March 19, 2022
[00:00:55] Podcast Sponsors
[00:04:58] Guest Introduction
[00:07:05] How Tucker developed the skill of writing
[00:09:11] Tucker's Writing Process
[00:13:25] Tucker's Life Post-Scribe Media
[00:24:59] Podcast Sponsors
[00:28:36] How chopping in the yard led to Tucker's “doomer optimist” philosophy
[00:46:01] Why tight community is the answer to surviving chaos
[00:53:28] Practical tips for surviving a SHTF scenario
[01:22:49] The importance of raising educated and free-thinking children
[01:28:05] Final Thoughts
[01:32:38] End of Podcast
Ben: My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life Podcast.
Tucker: There are writers that people read because their sentences are beautiful. I'm not one of those. The reason people read my stuff is because I tell the truth. 2020, I'm like, “Man, this seems weird.” But, it did not reach the level for me. There's some sort of group of high-level people coordinating. The moment when I thought something was way off.
Ben: Sovereign individual. And, yeah, defense is going to be a natural byproduct of that. Not so you can go to war but just so you can protect your family.
Tucker: You can stop the people who are trying to go to war on you.
Ben: Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.
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So, wine is a pretty bastardized industry, but there's this one company, they're called Dry Farm Wines. Okay, it's dry because they don't irrigate their crops heavily so you get a grape that's more concentrated in antioxidants and lower in sugar. They have access to 55,000 acres of organic vineyards. Okay. Their growers farm roughly 7% of all the organic farms in Europe. So, these small family vineyards preserve healthy soil and dynamic biodiversity. You get the wine. It's old-world biodynamic wine. The way wine was meant to be. My wife gets headaches when we go out to a restaurant and order wine. And, when we drink Dry Farm at home, she's just fine. And, they even have 100% happiness promise. Any bottle you don't love, they'll replace a refund at Dry Farm.
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Alright, folks, my guest on today's podcast, I probably should have interviewed a long time ago because I've known him for quite some time, and he is a prolific author who can probably pronounce prolific better than I can pronounce it. He has written four New York Times best-selling books. Three of them hit number one. They've sold over four and a half million copies around the world. He's actually credited with being the originator of the literary genre fratire, which I think has something to do with fraternity and satire. And, he's only the fourth writer along with Malcolm Gladwell, Brene Brown, and Michael Lewis to have three books on the New York Times Nonfiction Bestseller List, at one time. So, this dude can write. He also co-founded Scribe Media, which is a professional publishing company that has published people like David Goggins, and Tiffany Haddish, and Dan Sullivan. He was nominated Time Magazine‘s 100 Most Influential People List. And, he lives now in Dripping Springs, Texas with his wife Veronica and his four children. And, his name is Tucker Max.
Tucker, welcome to the show, man.
Tucker: Thank you, brother.
Ben: By the way, does the name Dripping Springs seem kind of funny to you for the town that you live in?
Tucker: Of course. Yeah. I mean, it's very Texas, right?
Tucker: They got water, they're like, “Oh, we're going to name the town after the water here.” Well, there's not much water, it just kind of drips. Alright, well, there you go, Dripping Spring.
Ben: Yeah. I don't know. For some reason, it should be the name of a plumbing company or kind of a Roto-Rooter, Dripping Spring.
Tucker: Yeah. That'd be a terrible plumbing company name. That'd be like clogged toilet or something. It's like, “Who wants to be called clogged toilets?”
Ben: Yeah, yeah, that's true. Maybe just a term in plumbing. But anyways, I mean anybody listening in has probably at least seen the cover of one of your books. I don't know if they've read them or at least heard of some of your writing, and perhaps stumbled across your writing, or read books that have been heavily influenced by you and your writing.
And so, this might be kind of a selfish question, but you seem like a really good writer. And, I'll link to some of your essays for people listening. You can go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/TuckerMax. But, is this something that just always kind of came to you, the ability to just put pen to paper so to speak or finger to keyboard?
