About That Bug-Out Plan: A 'Retreat' Property Comes With Real Challenges

Editor's Note: The following is a guest post by Charles Hugh Smith with PeakProsperity.com.

A flurry of recent headlines has highlighted the financial elites’ interest in secure retreats (a.k.a. bug-out locations) should the trucks stop rolling. That those with the most money and access to expertise are preparing safe havens has moved the conversation about bug-out plans from the alt-media to the mainstream, however briefly.

The basic idea is to develop some measure of security in an increasingly insecure world, and pursue some measure of independence in an increasingly fragile system of global supply chains.

The intuitive solution to many, from the super-wealthy on down, is some version of a hideaway in the woods: a remote locale known only to the owner, where the owner can burrow safely away until the storm passes.

It turns out security and independence are tricky qualities, and surprising reversals are not just possible but likely: what appears to be secure at first glance might be highly insecure, and independence turns out to be highly relative.

The Remote Cabin in the Woods: The Perfect Target for Theft

The first problem with the remote cabin in the woods (RCITW) bug-out plan is that “remote” and “secret” are two different things. As I explained in my 2008 essay The Art of Survival, Taoism and the Warring States, the local residents have a much different view of what’s remote and secret than outsiders.

Simply put, if humans are settled anywhere nearby, nothing is remote or secret. I have come across guys on foot in extremely remote logging roads miles from any paved road, much less a settlement. I’ve been startled by hunters on family-owned wooded acreage far from neighbors or towns.

Throw in drones, Internet access to terrain photography that was once the domain of spy satellites, and humans’ healthy curiosity, and “remote” and “secret” just got even scarcer.

A local news story some years ago illustrated the point: some luckless outsider’s entire bug-out cabin was stolen: not the contents, the entire cabin.  The “owner” returned to a bare concrete slab.

“Remote and secret” means “easy to steal”: nobody around, plenty of time to take the whole darn thing.

I put quotation marks around “owner” because “owner,” “possessor” and “occupant” are different things.

Consider the broken window problem.  A kid tosses a rock through the window of an unoccupied house, and people notice the window doesn’t get fixed. So somebody has the bright idea of breaking in and looking around. Next, some unsavory characters discover the back door is open, and they start using the place as a crash pad and drug haven.  Now the property is occupied—by squatters.

“Squatter’s rights” have a long history, and the rights of possession could once be transformed into outright ownership back in the day. Evicting squatters can require quite a bit of legal work and money, and of course squatters being evicted tend not to be overly respectful of the house or its contents.

Lest you reckon this possibility is out of the question: a surprising number of abandoned homes in middle-class neighborhoods slide into becoming squatters’ druggie havens.

It turns out security is less a function of “remote and secret” and more a function of eyes on the street community and full-time occupancy.

About That “Rugged Individualism”…

There’s a whole other set of problems with the remote cabin in the woods (RCITW) bug-out plan: the owner of the RCITW is typically as dependent on the fragile supply chain as any urban dweller.

The proud “rugged individual” on the remote homestead may have his own well, a solar panel and a garden, but if we observe him closely we find he drives his hugely inefficient vehicle into town weekly to fuel up at the gas station, fill his propane tank, pick up his medications, cash his government/ institutional check (Social Security, SSI, pension, etc.), buy 98% of his food calories, get spare parts for his water pump, and so on.

This “rugged individual” is as dependent on the trucks rolling as any city dweller. He is dead in the water without abundant cheap fossil fuels, functioning supply chains for industrial-manufactured parts, constant delivery of cheap food calories, and money from the state or some financial institution.

If the homestead is remote, he’s actually more dependent than the city dweller, because he absolutely needs abundant, affordable, consistently available fuel for his private vehicle to get the essentials of life. The town dweller is just as dependent on the global supply chain, but at least he can walk to the store.

Does a remote rural location add to one’s independence from the global supply chain? Not necessarily. It can actually increase dependency and fragility by increasing consumption of fossil fuels (both to drive into town and also to transport goods to distant rural stores) and by positioning oneself at the most costly and least profitable end of already long supply chains.

The idea that Nature is bountiful is largely illusory. Most woods and untilled fields are food deserts to humans. A normal person can walk all day and find nothing remotely edible—and even foragers would be hard-pressed to locate 2,000 calories a day, day after day, week and after week, month after month.

As for growing one’s own food: it’s remarkably difficult to raise tons of calorie-dense food on a small plot of land.  The ground water might be deep, or taste bad; the soil might be depleted or rocky, and the weather might not cooperate at all times. One storm at the wrong moment can decimate a crop that’s been carefully tended for months.

It turns out “independence” is relative, and may well decrease the farther one gets from agriculture, energy sources and communities.

