Inside the Underground Bunker Condos Where 1 Percenters Plan to Ride Out the Apocalypse

by By Natalie Shure, AlterNet Without the savvy to live off the land that we associate with survivalists, how are the one-percenters supposed to get through the apocalypse? It’s tough to envision the well-heeled skinning deer to feed their Wall Street dinner party guests. But now the elite have another option. Instead of handing the future to bearded crackpots building sandbag barricades on rural compounds, the rich can score a luxury underground Survival Condo nice enough to remind them of the one they left in Manhattan. Built in two underground missile bunkers at an undisclosed location in Kansas, the units run from $1.5 to $.4.5 million and typically can’t be financed—so that sum’s got to be paid up front. But if you do have a few million lying around, a piece of these fortified underground silos can be yours. So far, there’s no shortage of takers. The first silo is reportedly sold out, and the second is currently accepting contracts. It would likely take a serious cataclysm to drive posh coasties to the Kansan underworld, and you can’t sell these things without also selling fear. In fact, the project’s website includes a photo of a colorless DC skyline ravaged by an implied nuclear holocaust, complete with a bombed-out capitol building. (Another page includes an illustration of the Statue of Liberty nearly submerged by stormy seas, with nary an ape in sight.) But project manager Larry Hall rejects the notion that these units are for tinfoil hat types: “There is a stereotype of some survivalists as being single-minded—that they spend virtually all of their time doing just survival activities with no other activities,” he wrote to me in an email. This survivalist subculture is indeed fixated, as any viewer of A&E’s hit reality series “Doomsday Preppers” would attest. But Hall says those aren’t his customers. “We are not like that. Most of our clients are professional people who run businesses and have diversified interests. The involvement in the survival condo project is a recognition that there are a lot of potential threats that could disrupt their normal lives, and they want to have a plan for that possibility.” The luxury Survival Condos are the product of meticulous labor and forethought. Someone had to dream up and execute the three separate water supplies, dog parks, a library and classroom, food production facilities, and a general store that will presumably recognize a currency severely disrupted by all the doom raging outside. The marketing literature correctly contends that strategizing the logistics of survival beneath the clattering hooves of the Four Horsemen would be a massive drain on one’s energy. Survival Condos caters to customers rich enough to outsource those obsessive measures. But there’s not much that ideologically distinguishes buyers of luxury Survival Condos from so-called preppers: both activities are rooted in a reactionary desire to maintain the status quo, even as the world crumbles. When I asked Hall about the likelihood of a disruptive, mass-scale disaster that would necessitate these measures, he responded with the cliche endemic to all rhetoric about things that scare us: “it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.” It was the same mantra guiding Cold War-era families to build bomb shelters under their kitchens, and that inspired the government to commission the very subterranean self-preservation tanks now hosting Hall’s project. The “if, not when” survivalist ethos is the cornerstone of every episode of “Doomsday Preppers.” Each episode profiles families across the country gearing up for their own nightmare scenario. They learn hand-to-hand combat, hoard canned produce and teach their kids to fire rifles to mow down eventual intruders from the wrong side of dystopia. Continue Reading>>>


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