Tucker: No, being good at writing takes practice. Being good at any medium of communication, whether it's video, or speaking, or writing takes practice. A lot of people confuse the medium with the message. It's so funny. I'll meet people like, “I want to be a writer.” I'm like, “What do you have to say?” Then, they kind of look at me like, “I didn't think that that was part of the job,” which it doesn't have to be. You can just be some content mill schmuckit huffpost and have nothing to say and that's fine. Then, you're a writer, I guess. But, for me, writing took time, but the reason my writing does well is not because I'm a great writer. Yeah, I'm a good writer, I'm skilled at it, whatever. There are writers that people read because their sentences are beautiful. I'm not one of those. The reason people read my stuff is because I tell the truth or at least I tell my truth because I see it. I have no monopoly on truth. And, people will always, always, always stop and listen to people who are speaking truth.
Ben: Yeah, it's almost as though you're really not wordsmithing as much as you are or writing with kind of a bold authenticity, I guess, is the best way I could describe it. And–
Tucker: Authenticity and clarity. Because a lot of people think they're being real authentic and they might be. But, 40 pages in, I don't know what the hell they're trying to say. It's just nonsense.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Tucker: I'm very, very clear.
Ben: Yeah. Clear and to the point. Was it Mark Twain who wrote a letter to his friend and said, “My apologies if I had more time, this letter would have been shorter”? Something along those lines.
And so, for you, what's the actual process look like? I know that you work on some books, you work on some blog posts, you actually had a really fantastic one about prepping called Doomer Optimism that I actually want to ask you a few questions about later on. But, do you wake up in the morning and just begin writing? What's it actually look like for you in terms of your process?
Tucker: My normal process. Well, that used to be how it went. And then, I had kids. And so, now I wake up in the morning and I deal with my kids. Then, kids go to school, maybe eight-ish. And so, then normally, I'll take maybe half an hour, get all the nonsense kind of off my plate, whatever.
Ben: Drip your springs and all that good stuff.
Tucker: Yeah, right, exactly, drip to springs. And then, if I have something to write that day, then usually I try and do it in the morning. If I'm writing, 8:30 or 9:00 I start, and then I'm done by noon. In my experience, I almost never have more than three hours of good writing. Sometimes four if it's something I'm really into and I've got a lot of energy behind. But, I really don't have more than about three hours of creative writing type work in a day.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I think it's Cal Newport who in “Deep Work” mentioned that it's somewhere right around the three to four-hour time range that a human being just kind of poops out in terms of attention span and focus on a deep project.
Tucker: Yeah, yeah. I know. It's tough to do more without a lot of stimulants, or a lot of energy, or a lot of urgency.
Ben: Yeah. Do you have a dedicated workspace that you go to to write? Or, do you just kind of huff your laptop anywhere, coffee shop, wherever you happen to be and just write?
Tucker: The older I get, the more I need a dedicated space. And so, I'm at my house in Tennessee now, it's this room, which is kind of the office workroom. And then, at my ranch in Dripping Springs, I don't have a dedicated space yet because we just moved in and we rehabbed everything and it's kind of hellish.
Ben: Why do you have a house in Tennessee?
Tucker: You don't have a vacation house?
Ben: Oh, this is your vacation house.
Tucker: [00:11:31] ____ something?
Ben: Yeah. I'm still working. I'm still working. I'll get there eventually. I have a tree for it right now, Tucker, about 100 yards out of my office.
Tucker: No. God's honest truth man is because, look, we live in Texas for a lot of reasons. There's a lot of good things about Texas. Texas is the worst place on Earth to be in the summer. It is Africa hot in the summer and dry and horrible. Man, I'm not about to spend three months, June, July, August in Texas, only if I hate myself.
Ben: So, it's kind of the opposite of a winter home. You have a summer home.
