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“There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy”

“There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy”

Alfred Henry Lewis’ observation dating back to 1896 still rings true. There is a thin line between society and anarchy. It’s thinner than we want to admit.

So I saw this comment on Facebook:

Dear city dwellers, google the 9 meal rule and then think about why its a terrible idea to piss off the people who deliver your stuff. and could you do me a favour and not collapse the supply chain until I get home next week? that would be super. thanks.

Here we go. Just like Mass Formation Psychosis, another term I had not heard of, the “9 Meal Rule.”

Here’s what the internet says about the 9 Meal Rule.

“A popular saying is that “every nation is about three/six/seven/nine meals away from anarchy/revolution.” That is, hungry people are desperate people who will topple any government. “It is well for us to recollect that even in our own law-abiding, not to say virtuous cases, the only barrier between us and anarchy is the last nine meals we’ve had” was cited in print in 1896.

“There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy” was said by writer Alfred Henry Lewis (1855-1914) in a March 1906 issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine. “It’s only nine meals between men and revolution” was cited in print in 1943.

I thought it might be one of those phrases that really had no provable attribution, but nope, I found it in the digitized archives of Cosmopolitan maintained by various universities, in the March 1906 issue in an article titled, The Day of Discontent.

There it was.

I downloaded the full article  into a pdf, so you can read the whole thing. You’re welcome. They were talking about troubles of the time, social discontent, part of which related to food but also the rise of socialism. It’s worth a read because so much parallels current problems.

But, it appears the saying may not be original to the Cosmopolitan discussion. The phrase was used by Lewis in the New York Journal in 1896 (pdf.):

“the only barrier between us and anarchy is the last nine meals we’ve had. It may be taken as axiomatic that a starving man is never a good citizen.”

The original 9 meal discussion wasn’t limited to literal food shortages, but it’s been applied to social breakdown over the food supply in recent years, including pre-pandemic. Jeff Thomas, in a 2016 article wrote (emphasis in original):

In 1906, Alfred Henry Lewis stated, “There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy.” Since then, his observation has been echoed by people as disparate as Robert Heinlein and Leon Trotsky.

The key here is that, unlike all other commodities, food is the one essential that cannot be postponed. If there were a shortage of, say, shoes, we could make do for months or even years. A shortage of gasoline would be worse, but we could survive it, through mass transport or even walking, if necessary.

But food is different. If there were an interruption in the supply of food, fear would set in immediately. And, if the resumption of the food supply were uncertain, the fear would become pronounced. After only nine missed meals, it’s not unlikely that we’d panic and be prepared to commit a crime to acquire food. If we were to see our neighbour with a loaf of bread, and we owned a gun, we might well say, “I’m sorry, you’re a good neighbour and we’ve been friends for years, but my children haven’t eaten today – I have to have that bread – even if I have to shoot you.” …

Fear of starvation is fundamentally different from other fears of shortages. Even good people panic.

In 2010, The Guardian ran a column Nine meals from anarchy:

This year is the 10th anniversary of the fuel protests, when supermarket bosses sat with ministers and civil servants in Whitehall warning that there were just three days of food left. We were, in effect, nine meals from anarchy. Suddenly, the apocalyptic visions of novelists and film-makers seemed less preposterous. Civilisation’s veneer may be much thinner than we like to think.

In 2018, an Irish Times column wrote:

“There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy,” said the American writer Alfred Henry Lewis in a distinctly alarming piece written more than 100 years ago. Anyone walking the aisles of most of our supermarkets in the immediate aftermath of the departure of the Beast from the East would have been forgiven a momentary chill at his words.

Had a plague of locusts descended on Ireland it could scarcely have done a better job of clearing shelves than Irish shoppers managed in the days before and immediately after the great snow of 2018. It points to a fragility in our food supply that we rarely get to see.

You get the picture. There are many more articles I could quote from the pandemic era. The supply chain problems we’ve been having have not pushed us over the edge, but they have shown us what the edge looks like.

Don’t worry. I’m not panicking. But I am Prepping For The Worst, I’d rather not have to fight people in the supermarket for the few boxes of porridge left on the shelves.

We don’t know where the challenge will come from, there are unknown unknowns that could surprise us. But some of the causes won’t surprise us, we see them coming.

There is a thin line in society, between food and anarchy, freedom and repression, liberty and tyranny, safety and street violence. It’s thinner than we want to admit, and it’s being pushed to its limits on purpose by ideologies that want to deconstruct our society. Tearing down society is a dangerous game.

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Comments

theduchessofkitty | January 25, 2022 at 9:10 pm

“Food comes first, then morality.” Bertholt Brecht

You can also say that a hungry man reverts to a state of savagery.

    henrybowman in reply to theduchessofkitty. | January 25, 2022 at 11:42 pm

    You who prattle that morality is social and that man would need no morality on a desert island—it is on a desert island that he would need it most. Let him try to claim, when there are no victims to pay for it, that a rock is a house, that sand is clothing, that food will drop into his mouth without cause or effort, that he will collect a harvest tomorrow by devouring his stock seed today—and reality will wipe him out, as he deserves; reality will show him that life is a value to be bought and that thinking is the only coin noble enough to buy it.
    –JOHN GALT’S SPEECH

    Principles are for the well fed. – Mark Twain

    The_Mew_Cat in reply to theduchessofkitty. | January 26, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    Just wait until you and your owner are competing for the last bag of cat food.

