James Wesley Rawles
James Wesley Rawles (born 1960) is an American survivalist-fiction author, blogger, and survival retreat consultant. Rawles is a Christian conservative who describes himself as a constitutionalist and libertarian. He is the editor of SurvivalBlog.com, a popular blog on survival and preparedness topics.
- I'm often asked why I make such a "big deal" about choosing conservative Christians, Messianic Jews, or Orthodox Jews for neighbors. The plain truth is that in a societal collapse there will be a veritable vacuum of law enforcement. In such times, with a few exceptions, it will only be the God fearing that will continue to be law abiding. Choose your neighborhood wisely.
- Letter "Re: Religious Versus Non-Religious Neighbors, Post-TEOTWAWKI" (20 September 2005), Surivalblog
- The three most important things to look for when searching for a church home are doctrine, doctrine, and doctrine. If your main criteria are 'programs' and 'outreach' to this or that niche group, then in my opinion you are starting your search the wrong way.
- "The Memsahib’s Quote of the Day" (5 May 2006), Survivalblog
- Mary Gray: It's in our fallen, sinful nature for tyrants to rise up in every nation. And unfortunately, it's also in our nature that the vast majority in every nation is either too stupid or too apathetic to do anything about it until the tyrants have put up their barbed wire and spilled a lot of blood.
- Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse (2009)
How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It (2009)
- With a few exceptions, lower population [density] means fewer problems [for survivalist retreats]. When the Schumer Hits the Fan, there will be a mass exodus from the cities. Think of it as an army that is spreading out across a battlefield: The wider they are spread, the less effective they are. The inverse-square law hasn’t been repealed.
- p. 12
- The modern world [of survivalism] is full of pundits, poseurs, and Mall Ninjas. Preparedness is not just about accumulating a pile of stuff. You need practical skills, and those come only with study, training, and practice. Any armchair survivalist with a credit card can buy a set of stylish camouflage fatigues and an “M4gery” carbine encrusted with umpteen accessories. Style points should not be mistaken for genuine skills and practicality.
- p. 13
- My father often told me, “It is better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.” I urge readers to use less than lethal means when safe and practicable, but at times there is not a satisfactory substitute for well-aimed lead going down range at high velocity.
- p. 12.
- The foundational morality of the civilized world is best summarized in the Ten Commandments. Moral relativism and secular humanism are slippery slopes. The terminal moraine at the base of these slopes is a rubble pile consisting of either despotism and pillage, or anarchy and the depths of depravity. I believe that it takes both faith and friends to survive perilous times.
- p. 13
- Tangibles trump conceptuals. Modern fiat currencies are generally accepted, but have essentially no backing. Because they are largely a by-product of interest-bearing debt, modern currencies are destined for inflation. In the long run, inflation dooms fiat currencies to collapse. The majority of your assets should be invested in productive farmland and other tangibles such as useful hand tools. After you have your key logistics squared away, anything extra should be invested in silver and gold.
- p. 14
- Governments tend to expand their power to the point that they do harm. In SurvivalBlog, I often warn of the insidious tyranny of the Nanny State... ...If the state where you live becomes oppressive, then don’t hesitate to relocate. Vote with your feet!
- p. 14.
- Owning a gun doesn’t make someone a “shooter” any more than owning a surfboard makes someone a surfer.
- p. 15
- As a Christian, I feel morally obligated to assist others who are less fortunate. Following the Old Testament laws of tzedakah (charity and tithing), I believe that my responsibility begins with my immediate family and expands in successive rings to supporting my immediate neighborhood and church, to my community, and beyond, as resources allow. My philosophy is to give until it hurts in times of disaster.
- p. 16.
- There is no substitute for mass. Mass stops bullets. Mass stops gamma radiation. Mass stops (or at least slows down) bad guys from entering a home and depriving its residents of life and property. Sandbags are cheap, so buy plenty of them. When planning your retreat house, think: medieval castle.
- p. 18
- Some things are worth fighting for. I encourage my readers to avoid trouble, most importantly via relocation to safe areas where trouble is unlikely to visit. But there may come an unavoidable day when you have to make a stand to defend your own family or your neighbors. Furthermore, if you value your liberty, then be prepared to fight for it, both for yourself and for the sake of your progeny.
- p. 18
- Modern military planners often talk in terms of “threat spirals” when a given threat escalates and inspires a defensive countermeasure. Ideally you should anticipate your opponent’s next escalation and take countermeasures, insulating yourself from the future threat.
- p. 202
- If you are serious about preparedness, then it is time to get out of your armchair and start training and preparing. It will take time. It will take some sweat. It will take money. But once you’ve prepared, you can sleep well, knowing that you’ve done your best to protect and provide for your family, regardless of what the future brings. Don’t get stuck in the rut of simply *studying* preparedness. Unless the shelves in your pantry and garage are filling with supplies, and unless you are growing muscles and calluses, you are not preparing.
- p. 289
- It is one of the great ironies of our modern 'civilized' era that in most of the places where you don't feel the need to carry a firearm for self defense you can legally do so if you choose. But in most of places where you do indeed justifiably feel the immediate need to carry a gun, they are banned.
