Is There Such A Thing as a Psychological Disaster?

Usually, when preppers talk about a disaster, it’s either natural or man-made. The natural disasters are physical events: earthquake, hurricane, volcano, tidal waves, etc. But the man-made disasters also be physical events, such as war, terrorist attacks, or they can be somewhat intangible, such as an economic or agricultural disaster. But what I am proposing is that a disaster is possible which is caused mainly by psychological effects, and not merely the response of the population to one disaster or another. I mean a disaster that has no root cause other than a population-wide fear or anger or revolution, which then rips apart our society.

Is it possible? And then, is it likely?

The expression “we have nothing to fear but fear itself” indicates that a population gripped by fear could be disastrous. But I suppose other emotions could also cause serious problems.

In some nations, when the government announces austerity measures, the population erupts in anger and violent protests. I wonder if that could happen in the U.S. at some point. But that would presuppose an economic disaster.

There is a lot of emotion around politics and sociological issues today. I suppose a government decision contrary to the cultural norm, whatever that might be at the moment (I can’t keep up), could provoke anger and violent protests. I don’t want to use this blog to take sides in any socio-political controversy, but I think that a conservative government or a conservative Supreme Court could eventually make some type of decision that would throw the nation into anger, violent protests, widespread strikes across many industries, and therefore cause economic problems and civil unrest.

What about fear? Suppose that Iran or North Korea obtain small portable nukes and threaten the U.S. Or suppose that we find out that a terrorist group now has a suitcase nuclear weapon. Fear could cause civil unrest. People might flee from certain cities, or be afraid to go into work. Hmm. That does seem like a stretch though. If the nation became involved in a new major war, and then there was a draft, that might cause fear and civil unrest.

But I will say that our population does not seem to fall into fear very easily. We are more likely to fall prey to anger or other emotions over controversial issues, than we are to sit in our homes in fear. It takes a lot to bring us to a state where we are actually afraid to go about our daily lives.

So, something has to happen, some event, which would then prompt the nation to a psychological response of anger or fear or whatever else. Then the resultant disruption could cause problems with commerce, travel, recreation, and so on. But it is possible. Not every SHTF disaster is a physical disruption of society.

– Thoreau

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