Tucker: Yeah, exactly. We come here for Christmas and stuff like that. Because our house is awesome. It's kind of the middle of nowhere right on the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I mean, really, it's right at the bottom of the hills, trailhead of the mountain, trailhead start, and all that. So, it's a really cool sort of place. And so, my wife and I decided instead of going lots of different places every year for vacation, especially after COVID, we bought this house about six months after COVID kind of started because we're like, “Alright, well, clearly we're not going to be traveling the world doing a lot of that stuff, but where do we want to go?” We're like, “We want a house in the mountains.” So, we got one.
Ben: Yeah. Wow, cool. Well, in my defense, I actually am building a little cottage over in Idaho right now. And so, I'll eventually have my–
Tucker: So, your vacation house is like two hours from your regular house?
Ben: Yeah, honestly. Our family goes to Moscow a lot, Idaho, because we have some family there and we love it. And, we're like, “I don't know, why don't we have a place we could actually stay at down here rather than crashing in grandma's living room?” so, yeah. So, we're building a little house down there. But, we might actually move to Idaho but we'll see. That's a chat for another day.
But, for you right now, we're talking about your writing style and I know that you ran Scribe Media for a long time, which long story short, I'll describe your own business for you, Tucker, was a company that wrote books for people and also had this unique method of interviewing people via audio with a great team of editors and then producing a book for them. Is that a pretty good job at your 30-second elevator pitch?
Tucker: Yeah, a book writing and publishing company. Yeah.
Ben: Yeah. But, you're not doing that anymore?
Tucker: Nope. The company still exists. It's doing great. It's got a badass CEO, executive team. I just don't do anything with them.
Ben: What are you doing now?
Tucker: Podcast with some jerk I know from [00:14:05] _____.
Ben: Not right now. But, at this stage in your life, what makes you excited at this stage of your life, Tucker?
Tucker: Alright. So, yeah, I ran Scribe for two and a half years, then hired the CEO, was badass, and then left probably took longer than I needed to, but left after a total of seven years, I think, six and a half years. And, I'm really good at starting things and getting things to a certain point. Once things are mature and kind of have their own momentum, usually I'm not the dude. It's not my thing. What's funny is I'm in this weird in-between period. So, I wrote all those books, sold all those copies, started a company, helping people do that. That's over. And then, it happened to coincide with the birth of my fourth kid, Cardinal. She was born three weeks ago. I promised my wife I would not–
Ben: Congratulations, by the way.
Tucker: Thank you. I promise to my wife I would not do anything or start anything new for at least three months after she's born. So, April, May or so, if I want to start something new, if something's there, I can. But, honestly right now, Ben, I'm just taking time and space. We just moved on to our ranch. We got there in October. It's pretty nice, but it's not ready. It's not really prepared. And so, there's all the million things you have to do. I mean, you have property. We're not as out in the boondocks as you are, but we're pretty far out. I had to buy literally a whole carpenter's workshop, man, because there's just so much stuff to do. I'm not about to keep a carpenter on staff and it's like, “Good luck if you can get one out there every two weeks.” So now, I'm like, I know what [00:15:55] _____–
Ben: Wait, wait, wait. Hold on, dude. Are you poor? You don't have a carpenter on staff?
Tucker: I am one of those poors now. Yes.
Ben: Geez, you're one of those people.
Tucker: [00:16:05] _____ back on me, right? So, I have to actually cut some of my own wood like building cool stuff. I mean, we're building guesthouse and stuff. I'm not doing any of that. Those are real professionals. There's a million things around the ranch that need to do, animals, whatever. I built all the chicken runs, that kind of stuff. YouTube's amazing for that. So, kind of building all that stuff out. That's a lot of work. And, I'm new to it too. So, if I was a good carpenter, it'd be an hour a day at most. I'm not a good carpenter, I'm an amateur. So, it's six hours a day for me if I'm doing a project instead of one hour because I don't know what I'm doing.
