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A Primer For American Patriots And Preppers Facing An Uncertain Future

January 16, 2024

By Brandon Smith

This article contains excerpts from Alt-Market’s survival newsletter – The Wild Bunch Dispatch

The average patriot (or prepper) is usually a middle class conservative or libertarian with a tendency towards independent thinking and some experience with economic struggle in their past. Most of us have made something of ourselves from very little, or, we had parents that made something of themselves from very little and we watched as children while they climbed their way up the ladder through hard work and merit.

Our philosphy is based on experience and a willingness to look beyond the veil. Most of the western public is bombarded with endless messaging about how stable and safe and “prosperous” our society is. We are constantly slapped in the face with propaganda telling us that patriots are not only crazy, but also dangerous.  We are the bumbling bad guys in every film and TV show.  We’re the “extremists” that refuse to accept that the system works, and if we would just stop trying to be independent from the system, we will find safety and happiness.

We are told a lot of things that aren’t true, and this is really the first thing that sets the preparedness culture apart from everyone else – A healthy sense of skepticism when it comes to establishment claims and mainstream assumptions. We will NOT be sitting idle listening to the band play while the Titanic sinks. We understand, however, that there’s a considerable number of people out there that are content to do so…

There are numerous and unique motivations for people who delve into the patriot life and I think there’s a perception that it requires some kind of abnormal shift in routine or a complete upending of one’s existence.  If you become a patriot or prepper you have to live in a compound and wear army garb everyday and be suspicious of everyone.  It’s really a very simple addition to the daily grind, a hobby more than anything else.  No one is joining a cult; all we are doing is seeking self sufficiency wherever possible and taking a second look at the claims made by people in power.

Which behavior is more bizarre? Being prepared and aware? Or, being willfully ignorant and constantly vulnerable?

It’s also about realism, not pessimism. It’s not about living under a cloud of constant doom, only accepting that there are extreme problems in the world that may require extreme solutions. All I can say is, as I balance the good with the bad I find that I still remain an optimist. I believe free people have a chance to turn the tide and dismantle the cabal of influence that has created the instabilities we now face.

But, to do this requires something beyond a vague understanding of freedom and a will to live. To change the path of our civilization requires a significant level of dedication to something greater. We need a personal foundation, a mantra, a philosophy that adds structure to our efforts. In other words, preparedness is not only about you.  Survival is not the end game. Preparedness is just a means to an end, which is why patriotism is also essential – We prepare so that we can fight for a better future, a future some of us may not live to enjoy.

To this point, I will list what I believe are the top most important ideals for the modern patriot/prepper. These are the rules that I plan to follow in the chaotic world going forward, and I think that if a majority of those dedicated to liberty do the same we may just make it through the pyre with the majority of our humanity intact.

Rule 1: Prepare For Others, Not Just Yourself

In the midst of crisis there will come a time when you will have to help other people. You may not like other people, you may not trust other people, you might feel better crawling into a bunker and never dealing with another living soul until the breakdown has run its course. It doesn’t matter. If you have a conscience then you will be faced with the reality of need – Other people’s need.

Do they deserve what they get? Maybe some of them do, while others do not. Knowing which is which will be up to you. Having the means to aid the innocent is paramount. Trust me on this – You DO NOT want to find yourself in a situation where good people need your help and you are incapable because you failed to plan ahead. You do not want that weighing on your spirit.

Rule 2: Survival Alone Is Not Victory

If you are alive but the rest of the world is enslaved, then you have ultimately lost. “Winning” is not possible until the root enemy is erased from existence. If the oligarchy that sabotages us is able to use a collapse to gain power while avoiding consequences, then they have prevailed and no matter how well you think you can hide eventually they will find you too.

Do not think for a second that your life is worth more than the freedom of humanity as a whole. It’s not.

Rule 3: Fear Is Transitory, Regret Is Forever

Many people’s lives are ruled by fear. They are incessantly worried about what they could lose if they take action, if they deviate from the norm, if they upset the wrong people or rock the wrong boat. Human beings naturally seek acceptance and validation from their peers and from society. We want to belong to a tribe. We also want to remain comfortable and secure, avoiding struggle and conflict at all costs.

But there are worse things than struggle and pain and disapproval, such as regret. Knowing that we could have done something profound, yet we chose instead to sit on our ass and do nothing because standing up is scary. That kind of regret is a poison that eats most people alive, especially in old age when we are less physically able to intervene in the course of history.