      A possibility that is becoming a reality here, as bags of dry cat food have literally disappeared from HEB’s shelves – except for the really expensive ($40 a bag) NEW store brand that is readily available by the pallet load.

    If morality didn’t come first, then food would be savage.

    Yet, here we are.

What’s happened is that TWO generations have grown up in the US without any actual understanding of the reality outside their ivory towers.

A truly shocking number of younger people (liberals in particular) have LITERALLY NO IDEA where food comes from, or what it takes to actually manufacture and transport it.

They’re the same stupid fucks that demanded we ‘defund the police’, with LITERALLY NO UNDERSTANDING of what a world without police actually looks like.

They simply ASSUME that their cushy pumpkin spice vente latte life is ‘normal’, and will continue regardless of what they do.

    theduchessofkitty in reply to Olinser. | January 25, 2022 at 9:49 pm

    And then, when they find out where and how their chicken in their frontega chicken panini is brought from farm to table, they suddenly become vegetarians. Some of them don’t even dare to cook anything animal because they’ve been sheltered for so long. And if a hunter posts pictures on FB of their recent hunting venison trophy, they demand a mob go after them.

    They need to grow the f%@#$ up.

Even better…probably only day or two in the water supply if it all goes to pot. Lose power, lose potability, etc…..

In a little order:
Breathable air
Water
Food
Shelter (depending on ambient)

The most important commodities…

    thetaqjr in reply to rabid wombat. | January 25, 2022 at 10:35 pm

    Notice that sexual union doesn’t make the first four.

    I was never a prisoner except to my own vices. I knew certain the answer to the question a tv network reporter asked John McCain, or one of his chaps, “What did you miss most, what’s the first thing you want? “

    Obviously, SEX. A willing warm woman. SEX.

    Nope. NOPE NOPE NOPE.

    A greased cheeseburger with greasy fries, the chap with phosgene in his eyes, wanted to eat in a dry ditch a cheeseburger.

    Cheeseburger.

      henrybowman in reply to thetaqjr. | January 26, 2022 at 1:23 am

      I was informed by an Australian ethnologist that their experience with Aboriginal societies living in primitive outback survival conditions has indicated that a certain minimum level of body fat is required before human conception is biologically possible. Which makes evolutionary sense, obviously, as you don’t want to feed three when you can barely feed two. Now, as this ethnologist was engaged in running tour groups, he may have gotten his degree from Charles Darwin College of Welding and Metal Trades, because Australia. But I never forgot it.

      DaveGinOly in reply to thetaqjr. | January 27, 2022 at 12:23 pm

      An uncle of mine was in a German POW camp for 18 months. He said the food was laced with so many bugs that if you picked out the bugs there wasn’t anything left. He is still alive and kicking, and to this day will eat anything put in front of him because of this experience. (Fortunately, he has genes that have kept him slim, and he remained active until he developed vertigo around the time he turned 80.)

        Voice_of_Reason in reply to DaveGinOly. | February 2, 2022 at 11:09 am

        On the positive side, shortages in a market economy are rare, usually short, and often due to government interference in the market (like vax mandates or lab leaks). mankind likes to make money, and capitalism is the most efficient way to distribute and create money. This is why capitalist markets rarely have famines, unlike planned/communists countries.

    CommoChief in reply to rabid wombat. | January 26, 2022 at 12:27 am

    Rule of three for life/death

    3 minutes without air
    3 days without water
    30 days without food

I saw this article today on The Epoch Times:

Bakery Truck Driver Hands Out Loaves of Bread to Motorists Stuck on Highway During Snowstorm

Link: https://www.theepochtimes.com/b-bakery-truck-driver-hands-out-loaves-of-bread-to-motorists-stuck-on-highway-during-snowstorm_4203078.html

About 18 months ago I became sufficiently concerned about the supply chain (and food shortages) if the pandemic persisted. I bought a 1 year supply of freeze died emergency food for 2 people. I also bought 30 days of XMRE’s for 2 and 30 days of Blue Can water. All told about $25K. My wife wasn’t happy with the cost. We saw the news about that idiot Biden blocking Canadian truckers from crossing the border, not allowing vehicles to unload containers from the Port of LA unless the vehicles were compliant with CA air quality standards (which 50% of trucks on the road don’t comply with,) and now a possible railroad strike by Burlington Northern. My wife agrees with my decision. Besides, there’s plenty of room in the basement – right next to the (numerous) cases of ammunition. No worries here.

    henrybowman in reply to 81mm Jarhead. | January 26, 2022 at 12:04 am

    “the news about that idiot Biden… not allowing vehicles to unload containers from the Port of LA unless the vehicles were compliant with CA air quality standards”

    Same team, wrong idiot. I don’t even think we can blame Governor Hairgel for this one, it’s all on the Underpants Gnomes of Sacramento (still same team).

