June 28, 2017

The Answer to “Prepper’s are Selfish”

Every now and then, I see a story about someone who said prepper’s are selfish. Granted, these comments are often made by non-prepper’s, during a time when they might be regretting not being prepared. If you ever encounter such a person, here are some things to keep in mind.


Words and their meaning are important! Here are two definitions of the word “selfish”.

1. Devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

2. Characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself.

I can’t recall ever hearing another Prepper say that they were preparing for themselves exclusively. We say, “I am preparing for myself and my family”. By definition, we are looking out for others’ welfare and interests. “Everyone takes care of their family.” Uh, no! No, they don’t. I have some incredibly selfish people in my extended family who take advantage of family members at every turn and contribute absolutely nothing to society, let alone family.

According to the definition, if you are concerned with anyone else’s well-being, you are not selfish!

Acting in Self-interest

There is also a difference between being selfish and acting in one’s self interest. There is nothing wrong with acting in your own self-interest. It’s human nature! It’s when we act in our self-interest to the exclusion of everyone else, that we are selfish, and this is, indeed, a problem!

Every time you board a plane, you’re told that if you’re with a child and the masks fall, to put yours on first. This ensures that you have oxygen and will enable you to assist the child. If you and a friend are on a road trip, and a deer jumps in front of you, causing you to roll your vehicle and your friend to lose consciousness, you must first extricate yourself before assisting your friend. Neither of these makes you selfish! They are prudent decisions!

Acting in self-interest is not bad on a corporate level either! Companies stay in business and are able to employ people by turning a profit. Even a non-profit company needs to make enough money to pay their employees! If their costs go up, so do yours! Where I think corporations go too far, is when they cover up something detrimental because they would lose money if it came to light.

Selfishness in an Emergency

Almost every year we see either hurricanes or blizzards, followed by stories of people getting into fights over a can of beans or a case of water. In an emergency, prepping is the antithesis of selfishness for a couple different reasons; the main one is that because we made the decision to get prepared, and buy our preparations when the stock at stores was plentiful, we are not a drain on the system when the stocks are low! Secondly, when we are assured our families self-interests are met, many of us will venture out to help our neighbors, whether by providing a hot meal or lending some muscle and time to clean up!

Final Thoughts

Like every subset of people, we prepper’s have some selfish people in our ranks. The next time you hear someone say that people who prepare are selfish, ask them this: if the worst weather event (for your area; hurricane, blizzard, ice storm) in 50 years was scheduled to hit in two days, who is more selfish:

The person who runs out to the store at the last minute and buys the last loaf of bread on the shelf, when another family could also need it, or the person who spent their money months ago making sure their needs were met in case a storm like this ever happened?

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  1. Brandi Monahan says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I have a question, that you may’ve already answered but I cna’t find. I was curious as a Christian, how do we reconcile with the parts of Scripture that say not to worry, and to look at how the birds don’t prepare and yet always have food? I have been struggling with this and whether I’m doing something against God or not. Thank you for your input!

  2. I agree 100%. We are, or should be, the group of people that are the least drain on society. We have water, and water filters, so we don’t need them provided to us. We have MRE’s, freeze dried food, canned goods, etc, so we don’t need them provided to us. We also have shelter, medicine, protection, and a lot have ample power, so we don’t need them provided to us. The greatest thing we have is the willingness to help out family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers (cautiously!), in times of trouble and before, to get ready.

  3. The main thing preppers are not selfish about, and IMO the most important item is sharing information. The more we know and learn the better prepared we will be. You can have 10 years worth of food, gadgets and ammo stored. None of that will teach you how to be self reliant nor how to survive when it’s all gone.

  4. One of my greatest concerns is the most appropriate response towards families with children who haven’t prepared. I don’t see how I can help them without bringing about the destruction of my own family. If anybody has an answer I would be eternally grateful.

    • Bob, if me and my family showed up at your doorstep today, refused to get a job, refused to pull our share of the load, would you feed us and provide shelter. Not hardly, then why do you even consider helping someone including their family that has had years upon years of warning and refused to prep. Your conscience will always bother you, it bothers all of us, but a bad conscience is better than an empty stomach.

  5. 1. What do u or we know about the person saying that preppers are selfish? Does that person(s) have an entitlement mentality? Some entitlement people seem to think that if u have something that they don’t, u’re supposedly obligated to give half of what u have to them, but the reverse is never true. Is anything keeping that person from prepping for him or herself?

    2. Is the selfish-comment being made out of envy? In most countries, anyone is free to begin prepping for himself & his/her loved ones. I’d tell that person that s/he can do the exact same thing for himself.

    3. My work includes caring for & training people. My health issues have gradually taught me that in order for help others, I have to first take care of my health, & that is NOT selfish. Even Jesus went off by himself to pray & spend time w/ his Father.

  6. When they don’t need anything, they think you are crazy for preparing … then when they need something, you are selfish for having it and unable to share it … so instead of getting mad at themselves for not being prepared … they get mad at you … I think it’s human nature.

  7. If I can save myself first, I can save others afterward.

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