Flimsy Sanity: How to survive the coming economic collapse

Flimsy Sanity

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Friday, October 26, 2007

How to survive the coming economic collapse


This is a really amusing book written by a young girl living with her divorced father in the 70's. Some of it is not so legal (fishing methods) or not so conventional (rabbits and chickens in the basement) but lots is good advice if your money doesn't stretch far enough or if things crash. Here is her take on education:

We read a lot and I pursue my studies. I quit school in seventh grade and now feel this compulsion to be constantly "improving my mind" (if any). How did it happen I quit school in seventh grade? Daddy thinks compulsory education is a fraud--nothing but glorified babysitting--and I hated it, so he simply told the principal we were moving to California, and I never went back. At the time, I thought the principal would find out and send the Gestapo to come at night and take Daddy out back and shoot a bullet through his head, but it never did happen. Mom didn't really approve of this, same as she didn't approve of other of Daddy's ways. She used to say that some day the truant officer, IRS auditors, the game warden, and revenooers would all show up at once.

Not having to go to school, I had time to actually learn something interesting and useful such as how to make moonshine, how to buy a house at a sheriff sale, how to make money in business, how to repair a house, and even how to read and write--these last two being more than you can say for 14.29% of the 1976 high school seniors of the Philadelphia, public school system. What would I have learned if I had stayed in school? Exactly what the slowest member of the class would have learned, because that's how they teach. And the subjects! Social studies, forsooth! And new math, where you learn all about "sets" and graduate not knowing how to balance a checkbook. And home economics, where they teach you to be as uneconomical as possible--Betty Crocker propaganda. We take a do-it-yourself approach to education same as any other subject. If we want to learn something, we go to the library, get a book on the subject, and study it. Or we ask questions of someone who really knows the subject, which leaves out most professional teachers.

Update Sept. 30, 2008: Also check out this link to a comparison between the Russian collapse and our own for some interesting tips on surviving.


  • At 6:27 AM, Anonymous CV Rick said…

    Brilliant! It encapsulates all my own complaints about the Prussian Educational Model.

  • At 12:41 PM, Anonymous RJ Adams said…

    Years ago, back in Britain, I bred rabbits for meat and can heartily endorse Dolly Freed's comments. During WW2, and afterwards, many families in the UK bred rabbits for eating. With food rationing, protein was in short supply and the government encouraged 'home-grown meat', and allotted strips of waste land for householders to grow extra vegetables. These areas of land became known as 'allotments', and are still used for the purpose to this day.

  • At 2:49 PM, Blogger Flimsy Sanity said…

    CV: I just wanted to give a little sample of her writing and your ability to think for herself.

    RJ: It really doesn't make any sense to eat beef when rabbits and chickens reach maturity and reproduce much faster. I liked the book a lot and thought othes might also.

  • At 2:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I read that book from cover to cover and chuckled throughout. I think her pungent personality was fortunate to escape the forced homogeny of formal education, but i also found myself sort of wishing that she had had more resources to develop what was obviously a thirsty mind. Imagine what she could have done in the field of applied physics, for example...


  • At 5:47 AM, Blogger Flimsy Sanity said…

    Anan: I really think that if she were interested in physics, she probably would have pursued it - but she makes no bones about being lazy.

  • At 5:49 AM, Anonymous Jean-Marie said…

    Thank for introducing me to Dolly Freed’s book!

    Although I’m knew to your blog and must confess I haven’t read Dolly’s book, I happen to be one of those 70’s schoolboys who still does remember the pain of having to abandon arithmetic for “… new math, where you learn all about “sets” and graduate not knowing how to balance a checkbook”.

  • At 7:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I read or heard or saw a program once about how this couple educated their sons and it struck me as true. Whenever their boys would show an interest in anything, they would run to the library and check out books on that subject for their kids. One week it might be astronomy, another week sailing, whatever. They basically let the kids educate themselves. Later the boys were high achievers at Yale or Harvard or some Ivy League school.

    How easy would it be in this day and age of computers when they wouldn't even need to go to the library at the searching stage. If I had kids and if they were smart, I would let them find their own bliss. When they found their calling, I would buy them all the books I could find on the subject. As far as discipline goes, what is more intense than self-discipline and how do you learn that by following orders. School is more to make soldiers and factory workers than it is to make creative people. No wonder mothers cry when they first send their children off to school.


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