Around the same time that Huffman, on Reddit, was watching the advance of the financial crisis, Justin Kan heard the first inklings of survivalism among his peers. S., logistics, and weather forecasting,” he said, “and those systems are generally dependent on the Internet, and the Internet is dependent on D. ’ Or invert it: ‘What’s the chance that nothing breaks in fifty years?
“Some of my friends were, like, ‘The breakdown of society is imminent. We would have been dead if there was actually a real problem.” I asked Kan what his prepping friends had in common. “What are the other things I can worry about and prepare for? They consider it a remote event, but one with a very severe downside, so, given how much money they have, spending a fraction of their net worth to hedge against this . It’s hard to know exactly; a lot of people don’t like to talk about it. Hoffman said, “Saying you’re ‘buying a house in New Zealand’ is kind of a wink, wink, say no more. “I would guess fifty-plus per cent,” he said, “but that’s parallel with the decision to buy a vacation home. Max Levchin, a founder of Pay Pal and of Affirm, a lending startup, told me, “It’s one of the few things about Silicon Valley that I actively dislike—the sense that we are superior giants who move the needle and, even if it’s our own failure, must be spared.”To Levchin, prepping for survival is a moral miscalculation; he prefers to “shut down party conversations” on the topic.
It’s like insurance.”Yishan Wong, an early Facebook employee, was the C. (“Anonymity is priceless,” one hedge-fund manager told me, declining an interview.) Sometimes the topic emerges in unexpected ways. Once you’ve done the Masonic handshake, they’ll be, like, ‘Oh, you know, I have a broker who sells old ICBM silos, and they’re nuclear-hardened, and they kind of look like they would be interesting to live in.’ ”I asked Hoffman to estimate what share of fellow Silicon Valley billionaires have acquired some level of “apocalypse insurance,” in the form of a hideaway in the U. Human motivation is complex, and I think people can say, ‘I now have a safety blanket for this thing that scares me.’ ” The fears vary, but many worry that, as artificial intelligence takes away a growing share of jobs, there will be a backlash against Silicon Valley, America’s second-highest concentration of wealth. “I typically ask people, ‘So you’re worried about the pitchforks.
That scene happened to be filmed near my high school.
Every time I drove through that stretch of road, I would think, I need to own a motorcycle because everybody else is screwed.”Huffman has been a frequent attendee at Burning Man, the annual, clothing-optional festival in the Nevada desert, where artists mingle with moguls.
Prettier but pricier than the 2-liter soda bottles.
Read more about this food storage strategy on Melissa Knorris, learn how to seal jars without electricity on Tenth Acre Farm, and get basic tips for making your bulk storage last as long as possible from Outdoor Life.Tim Chang, the venture capitalist who keeps his bags packed, told me, “My current state of mind is oscillating between optimism and sheer terror.”In recent years, survivalism has been edging deeper into mainstream culture. Online, the prepper discussions run from folksy (“A Mom’s Guide to Preparing for Civil Unrest”) to grim (“How to Eat a Pine Tree to Survive”).In 2012, National Geographic Channel launched “Doomsday Preppers,” a reality show featuring a series of Americans bracing for what they called S. The reëlection of Barack Obama was a boon for the prepping industry.An armed guard stands at the entrance of the Survival Condo Project, a former missile silo north of Wichita, Kansas, that has been converted into luxury apartments for people worried about the crackup of civilization. He underwent the procedure not for the sake of convenience or appearance but, rather, for a reason he doesn’t usually talk much about: he hopes that it will improve his odds of surviving a disaster, whether natural or man-made.Huffman, the thirty-three-year-old co-founder and C. “If the world ends—and not even if the world ends, but if we have trouble—getting contacts or glasses is going to be a huge pain in the ass,” he told me recently. I figure that, with that, I can hole up in my house for some amount of time.”Survivalism, the practice of preparing for a crackup of civilization, tends to evoke a certain picture: the woodsman in the tinfoil hat, the hysteric with the hoard of beans, the religious doomsayer.“I think people who are particularly attuned to the levers by which society actually works understand that we are skating on really thin cultural ice right now.”In private Facebook groups, wealthy survivalists swap tips on gas masks, bunkers, and locations safe from the effects of climate change.