral pandemic. I recommend it highly.

  13. JH says:

    I have a different analysis of survivalist/prepper. Everyone is a survivalist to some extent. Most Americans are prepared to survive the ride between McDonalds & Walmart as long as their EBT card is loaded and thats about it. Some folks however take survivalism a little more seriously. Those people are now referred to as preppers, although I think the term was concocted because of fear of being labeled a survivalist by the powers that be and the media. I am not ashamed of the title survivalist because if one isnt surviving, one is perishing and thats nothing to be proud of is it. Survivalists tend to be a little tougher breed than most of the preppers I know. The two terms are interchangeable in many instances. However, always remember, life is a zero sum game anyway. In the end, all of your provisions can only postpone the inevitable. If you are not prepared to stand before the Almighty with Christ as your defender, you have failed to prepare for the most important moment in you existance.

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