    On the subject of survival food, check out an old blog post of mine. Note that it’s nearly ten years old.

    MattMusson in reply to 81mm Jarhead. | January 26, 2022 at 7:37 am

    Most fertilizer is made from Natural Gas. High prices and engineered restrictions in producing natural gas have shut down fertilizer plants in the UK, Holland, Russia, China and Egypt. China and Russia have stopped exporting fertilizer when they were previously 2 of the world’s top 3 exporters. 2 out of 5 people on the planet rely on that fertilizer.

    According to the International Fertilizer Development Center, Africa is looking at a 100 million TON shortfall in it’s next harvest. The following year will be even worse. And, Asia, South America and Eastern Europe will also experience Biblical Famine.

    The Greens have killed gas production and they are directly responsible for the coming starvation for half a Billion people.

      AF_Chief_Master_Sgt in reply to MattMusson. | January 26, 2022 at 1:36 pm

      Liberals/Marxists are ALWAYS responsible for starvation

      txvet2 in reply to MattMusson. | January 26, 2022 at 6:11 pm

      “”The Greens have killed gas production and they are directly responsible for the coming starvation for half a Billion people.””

      The leftist elite will look at that as a GOOD start.

    billewilde in reply to 81mm Jarhead. | January 29, 2022 at 8:02 am

    With this Administration’s “War on Oil” US Farmers are facing record shortages of fertilizers… the current price is doubled and going to go higher. BOTH Russia and China along with others have restricted exports of fertilizer. Most of the farmers I know are expecting crop reductions in the 20-30% range and with the global temperature drop from the volcano it might get worse. If you have a yard plant some perennials and fruit trees. Personally I won’t be surprised to see food riots early ’23?

    billewilde in reply to 81mm Jarhead. | January 29, 2022 at 8:04 am

    BTW look up Functional Area 49

we are aslo one ammendment away from despotism

    thetaqjr in reply to texansamurai. | January 25, 2022 at 10:53 pm

    Aren’t we already short two? 9th and 10th?

    Attrition of liberties proceeds not from addition, but from subtraction.

    No need for totalitarians to burn books, leave them on shelves. Nobody will read the classics, the books presenting the liberal arts.

    The artists include Adam Smith, Thomas Sowell, William Shakespeare, Isaac Newton, F. Gauss, Martin Luther, Moses, and Jesus Christ.

‘ There is a thin line between society and anarchy. It’s thinner than we want to admit.’

Just look at what happened in New Orleans after Katrina. Frightening stuff. Explains why it’s called the thin blue line.

    rabid wombat in reply to NavyMustang. | January 25, 2022 at 10:35 pm

    “Just look at what happened in New Orleans after Katrina. Frightening stuff. Explains why it’s called the thin blue line.”

    Compare that to the behavior after Harvey in Houston or almost any of the flooding in the upper midwest…the quality of the people involved has a lot to do with the results…

    I would say less “blue line”, more the quality of the ordinary people…

    henrybowman in reply to NavyMustang. | January 26, 2022 at 12:06 am

    After Katrina, a large part of the blue line was a significant part of the problem. In fact, they imported even more problem from other states, the California Highway Patrol in particular.

Good saying. I’m obviously not the author, so I can’t presume to be the editor. That said, I think it hits better if the saying were to be: “Only 9 meals away from civility and anarchy”

Anarchy is still humanity (mankind)…just the dark side of humanity that liberals don’t believe in (remember, that everyone is essentially good in hippy liberal factions and society just makes them do bad things).

Hell, some of those idiots on the left even try to romanticize anarchy as some kind of utopia…that’s how twisted they are. I’m for a limited government, but you do still need a government for the fundamentals that we all used to agree upon before madness descended.

    Nanoushka in reply to healthguyfsu. | January 25, 2022 at 11:14 pm

    Bernie Sanders got kicked out of a hippie commune for laziness.

    DaveGinOly in reply to healthguyfsu. | January 27, 2022 at 12:31 pm

    “Anarchy” is merely the absence of government. The “anarchists” in this country believe anarchy is “chaos”/anything goes. It is exactly the opposite. Any true anarchist must understand that anarchy requires law-abiding citizens (voluntarily assumed correct behavior, not statutory obligations). Lawlessness results in people banding together to protect themselves from the unlawful behavior, in other words, the creation of a nascent government. The state of anarchy goes downhill from there.

      Mr Moist in reply to DaveGinOly. | January 30, 2022 at 6:04 pm

      I’ve often said that anarchy only really exists until the armed anarchists force the unarmed anarchists to carry their loot for them. The moment the unarmed anarchists comply, anarchy turns back to tyranny, and everything starts all over again. Considering this is the most common reaction to having power, ie. forcing others to do your bidding, anarchy in that sense never lasts very long.

AF_Chief_Master_Sgt | January 25, 2022 at 10:50 pm

Let us be realistic here. We truly are three days from chaos. I remember when we sat in lines in the 70s waiting for gas. Autos with even numbered plates bought gas on even days, and off on odd days.

