I was listening earlier today to an episode of Fresh Air in which Terry Gross is interviewing Evan Osnos, who wrote the New Yorker article "Doomsday Prep For the Super-Rich.
So you've got a bunch of Silicon Valley millionaires who are worried about the collapse of civilization as we know it. In response, they are building and investing in high-end bunkers and fortress-like retreats to which they can escape when Everything Falls Apart.
At one point in the interview (the episode and transcript are not yet available online as I write this), Osnos is describing how this crowd got to this point. He talks about how, for a lot of them, it was watching the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina that started them down the survivalist road. He says something along the lines of “They saw that the government could not help them, so they have to help themselves.” Onsos also describes how they look at civil unrest and income inequality and worry about the stability of our society.
My jaw literally dropped at the completely ahistorical nature of these statements.
For one thing, the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina sucked not because government is terrible at doing stuff, but because its ability to respond to disasters had been systematically undermined by the Bush Administration.
For another thing, if you as a multi-millionaire are worried about problems like climate change, pandemics, income inequality, and the stability of global power and communication systems, and your response is build yourself an underground bunker with a movie theater and cinema-display windows instead of trying to help solve those problems, you are a terrible human being.