Sweetness & Light

Prepping for a Nice Lamb Dinner

People used to call them “survivalists” or “doomsday preppers”. A few decades ago, these usually-rural types were figures of fun—or sometimes, if they were sufficiently armed, anti-government and active, figures of fear.

The first awareness Australians generally gained of preppers was in US news reports or movies. These were not, in the main, friendly or positive depictions. Basically, all Hollywood did for its prepper characters was update redneck or racist roles from the Civil Rights era—just add a few pantries overstocked with canned food and you’re good to go.

Tim Blair appears in every Quadrant.
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Things became a little more intense as the year 2000 loomed, and with it a fear of Y2K computational and societal meltdown. It’s a funny thing, but many looking back at that time recall only the simple and uneducated—your stereotypical preppers, in other words—being concerned about global Y2K systems failures.

In fact, some of the most self-consciously “sophisticated” and “informed” populations on earth were so alarmed by the possibility of Y2K catastrophes that they became versions of preppers themselves. Not that many urban sophisticates would admit it today, but many of them prepared for the impending date shift by avoiding air travel and other circumstances in which safety depended on properly functioning, millennium-resistant software.

In 2019, on the twentieth anniversary of Y2K, Time magazine revisited one such circumstance. “In the final hours of Dec. 31, 1999, John Koskinen boarded an airplane bound for New York City,” the journal reported.

“He was accompanied by a handful of reporters but few other passengers, among them a tuxedo-clad reveler who was troubled to learn that, going by the Greenwich Mean Time clock used by airlines, he too would enter the 20th [sic] century in the air.

“Koskinen, however, had timed his flight that way on purpose. He was President Bill Clinton’s Y2K ‘czar’, and he flew that night to prove to a jittery public—and scrutinizing press—that after an extensive, multi-year effort, the country was ready for the new millennium.”

That flight departed from Washington DC, where voting for Democrat presidential candidates almost always comes in above 90 per cent. (The last time it fell below 90 per cent was in 2004, when John Kerry only achieved 89.2 per cent of DC’s electoral support.) So we’re not exactly talking about the media’s standard vision of stump-toothed, backwoods future Trump voters here.

Yet besides the press pack, that entire aircraft carried “few other passengers”. Judge preppers not, ye fancy city folk, lest ye be judged yeself.

Of course, the judging continues. Nobody who identifies as a survivalist or prepper is ever likely to be invited to an Australian writers’ festival or any other gathering of the ideologically pure. Unless they’re the sort of preppers who anticipate the destruction of our planet by climate change. Those characters are cashed up, live in cities, allow other people to pay for their ABC and vote Greens or Teal. And it would never occur to them that they share a similarly apocalyptic worldview with someone hoarding weapons in an abandoned Arkansas zinc mine so they can ride out the coming zombie uprising.

Your Greens and Teals are respectable preppers. Their doomsday visions align with current acceptable values. But something interesting is happening on the previously unfashionable right wing of the prepper movement. It’s turning mainstream, in a calm and understated kind of way. It’s gaining converts, and it is doing so without any promotions or campaigns.

This is happening in large part because certain core prepper beliefs can no longer be easily rejected as paranoid. Oppressive government overreach? You bet, as everyone saw during the Covid epidemic. Australian state and federal governments took our trust and converted it into a licence to brutalise and assault. It was reasonable to impose distancing guidelines and travel restrictions when the extent of Covid’s menace was not fully known. But even after we learned that Covid wasn’t cancer, measures didn’t ease. They became more intensely restrictive. We were played for fools.

Technology invading and degrading our lives instead of improving them? Absolutely. It’ll take a damn long time before Elon Musk’s Twitter rescue can overcome social media’s decades of decadence.

Our democratic choices being reduced? They sure are. Despite limited Dutton-led progress, the Liberal Party remains practically as wedded to sour environmental and social trends as are their Labor opponents.

We’ll know that the Liberals have genuinely taken a non-Labor path when they vow to slash the ABC’s obscene $1 billion per year budget, which is so large that it warps not only our media market but also our culture. Canadian Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre has, reports the Spectator Australia’s James Allan, “said he’ll cut the CBC’s budget (equivalent to our ABC) in half”. And it’s working: “His boldness in policy terms and in taking on the left-leaning media has him up 12 to 15 points in the polls.” Pushing for nuclear power is a great idea, so far as it goes, but Peter Dutton could generate an even greater atomic detonation by splitting the ABC.

Back to our list of prepper positions that have proved powerfully prescient. Quality of life sliding backwards? No doubt about it, and all seemingly by design. Social engineers have apparently composed a list of things that normal people enjoy, and are gradually getting rid of them: free speech, science, beauty, logic, cheap energy, gas appliances, sport that isn’t political, non-franchise movies, supermarket options, education standards, comedy and cars. 

As well, quite noticeably since October 7, we’re even being turned away from defeating Nazis.

It shouldn’t come as a shock, then, that reasonable people are quietly taking prepper-style precautions. The first move is usually to escape big cities, which are now absolutely dominated by a cultural and economic elite that is militantly opposed to enduring Western values.

The second step is to fortify your small town compound with robust machinery that will outlast the current absurdity. Many older cars are cheap and strong. Personal libraries, DVDs and CDs are safe from online woke manipulation. Coal-fired barbecues are almost as dependable as coal-fired power stations.

