The Meliorist’s Guide To Self-Sufficiency

Clearly euphoric from his recent gambling winnings, our Mr. White opines on why a meliorist (or, perhaps less accurately, an optimist) might “waste time and money” on preparedness and self-sufficiency.  

HT:  So, Mr. White, your particular brand of meliorism wouldn’t happen to have any association with the wing of the Italian Communist Party that goes by the same name?

HDW:  No politics.  Especially Italian politics.  Especially Italian communist politics.  Just plain Jane meliorism.  And just observational empirical meliorism a la Bryan Caplan.  It begins and ends with the observation that we live in a time of unprecedented material abundance, that we live in a time with low and declining crime rates, that the global war on poverty is being won (a la Hans Rosling) and that the world is a much safer place since the collapse of the Soviet Empire.

HT:  In your opinion, are these advancements the result of human development or, rather, good old-fashioned market capitalism?

HDW:  It is difficult to defend market capitalism if you don’t acknowledge #1 and #3, which is why Reason TV is so eager to remind us and liberal media is so eager to ignore or deny.

HT:  That our material abundance and progress in the war on poverty are evidence of the efficacy of market capitalism?

HDW:  Yes 1-3 are on track.  I don’t know that declining crime rates we observe are a free market outcome.  I suspect that there are many factors.  My favorite is that all the moral degenerate would be criminals are safely at home taking their antidepressants, looking at internet pornography and playing Grand Theft Auto.  Oh, and in prison.  There is no crime fighting strategy like arresting more and more people.  So you see, good things come even from the moral debasement of our society and the increasing power of the police state.  Everywhere I look, it is coming up roses.

HT:  So, with all of this foundation for optimism, why not simply live like the proverbial grasshopper, without a care in the world?  Can you explain your interest in self-sufficiency and preparedness? 

HDW:  I’m not saying it (continuing improvement) is something to count on.  It is no birthright or natural principle.  But as Joni Mitchell might sing, if you don’t pay attention, you might not know what you got till it’s gone.  It is the “gone” part that makes me interested in self-sufficiency. 

HT:  So, in the end, what prevents that from happening?

HDW:  Does it ever strike you, the deep and abiding love and trust that survivalists have for the benefits of a functioning state.  But they never say it out loud.  If my first thought was “Two weeks after a catastrophic collapse of the government people will be eating each other,” my second thought would be thank goodness for a functioning government.

HT:  I suppose it depends on the government.  But, more to the point, does it look as if you’re going to need to rely on all those preparations?

HDW:  Mr. Money Mustache headline of the day:  “You can’t cure obesity by buying bigger pants.”  Applies to lots of situations, No? 

HT:  Indeed.  Thanks for your input.


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