James Wesley Rawles

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James Wesley Rawles (born 1960) is a non-fiction author, survivalist-fiction author, economist, blogger, and survival retreat consultant. He has appeared many times on the Alex Jones show InfoWars. He has been called an expert[1] on survival and preparedness topics.[2] Rawles is a Christian who is a conservative, constitutionalist libertarian.[3]


Rawles was born in Livermore, California in 1960 and received a Bachelor of Arts|BA degree from San Jose State University. He was a United States Army Military Intelligence officer, serving from 1984 to 1993.[4] He resigned his commission as an army Captain, immediately after Bill Clinton was sworn in as President of the United States.[5] Rawles worked as an Associate Editor with Defense Electronics magazine in the late 1980s[6], and was the managing editor of The C3I Handbook and The International Countermeasures Handbook.[7] He worked as a technical writer through most of the 1990s with a variety of California and Nevada companies including DAZIX, Grass Valley Group, Oracle Corporation[8], and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC). In 2005 he began full-time blogging. [9] Sometime after 2001 he relocated to a remote ranch at an undisclosed location "Somewhere in The American Redoubt.”

He is now a freelance writer, blogger and retreat consultant. His children are home schooled.[3]

Conservative Christian Libertarian Philosophical and Political Views

Rawles is an outspoken proponent of family preparedness, especially regarding food storage and his advocacy of relocating to lightly populated rural "retreat" areas.

Rawles warned about possible disruption that could be caused by the Year 2000 (Y2K) problem, and urged "an all-out effort" by programmers to be ready for the four digit date rollover.[10][11][12]

Rawles credits Mel Tappan as the primary influence in the development of his survivalist philosophy as well as the impetus for launching SurvivalBlog.com.[13]. Rawles has been called "The intellectual heir of Mel Tappan", and has been described as "...the survivalist voice of reason, following in the footsteps of Mel Tappan." [14]

Rawles was also strongly influenced by Robert Heinlein, Jerry Pournelle, Pat Frank, George R. Stewart, Mel Tappan, David Brin, Tom Clancy, Howard Ruff, Dr. Gary North, Ayn Rand, and Ludwig von Mises and by Military fiction, political thrillers and survivalist fiction.

Rawles was quoted by the New York Times in April of 2008 that "interest in the survivalist movement 'is experiencing its largest growth since the late 1970s'”. He also stated that his blog's conservative core readership has been supplemented with "an increasing number of stridently green and left-of-center readers."[15]

Strong Advocate of Conservapedia over Wikipedia

Ralwes is a staunch advocate of Conservapedia and links to it where possible using his The Survival Blog, doing his best to avoid what frequently calls the "LiberalPropagandaPedia."

To quote him, "As I’ve mentioned before, Wikipedia’s editors have strong leftist and statist biases. This is evidenced by the way that they selectively delete content and gradually push the Point of View (POV) of articles to match their world views. According a SurvivalBlog reader in Switzerland, the following section was deleted from Wikipedia by members of an anti-gun Wikipedia cabal on August 14, 2013. (It had been part of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns article). Never mentioned in the Wikipedia article was the fact that there are charges pending against at least seven other members of their “crime fighting” organization: Marcus Hook Mayor James ‘Jay’ Schiliro - the “furnishing alcohol to a minor” charge was just dropped on a technicality, but he still faces misdemeanor charges of official oppression, recklessly endangering another person, unlawful restraint and false imprisonment, in a bizarre incident where he tried to force a young man to have homosexual relations, at gunpoint.)"[16], [17]

Economic views

In a Usenet post in February of 2001, Rawles fairly accurately called the bottom of the two-decade long bear market in the price of silver that had brought silver down from a high of $50 per ounce, to under $5 per ounce.[18] In the post, Rawles mentioned a potential low of $4.25 per ounce. It actually bottomed just a few months later (intraday) at $4.03 per ounce.[19]

As of January, 2008, Rawles stills sees silver and gold in "primary bull markets."[20]

Rawles predicts a deep recession or possibly a depression in the near future[21], triggered by a housing market collapse and an "implosion" of global credit and the derivatives market.[22]