Tucker: I set everything else up, setting solar, rain water capture, getting the animals on the land, setting everything sort of up in a really good way just takes a lot of time. It's the first time I've really done it. Not counting when I was a kid and worked on a farm. But, yeah, it's a lot of work.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. It reminds me a little bit of this book called “The Quest of the Simple Life,” old book. A guy named William Dawson wrote it. And, there there's actually a great summary of the book online, the website Sloww, S-L-O-W-W-.co. They do really great book summaries and lessons and courses based on books. But, this “Quest of the Simple Life” is just basically about a guy who transitioned from life as a clerk in London out to the country and downsized, and downshifted and engaged in more simple living as the title alludes to but discovered a great deal of satisfaction in doing actual work with his hands and learning a lot of the things that you're talking about right now like how to raise chickens, how to chop wood, how to get water from point A to point B. And, there's something about that type of work that's–
Tucker: Because it's meaningful.
Ben: Yeah, it's exhilarating.
Tucker: Pushing paper is always, always bullshit, always. And so, when you actually raise chickens, that actually means something.
Tucker: That's actually unquestionably productive. You can tell yourself a story about paper-pushing that might be true about how it's a necessary part of something else that's productive. But, it's never in and of itself a productive activity. It is, at best, a facilitation of a productive activity. I know I sound like Karl Marx, which is because I'm the opposite of [00:18:47]_____. There's a lot of truth to that critique. It is true. You probably don't know what these are, but for my first carpentry thing, I built a VTAC shooting barrier, which are like fairly simple things to do carpentry-wise. But, I was so excited and so impressed with myself and so proud of myself even though I know objectively it's a week 1 beginning carpentry skill. It's the first thing you work on. Just to teach you, here's how. It's a good thing like if you want to learn how to use a jigsaw and a circular saw and whatever, it's a good simple way to practice all that, which is exactly what it was for me. I was so legit proud like I was texting pictures of it to my friends be like, “Look what I built.” And, they're like, “Okay, cool.”
Tucker: But, I'm seriously proud of myself, almost to the point I was mildly embarrassed at how proud I was of something so simple. And, I was like, “Oh, of course” because it's like a real thing that actually matters. Most of the stuff I do does matter, but it's just so much of modern life is quite honestly meaningless nonsense.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And, I think a lot of people, they don't realize that most folks are really wired up to be from a creator standpoint either crafts people or artists right. And, those are two of the most fulfilling things that one can put their hands to: building a chicken coop or painting with watercolor. And, he actually, the Dawson guy who I mentioned on that “Quest of a Simple Life” book, he gets into how there's a very small number of people who are business geniuses, who are for them, their adventure, their crusade, their romance, their epic sense of meaning really is to a certain extent pushing papers or more specifically like making deals, running politics, studying economics, just making the city run so to speak. But, that's not actually what makes most people happy when it comes to the work we put our hands to. For most people, it's like creating via crafting, or artistry, or something that actually results in you being able to hold something up to the camera and say, “Hey, look, I made this.” Not necessarily so that people can see it, but just for the joy of making it, and creating it, and doing your art.
Tucker: Yup, exactly. I've spent most of my adult life creating things writing and all that stuff beautiful. I love it. I'm not trying to compare better or worse, but it is definitely something fundamentally different to create something physical with your hands. Again, not better or worse, right? They're just different and they're both meaningful in very different ways. It's funny. I have hardly written it all since I got to my ranch. And, I can tell myself the stories because I'm busy with the ranch stuff, that's BS. If I wanted to make time, I would make time. It's just because honestly, I had no idea how fun it was to chop wood. Because when I was younger, I had to chop wood as like a chore and I hated it. Well, first off, a much better splitting maul and all that kind of stuff, but like I'm doing it for my family and for myself. And, number one and number two, I see it for what it is or it can be, which is a fantastic workout as well. And so, it's actually a lot of fun. Now, if I had to do it eight hours a day every day, I'd probably hate it.
Ben: You even give me a book to write. Yeah.