Or so I’m told. Of course, none of this prepper caper is for me. I’m a journalist, and am therefore required to obey whatever urban directives come my way.

But for now they’ll have to wait. I’ve got a twenty-two-year-old Lexus to wash and then we’re collecting firewood. Those lambs we’re butchering tomorrow won’t cook themselves, you know.


I WAS ONCE in a bar in the US, surprising as that may seem, when several regulars launched into a friendly argument about the best sports nicknames.

Some nominations, such as William “Refriger­ator” Perry, were not only familiar to an outsider but also easily understood. With a nickname like that, former NFL star Perry was bound to be a large lad.

Likewise, the baseballer dubbed “Ugly” was, in fact, notably unattractive. Although in his case, the player in question possibly preferred it to his real name: Johnny Dickshot.

A few nicknames were more creative. New York Yankees catcher Bill Dickey was known, ironically enough, as “The Man Nobody Knows”. An aloof chap was Bill. And several years after our bar-room chat came baseball pitcher Marc Rzepczynski. Nickname: “Scrabble”.

My American friends were enchanted by a couple of Australian nicknames that followed our delightful tradition of opposite indication. They especially admired the title given to a notorious 1960s Hawthorn VFL player. “Delicate” Des Dickson was, according to AustralianFootball.com, “one of the roughest, toughest, meanest footballers of his or any generation”.

So “Delicate” will dear old Dickson forever be known.

A few of our current political leaders deserve similarly memorable nicknames. “Tennis Albo” works on a couple of levels, because it both reminds us of the prime minister’s fondness for free tickets and refers to a repetitive pain, but it’s a little too seasonal and sunny.

We could call him “TwoSeventyFive”. Albanese doesn’t appreciate being reminded of his unachievable and cynical promise to cut power bills by $275, so let’s hang it around the little bloke’s neck. Or, going by the old opposite indication strategy, Albanese could simply become known as “Savings”.

“Mean Girls” was an unbeatable collective noun for Senators Penny Wong, Katy Gallagher and their former comrade Kristina Keneally. No improvement needed there, especially with Wong, who a few weeks ago Mean Girled about $6 million of our money to Hamas’s UN wing.

Judith Sloan refers to Chris Bowen and Tony Burke as B1 and B2, but these may be in need of an upgrade. Given his affection for ritzy, tax-funded air travel, Burke is surely more of a 1A than a B2. No shabby economy seating for him.

Bowen, though, is a challenge. He doesn’t seem to have much of a personality, which I guess is in keeping with his love for electric vehicles, which don’t have any character. Even then, Bowen doesn’t exhibit anything resembling “wide-eyed enthusiasm”. He just isn’t wide-eyed enough.

This may be a quest for Quadrant’s readers. Devise a nickname for Bowen that might stick. “Sparky” is your starting point.

12 thoughts on “Prepping for a Nice Lamb Dinner

  • Podargus says:

    Airbus is an apt nickname for Albo. Boofhead suits the clown Bowen to a tee.

    • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

      Too generous Podargus, for if the minister studied assiduously for a number of years he might leave the ranks of “boofheads” behind and perhaps become a low-grade village idiot as long as the village required a bloke with an IQ of about his hat size in the old Imperial measurement of six and five eights! Trouble is, the LNP is just clever enough to disguise that most of them are of the same ilk, and we fall for it.

  • Peter OBrien says:

    How about ‘Tesla’ for Albo. He is after all an EV although in his case it’s an empty vessel.

  • ianl says:

    “Social engineers have apparently composed a list of things that normal people enjoy …”

    It’s been quite obvious for a considerable time now that such social engineers, climate activists, whoever, deliberately and constantly choose “nudge” topics to get right up our noses – or at least what they think will annoy the s**t out of us.

    These nudges happen with such boring, predictable repetition that it seems even they are not convinced anyone’s actually listening any more, so volume needs to be constantly increased.

    The Einsteinian definition of stupidity in action.

  • brennan1950 says:

    Bowen in the wind.

  • Paul.Harrison says:

    Bowen, a lovely little place on the Queensland coast, is quite upset, but not quite vanishingly hurt, by all the hints and whispers of the trickery of their namesake in the House. After all, the septic stink of treason coming off all of the Leftist NottheGovernment who are not leading us at all, is enough to make any rusted-on Bowener leave town to start digging the bunker.

  • Geoff Freer says:

    In my circles Bowen is known as “Blackout Bowen”

  • Fred Pawle says:

    The Constrictor.

  • en passant says:

    I need something that will ensure that the Orwellian ‘e-Safety Commissaress’ opens a file on me. For a start I remain unintoxinated by any covid vax poison. That should do it …
    However, let me add an fun anecdote:
    My wife and I used to go weekly shopping at the local Mall. We would then spend $40-$50 on lunch at the same restaurant. In short, at least $2K/year. At the height of the Covid-Con I approached (unmasked) and was told I need to prove at least two pricks and wear a face-nappy. I said ‘NYET!’ and we were turned away. We have long since survived and returned to our routine. Without fail, I check the infamous restaurant’s menu then let them know that for the 30-40th time they are not getting $50 from me. It is now part of my shopping routine …

  • Bron says:

    en peasant
    Legion d’honneur pour vous, Froggy.

  • pdenton says:

    Albo, Prime Minister of Wastern Sydney

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