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!
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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