Tucker: No. But, I'm like, “Okay, I'm going to chop wood for an hour today because I feel like it.” And then, I chop whatever, a half a quart of wood, or something. It's like, “Oh, wow, that's super fun and it's productive.”
Tucker: I actually have wood now we can burn in the house.
Ben: Yeah, I agree. And, it's also the perfect antidote for a married man who's also bringing new babies into the world, that whole idea that your testosterone will decrease almost as though the wandering hormone tends to naturally decrease from an ancestral or evolutionary standpoint in married men. Yet, at the same time, doing meaningful physical work with one's hands. And, in particular, and specifically, this has even been looked at in research chopping wood to increase your testosterone as the perfect way to keep yourself put together from an endocrine system standpoint as well. Yeah, yeah, chopping wood actually increasing–
Tucker: There's been studies that chopping wood increases testosterone.
Ben: Yes, there have. Chopping wood increases testosterone. I suppose carrying water would be the other one. But, I mean it's not surprising, it's an explosive powerful activity. And, we know anything like that. You could probably be out in your yard with unchopped wood doing barbell snatches and see a similar increase in testosterone. But, yeah, that's the general idea. Although, I suspect that if you were to compare something like, well, let's just say barbell snatches versus chopping wood, and this is getting a little bit theoretical. You'd probably see a greater increase in testosterone from chopping wood because that's a meaningful preparatory activity that especially for a dude makes you feel like you're bringing home the bacon so to speak.
Tucker: I would bet on that result, too. If I had to go to a CrossFit workout and take whatever they're called, the little mace things, and hit a tire with it, which is essentially the exact same movement, I'd be like, “Yeah, okay, whatever.” But, chopping, it's such a primal activity and it's unforgiving. You don't hit it square on, then you got problems. And, it's not super dangerous but it's dangerous enough. You can't like be on your phone when you're doing it. You're swinging an 8-pound maul, that's a serious weapon. That will mess you up. Even I chop wood with steel-soled boots because I never hit my shoe. But, god forbid, I don't feel like losing toes.
Tucker: It's living a real life, a life connected to reality into nature I should say.
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Alright. Hey, quick thing. Got two cool upcoming events for you. One is the Health Optimization Summit in London. I'm coming all the way to London. Alright, all details are at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Calendar, but it's May 28th through 29th. It's a massive health optimization and biohacking summit, May 28th through the 29th, 2022. If you want to go to London and maybe you got travel bug because you haven't traveled in a while due to restrictions, well, it's wide open now, baby, and we are going to have fun in London. So, May 28th through the 29th.
In addition to that, right before that, May 12th through 14th, for those of you who don't feel like going out of the country maybe, Austin, Texas, is an event called RUNGA. And, RUNGA is an amazing, amazing experience put on by my friend Joe DiStefano. And, we do everything from ice baths to kettlebells to sauna to meditation to organic food and organic wine. We basically party down like healthy people for three days. And, it is an amazing immersive experience. And, it's open right now for registration. Again, you can go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Calendar for all the details. That's May 12th through the 14th in Austin, Texas. I hope to see you there and/or at the Health Optimization Summit, May 28th through 29th. Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Calendar for all the nitty-gritty details.
That part of this really the whole chopping wood and having a ranch out in Texas component, I would imagine if you could, I suppose, rewind two or three years that maybe you would never seen yourself doing that. But, in a few of the essays that you wrote about what you call “Doomer Optimism,” you kind of get into that progression for you, that path for you so to speak from pre-COVID to where you are right now. And, I'd love to actually hear a little bit of that from you, how you actually got to the point where you were chopping wood in the backyard and where you're at right now in terms of where you see the world going. That's a big question, but we got time. Go ahead.