Many times we never made it to the pump because the station tanks ran dry. But I did see an increase in gas theft, the siphoning of cars that had fuel in the tank. I also saw an increase in the sales of locking gas caps. People who I never expected to steal quickly resorted to theft.

We aren’t too far away from people willing to steal food if the current shortages continue. Look at the pandemic starting in 2020. People would buy all of the toilet paper and other products, and actually fight over it. People got what they wanted and screw everyone else.

The hardest hit will be major cities. High rise buildings with hundreds of residents will not survive if food shipments to cities stopped.

But we won’t need police. The armed population outside of gun free zones will protect themselves and their food from those city dwellers who survive and venture into the rural areas seeking food.

    Not entirely incorrect but do you really think those blue terrorists in office won’t favor saving those cities over the rural areas??? While they cling to remaining influence they will suck flyover country dry.

    Look at what they did with stimulus bills…used them as cover to bail out all the blue urban wastelands that were drowning in debt long before COVID was a rumor.

    And of course, all they had to spend to do it was blow up savings and conservative retirement holdings that got rocked by inflation. Those people that save and are older don’t really vote for a nanny state that wants to bribe a bunch of spoiled brats to YOLO anyways.

      CommoChief in reply to healthguyfsu. | January 26, 2022 at 1:14 am

      Would the folks in charge of blue metros prefer the option to simply grab food from rural areas? Maybe just demand it as tribute? Sure as far as that goes which isn’t very far at least outside of theory. The larger the population the less cohesive and willing to cooperate in a true crisis. The smaller communities in rural areas are, generally speaking, high trust societies as are some sub populations within a metropolis. Metropolitan areas are by and large not high trust societies. Getting any functional level of cooperation across a metro in a non temporary crisis is not likely, IMO.

      Just basic law and order are huge undertakings for any govt. Where these same govts have willingly allowed a breakdown to the point of stores abandoning areas, can’t field the normal complement of LEO and have allowed a culture of lawlessness to take root in normal life they are likely doomed in extreme circumstances. How will the city govt organize an expedition to rural areas? Who will participate? Who commands it? Who protects the families of those who agree to venture out on this raid? Does the State govt support that? Does the Gov mobilize the NG to act as brigands to conduct these raids? Will they comply? Are rural residents going to be passive?

      It isn’t that hard to block a road or drop a bridge or render it impassable. Lots of rural farms and ranches use explosives or can fabricate expedient alternatives from on hand materials. The closer to the land the more likely to be hunters with weapons, ammunition and some level of skill. Rural residents are more likely to have larger stocks of food on hand out of habit if nothing else. Not to mention working wells and access to other water sources. Many veterans, particularly combat veterans with very relevant experience, decided to live in rural areas. They at least have the know how to prevent a convoy from entering an area.

      That’s my off the cuff assessment of the issues facing a blue city govt in a blue State in a no food delivery to the grocery scenario. They may have the desire to take food stocks from rural areas but they lack the means to carry it out. IMO, the cities will rapidly destroy themselves as they turn upon each other. My advice to a city resident would be run far and run fast, preferably before such a scenario unfolds.

        A few thoughts:
        Prof, I believe you may be waking up some people, at least I sure hope so.
        The Great Reset crowd are the ones who want us all pushed into the cities so they can control us through mechanisms like food distribution.
        Who’s read One Second After? The gangs from the cities will likely be the ones coming to raid more rural areas. Probably with some help from the “elite”.
        Haven’t we seen them practicing already?

          DSHornet in reply to lc. | January 26, 2022 at 11:46 am

          It’s plausible, I’ve read it, and it scared the daylights out of me.

          Arm up. Stock up.
          .

        stevewhitemd in reply to CommoChief. | January 26, 2022 at 11:56 am

        == Would the folks in charge of blue metros prefer the option to simply grab food from rural areas? ==

        If one knows history, one knows that this is exactly how the Bolsheviks fed the Russian cities in the mid 1920s through 1930s. They went to the farms of the kulaks, took all the food, forced the kulaks into collective farming (which wrecked food production), and shot/imprisoned any kulak who resisted.

        Throughout history, this is exactly what the authorities do. They need the food from the rural areas, but they need more the support of the people in the cities. So they strip the rural areas to feed the cities. Happens every time.

          Brave Sir Robbin in reply to stevewhitemd. | January 26, 2022 at 1:00 pm

          And it’s not enforced or executed via sending raiding parties from the cities. The rural people and a large segment of the army must resist the edicts and goons sent to enforce this organized theft and oppression. If you lose the army, you lose. This is why the current politicization of the armed forces is so unsettling.

          You can sweep aside some DHS or FBI agents, but that’s hard enough. But if the army arrives to assert the Blue will, you are going to have some real problems.

          CommoChief in reply to stevewhitemd. | January 26, 2022 at 1:40 pm

          A few points in rebuttal. First the historical record is, as you correctly point out, full of examples where this was attempted if not actually successful. That leads me to suspect that the knowledge of history will make the rural population less passive. Perhaps even proactive in their actions to prevent a repeat.

