PC is Winning – “Prepper” R.I.P.?

The term “prepper” is falling out of fashion. I’ve gotten the message from a couple of people recently who say they’ll stop using the term to describe themselves or others who are getting ready for whatever comes our way. That word just has too many bad connotations.

Hmm…It looks to me like PC (political correctness) is winning.

Let me take a few steps back to explain what I mean.

Not long after starting this site in late 2007, I wrote a piece called “Are you Afraid of Being Called a Survivalist?” I’ve reworked it some, and now it’s part of an e-booklet called Your Destiny is Survival, available free to subscribers to the DestinySurvival Dispatch.

Here’s the idea. The term “survivalist” seemed then to be an unpleasant term to describe someone because of the baggage it carried. It’s still that way. What comes to people’s minds is an image of an unkempt hermit living in a cave somewhere in Montana, protecting his buried gold with massive amounts of weapons and ammunition.

Though I’ve done what I could to defang such a stereotype, I haven’t used the term “survivalist” much on this site. It’s been my way of going along to get along.

Oops! Have I yielded to political correctness myself?

Sometime around 2010 or 2011 the term “prepper” started being used. My late friend Gerald Franz ridiculed the label, saying it meant “survivalist light.” In his view, preppers were dabbling in survivalism and not taking it seriously.

Whether that was true or not, “prepper” became trendy. For example, James Talmage Stevens took on the name of Doctor Prepper. I began using “prepper” in my writings here and on DestinySurvival Radio because of its growing common use. Also, Internet gurus were telling me to use the language of my audience.

Then along came shows like “Doomsday Prepper,” and perhaps others like it, which were giving a mixed message about preparedness. Other elements of the mainstream media began using the term on occasion. I remember hearing it mentioned in connection with the Sandy Hook shooter in late 2012.

I don’t hear “prepper” mentioned often outside of preparedness circles. But apparently it’s being used enough in a negative manner that some now want to renounce the term.

Oh, they’ll still keep doing whatever they’re doing. And they’ll encourage others to do it, too. That’s the way it should be.

But by what name? Maybe none is necessary. Who likes labels anyway, right?

Be sure that some new term will eventually arise to replace “prepper.” And later still it will fall out of fashion because of presumed negative associations.

Those among us who decry political correctness apparently don’t mind yielding to it when they’re afraid of hurt feelings–either their own or someone else’s. After all, we mustn’t offend anyone, right?

Am I being too harsh? Let me look at this another way.

If we harbor an unspoken fear of becoming a target because of the prepper label, then get used to it. That’s the world we live in now. That’s part of what we must be prepared to face. Hiding from a label, or hiding behind a new one, isn’t going to change that.

As I wrote in my article about survivalists years ago, don’t let anyone buffalo you with propagandistic language and images. Survival is all about living through something, or outliving the situation that threatens you. Every one of us is either going through difficulties now, or we one day will, and we need to be ready.

In the Scriptures, specifically in Acts 11:26, the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. “Christian” was a derisive term. In some places today it is still a negative word. In other places it is a name worn with honor.

Either way, if you’re a believer in Christ, do you care whether or not you’re called a Christian?

If we who practice preparedness continue to shy away from whatever label we choose to call ourselves, or are called by others, then we’ve handed the language to someone else. We’ve also let someone else define who we are. We’ve allowed ourselves to be put in defensive mode. Is that what we want?

Look, I don’t care whether we call ourselves preppers, survivalists, or purple striped Martians. Hold your head up. Don’t let anyone stop you from doing whatever it takes to brace for today’s chaotic world and what inevitably lies ahead.

In other words, it’s all about survival, Survivalist. And Keep prepping, Prepper.

Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.

4 thoughts on “PC is Winning – “Prepper” R.I.P.?”

  1. -responsible people would be my choice of tags for people who take care of themselves and realize the govt will be no help.

  2. Well John; I think the term survivalist works just fine, especially given the domain name for this website. As far as the Internet Gurus goes… “Imagine that!” They think they are Gurus! Wow! P.S. I believe there is one true God and he sent his son Jesus Christ as our savior. If that makes me a Christian, “So be it!” 🙂

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