Tucker: Yeah. Okay. To be clear, there's kind of two things. They don't have to connect but they do. So, I was chopping one in the backyard in my Tennessee house, which we bought after COVID but right after. So, chopping wood is just about connecting with yourself with nature, the things that make you human. And, I've done more and more of that over the last two years definitely. But, what I wrote about the “Doomer Optimism” article, honestly man, if you've been awake and alive the past two years, you've seen, “Oh, wow, a lot of what I thought about the world wasn't true.” I think most people at least in the west, their assumption was, yeah, for all its problems, our government is basically full of competent people trying to do the right thing who are going to usually make the right decisions. And, we all want the best even if maybe we disagree on the path. Okay. And, I think that's clearly not true. Do some people like that in government exist? Of course, but they're the minority now and they're not in power. And, it's obvious if you've been paying attention at all that things are changing very rapidly in this world and in ways that honestly are unpredictable at this point.
I mean, dude, when I wrote the “Doomer Optimism” piece, Russia had not invaded Ukraine. That's so funny, man. I wrote that piece. So, basically, let me explain to your audience. “Doomer Optimism” is most people either gloom and doom, or everything's great. I don't think either of those positions are realistic or correct. So, Doomer Optimism is a combination of the two ideas. It's basically the recognition of the shit's going to hit the fan, and is hitting the fan now, and is going to hit it worse. But, also the belief that if you do your work, if we do our work and if you do your work, things are going to end up okay. Look around or pay attention to historical cycles, we are going into a major period of chaos.
The piece I wrote, I think it came out right after Christmas, right?
Tucker: And, it's so funny I wrote that. I'm like, “Guys, if you think the last two years are things going back to normal,” or just that's it, things are a little bit more chaotic but not much, I'm like, “you're a fool.” And then, the precursor potentially to World War III starts. I didn't plan this at all. It's so funny because so many people are like, “This is nonsense. And, what are you talking about? The world's not getting more chaotic.” And, all those idiots have Ukraine flags in their avatars now, by the way. You saw COVID hit. I watched all the videos, everyone else did. I just want to talk about the progression. I'm like, “Oh, this seems like it might be a bad thing. People are dropping dead in the street in China. Yeah. Maybe we should wear masks and lock down.” That was in March.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And, I was right there with you, by the way. I–
Tucker: Totally, totally. You can look at my Twitter feed, I'm like, “They shouldn't have south by this year,” blah, blah, blah. I was one of those.
Ben: Yeah. I had a freaking pallet of N95 face masks. We have a quarter-mile-long driveway. I would walk down the driveway with the spray bottle. I forget which antiviral solution I had packaged up in the spray bottle. Open the mailbox, spray each piece of mail individually and then bring my mail back up the driveway so that it was safe for the family when I got the mail home. That was when COVID first came out.
Tucker: Right, right. I mean, listen, if it was a weaponized small pox, what you did made sense, which we didn't know for a few weeks.
Tucker: And then, April comes along and I'm like, “Okay, we still don't really know what COVID is, but this response does not look like anything that makes sense in the long history of humans dealing with infectious disease, and pandemics, and plagues.” Nothing anyone's doing is making sense. And, they're [BLEEP] lying. A bunch of people are lying. And then, May hit and I'm like, “Okay, this is just bullshit.” By May 2020, I was back in the gym doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu because my instructor is Brazilian, he's like, “This is stupid.” I'm like, “I know.” So, we just kind of secretly went back and started. And, I'm like, “Okay, this is all nonsense.” And then, June comes along and worst, George Floyd video horrible gut-wrenching heartbreaking, people take to the streets upset, which I understand. I get it. And then, all of a sudden, it's like, oh, no, no, we're going to pause COVID for a while, racial justice is more important. It's like, okay. So, clearly, you're all a bunch of lying bullshitters. Because like, yeah, I'm with you. If you're going to say people need to go protest, cool. Don't pretend that it is not going to create COVID issues, just stop lying. Okay. And then, it just got worse and worse and worse, man. We still don't know what happened with that election. It seems weird. Who knows, right? And, the way the vaccines were played, I mean, come on, man. As soon as Trump loses, all of a sudden, the vaccines are coming out. When they were ready two weeks earlier and I'm like, “This is such bullshit.” But, you go, “Okay, those are all small low-level people”–
Ben: And, that's one year. That's basically like spring of 2020 up through the end of 2020. You've got the emergence of COVID, the hype, George Floyd, the vaccine, some of just the general illogical activities going on behind it all. But, question for you, and then, of course, I'd love to get into 2021 and your progression here of where you're at mentally. Were you thinking at that time in 2020 that this could have been some kind of a coordinated, what do you call it, PSYOPs type of thing? Or, is this just a whole bunch of people being stupid people?