          Secondly the comparison of Russian peasants to residents of rural America is not close to accurate. The bulk of the rural population of Russia were uneducated near or actual serfs without the arms, leadership or elan to successfully resist. The culture and relationship between the Russian peasants and the ruling class had ingrained an attitude of compliance and obedience. This stands in sharp contrast to the population of rural America. IMO, it’s they are polar opposites.

          Third, you didn’t take time to explain how these blue cities will secure their interior much less mount expeditions to the hinterland, even if unopposed by the rural population. IMO, until you can successfully explain how the city keeps itself from burning down from internal strife then any optimistic speculation re successful expeditions is premature.

          Finally, the scenario we are discussing is one of bare grocery shelves for a prolonged period in a blue city in a blue State. There will likely be other shortages as well, either directly or as a consequence. Do red States stand idle? Does Greater Idaho come into being? What if farmers burn their crop or slaughter the herds instead of allowing theft? Will the power grid stay up? Fuel? NG flows? How about water flow in the west? Do dams stay intact and continue hydropower and water supply? What secondary and tertiary impacts are likely? Will the LEO, Fire and EMT personnel remain in the city? How many? How long? What level of loyalty to the city govt exists in the wake of BLM, defunding?

          You are ignoring the possibility, IMO the certainty, of some level of civil breakdown and abandonment of cities by key personnel if not even worse entirely foreseeable circumstances which would impede or inhibit the ability to take resources from others. I am not arguing that your view is completely wrong but rather that it has an obvious list of challenges to overcome before it can be realized.

          CommoChief in reply to stevewhitemd. | January 26, 2022 at 1:54 pm

          BSR,

          Yeah no question about it. If the military rolls Armor and aircraft in support of an organized national effort it’s a different ballgame. Likely the rural citizens lose that scenario. Though that presupposes the military does so. A question is how many individuals stand aside and how many entire formations directly oppose. Not to mention that some substantial number of organized forces will be diverted to maintain order in cities or the cities very likely burn.

        Strelnikov in reply to CommoChief. | January 26, 2022 at 12:47 pm

        Welcome to the the Capitol.

      AF_Chief_Master_Sgt in reply to healthguyfsu. | January 26, 2022 at 1:43 pm

      While agree in theory, what would the Blues do? A Berlin level airlift into New York City, San Fran, Chicago, etc?

      They have to get food through the red areas on trucks. The producers of food are predominantly right leaning. Truck drivers are predominantly right leaning. Most drivers I know won’t drive in cities where the trucks would hi-jacked as soon as the jackals could attack – which they would attack to the point of killing drivers.

      This would not be a picnic or a cakewalk. We are in for a horrid nightmare of epic proportions. But one never knows what man will do to survive.

    High rise buildings with hundreds of residents will not survive if food shipments to cities stopped.
    Oh, I don’t know. Those might last longer. Until the herd starts to dwindle. Or the fava beans run out….

    “ we sat in lines in the 70s waiting for gas.”
    Mid-70s, I was traveling 90 miles round trip in Illinois to IUIC.

    I already had gas, I needed was gasoline. I arranged for M-W-F classes only.

    Damn, it was cold up there.

My wife said the last two times she did grocery shopping in our major suburban grocery store there were empty shelves. Unfortunately, even crushing the Dems in November will not do much. As examples, we are still stuck with Biden/Harris and the damage done to policing and law enforcement would take years to fix and is mostly not in the purview of the House and Senate.

Subotai Bahadur | January 26, 2022 at 12:22 am

The number three seems to be applicable in a lot of ways. One way is the fact that “Just in Time” scheduling was first used in the grocery industry, not manufacturing. If the supply chains are operating at full efficiency the average urban area has only a three day supply of food IN THE WAREHOUSES AND IN THE STORES without resupply.

And there are three metallic rules.

The Golden Rule is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

The Silver Rule is to do unto others AS they do unto you.

The Iron Rule is to do unto others BEFORE they do unto you.

We are running out of Silver.

Subotai Bahadur

Had a long conversation with a guy that knows things this week. The bug out location was discussed.

It occurred to me afterward to press him on how much actual gardening they have going on at the bug out location. For 20 years I’ve been doing it and it’s damn hard to eat off it for the summer, let alone to get it going to the winter. Granted this is the first year I’ve experimented with the root cellar bit and our canning has always been hobby level. What I’m saying is this living off the land business isn’t something you just “start” when SHTF. It takes years of practice. Years of getting your garden rabbit, deer, rodent, insect free.

Also you’ll notice if you start putting large buffers of food in your pantry, storing and using becomes a major “thing.” The space alone is problematic along with shelf life factors. You’ve got to store food you actually use and plan your menus pretty far out. We rely heavily on the freezers- at some point I need to get solar going because when the grid goes out on a 105 degree day like we had last summer, my generators won’t be lasting too long either.

    henrybowman in reply to Andy. | January 26, 2022 at 3:29 am

    This is why I love my part of the country. We actually have two growing seasons, so twice as much productivity. You can’t grow squat here during the summer, though you can grow a few interesting crops over the winter. Right now, our active crop is giant lemons. We sell some, juice and freeze some, and make limoncello out of some. By mid-March, it’s all over, and our “early summer” crops are starting to mature. Whenever I worry about not having a bugout location, I realize I’m already in the best bugout location I could find.

