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L Tecolote

After you Land Barons settle the sundering of the national real estate, you can decide how many of the populace (and just whom) get to live and/or die. I suspect most of us will have to be content with more localized choices: do I help this starving so-and-so survive, or do I blow him away, the longer for my family to subsist? Do we join this bunch to help them hold off the Zombie hordes, or do we get out while the getting is still good? Of such local and individual choices will the remaining nation be made.

Thus the question of specializing vs. generalizing. I tend to agree with Heinlein’s dictum: “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” Not that I’m so versatile, nor so across-the-board competent. Few are. But the wider range of tasks any of us is able to handle, the likelier we are to (a) avoid trouble, and (b) provide for our needs, both of which increase the likelihood of survival.

Most of us having grown up, and lived in the modern world, have developed specialties, only some of which will be exactly what a society in collapse will still pay for enough to live on. To the extent that your main trade will still be in demand, Bully! But don’t count on it. Doctors are more likely to be rewarded than day-traders, mechanics more than lawyers. But we all carry the genes of people who worked and lived in the older ways we expect to need. If they could do it, we could learn to do so, as well.

Miz Auxsona, I’m trying to tie this back to your original theme, and I can appreciate how being part of a coherent group, religious, ethnic, or cultural, can give you the sense that you’re not alone, that you have natural allies. Tolik seems to agree, as well. I’d be interested to learn if/how your positivity goes beyond the sense that you’re part of an ancient tradition.

Cry, "Treason!"