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Our View: Survivalist companies profit off fears

Have the Jan. 6 hearings galvanized the already prolific marketing for 4Patriots, the survivalist company out of Nashville? 4Patriots’ ads popped up everywhere soon after the attack on the Capitol. More than a company, 4Patriots claims it’s “a movement, helping Americans become champions of freedom and self-reliance – one Patriot at a time.”

It does this by selling high-priced survival food good – er, we mean edible – for 25 years that fits under a bed. Videos emphasize the importance of being prepared “with everything that’s going on.” Brilliant! This phrase can be applied during any time of uncertainty, including right now. Our political divides remain, we’re in the throes of a bear market and inflation, housing prices are nuts and even cryptocurrency, the bad boy of financial systems, is tanking. Companies, such as 4Patriots, can make a killing based on Americans’ fears.

So what would make us feel safe?

For those enamored with the movement, it’s freeze-dried survival food. One phenomenon is the number of people who order 4Patriots food, open packages and taste-test on social media. People, you’re not supposed to open the food packages yet! It’s food to survive a civil war or famine or climate catastrophe. It’s not supposed to taste good. It’s just calories. What do you expect from Delux Scrambled Egg Mix?

Some reviews are “honest,” although wannabe influencers slip that 4Patriots sponsored the video and gave them food. (Note, if you’re in a wartime bartering situation, pass on Grammy’s Sweet Oatmeal. Hold out for America’s Finest Mac & Cheese.) We’re just glad coffee is considered necessary for survival with Free Joe Survival Coffee. In this way, we think alike.

Survivalist business is pricey. A three-month Survival Food Kit is $697 for one person; a year’s supply for $2,787. Again, just for one person. That’s a lot of Grammy’s Sweet Oatmeal. But who can put on a price on food if there isn’t any? A monthly payment installment plan means if disaster happens and all systems as we know it – including communications and banking – disappear, you may not be held responsible to pay in full. Just our observation.

But don’t take our word for it. Get information from the source, “real people – Americans. Not some 800 number in a foreign call center.”

Suspiciously, most products on the site are rated 5 stars with a couple 4.5 stars. C’mon, now. Something has to be rated a lowly 3 stars. Off the site, outside reviewers say don’t even think about purchasing the solar panel Patriot Powered Generator 1800 for $2,497. You can purchase this elsewhere for much less. At the very least, trade the oatmeal for it.

Products aid in “bugging out,” slang from the British army. According to Urban Dictionary, the term means “to move away from your current location very quickly (often under fire) because your position has been compromised by the enemy.” So if we’re in this situation, what exactly would we haul? Not much. Certainly not tubs of food for a year.

Yes, we’re having a little fun at the expense of this company. (Or is this accidental free advertising?) To be fair, 4Patriots says a portion of proceeds goes to veterans causes. We appreciate this.

Niche companies profit off Americans’ fears. If storing a year’s worth of food under your bed makes you feel safer, go for it. It’s a – relatively – small price to pay.

The Jan. 6 insurrection hasn’t changed our government. U.S. democracy is ours to participate in. The communicative culture that makes democracy also threatens it, and opens a door to fascism. To borrow and twist a phrase from 4Patriots, now is the time “with everything that’s going on.”