Conspiracy Theories and the Prepper: The Dangers of Misunderstandings

Prepping in and of itself is a rational reaction to potential threats, environmental and human propagated. For example, purchasing or creating emergency disaster kits to allow for fast evacuations in areas known to have wildfires is sensible and even encouraged by the local and federal governments.

Unfortunately, stereotypes and assumptions often plague the idea of what it is to be a survivalist or prepper. Many people believe preppers operate on the fringes of society when, in reality, most preppers are average citizens with a desire to keep themselves and their families safe.

While the average prepper takes their cues from an informed community, it is an unfortunate consequence of sensationalism that some turn to conspiracy to inform their ideas. Without logic and balanced information, an ill-informed prepper can contribute to the disaster they want to avoid. Survivalism and disaster preparation should not be motivated by conspiracy but by reality.

The Dangers of Conspiracy Theories

It is impossible to discuss conspiracy theories without discussing the current pandemic. The world is still in disarray, and political divisiveness and sensationalist outlets are feeding on the anxieties of real people by contorting facts to fit fallacy.

Preppers want to be prepared for disasters, but they do not wish to contribute to them. Most preppers are survivalists and have a deep respect and compassion for nature and humanity. Unfortunately, those who believe that vaccines are somehow poisoning people or that government agencies designed and distributed COVID-19 as some tool for population control only contribute to panic and distrust in vaccines, essentially prolonging the pandemic.

While the pandemic might still be a little raw and a somewhat touchy subject, there is another recent example of rogue theories promoting disaster or societal disruption. In May, the Colonial Pipeline was a victim of a ransomware attack. Despite the assurances of the company that gas and oil would remain available and that the system would be back to full operation by the end of the week, there was a rush on gas stations and fuel pumps, causing significant gas shortages across the east coast.

Buying into conspiracy is not prepping. Preparation is about analyzing real threats and planning accordingly.

Examples of Real Threats

The climate crisis is a legitimate threat. People in California and other wildfire zones can attest to the changes in frequency and severity of such disasters. In Jakarta, areas have sunk by over eight feet, and the sea levels have risen by more than ten feet.

Preppers looking into these threats will plan accordingly. In California, residents might focus on preparing evacuation packs. In Jakarta, the stakes are higher, and residents might consider moving inland. 

The point is, as a prepper, you want to look at the facts surrounding a situation, not speculation. It is necessary to find reliable news sources and not biased outlets — which is getting increasingly more difficult. If finding an entirely unbiased source is not possible, find options that lean more towards the center. Additionally, local and national news is not the only way to find information. Search scientific studies and legitimate peer-reviewed journals.

There is no denying the rise of media and biased reporting. All you can do is try and not become a victim to the overwhelming falsehoods on social media and television platforms. Remember that prepping is as much about protecting your family as it is about not contributing to the problem.

How do you feel about conspiracy theories and their effect on the prepping community? Leave a comment below to keep the conversation going.