Personally, I don’t really understand the fear of death, or the fear of confrontation or conflict, or the fear of facing adversity. I don’t get it. None of us is going to live forever, so we do what we can to make this life count. What I do fear, perhaps more than anything, is being useless when I’m called to make a difference. Do not let fear hold you back from what you know is right.

Rule 4: You Do Not Need To Become The Monster To Defeat The Monster

War is hell, that’s not in question. And make no mistake, we are in the middle of a war right now. But, ask yourself what you are fighting for in the first place. Is it a set of principles and beliefs, or is it simply to win no matter the cost?

On the other hand, there are also people with a tendency to use the “turn the other cheek” mantra to argue against taking any action in self defense. Sometimes they are afraid, sometimes they truly believe that principles must be held to the letter, even to the detriment of everything else.

It’s a razor thin line to walk between righteous non-violence and monstrous indifference. My position? When someone declares war on you, you fight back and put them down flat. Just make sure you don’t lose your soul in the process.

Rule 5: Be Invisible When You Must, Be Visible When You Must

Many preppers and patriots are obsessed with the concept of invisibility; the concept of the “Gray Man” and the tactic of blending in and going unnoticed. While this serves a purpose in some situations there are also advantages to being seen, to being visible.

There is an old story of a Roman General talking to a Roman Senator as they walk around the markets of the capitol. The Senator takes note that many of the slaves within Rome looked like regular citizens and lamented the fact that he could not tell them apart from everyone else. He suggested to the General that they force the slaves to wear armbands as identification.

The General spoke up, saying that the idea was a foolish one.

The Senator was shocked by the General’s opposition and asked why? The General explained – “The slave population is vast, but the slaves have no idea. As you say, they blend in with the citizens and the leadership. If we give them all armbands they will see how many of them there are. They will realize they greatly outnumber us and will be tempted to revolt. Better that they not know.”

There are times when visibility is more important that invisibility. There are times when invisibility is the path to defeat.

Rule 6: In Every Moment Of Chaos There Is A Moment Of Peace

Chaos is mostly a product of a mental reaction, a subconscious decision to panic instead of remaining calm and lucid. Chaos is created by people more than events; it’s how we process those events that makes them a disaster or a moment of triumph. That is to say, in every moment of chaos there is a moment of peace. The question is, can you restrain your impulse to panic and instead act with conscious and deliberate calm?

To be sure, preparedness has a lot to do with this. There is a common misconception about preppers that we are “always afraid and paranoid.” The reality is the opposite – We are rarely afraid or paranoid because we have trained ourselves to be ready for most dangers. The people that are afraid, the people who usually panic, are those that are unprepared.

Beyond this, though, is a deeper mindset that has embraced the inevitability of chaos. We know that the world is built upon a precarious house of cards and history shows us that this house of cards will inevitably fall. To assume otherwise is naive or insane.

Rule 7: What We Do Now Echos In Eternity

I can’t help but quote this piece of wisdom from Marcus Aurelius; I don’t think I could say it any better. Understand that the future is a summation of the actions we take today. Whether we are personally remembered or not is irrelevant; tomorrow is decided by what we do or don’t do. There is nothing that can stop this. We are the decision makers – Not the globalists, not governments, WE are the people who decide what the next era will look like.

There are moments in history, rare moments, when the confluence of events and crises rest at the point of a fulcrum. It is a nexus, a crossroads that will determine the course of civilization for centuries to come. There are people who will encounter this storm and do nothing more than sit back and drift along with the tides of fate. There are others who are battling for the chance to control the rudder of the ship, aiming humanity to either free shores or the depths of the abyss.

When all our lives are tallied in the great beyond we each may be faced with the terrible question: “What did you contribute?” As patriots and freedom fighters, I hope when that moment comes we will be able to say that we left nothing undone. That we conducted ourselves with honor. That we set the world right again.



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  • Rodster January 16, 2024 at 11:30 am

    Words of wisdom and I bookmarked this article for future reference and as a reminder that it is better to give than to receive. I came from little means and so did my parents who came to this country the right way. When things got hard for me, I always worked my way thru it. Not once did I take a penny from government for assistance.

  • Serge January 16, 2024 at 1:25 pm

    Another brillant post, Brandon!

    “A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.” John F. Kennedy.

    “In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience – the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men – each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient – they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul.” John F. Kennedy.

