The Modern Survival Guide: Vol. 2

Allen Faulton
4 min readNov 13, 2020
Photo by Valeria Boltneva, courtesy of

“Objectively speaking, we live in the easiest time to be alive that humanity has ever experienced.”

That’s what I opened with a couple of years ago, when I started writing what would become Volume One of the Modern Survival Guide. I still stand by these words, but with some rather pointed caveats as we close in on the tail end of 2020, because it’s been one hell of a year.

I’m no longer as confident in the stability of American democracy.

I’m no longer as confident in the capacity of the average American citizen.

I’m no longer as confident in the ability of our society to meet challenges.

Survival in the modern world is less assured than it was a few years ago. We have the COVID virus to contend with. We have increasingly authoritarian-looking political groups to deal with. We have a whole host of purveyors of misinformation, false information, and just generally wrong information who are gaining traction. Our economy, at the time of this writing, is teetering on the edge of catastrophe. And of course, half the country simply cannot stand the other half, again.

All of which indicates, to me, that it’s high time to get started on The Modern Survival Guide: Volume Two!

In Volume One I examined more than a hundred topics, ranging all over the place with regard to politics, science, culture, philosophy, religion, and motivation. I have absolutely no intention of changing my ways. The primary difference between Volume One and Volume Two is that, for Volume Two, I have expectations. Mostly, I expect you, dear reader, to be somewhat familiar with topics which have already been discussed in Volume One which have relevance for articles in Volume Two.

Is this a rational hope? Dear Lord, no. I don’t honestly expect you to go back and read the whole Volume One article list, that would be ludicrous!¹ So instead, here’s what I’m going to do: if I reference a previous article, or if there’s something that you ought to know going into a new article, I’ll let you know and drop a link. I am considerate like that.

I’ll also make you a promise right up front: Because I am not necessarily an expert on all things (shocking, ain’t it?) I will do my level best to present my opinions with factual backing. That’s to say that if I tell you what I think about a thing, I’m going to provide a link to at least one other article or source that backs me up with actual, factual, proof. Is that a guarantee that I’m right? Of course not! I’m a fallible human being, just like you. But it’s my commitment to you that if I hold a strong enough opinion on something to write about it, I am obliged to demonstrate a good backing for my opinion.

This time around I’m also going to try to curate the articles into something reasonably approaching an ordered presentation; we’ll see how long that lasts. As per the standard of Volume One, though, I will be adding to the list of articles as time goes on, as I think of new things, and as events pop up that seem like they might affect our ability to survive in this modern, crazy, beautiful, frustrating world. As I add new articles, I will link them from this page.

Last but not least, as before, if you have an idea or something you want to see, please let me know! And without further ado, here’s the article list for the Modern Survival Guide, Volume Two:

“How-To” Articles

Uncomfortable Realities

Dangerous Stuff

Stuff You Should Just Know

Stuff That Needs Doing

  • How to Pay Off the US National Debt
  • The Fine Art of Charity
  • Fixing Toxic Cultures
  • Choosing Death vs. Choosing Life
  • The Big List of National Crises
  • Reconciling Contentious Choices
  • The Constant Necessity of Police Reform
  • The Constant Necessity of Criminal Justice Reform
  • The Constant Necessity of Constitutional Reform
  • Predicting the Future of America

¹But it would make me happy!