- Whenever someone must buy a license or pay a fee to exercise a right, then it is something less than a right. It is in fact a mere privilege, subject to the whim of petty bureaucrats. Fundamental rights are not abstract tokens that are given or sold by other men. They are in fact primary liberties bestowed upon us by God, our maker. Rights are not substantially secured by asking, "Mother may I?" of any government agency. Rights are more properly demanded or boldly seized and then conspicuously exercised regularly. This secures the liberties that have legitimately belonged to us since birth. If need be, lost rights can and must be restored through proscriptive use. If you live in a land where your rights have been marginalized into privileges, then it is either time to change your government, or to change your address. Much like a muscle that atrophies with disuse, any right that goes unexercised for many years devolves into a privilege, and eventually can even be redefined as a crime.
Tools For Survival (2009)
- A recurring theme in western journalism, academia, and collectivist politics is the quaint notion that firearms are intrinsically evil. That is, that they have a will of their own, that somehow inspires their owners to murder and mayhem. I liken this nonsensical belief to voodoo.
- p. 149
- Cartridge firearms are compact vehicles for change that have shaped modern history. The righteousness of their use is entirely up to their users, since like any other tool they can be used both for good or for ill. A firearm is just a tool with no volition. A rifle is no different than a claw hammer. To wit: A hammer can be used to build a house, or it can be used to bash in someone’s skull—the choice of uses is entirely up to the owner. A bulldozer can be used to build roads, or to destroy houses. A rifle can be used to drill holes in paper targets, or to dispatch a marauding bear, or to murder your fellow man. Again, the choice of uses is entirely up to the user.
- p. 149
- If a firearm is used by a criminal or psychopath with evil intentions, then it is a tool for evil. But if it is used for good (to defend life and property), then it is a tool for good. A firearm by itself has no sentience, no volition, no moral force, and no politics. The proper term for this is an adiaphorous object--something that is neither good nor evil. A firearm is simply a cleverly-designed construction of metal, wood, and plastic in the form of a precision tool.
- p. 150
- Here it is, in quintessence: You are either a man with a gun, or you are mere human cattle for the slaughter. The choice is yours. I prefer to be armed and vigilant rather than being at the mercy of some would-be slave master. There is no notch in my ear.
- p. 150
- Guns are like parachutes: if you don’t have one when you need it, then chances are that you won’t ever be in need of one again.
- p. 188
- The Second Amendment is about protecting your right to go deer hunting the same way that the First Amendment is about protecting your right to publish poetry.
- People should be judged as individuals. Anyone that makes blanket statements about other races is ignorant that there are both good and bad individuals in all groups. I have accepted The Great Commission with sincerity. "Go forth into all nations" means exactly that: all nations.
- "The Precepts of Rawlesian Survivalist Philosophy" (2010), Survivalblog
- The truth is that people should be judged as individuals. (That is one of my core Precepts.) Anyone that makes blanket statements about other races is ignorant that there are both good and bad individuals in all groups. There is no inherent superiority in any skin tone or facial feature, any more than there is in any particular hair color.
- "Lest Any Man Should Boast: A Christian Survivalist Perspective on Race, Religion, and Reason" (10 March 2010), Survivalblog
- As an Army officer, I learned that in order to be effective, an army must have three key abilities: To move, shoot, and communicate. Take away any one, and you are ineffective. But if you get all three right, you can absolutely devastate an opponent—even one that has vastly superior numbers. ... Just buying up modern-day slaves and giving them their freedom hasn't worked. The Islamic slavers simply go and kidnap more of them. The only way to effectively stop armed slaver kidnappers is to train and equip large numbers of armed free men in the border villages. In the modern context, you can "Just Say No" to slavery only with a battle rifle.
- "Modern Slavery Must End!" (6 May 2013), Survivalblog
- In the past decade the distinction between connotation and denotation has been blurred by politics. The definitions of words should not change with every shift in the winds of public sentiment. Our society has already suffered from four decades of Situational Ethics. Heaven help us in this new era of Situational Definitions. A rocket scientist or military engineer can teach you about Sympathetic Detonations, but it is 21st Century television commentators who have introduced us to the era of Sympathetic Denotations. We now live in an Orwellian world where a semi-auto rifle is arbitrarily called an "assault rifle" if it has black plastic furniture, where a standard capacity magazine is called a "high capacity" magazine, where the confiscation and redistribution of wealth is dubbed "fairness." This also a new age when folks who are given free health care, HD televisions, free cell phones, and enough money to be able to afford air conditioning are deemed to be "living in poverty." The fluidity of our language is evidence that America is sliding into oblivion. Hold fast to the true meaning of words and phrases, or we are doomed.
- "Incendiary Words: Of Detonations and Denotations" (27 May 2013), Survivalblog
- We must recognize that in our generation there might come a day with no remaining avenue of escape. State laws can be avoiding simply by moving, but what of unconstitutional Federal laws? At that point we will have no choice but to rebel against tyranny. (Since the alternative would be to live as little better than bleating sheep.) When we reach that juncture I doubt that I will advocate expatriation. Most foreign lands have less freedom than we enjoy here in these United States. I don't think that I will find some ideal "bolt hole" nation with more firearms freedom, better banking privacy, a more positive business climate, lower taxes, full religious freedom, unimpeded personal property rights, fair courts, and assured freedom of speech. If I must die, then I will do so here in America, fully armed and facing my oppressors. I won't die in some ditch, begging for mercy.
- "Letter Re: Drawing the Line on Noncompliance with Unconstitutional Laws" (11 June 2013), Survivalblog