Dependence and independence are not just measured by reliance on global supply chains of food, energy and manufactured goods. Consider the “rugged individual” who keeps himself to himself, holed up in his hideaway. How likely are you to ask him for help? How likely are you to offer him some share of your bounty?

Or would you rather ask the friendly fellow who is out in his garden, who drops by to share some fresh produce or baked goods, a person you see at church or in town chatting with friends?

The productive relationship is the one with a productive person. Not only is the remote “rugged individual” unlikely to offer anyone help, he may have little in the way of resources to offer.

“Independence” of the completely self-sufficient sort is relative: most homesteaders still depend on the global supply chain for fossil fuels, manufactured parts, bulk food calories, and so on. Independence may be more properly defined as inter-dependence: the greater the reliance on local interdependent productive networks of makers/growers/doers, the greater the independence.

It isn’t just where the goods and services come from, and from how far away; the level of consumption is the critical factor. The lower the consumption of fossil fuels, manufactured goods and bulk food calories shipped from far away, the greater the relative independence. The household that only consumes a gallon of fuel a week (i.e. 35 miles driven in a compact car) is considerably less dependent than the household that consumes 30 gallons of fuel a week.

About Those Wealthy Islands Of Security…

The financial elites who reckon they can buy everything they want, including security and independence, might be in for some surprises.  Those private security details might be fine for dodging kidnappers, but how about dealing with dozens of hungry squatters?  How long will the jet fuel last if you’re flying in literally everything?  An island built on the promise of unlimited supply of distant goodies is actually an island of fragile dependence, an artificial construct built on shifting sand.

Also take into account that if things are so bad to merit escaping to a private retreat location, conditions may also be stressed there, too. Locals there may well view a rich outsider suddenly showing up as an interloper, one who's hoarding valuable local resources (food, water, tools, money, etc).

If times get even tougher, what's to prevent folks from deciding to target the only person in the area whom no one has any relationship with? Very little. 

Doing 'Retreat' Right

But all the above warnings notwithstanding, it is possible to develop a retreat that's far more sustainable (and likely more enjoyable) than the costly islands of financial elites.

In Part 2: Doing 'Retreat' Right, we lay out the core strategies of developing a retreat that takes into consideration the realities of security, fragility and dependence.

Community and regional resources are key to the selection process of a workable retreat location. Learning what to look for in each is essential to making the right decision for your needs.

Click here to read the report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

THESE TOP 10 Founding Fathers' quotes help us remember America's original vision

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Independence Day is one of the few days when Americans come together to celebrate our country and the continued vision that our Founding Fathers crafted in 1776. But what is that vision? It seems with every passing July 4th, Americans lose even more of a sense of what the original intent of our nation was supposed to be. It's becoming increasingly important to read the Founding Fathers in their own words and to remember the vision that they cast for our nation. Here are our TOP 10 favorite Founding Fathers' quotes to help us remember their original views of government, freedom, and the American vision.

"The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty." —James Madison

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"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

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"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light." —George Washington

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"The people are the only legitimate fountain of power." —James Madison

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"I agree with you that it is the duty of every good citizen to use all the opportunities, which occur to him, for preserving documents relating to the history of our country." —Thomas Jefferson

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“Human passions unbridled by morality and religion… would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.” —John Adams

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"Those who stand for nothing will fall for everything." —Alexander Hamilton

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“The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.” —James Madison

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"I fear that in every elected office, members will obtain an influence by noise, not by sense. By meanness, not greatness. By ignorance, not learning. By contracted hearts, not large souls. There must be decency and respect." —John Adams

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“We must go home to be happy, and our home is not in this world. Here we have nothing to do but our duty.” —John Jay

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We live in a dark time, so it is more important now than ever to make sure you are anchored to the truth.

Glenn was recently on the “Chicks on the Right” podcast for a follow-up interview after Amy Jo Clark and Miriam Weaver joined Glenn on his podcast back in March. The three dove into a lively discussion that touched on several things happening in Glenn's personal life, and Glenn delved into the importance of truth in our increasingly Orwellian society.

Glenn told the “Chicks” about his upcoming first novel for young adults, Chasing Embers, which is set in a dystopian world where the wildest WEF fantasies have come true and history has been completely rewritten. Glenn revealed that he was inspired to write the book while reading Karl Marx. He reflected on how Karl Marx was, and still is in many cases, considered this articulate revolutionary, but when compared to the words of the Founding Fathers, his articulation and arguments pale in comparison. He wanted to explore the idea, "What if Jefferson was the revolutionary again, not Marx?" Chasing Embers asks how we preserve the philosophies of the founders and the values of the Constitution so that our children have a chance to discover it if the world turns completely upside down.

