Preface to Prepare! by Steve Gosney
The concept of the book sprung from my contemplations on whether I am a Constitutional “originalist.” A pure originalist believes that the only way to interpret the Constitution is through their originalist perspective. After wrestling with this idea, I decided that I believe that originalism is a necessary starting point for Constitutional analysis, but not a sufficient interpretive lens. But during this intellectual struggle, I imagined the arguments about enumerated and unenumerated rights. But it dawned on me that this framework was insufficient to defend individual freedom. As I thought about the idea, I thought about how the rights-based framework was a path to tyranny and sought to imagine a new concept that would protect individual freedom. Writing down and discussing these ideas, even if incomplete, allowed further development of the concept. Once outside the brain, ideas can be built on. Eventually, my visualization coalesced into the Maslow pyramid travelling across the bell curve of life (which you will read about in the pages to come).
Free speech is the freedom to think. I talk and discuss my ideas all the time with my friends, co-workers, and family. This helps in sorting through thoughts and making them snappier and clearer. When I told my son about my latest creative insight (Part I), he said (and I shall never forget this wonderful moment), “Dad, that is the best idea you have ever had.” Boy! With that kind of praise, how can I NOT write this book! Love you, son!
The pyramid over time idea reminded me of some prepper articles I had written on several years ago. These first writings were an attempt to win prize money from James Wesley, Rawles’ Survivalblog writing content. While I did win a few Amazon gift cards, I was never able to hit the big money. I expect that this was mostly because his blog at that time focused on practical techniques for rural survival rather than a more philosophical approach that my articles reflected. During this time, I was honored by Mr. Rawles to help him edit his book “Expatriots.” Look me up in the acknowledgements! I am Steve G. from Florida. But so many prepper writings are on basic human needs – the bottom two layers of the Maslow pyramid. What about the top of the Maslow pyramid?
The last part of the book explores some of these concepts in our present-day environment. “But Gosney,” you ask, “you are not supposed to discuss politics or religion with friends!” Have we not all heard that guidance? One time during law school, I repeated that jargon to my friend Derek L. Brooks. In his kind wisdom, he said to me, “But I love you as a brother and friend. I care about you and your soul. These things are too important to ignore!” Hmm. He’s right. If we do not talk truthfully and openly about the most important things in life with those we love, then that void gets filled by corporate media actors and propogandists who have their own agendas. Better that we take care of each other and seek the truth together. So, I pray that you will excuse me if politics or religion intrudes on this text. It is only because I love you and want the best for you as a sibling and as a friend.
All ideals are judgments. This is another Jordan Peterson insight that I want you to keep in mind whilst reading. Do not become “offended” that I offer up some ideal for your consideration. As renowned motivational speaker Steve Oniki (the happy jappy) used to say, “If the shoe fits, wear it. If it does not, then I am talking about someone else.” Along these lines, consider that when we speak generally, that does not necessarily exclude alternatives that are more specific. For example, if I say it is better for a child to be raised by a mom and dad, that does not exclude the specific case of a good single parent being superior to two bad ones. My own life is an example. My Mom alone was a much better alternative to being around my Dad. But statistically, the reverse is generally true.
Most people who read this book may be motivated in part by hearing me speak, so I assume you know some of what you are getting here. However, if you do not, I will lay my cards on the table: I am a straight Catholic gen-x man who believes in conserving the classical liberal ideals as laid out in the founding documents of our great country. What do you believe in? I do not mean to offend by my strong statements of belief, but to set our goals high, such assertion is required. Sure, if you stand for nothing, then you greatly reduce your chances of offending people. But what are the tradeoffs? I have found my best mates come from my commitment to strong beliefs. I’d rather have the deep friendship of the people I love if the cost is some hatred directed towards me because of those commitments. We all fail in the face of the ideal. Our challenge is to strive to be better.
My friend Jiyeon from South Korea told me once that what makes America great is all the individual free people who are living their lives to the best of their ability. Similarly, my friends from Russia noted that one of the great protections America has from tyranny is individual property ownership and the independent living that most Americans enjoy. For most of everyday life, we Americans do not need government. This is less true for deep urban dwellers who are more dependent on government for their everyday living. This may explain why many of them are more vulnerable to the lures of government dependance. What makes a free people is a vast swath of a population living in freedom. Overall, free people are those who can live their lives as they see fit, within the bounds of a fair and just legal system, and without undue interference from the government or other outside forces.
There are tons of books targeting the acquisition of stuff and protecting it. These books give you guidance on how to store water, grow food and defend your home. Many of them want you to buy their products (not that there is anything wrong with that). I do have some suggestions directed towards these areas, but where is the guidebook on living as a free individual? Well, I hope you are holding one. Thank you for reading my book! Onwards!
Steven N. Gosney, March 9, 2023.