      To the professor’s point, urban areas are ripe for decimation. When criminals already freely just break into your house/car w/out worrying about consequences which do exist, it’s not a big leap to go to a hotter ring of hell quickly.

      Gas shortages will get us there quickly. I am of the opinion Putin is planning to go after our electrical grid or gas supply to take Ukraine. In the current environment that leap is smaller than we can imagine.

    Dathurtz in reply to Andy. | January 26, 2022 at 7:16 am

    Yep. “Bug out” is a really short term plan unless you are bugging out to a functional community. People have this weird idea of living off the land. They have no idea how much land you need to feed yourself or how hard it is to do so. Or they think wild game is an infinite resource.

      Most people don’t even realize how much land is needed for any individual food source. How much excess land is needed for a fruit tree? How much excess land is needed for an acre of wheat? How much land is required to raise a single cow or sheep? There are people who have these answers (farmers, ranchers), and they will be glad to have your manual labor to plant and harvest when the SHTF. 🙂

        Brave Sir Robbin in reply to GWB. | January 26, 2022 at 1:19 pm

        Your point is well taken. Bugging out to a remote hideout to live the life of well-armed reclusive hermit is bound to fail for a host of reasons. You will need to go join a functional community and you had better have your manners on and be able to officer some service of value to be accepted into that community, because when the SHTF, they will not likely be in the mood to take in a bunch of refugees, even if a landowner.

        If I were serious about bugging out, I would pre-buggout, that is, like now, go ahead and move into your community of choice to build the social network for acceptance and build the required skills and values to survive in that community.

        If you are perceived as a self-centered, standoffish outsider who has stockpiled a bunch of stuff, your stockpile just becomes a target for the locals. You have to be prepared to share something with your community, to give something of value to it, to be accepted, and the time to be accepted by them is well before the SHTF.

        henrybowman in reply to GWB. | January 27, 2022 at 12:39 am

        “How much land is required to raise a single cow or sheep?”

        I’m intimately familiar with that number in our area, given that I just filled out the lease forms. To support one cow on native range out here? One square mile. Ludicrous.

      JPL17 in reply to Dathurtz. | January 26, 2022 at 12:08 pm

      I think you’d be surprised what can be done with just a modest amount of land. For years my wife and I have grown a very large volume of vegetables in only 2,000 square feet of raised beds. What we don’t consume during the summer and fall, we can, ferment, dehydrate, freeze, or keep in a root cellar, and in the fall, we plant our winter crop under plastic tents. And although this routine doesn’t supply all our vegetable needs, it supplies a lot of them, and I think if we had to, we could probably increase our harvests and raise chickens / goats to supply nearly all our food needs year round.

      Of course this requires a lot of work, fences, greenhouses, a water source, etc. But what it doesn’t seem to require is acres and acres of land.

      This idea is backed up by Dmitri Orlov’s 2011 book, Reinventing Collapse. As he describes the collapse of the U.S.S.R. in the 1990s when people couldn’t buy food in stores, everyday Russians were able to survive if they owned or had access to as little as 1/4 acre of land.

      So my advice is learn to grow vegetables right where you live. And make friends with others who do the same. You never know when you’ll need to trade 2 cabbages for a dozen eggs.

30 years ago everybody was freaking over a SHTF rifle. Or pistol. I love me a 1911 or M14 and the Australian NATO surplus ammo is great.

But calm the blank down. Have you talked to your neighbors? Don’t freak them out. An armory full of SKS rifles….

https://cdn.rockislandauction.com/dev_cdn/1022/576.jpg?cachebust=2019-09-19T15:08:49.000Z

…beats one without. Hands down. I’m too old and broken down to defend my end of the woods single handed. I don’t care what slick rifle or pistol you hand me.

Now, ask me about Eastern bloc Ammo.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Arminius. | January 26, 2022 at 1:24 pm

    “So my advice is learn to grow vegetables right where you live.”

    But in the rural areas, you have to learn how to keep rodents, insects, rabbits and deer out of your garden. IN urban areas, you also have to keep people out. And that’s harder. A lot harder. I have never had a rabbit or deer shoot at me. People, however, can be a rather trigger-happy lot.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Arminius. | January 26, 2022 at 1:29 pm

    Not sure what happened with that post.

    Oh, well…..

    “I love me a 1911 or M14 ” That is called the Boomer Arsenal.

    Eastern Bloc ammo sucks. Fine for range plinking or even hunting. But don’t bet your life on it. Always buy some high-quality ammo and keep it in ready storage combat load lots.

You have it out.

The shortest path through the thesaurus from meal to anarchy is
meal banquet feast carousal debauchery excess licence anarchy

(If the program has done it right, any three words in succession mean the same thing.)

Thesaurus alternatives usually support a narrative rather than an equivalence.

smalltownoklahoman | January 26, 2022 at 9:11 am

Got land? Learn to garden if you haven’t already. Even if you just live in an apartment if you have a window that stays pretty sunny most of the day than put a box there and grow something.. Having something to supplement your food supply can be a huge difference maker.

