The Myth of Preparation : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

On of the most persistent myths about the Y2K debate is how the Y2K optimists were dead set against "preparations." I wrote a number of posts about moderate preparation. Flint openly admitted to s degree of Y2K preps. In fact, many of the Y2K optimists had at least the Red Cross minimum... mostly as a result of a particular lifestyle rather than Y2K fears.

The real debate was over the extent of preparations. I questioned the utility of "extreme" preps. For example, did it really make sense to fortify one's home? Under what circumstances would 10,000 rounds of 00 buckshot be useful? (This was the impetus for my post, "Raiding your local Y2K survivalist.") I had a tough time understanding the "logic" of someone like Bruce Beach and his buried school buses.

This does not mean the Y2K optimists were "anti-preps." On the contrary, most of the optimists had free market leanings. We may have thought multiple generators in the back yard were silly, but no one picketed the local Costco. In fact, I have no evidence any Y2K optimists ever interfered with anyone's economic right to buy Y2K preparations.

This is not story told by the few remaining Y2K pessimists. They describe the Y2K debate divided into two camps. The "GIs" (love that acronym) were simply prudent by buying toilet paper by the pallet. The "DGI" grasshoppers were against any preparation including having cupboards in the kitchen.


By real world standards, the optimists in the online Y2K debate were veritable doomers. We were actually thinking about the problem. This was markedly different than the vast majority of Americans (and most of the Y2K pessimists). (laughter) I still support the same modest "preps" I recommended a year ago. It just makes sense to plan for minor disruptions. It also makes sense to consider the realities of the modern world when making preps. We are not going to take a one-way trip back to the 11th century any time soon. If we do, a basement full of rice will not help you... at least not for very long.

-- Ken Decker (, April 12, 2000


Perhaps there are plans afoot to get even with about 10,000 deer?

-- TiltingAt (, April 12, 2000.


I think you miss the point badly when you say "The real debate was over the extent of preparations."

I think the basic argument wasn't really focused on determining the optimum level and type of preparation. It was focused on proselytizing. The idea was, posts that failed to reflect the properly intense level of concern might *discourage* people from preparation.

I know I was criticized a lot for "preparing myself, but telling others not to." Whenever I challenged anyone to find any post where I'd advised or recommended against preparations, the response (cleaned up a great deal here, you understand) was that the the general tenor of the views I expressed failed to reflect the urgency required to get people moving to save themselves. I was contributing to the problem by NOT being an obvious missionary for the solution.

As you quite correctly point out, very few among the population at large took y2k very seriously. Most had heard about it, and had some idea what it was ("some computer problem, isn't it?"), but it was having no visible effect on their lives, so they ignored it. And by so doing, they carelessly placed themselves in GREAT DANGER! The key point was that y2k would collapse on their heads ALL AT ONCE, without any forewarning, and then it would be far too late to recover.

And it was these people who desperately needed to be reached, informed, educated, *terrified* into taking the required direct action. The appropriate extent or type of preparation was peripheral, beyond the necessity that people be aware, realize what's about to happen to them, gird themselves mentally as well as physically.

Accomplishing this, given the vast inertia of public ignorance, required great zeal, unswerving enthusiastic devotion. This was a WAR EFFORT, dammit, and nothing short of simplifying the issue into one of pure good and evil could do the job. Under such circumstances, where you're going and why you're going there are entirely secondary to the necessity to GET MOVING! The important question wasn't whether the optimists were correct, it was that optimists were impeding the effort. Middle grounders were impeding the effort. Second thoughts impeded the effort. And time was running out!

-- Flint (, April 12, 2000.

Zowie! Almost sounds like a clip from "Barbarella" where Jane was talking about the intergalactic evildoers in twelve part harmony and the Dude kept saying "I mean WAR"...

Long Live "Our Man Flint"

-- GettinNasty (, April 12, 2000.

Point taken, Flint. "Real debate" was a gross overstatment. I should have said, "one aspect" of the debate. Your analysis of the dynamics is sound. My focus was more on how the pessimists tried to reframe the "preps" issue in a way to make the Y2K optimists seem idiotic.

-- Ken Decker (, April 12, 2000.


Yeah, I know. But remember I prepared quite extensively, and said so often, and spoke in favor of preparation whenever I mentioned it, and I STILL got called an idiot for telling people not to prepare. And newcomers who hadn't yet seen me discuss my preparations blasted me for not preparing!

And quite a few times, I made the point that unless we got a good handle on what sorts of problems we might face, we couldn't know what sort of preparation was appropriate and might waste time and money barking up the wrong tree. But no dice -- it never seemed that either extent or focus of preparation was an issue at all, not even an aspect of an issue. I even had a debate with someone who seemed to feel that buying an extra sixpack was sufficient, provided you drank it on 1/1 rather than 12/31! It was the *fact* of preparation, not the extent. Preparation was like a merit badge. It meant you "got it". Whether it would do you much good, or in what circumstances, was an afterthought.

But certainly preparation was an aspect of club membership. Not the only aspect, and not as important as preaching the gospel, but still important.

-- Flint (, April 12, 2000.

Mr. Flint-- You do have a way with words. It has taken me months to decompress and a moment ago I was back in mid-Dec 1999 frantically trying to get it all done before time ran out. Wasn't it just a trip? I hadn't been so energized about anything since the '60's.

-- Pam (, April 12, 2000.

A trip is right!. Flint you got it right, and I'm suffering for my foolishness. Yuck, too much rice and beans.

Do you remember the book Ender's Game which Yourdon was fond of. In the book a brother and sister excel at convincing arguments on the internet and sway a bunch of people to their way of thinking. Bingo!

-- gilda (, April 12, 2000.


I considered the sequel, "Speaker for the Dead", to be quite a bit superior. Unfortunately, IMO the two following that one went downhill rapidly, and seemed to be written more to fulfill a contract than for the reader's enlightenment. But Card can write beautifully when he wants to.

In any case, Peter and Valentine played relatively minor roles in Ender's Game.

-- Flint (, April 12, 2000.

gilda, your local food bank would love to have your spare food. I think you can get a receipt for a tax deduction, if you need one. Our food bank gives out hundreds of pounds of rice and beans every month.

-- helen (, April 12, 2000.

LOL! Pam, your own way with words is not bad either! I too relived 1999 in a flash reading Flint's account. Flint, hate to add yet another praise on you (might overdose on it ;-) ) but your astuteness is uncanny.

Ken you said, " Your analysis of the dynamics is sound." Not trying to bring our discussion we have on another thread in here, but I'm pointing this out to you here so that you can explain to me there, why you view Flint's take as an analysis, as opposed to an opinion.

-- Chris (!@#$, April 12, 2000.

Been there- done that. Helen, I've mentioned on other posts how much food I've given to the Mission Kitchen, and glad to be rid of it. And I'm still taking stuff to Shepherd's Mission. At least this has been a good thing for missions and food banks. They need the food, and we can use the deduction. They gave me a receipt. But I still have lots left, and I feel obligated to use a certain amount of it. The dogs love the Spam.

-- gilda (, April 13, 2000.

good one, gilda. Our herd of cats will be enjoying tuna for a long time to come. By September, we should be down to 200 cans at the present rate.

-- Flint (, April 13, 2000.

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