(Good stuff. - promoted by Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno)
Over the last few years we have seen some interesting social movements reported. There was Occupy Wall Street, which was the embodiment of misplaced workers and liberal ideologues seeking to gain greater entitlements. Camping on street corners, the OWS groups often demanded forgiveness for college tuition and increased benefits for the poor and unemployed. Then there was the Tea Party movement and its principle focus of making government more accountable through smaller government practices. 'Stay out of our lives' was the message heard and sent to big government types. These were largely political machinations or vehicles used to influence elections and media. Beneath the surface, both movements had only surface roots that were not deeply entrenched, as is evidenced by their waning influence.
There is another movement afoot. It is known as the Self-Reliance movement and if you have not heard of it by now, you will soon. This is a 'lifestyle' movement. In other words, it is not the flavor of the day, but rather a sea change being incorporated into citizen's lifestyles that are now being reflected across numerous fronts. And the good news is that I strongly believe it will help the Republicans.
The Self Reliance movement stresses reliance on primarily your own individual/personal resources and skill sets. It encourages growing your own food, making your own clothes, producing your own energy, providing for your own self defense and emergency preparedness among other things. It was borne out of a long-lasting recession that forced tens of millions to slash personal budgets, downsize living spaces, find part time work, and reassess personal and family financial goals. It was also borne out of numerous catastrophic situations including hurricanes and floods that left hundreds of thousands stranded and on their own, as well as violent mass murders leaving people feeling vulnerable and helpless. The message was clear - we can't depend upon others - especially the government!
Unlike the other movements prior, the Self-Reliance movement crosses political, religious, economic, and cultural boundaries easily. For instance, a number of people getting interested in the SR movement are doing so because the SR movement encourages 'getting off the energy grid'. Producing your own heat and energy is a mainstay of the green crowd and widely accepted by the SR movement. At the same time, food stockpiling and 'grow your own' food production is a common practice of the SR movement, and also the Preppers movement. Libertarians like the SR movement's emphasis on the individual. Home-Schoolers like the SR movement's emphasis on independent learning and taking a step away from 'group-think' public education. So it seems the Self-Reliance movement has something for everyone.
So why does the SR movement benefit the Republicans? This movement is a lifestyle movement, which indicates that the changes will be far more permanent than those of other fleeting movements. People have now been living without work, or underemployed for several years and have made a 'smaller, less dependent' lifestyle a part of their life. 'Never again will we get caught off guard or overleveraged' they say. These more permanent changes favor Republican philosophy.
For a few years the progressives in the US have been pushing a lifestyle of dependence. The Obama administration has encouraged entitlement programs, and we can see the result in vastly expanded welfare enrollment. We hear politicians like Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama saying things such as 'You didn't build that business, someone else did', and it leaves us shocked. It is a direct affront to what we are, and what we earn and deserve. Hillary Clinton told us years ago that 'It takes a village' thus implying that we can't depend only on ourselves, but we must be dependent upon others in society. That is how it works, she thinks. Joe Biden tells us it is patriotic to pay taxes and 'we (the government) need to spend more money to keep from going bankrupt'. The idea that everyone is dependent upon each other for their very existence and the government will take from you, by force if necessary, to redistribute as it sees fit, troubles many people. Most of all it troubles Republicans.
There is now an annual Self-Reliance Expo. What was once a meeting ground for Preppers and survivalists is now a haven for environmentalists, soccer moms, country gardeners and extreme couponers alike. The crowds at these Expos have grown from a few hundred or a thousand to over ten thousand at a show. Read and learn more about the Self-Reliance Expo here.
Is there bad news in this? Yes, some say the Self-Reliance movement hurts the traditional economy. It is not hard to imagine that growing your own food, raising your own chickens, and producing your own heat and electricity will hurt the economy as it exists today. It keeps your precious income from circulating through the economic engine. In today's fragile economy it could grind the US to a stop. The last thing the US needs is for people to stop spending money. I though, am more optimistic about the movement. It will provide the opportunity for people to master life skills lost over the last 30 to 50 years. It will give entrepreneurs the reason to start new businesses based on this untapped and growing market of consumers looking for self-reliance products and services, i.e. gardening tools, home defense, food preparation and storage equipment, etc.
I am sure you have witnessed some of the movement's symptoms. There has been a huge increase in the number of households raising chickens and starting vegetable gardens. Firearms sales are at an all time high. Home-Schooling continues to be a growing trend acoss Anerica. There are so many ways to see the influence of this movement there are too many to list here. Please take time to Google the Self-Reliance movement as it may be the most important lifestyle change in 50 years...