  • SSG Paul January 16, 2024 at 2:35 pm

    “The most terrifying force of death comes from the hands of Men who wanted to be left Alone. They try, so very hard, to mind their own business and provide for themselves and those they love. They resist every impulse to fight back, knowing the forced and permanent change of life that will come from it. They know that the moment they fight back, their lives as they have lived them, are over. The moment the Men who wanted to be left alone are forced to fight back, it is a form of suicide. They are literally killing off who they used to be. Which is why, when forced to take up violence, these Men who wanted to be left alone, fight with unholy vengeance against those who murdered their former lives. They fight with raw hate, and a drive that cannot be fathomed by those who are merely play-acting at politics and terror. TRUE TERROR will arrive at these people’s door, and they will cry, scream, and beg for mercy… but it will fall upon the deaf ears of the Men who just wanted to be left alone.”

    Can’t help but paste this again. As a combat wounded infantryman I know all to well the moment I pull the trigger this time everything changes. At least I will be fighting for my family my community and my state.
    God bless you all and thank you Brandon for the great writing all these years.

    • Michael Edwards January 18, 2024 at 7:51 pm

      I couldn’t have said it better myself!

    • George M. January 21, 2024 at 10:14 pm

      No Man Is An Island

      No man is an island,

      Entire of itself;

      Every man is a piece of the continent,

      A part of the main.

      If a clod be washed away by the sea,

      Europe is the less,

      As well as if a promontory were:

      As well as if a manor of thy friend’s

      Or of thine own were.

      Any man’s death diminishes me,

      Because I am involved in mankind.

      And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;

      It tolls for thee.

      -John Donne

  • Roundball Shaman January 16, 2024 at 2:54 pm

    “We are constantly slapped in the face with propaganda telling us that patriots are not only crazy, but also dangerous.”
    One of the first things a ‘patriot’ does is to know that State Media is nothing but a constant barrage of self-serving nonsense meant to harm We the People and to serve a dark agenda. So patriots simply do not listen to – and certainly do not believe – anything that the State-controlled Corporate Media says or does.
    It’s usually a good rule for living not to listen to liars.
    “There are numerous and unique motivations for people who delve into the patriot life…”.
    And these days, the greatest motivation for living the patriot life is to retain one’s own sanity. For should one decide to follow the dictates of Dark Siders through their subsidiary of State Media… you must surrender sanity and live within and among the insane. There are so many numerous examples of insanity now being peddled as being normal that it isn’t even necessary to enumerate them.
    “What We Do Now Echos In Eternity”
    Amen to this. And not only what we do today but ALWAYS. Each and every thought and action we take sends out a ripple affect throughout Universe that DOES NOT EVER END. Things affecting other things… now and forever. And knowing this, the consequences of making good choices is beyond critical.
    “That we set the world right again.”
    The most important thing each of us can do is to get our minds right. To not be discouraged. To not be led down paths that serve The Dark Side and harm our own interests. To not be a puppet or a sap or a useful idiot. To continue to believe in our own power and our ways to find a future worth living in. To not let dark and negative thinking into our minds and to be the captain of our own ship without looking for outside saviors or Strong Men with Big Egos to solve all our problems and make everything sweet and happy.
    We must not try to save the World. That’s just too big for any person. But it is our duty to save ourself. And if enough of us do that… the World just might come along for the ride.

  • Gauntlet33 January 16, 2024 at 3:18 pm

    “preparedness is not only about you. Survival is not the end game.” Exactly! What good is living just to live? I live so I can enjoy the next day, and I agree with you Brandon that preparedness / patriotism is really about hope for a better tomorrow, whether it be for ourselves, for our kids, etc.
    And as for your Rules 1-7, I couldn’t agree more! I for one stood up when the COVID mandates came down hard here in LA County and the surrounding counties. I went to work the very next day. I refused to wear a mask even though literally all of my coworkers were happy to put a diaper on their face. I even went to the grocery stores, bank, and post office without a mask — getting dirty looks from all angles of people. I even got into a shouting match at a Christmas tree store of all places with an employee who requested that we wear a mask.
    When my wife and I drove to the park with our kids and it was all taped off so kids wouldn’t play. Guess what I did…I ripped off that God-damned tape!! And when we travelled across the country in a rented RV, I ripped off the tape at those other parks too so kids there could know it was okay to play.
    I am proud to say that though many of the looks may have been from people who also wanted to defy and disobey the system, they didn’t. I took that risk knowing that some A-hole might yell at me, tackle me, or punch me in the back of the head because I knew it was important to send a message to others who were questioning the narrative.
    And sure, there were a few who didn’t wear a mask besides me in the first 3 months of the “pandemic”. But that number was literally at least here in LA County less than 1%.
    I stood up for freedom when the odds were against me, and I hope you all do too.