Blog presence

Rawles is the editor of SurvivalBlog.com, a very widely-read and cited [23] blog on survival and preparedness topics. According to its statistics page, it has more than 220,000 unique visitors per week.[24] [25] The main focus of his blog is family preparedness for disasters. In his blog writings, Rawles recommends that investors put at least 25% of their portfolios into gold, silver, and barter goods.[26] He also advises his blog readers to store four year's supply of food[27] in preparation for future hard times, and "double up" with other families[28] to establish survival retreats. Rawles believes (as of his 2005-2008 writings) that the United States is headed for a hyperinflationary economic depression.[29] Rawles favors the abolition of the fractional-reserve banking system, and a return to the gold standard.[30] Rawles is also a proponent of Home schooling.[31]

Published works

His first book, Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse, a novel, was first released in 1998. It was first released as Internet shareware in the early 1990s, and later published in interim form as TEOTWAWKI: The End of The World as We Know It, in the late 1990s.[32] The story is set in the near future and describes a period of hyperinflation and a socio-economic collapse. While it is a fictional story, it is essentially a survival manual dressed as fiction.[33] It was re-released in December, 2006 in expanded form. One early reviewer of the novel commented: "While it is true that the protagonists appear to be part of the religious right, it is clearly incorrect to stereotype them as intolerant racists or anti-government zealots."[34]. The publisher's synopsis describes the novel as "distinctly pro-Christian, pro-preparedness, pro-gun ownership, and anti-racist." [35]

His second book, Rawles on Retreats and Relocation, was non-fiction. It describes how to geographically select a survival retreat and stock it with key logistics.

His third book, SurvivalBlog: The Best of the Blog, Volume 1, was non-fiction. It is a compendium of posts and letters from the first six months of SurvivalBlog.

He also authored an action-adventure screenplay, loosely based on his novel Patriots.

Rawles also co-authored the Rawles Gets You Ready preparedness course, released in August, 2006.

He is also the author of numerous Internet FAQs, primarily on firearms topics.


  • Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse from Huntington House Publishers, ISBN 978-1563841552 (November 1998)
  • Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse (33 chapter expanded edition) from Xlibris, ISBN 978-1425734077 (December 2006)
  • The Survival Blog: The Best of the Blog, Volume 1 from CafePress, No ISBN (February 2007)


  • Pulling Through (A feature-length action-adventure "spec" screenplay) WGAw (WGA West script registration service) #714352 (April, 2007) [36]


  • Rawles Gets You Ready from Arbogast Publishing, No ISBN (August 2006)


Some Internet FAQs and Reference Articles by Rawles.[37]

Quotes Authorized by James Wesley Rawles

  • Owning a gun doesn’t make someone a “shooter” any more than owning a surfboard makes someone a surfer.[40]
  • 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.[41]
  • 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.[42]
  • 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.[43]
  • 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.[44]
  • 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.[45]
  • 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.[46]
  • 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! [47]
  • 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.[48]
  • 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.[49]
  • 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.[50]
  • 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.[51]
  • 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.[50]
  • 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.[52]
  • 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.[53]
  • 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.[47]
  • 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.[41]
  • 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.[54][55]
  • 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. [56][57]
  • 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.[58][59]
  • 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.[60][61]
  • 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.[62][63]
  • 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.[64]
  • 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.[65]
  • 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.[66]
  • 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.[67]

Incremental Gun-Grabbing of the Liberal Nanny State - Progressive Police State

According to Mr. Rawles in his How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It, progressive police statists want to unconstitutionally ban all firearms for citizen use.

Liberals and socialists support their so-called "common sense" measures - a "good first step" of their leftist Nanny state leading to a progressive police state[68] To a conservative citizen-prepper-patriot Oath Keeper and to the Bill of Rights, this is "death by a thousand paper cuts". (See List of celebrities against Second Amendment)

Mr. Rawles and most American conservatives support the ideals of the Second Amendment Foundation and this video, which is the formal response to Hollywood's Demand a Plan gun-grabbing propaganda video (see Essay:The Politically Corrected Firearms and Second Amendment Glossary). The video shows one of the main differences between liberal gun control Nanny states / progressive police states (Blue states - see Essay:State Firearms Laws Ranking) and conservative and/or libertarian unalienable rights - Second Amendment-supporting "free states" (many Red states - see Essay:Why do conservatives own firearms?).

This Equal Gun Rights Video shows why many conservatives and libertarians "vote with our feet" via strategic relocation to escape "progressive death spiral" states: [69]

See Also

Related People

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Other Related Articles


  1. Second Great Depression just weeks away, warns expert by Derek Clontz
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