Glenn also discussed how important it is to learn history, to anchor yourself in truth, God, and the Constitution, and our responsibility to preserve them in the face of the dystopian movement that is increasingly encroaching on Western civilization. Glenn described the country as "suicidal" and posited whether we can rein in a nation that is hurdling itself towards the brink. He said we can do our part to help, but unless the country decides it wants to live, it will die. We have to be prepared to endure such a scenario with our morals intact and the necessary knowledge to rebuild on hand.

Towards the end of the conversation, Glenn revealed some of the lessons he's learned in his decades on radio. He said that you have to know yourself--both the good and bad--be ready to defend your beliefs, and admit when you are wrong.

This is a podcast you won't want to miss. Click here to listen to the FULL discussion.

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

For the past four years, the mainstream media has been covering for Biden, claiming that he is "fit for duty," despite the strong evidence to the contrary. But after the whole world saw just how "fit" Biden truly is during last night's disastrous debate, the illusion was completely shattered, and the media is scrambling to save face.

Glenn pointed out in his post-debate reaction on his radio show this morning that the mainstream media is in a panic. Biden's performance was so catastrophic that it seems like the Democrats might have to jump ship and find a new candidate. Meanwhile, the question is what to do with Biden between now and the election. Glenn pointed out that as commander-in-chief, Biden has the sole ability to respond to a nuclear threat to America, yet he can hardly complete a sentence.

People from across the political spectrum are reeling from this absolute disaster, weighing in on just how bad it was and making suggestions on how to move forward. We highlighted 10 of these responses below:

1. The Democratic Party is panicking 

2. Undecided voters lean away from Biden

3. Chip Roy calls on Kamala Harris to invoke the 25th Amendment

4. The Democrats look for a replacement 

5. The White House is called out on lies about Biden's health

6. Politico calls out Biden's "uneven" performance 

7. Joy Reid and Obama's crew panic over Biden's display of feebleness 

8. BU historian calls Biden debate 'worst performance by a candidate'

9. Van Jones calls Biden's debate performance 'painful'

10. Biden looked exactly like how conservatives claimed he looks 

​YOU made Target​ choose between profit and 'progress'

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Have you seen Target's newest pride month collection? Don't worry, you don't have to break your hard-won boycott streak to satisfy your morbid curiosity. Glenn took a look during a recent radio show. If you remember last year's display, you might be expecting horrors such as tuck-friendly bathing suits, chest binders for girls, and apparel made by a transgender Satan apologist. Fortunately, that's not what Glenn found. Instead, the collection was very tame, with one item being a charcuterie board with the phrase, "It's giving charcuterie" printed on it. So what happened? Did Target have a come-to-Jesus moment over the last year?

You. You are what happened.

The Target boycotts did exactly what they were supposed to do, they punched Target right in the wallet. According to the New York Post, Target lost a whopping TEN BILLION dollars in just ten days. You stood up for what you believed and Target had no choice but to listen. And this year's pride collection is proof that they heard you loud and clear.

"The inmates are now in charge of the asylum."

Now, this doesn't represent some change in the ethos of the company, but rather a desperate step back to protect their financial interests. The problem Target is now facing is that they don't have a whole lot of room to step back, as they have spent years cultivating a left-wing, progressive culture that really wants Target to take two steps forward instead. As Glenn said, "The inmates are now in charge of the asylum." These progressive activists within their company that they have pandered to for years don't take being told "no" very well. So when Target rolled back its pride collection, the internal backlash was immense.

Glenn's team was given access to leaked internal messaging within Target's Slack channel. The messages show the outcry of Target employees after Target announced they would be reducing the pride collection. Based on their reactions you would think they had just witnessed a national tragedy unfold. Some employees questioned if they could still work for Target after what had happened (remember, Target is still a VERY progressive company), and other employees discussed submitting ethics complaints. About a month after the internal firestorm, Target employees sent the following list of demands to leadership so that Target could atone:

  • An acknowledgment in writing, of the harm Target caused to the LGBTQ+ community.
  • A sincere apology.
  • To partner with prominent LGBTQ advocacy groups.
  • To immediately reinstate the Pride collection in full.
  • To donate to LGBTQ causes.
  • To implement sensitivity training for employees.
  • To cease all contributions to politicians and organizations that do not support the LGBTQ community.

Target has made a mistake.

By cultivating such a radical progressive community, they have placed themselves in a precarious position. On one side, there's the progressive monster they cultivated, with its ever-growing, ever-changing list of demands. On the other side, there are people like you—people who just want to shop without having to walk by transgender children's underwear. The more Target gives to the woke monster, the more they alienate their customers. Now Target is trapped—if they give in further to the woke mob, they'll lose billions of dollars, but if they don't, they'll be attacked from the inside.

So let Target serve as an example to other companies. Customers have a voice too, and when you stand up and use it, a great many things can happen.