  • Black Cat January 17, 2024 at 5:11 am

    Well said

  • Canadian January 17, 2024 at 8:33 am

    I would amend rule 4 and the send l second-to-last sentence. One disadvantage the Right, conservatives, liberty movement etc has over the collectivist fascists is an excessive devotion to honor and playing by the rules. I think you touched on it in your “satanic display” editorial.

    Fundamentally, we need to understand that we can either fight fair, or fight to win, but we can’t do both. Our enemies are doing the latter and expect us to do the former. We fight to make the world better for our children, and that’s the most honorable deed of all.

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      Brandon Smith January 17, 2024 at 9:28 am

      I think there’s a difference between fighting to win, and becoming a monster. If you become a monster to win, then you have actually lost. Without a moral code, a movement is doomed to self destruction. That said, conservatives follow a lot of artificial rules that WILL NOT work in a war. The political left and globalists have declared war on western civilization and the constitution. They are no longer allowed to hide behind the constitution or the fair play of western values.

      • Canadian January 17, 2024 at 10:20 am

        A thousand percent this!

    • Jonathan N January 18, 2024 at 8:21 am

      In the Star Wars animated TV show The Clone Wars, this came up when Anakin Skywalker repeatedly thought that the Jedi weren’t doing everything they could to win and objected to their refusal to basically use the dark side of the Force when he knew they could. They depict him periodically using it in situations where the other Jedi couldn’t see what he was doing, and his obvious belief that what he did was necessary to win a particular battle or to get an enemy to talk or whatever. It’s quite interesting, showing that the Jedi didn’t want to basically become like the Sith in order to win, but to fight for the good – not just to win. Anakin didn’t understand this and eventually became Darth Vader as a result.

      • Canadian January 18, 2024 at 8:34 am

        A movie is not always a good allegory for real life. A better example is a street fight. In a street fight there are no rules for hitting below the belt, or kicking someone when they are down, or pulling out a hidden blade. If one fighter follows those “prizefighting” rules, he will die an honorable death because the other fighter won’t restrict himself and will fight to win.
        The corollary is open warfare, with one side trying to minimize civilian deaths, and the other side not giving a damn. All other things equal, the civilians will support the side that tries to protect them and improve the chances of victory.

  • Jake January 17, 2024 at 5:46 pm

    We really need to set the world right again ASAP

  • Brian January 18, 2024 at 7:38 am

    As always, you make some good points, Brandon.

    However, your last paragraph is very revealing. The world has NEVER been “right”…….and it is not my responsibility to make it so. My responsibility is to BE right……personally. “Right” is a relative term with different meanings and perceptions to different people. Your or my idea of right automatically puts us at “war” with others who don’t see it that way.

    That is why in the “hereafter,” God holds us responsible as individuals. He does not expect us to make right what only He can and will one day. He expects us to be right. Right…….according to His definition of it.

    I consider myself a prepper/Constitutionalist. There is little left about which to be patriotic. The “war” you speak of has existed since the beginning and will never be settled until Jesus comes. I will not live or operate under the motive that “things” will improve or get better. I live under the motivation to be right with God Almighty, and face whatever responsibility He gives me within the guidelines of what He has deemed to be right.

    We……nor our children…….nor their children……are not going to fix this world or save it. It is slated for destruction. Striving to do what cannot be done is not a noble or winning strategy.

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      Brandon Smith January 18, 2024 at 8:45 am

      Wrong. The world has been right, or better (more free, more reasonable, more peaceful) in the past. And yes, if you consider yourself a patriot, then it is your job to try to protect that or bring it back for the sake of future generations. Your nihilism is part of the reason why things have become so terrible in the first place. Stop trying to use God to hide from your responsibilities.

      • Kaleidoscoper January 18, 2024 at 9:38 am

        Brandon, I try to steer clear of the religious angle to all this, as i find common cause with them regularly. But thank you for calling this out. IMO, every time i see someone say that all we need to do is pray and then sit back, because I ME MINE is taken care of… it drives me nuts. its gross, and its not the god i would ever want to worship.

        we have a responsibility to make this world a better place.

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          Brandon Smith January 18, 2024 at 12:05 pm

          It’s a cowardly and tiresome deflection. I have no interest in ever associating with people who use God as their excuse to not better a situation.