I found [the Nine-Meal Rule] in the digitized archives of Cosmopolitan maintained by various universities, in the March 1906 issue ….

Wow, that’s amazing! Just wondering, though, back in 1906, did Cosmopolitan also enlighten its readers with articles like, “Let Us Explain: How to Have Sex in the Bath”, or “Dry Humping is Better than Sex and You Know It!”? Or perhaps with riveting first-person narratives like, “So, I Wore Vibrating Panties to Dinner With My In-Laws …”? Because those are actual titles of articles in the current issue of Cosmo, according to their website. How western civilization has fallen!

This is the very reason why we all need to stockpile food, water, guns and ammo. We just have a different way of saying it: “We are just 6-9 meals away from the zombie uprising.”

We have seen it put in play after the various hurricanes and most recently, the early WuFlu days when the zombies were stripping the shelves of everything, especially toilet paper in the first 2-3 days. I practiced being the “grey man”.

To this day, I and my friends who are of the same mind, are mocked when people find out that we stock enough survival supplies to satisfy California’s and DHS’ recommendation for earthquake preparedness. In fact, the DHS recommends having enough food and water to last 90 days no matter where you live in the US.

The hardest part is organizing to have a community 3-6 months later when everyone’s supplies run out. It’s about knowing where you will be going and being able to plant a crop quickly.

One can never stockpile too much food, water and ammo.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to MAJack. | January 26, 2022 at 1:32 pm

    Question: How much ammo do you need?
    Answer: All of it.

    GWB in reply to MAJack. | January 26, 2022 at 4:32 pm

    The only times you’ll ever hear “I have too much ammo” are when you’re drowning or on fire. Or, maybe when you can’t shoot it because it’s all the wrong caliber for your firearms.

I first heard it as “no country is more than 3 meals away from a revolution.” My favorite taunt at the moment is “remember when Trump was president and there was food on the shelves.” They can rant, but they sure can’t argue.

Two unoriginal thoughts:

1) A well fed man has many problems. The hungry man, only one.

2) A hungry man is an angry man.

So much sophistry in this article. First, the world today is hundreds of times oversupplied with “food.” This makes the cost of true subsistence so low as to be affordable to the poorest of humans. The 19th century fearmongering axiom of Alfred Henry Lewis was birthed out of an actual, physical lack of supply. Well, to be fair, there was an ample aggregate supply of food in the world even then, but distribution was woefully inadequate in that period of volatile population shifts. Whereas today, all localized/regionalized food shortages are 100% deliberate–contrived by evil men using starvation as a literal weapon of tyranny–kinda like, hmm, a Scamdemic lockdown? Second, let’s say that all supply chains collapsed tomorrow–for whatever reason, deliberate or natural. In the USA and most other places in the world, enough food is already sitting around nearby to give everyone 900 meals (probably closer to 540 meals, but “900” makes a much easier-to-remember hyperbolic comparison). So must we/will we wait till those hundreds of meals (plus 9 more missed meals) run out before we can throw off the chains of a wicked and/or incompetent government? Sorry, starvation may occur then, but “anarchy” will have already manifested–for many other reasons unpenned by Alfred Henry Lewis–potentially becoming the cause (or at least the perpetuator) of any lasting food shortage, not the result of one. Third, though, today’s anarchists might just surprise the economists and philosophers (who are hopelessly biased in favor of “civilization” because their ilk is only valued by the “civilized”). We anarchists, though, are not all a bunch of illiterate potato-distilling fiddlers or pig-iron smelters anymore. Many of us can transition just fine without grocery stores and restaurants for a couple years. Well enough, even, to trade our surpluses to those who can’t feed themselves, but who have other skills/goods we value. You know, this trade might even result in the creations of new grocery stores and restaurants! Mind-blowing concept for our academic community, I realize!

    enough food is already sitting around nearby to give everyone 900 meals
    Really? Where is it? It’s not outside my door or in my community (and I live within a few miles of some farming).
    Now, it’s sitting nearby some people. But it certainly is NOT sitting nearby the urban areas.

    No, it doesn’t require wickedness on anyone’s part to screw up our nice little civilization. Merely neglect and thinking much more of “intelligent” ideas than they really deserve. Currently, we teeter close to the downhill slope of things.

    DaveGinOly in reply to SteChatte. | January 27, 2022 at 12:43 pm

    Yes, the world produces more food than it needs. Yet people still starve because the food doesn’t get to them. Or, more accurately, is kept from getting to them due to politics and armed conflicts.

    It’s not about how much food is produced, it’s about how much is prevented from being available.

      The answer to the question of starvation in a world filled with food: In today’s world, people almost never starve from famine. They starve from tyranny.

    Cornfed in reply to SteChatte. | January 31, 2022 at 12:06 pm

    “Many of us can transition just fine without grocery stores and restaurants for a couple years.”

    Define “many”. Less than 1% of the population, I’d guess.

I think the ruling Marxists in Washington see it as “There are only nine meals separating us from our desired imposition of martial law.”