Tucker: So, it's funny. So many people, their argument against high-level conspiracy theories or conspiracies is that most things can be chalked up to stupidity and incompetence. And, they're right. It's true. The vast majority of it are. And, it's probably true all the time at low levels of government.
Ben: The stereotypical like there's nobody smart enough to actually pull this off. There's no Mr., what do you call them, Smithers or whatever from “The Simpsons” like sitting up in a boardroom, his hands together. Yeah.
Tucker: My default is that that position is correct. The problem with conspiracy type shit is that so many of the people who push that stuff, they'll be right about 20% of what they're talking about and then the other 80%, they're like, “We never went to the moon and the Chinese control the weather.” And, I'm like, “Ah, stop it.” Like just stop.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Tucker: Take Alex Jones, Alex Jones was banging the drum about Jeffrey Epstein for 15 years. Turns out he was right. He was exactly right.
Tucker: Totally right. But then, auction is also saying school shootings are false flags. I'm like, “Ah, stop it, dude.”
Ben: It's a dent to credibility.
Tucker: I get that. In 2020, I'm like, “Man, this seems weird,” but it did not reach the level for me of like, “Okay, there's some sort of group of high-level people coordinating stuff.” No, not in 2020. The moment when I thought something was way off was January 6th. That was when the drunken idiot rioters were let into the Capitol building. There's now released video of this. It depends actually which interest. Some interest is the cops let people in, others they try to blockade, the whole thing was guess. I watched what happened, I saw the pictures, I saw the video like live feeds, and then I saw the media framed it. Immediately the entire media coalesced on a very, very specific term and framing, insurrection. And, I was like, “Oh, wow, hold on. I know media.” Right now, what's going on in Ukraine? I don't really know war. I don't know Eastern European politics that well. I'm not going to pretend like I'm an expert on what's going on, but I know media. And so, as soon as the Ukrainian-Russian thing, whatever, the Russian invasion happened, I knew immediately, the media, just like January 6, they immediately coalesced on a narrative. All of them at once immediately coalesced on a narrative. And, whenever that happens in media, you know for a fact, it doesn't mean like some shady, a doctor evil character has told them all what to do but you know there's a level of coordination. They don't coordinate.
Okay. So, Ezra Klein and that whole group at box.
Tucker: Before Obama's second term, they had a Slack group or it might have been different, whatever. But, they had all of this, the very leftist media were from all different outlets, were literally all on a Slack channel coordinating how they were going to cover Obama, which like, “I know Barack.” I like Barack. That's bullshit.
Ben: You mean the heads of various media organizations like Fox, NBC, CBS, they're all this slack channel?
Tucker: Absolutely. That's not a conspiracy, this is an admitted thing. I know how media works and I know narrative. And, I know whenever everyone in the media is trying to convince you of something, you know for a fact it's a lie, always.
Now, the opposite may not be true. So, in Ukraine right now, “Oh, Ukrainian heroes.” All of the hero stories that came out the first week are all bullshit. No ghost of Kyiv, the soldiers captured, they surrender. All of the stories are bullshit, right?