          • Gauntlet33 January 23, 2024 at 1:56 pm

            I’m reminded of the first Spiderman movie when Peter Parker lets the thief take off (thinking, “Oh well, doesn’t affect me”), and that criminal ends up killing his uncle, who previously advised him, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” We can’t just sit by idly and let the world turn into a hellhole. Unfortunately, and I hate to judge, but if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re in every way part of the problem.

  • Celticbiker January 18, 2024 at 5:41 pm

    Wow, that was a punch in the heart, brother. Our ancestors put us here for a reason, we’re about to find out why.

  • Jon January 19, 2024 at 7:29 am

    Killing is difficult for honest Christians to digest, but all they need to do is refer to the bible and stories of David. After one battle, upon returning the people were singing a song about Saul killing thousands and David killing tens of thousands and how jealous Saul became. “After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do’” (Acts 13:22). God, it appears gave David permission to kill the enemies of God’s people. The key here I believe is to listen to God’s voice inside you with wisdom in everything you do and obey Him.

  • Bill January 19, 2024 at 7:55 am

    I am reading 2 Samuel now and came across that story about David and Saul recently. As a Christian, I would never kill another unless I, my loved ones or an innocent person were in imminent danger, and then only if I had the means to eliminate the threat. Turning the other cheek can be appropriate in certain situations, but in my mind it doesn’t apply in matters of life and death. As far as preparedness, I believe that we should prepare, hoping for the best, expecting the worst so to say; defending freedom and righteousness as long as we’re here on this Earth. However, as followers of Christ we know that He is ultimately in control and our eternal destination is not here, but with Him.

  • Nacho January 19, 2024 at 10:19 am

    This maybe a 50/50 solution for all, even for those who don’t believe in God, this article is by far one of the best summaries of the problems we face now, written by a retired Archbishop who understands the real big picture and the physical manifestations of the real spiritual problem.

    • Davy Crockett January 20, 2024 at 5:05 am

      Indeed a good summary by Carlo Maria Vigano. It sounds like he is protesting against the Papacy.
      Does this make him a protestant?

      Here is the current conundrum for Catholics:
      The Pope is infallible when he speaks ex cathedra. The Pope can change the holy traditions of the Catholic Church and even “abrogate the doctrines of Christ”.
      “It is spoken by the Pope” vs “It is Written”.
      “The word of the Pope” vs “The Word of God”.
      Catholics are eventually confronted by the corruption of “tradition”. Sola scriptura stands as strong as ever.

      It is time for devout Catholics – and Protestants – to read Daniel 2, Daniel 7, Revelation 13 and Revelation 17 & 18. The Papacy is indeed the Little Horn and the Whore that rides the [UN] Beast. “Protestant” churches are also not following the Bible – they are harlots. Mystery Babylon consists of these harlots, following the ecumenism of the Mother of Harlots. There is indeed a “great falling away”.
      “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues”.

  • Hadaqar January 20, 2024 at 9:23 am

    This has been an interesting read. Each point you have made requires pause and consideration.
    And prayerfully ask: where am I regarding this Rule?

    I especially appreciate #4. For me, it is essential to remember that standing up for what is good and right means I cannot utilize Evil to accomplish it. I do not believe God will honor that – the result would not stand.
    I remember the Founding Generation utilized different methods than the European convention – at least at the beginning. We may need to think along the same lines.

    I can affirm that forward preparation frees the mind and the emotions to be able to focus on the situation at hand because the “personal survival essentails” have been covered. Peace in the middle of chaos.

  • Cato the Uncensored January 21, 2024 at 5:15 am

    “We will NOT be sitting idle listening to the band play while the Titanic sinks.”

    The problem won’t be those content to stay on the sinking ship. It will be the Sunshine Patriots, as Thomas Paine termed it, who look back from our cold lifeboats in the dark and try to convince us that it is time to go back to the warm, brightly lit ship that seems to still be floating. They will appear to our more vulnerable dependents to be the voice of reason, and will surely test our resolve.

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      Brandon Smith January 21, 2024 at 12:52 pm

      I’m pretty sure NO ONE wanted to go back to the Titanic once it started to sink, so I don’t think that would be a problem. Perhaps the bigger problem will be the people who assume the lifeboat is all there is, and want to stay on it forever…

  • Serge January 23, 2024 at 7:08 am

    It reminds me of the 2007-2008 financial crisis and the film “Margin Call”(2011):

    Remember, last year: the collapse of certain US regional banks and Credit Suisse..
    The coming months are likely to be very, very painful financially for the Western middle classes; but not only!

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