There's a growing awareness of a sector of the citizenry who believes the country/world is about to go belly-up and be ready for the coming food riots and what-not. This involves things like canning tons of food and buying toilet paper in bulk, but it also involves things like arming oneself heavily and being ready to fight off home invasions by food rioters or whatever. I'm sure there are lots of grays in there, but when you prepare yourself in such a way for any catastrophic event, economically or otherwise, you have a pretty fucked-up worldview.
I don't consider myself a commie for saying that the "I got mine" mentality doesn't fit the American ideal of working together as a nation for the common good, and I believe, fundamentally, that most people will work together if faced with a disaster. The most recent example of this is that, right after the explosions at the Boston Marathon, the runners went right to the blood donation tents to help out. That's not a small thing. That's a small fraction of our country's population engaging in civic ideals that we invite all Americans to participate in.
But, back to the preppers, the reason why I've become aware of them is actually through my curiosity with low-tech/no-tech ways of doing things, like just today I was wondering if it would be possible to get a washing tub with a wringer attachment, like my paternal grandmother had (hers was electric, though, so extra fancy), and I found this YouTube video by LDS Prepper on the setup they made from a washtub, an agitating tool (The blue plunger-looking thing) and a wringer they purchased from an automotive shop. It looks like it would all work, but the video itself is kind of boring.
Watch this video at your own peril:
Preppers, in all their misguided attempts to prepare for cataclysmic events, are going to show the rest of us that we can live more simply and with less electricity by using more primitive power. I can get behind this - why do I ride a bicycle? It's people-powered and I'm independent of the gas and oil industry when I ride my bike. It's also pretty fun. My work with the 1870's Living History Farm showed me that it's a lot of people-energy, but cooking and cleaning without electricity is possible. So, we can take a lesson out of the playbook of the rapture-ready preppers in that living without electricity is not the end of the world. Oh, wait.