Because they will use the first food riots as a pretext to crush all dissent and impose a brutal Marxist totalitarian state on us (well, even more totalitarian than it is now.)

I won’t argue the assertion that there would be anarchy if people missed a few meals, though I doubt it. (Though I’m sure all the trigglypuff mask Karens would be up in arms within minutes of the first one.)
I WILL say that the vast majority of Americans would benefit by missing many multiples of 9 meals. How much excess fat is the average American lugging around on his body? 50 lbs? 60 lbs? 3500 calories/lb of fat * 50 lbs= 175,000 calories. That is roughly SIX MONTHS of food.

On the bright side, the average Venezuelan lost about 25 pounds under Moduro’s first year. Obesity is a leading, pronounced co-morbidity for CCP virus. Boom, skinner people aren’t dying from Wuhan flu.

I tend to read a lot of dystopian fiction. I also used to watch Glenn Beck on Fox. He seems to be ahead of the curve on what’s coming. He also said his timing was never right, but he could put the pieces together to see it happening as it is now. I started preparing then.

I always knew that the federal and various state governments were heading for a fiscal and monetary cliff. My greatest hope was not that it would not happen. We all know that day of reconning is coming. Nevertheless, what I have fervently hoped it is not a repeat of the Great Depression. I do not want to repeat the dire experience of my Grandparents to live through that. But what I really hoped for is that the Democrats would be in control of both the executive and legislative branches when it inevitably did happen. Sure, these nitwits will point the finger and try to shift blame, but only the most feeble-minded will pay them any heed. Let these malicious ignorant Democrat bastards suffer the political fallout of their misdeeds. And let those posturing Republicans too cowardly to live up to their noble rhetoric take note. Empty shelves, bad. Emptying out and replacing the congress and presidency with actual noble people, good.

    Mr Moist in reply to Rand. | January 30, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    Agreed. Unfortunately, with Democrats largely in control of education and media in this country, they’ve been creating the very hordes of the most feeble-minded that will pay them heed. 🙁

During the first “stay-at-home” during this pandemic, it was interesting to look at the supermarkets to see what people didn’t buy.
Frozen Pizzas were not to be had. Even peanut butter was gone, except the natural peanut which was still on the shelves.

In current terms “nine meals from anarchy” sometimes refers to the common understanding that most folks/families have no more than three days’ worth of food on the shelf at home. As we’ve seen in past few years, though, this may be an outmoded idea. The prudent continually stock up. The awake are the first to the store at the hint of impending bad weather or rumor of shortages. The summer of love has turned into persistent looting in some locales. Bad covid policy has fostered and exacerbated logistics challenges and continues to plague us with supply chain shortages. The Modern Grand Solar Minimum will continue to worsen and play havoc with crops and harvests. Inflation as well as fuel supply tightening are putting basic farming requirements like fertilizer out of reach. Got preps? Time to lay in a serious supply of long-season food stocks like grains and legumes to ride through the rough times coming.

“The key here is that, unlike all other commodities, food is the one essential that cannot be postponed.”

One other: energy. Not because of transportation, but because without it, in winter, people in Northern cities would die by the thousand.

I have a somewhat different view of what I will call the bugout issue. I own a 42 foot catamaran I have literally sailed on for three months without setting foot in a store. Before the trip I spent a couple of hundred dollars stocking up at Aldis on pasta, beans, canned goods, spices and the like. The boat has a big solar array and a bigger house battery bank that runs two fridges and a freezer along with the water maker. Over the three months I used less than five gallons of gas of the fifty gallons I carried along with 200 gallons of water stored in the tanks. Also have a solar oven I can bake bread in and two tanks of propane for the stove in the galley and went through about 1/3 of one tank during the trip. I did eat a lot of fish, lobster, and crab I harvested as well. In a pinch I could have gone after turtle, dolphin, and manatee if push came to shove.

The problem with the claim that the government could use force to get food from the red states to the blue cities is that the current supply chain if fragile at best and I doubt the military/LEOs could do a better job than what is happening now. Driving a semi trailer especially in a city and unloading it requires a minimum level of skill most of us don’t have under the best of circumstances. Fuel disruption and efforts to block roads/bridges/gas stations would be a real issue. Not to mention protecting the supply chain from hungry peeps in big cities.

Truth be told in probably two weeks fuel disruptions would leave all but the strongest stuck with no way to travel and any close by stores with bare shelves. Even if my boat was on a barrier island a few miles from shore I would feel safer than at any land based strong hole. Going to a more remote location fifty or a hundred miles from shore would be little more than a days sail. Not to mention zombies can’t swim.

I have been experimenting with intermittent fasting. I fast 4 days (12 meals) each week. Not a problem. Been doing it for months. Staying well-hydrated. Panic is another matter, as we see from the Wuhan Flu.

Voice_of_Reason | February 2, 2022 at 11:10 am

On the positive side, shortages in a market economy are rare, usually short, and often due to government interference in the market (like vax mandates or lab leaks). mankind likes to make money, and capitalism is the most efficient way to distribute and create money. This is why capitalist markets rarely have famines, unlike planned/communists countries.