In all aspects of life we learn best by trial and error. As babies we try something and it hurts or we get scolded and we learn what we can do and what we can’t. As we get older these errors usually work out more painful or, as more usual, financially disadvantageous.
In prepping however we don’t always have the capability of fully testing our preps and so this leaves us with an element of doubt, or it should if you have any sense. So, to get around this we discuss our plans and theories with others and get their opinions. The rub however with this is that most people don’t have any real experience either, it is mainly all theory mixed with opinion and even worse is tempered for their own particular requirements so it may be OK for them but totally unsuitable for you. So first option is to test your theories in real life we do so. Nothing ever beats a real test. In my working life I’ve seen highly experienced professionals make fundamental mistakes on paper and when tested it is the stupid, trivial things that trip people up.
So as we are unable to perform a real test we must use a reasonableness test.
A reasonableness test is where you actually consider the theory in a cold calculating way. Is it sensible, does it actually hold for more than a cursory look. Think about how life works and then ask is this a good way to resolve the issue? It works for most things and isn’t limited to just prepping. We use it automatically normally but some things, especially where we have little experience, we don’t even try and it is a pity because it would save a lot of issues later on.
So let’s take an example of something that we cannot really test until it actually happens. The idea that someone can be begging for food for his family and will accept charity from yourself and move on to a different location without bothering you again. Many preppers advocate keeping food specifically for that on the basis that it is better to help someone than to not.
Does that make sense to you? Someone will be starving, be given some food from your stores and then move on. It does to many preppers, particularly women who believe that is so. I could very well be but in my simple view I look at examples in the real world.
We provide money to people who are not working. Those people get enough to live on but not enough to have a really good life yet they continue to have kids they can’t feed because they pull at our heartstrings and we provide funds to feed them. By providing funds for these poor kids we have increased the requirement for funds beyond what it was last year. They want more year after year. What a crap life they have though. They come to expect this to be given to them and we are in the state when many won’t help themselves they just have their hands out. There are many stories about men with two or three women and over a dozen kids. They are not moving on, they are leeches fastened tight to their food source.
I also put myself in that persons shoes. I would love to move on but I have been trying people who have nothing to spare. I’ve now come across someone who has some to spare. I’ll keep it to myself because I don’t want to lose that resource by letting other people know but I won’t move too far. Now, when I need food I may send around one of the kids instead to get that extra tearing of the heart-string but I will try. If they come back with nothing I will consider more drastic action, after all they must have plenty if they were giving some away. If the place is well defended I may even involve third parties to help but I won’t move on on the chance someone else is as generous. That meal I was given won’t last too long and our strength will go whilst we make the journey. If I was on my own maybe I could make it but with a family? No chance.
Another good point is the reaction of people when they feel like the law is not going to step in and do anything, the riots of a few years ago. People who didn’t even want anything wrecked property and stole items from shops. They knew Plod was not going to stop them so they felt untouchable. How will they feel when Plod is not around and it looks like he won’t be back?
So here I am now planning an assault on someone who has shown kindness to me and helped me. Knowing that it is him or me I am looking at taking something now. Their helping me once isn’t enough for me, I need more to enable my family to live.
So I can see that the theory does not make any sense to me, it is not reasonable. It may do if I was alone, where I may be able to trade labour for a meal for myself but not for a family.
In my view then this theory does not pass the reasonableness test.
So do this where you can, breal the problem down into parts and see if you can find similar issues that you can see how people reacted. Base your observations on real life as much as you can and not some keyboard jockey with no experience but a very strong opinion that makes it sound like he knows what he is talking about.