Tucker: The Ukrainians are not, and I mean the Ukrainian government, not the people. Ukrainian government's not the good guys. It doesn't mean Putin's a good guy, he's a [BLEEP] tyrant too who kills his own people. They can both be bad actors. Just because the media is lying doesn't mean the opposite is true, it means there's a reason why everyone wants you to believe the same thing at once. And, that is never ever a good reason for you. It happened kind of in COVID, but it was kind of weird how it happened and it wasn't that coalesced and that immediate. January 6th, it was immediate, it was immediate and uniform. And, that's when I just got this feeling, man. I'm like, sometimes you see something and before you can intellectually process it, you know what it is like on a deep intuitive level, I just knew. The only way I can frame it is I knew the American, and I don't necessarily mean this literally, but I knew America had fallen. The idea of America and the concept of America–
Ben: The idea of a republic.
Tucker: The idea of a free republic elected officials basically good actors, something was rotten to the core. I'm not going to pretend I know all the details and facts. And, if I really knew everything that's going on, I'd either be on the inside or dead I'm sure.
Tucker: But, I don't. You don't have to know. If you're walking into a restaurant, a beautiful-looking restaurant, you see a roach on the floor, you know. Don't eat there. You don't have to know anything else. You can tell yourself a story. Okay, I'll just clean my food. Man, you see a roach on the outside, I work I grew up in restaurants. If you see a roach, there's 10,000 you don't see. There's not 10, not 100, 10,000.
Tucker: You could say maybe 100 rats. Maybe, if you're lucky. No, dude. God, the whole thing about January 6 is such, it's so brazen, and it's so obvious, and it's such a transparent lie. And, it's not like I'm trying to defend those people, a bunch of Trump idiots, they're just the opposite of the woke. They're just the other side. I can't stand either side. The MAGA Extremists are no different than the woke, they just picked a different side.
Tucker: And, those morons were rioters and should not have been there and were acting like idiots. And, yeah, they should have been arrested at the time. But, no, of course, they shouldn't still be in jail in this sedition and to overthrow the government with what? None of them were armed. What the hell are they going to do? They're going to take the gavel and now they run the country? Shut up. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.
Tucker: It's transparently ridiculous, which is, by the way, one of the hallmarks of propaganda. It's so stupid and so dumb that to believe it, you have to deny your own reality. I mean, what like the defining quote in 1984, “Believe the party, not your lying eyes” or something, right? So, that happened, and then it took me honestly a few days to emotionally process. Because up to that point, I'm like, “Okay, things might be broken, but I mean, come on, it's still America.
Tucker: At that point, I knew. And, probably people, “Listen, this guy's lost his mind.” “Okay, cool, we're going to see. We're going to see.” And so, at that point then, I got really serious. My wife and I, we want to be on land. In fact, you and your family were, a lot of ways, a model for us. We kind of want to do what Ben's doing except not quite so extreme–
Ben: Where were you guys living at that point?
Tucker: In Austin.
Ben: Okay. Alright.
Tucker: Yeah. And so, we knew we wanted to stay in Texas. Politically, the only two places, in my opinion, to be in America. There's maybe three places: Idaho, Texas, and Florida. And, I think there's really bad arguments for Idaho and Florida. I think Texas really, in my opinion, is the only place to be in America. You can make a legit argument for about five or six other states, but I think Texas is the best. So, we knew we were going to stay in the state.
Ben: At least it's the most likely to secede and probably has the highest number of citizens well-equipped to defend themselves.
Tucker: So, Ben, you guys stick with me. Once I saw January 6th, it's like my brain flipped. And, I understood, we, all of us in America, we have grown up in the bosom of probably the safest most abundant period in the history of the world. If you're truly American, you don't have any [BLEEP] idea what it means to be afraid for your life on a daily basis, to be truly insecure about life liberty property. You don't understand anything.
Tucker: Right. And so, the only reason I have an inkling of that is because I've spent so much time overseas. And so, you spend enough time in places like India, or Africa, or Egypt, you're like, “Oh, okay. Wow, the world's very different,” right?
Tucker: And so, I'm not pretending like I understand what it's like to be an African, but I do understand what it's like to be an American in Africa.
Okay. If I'm right, if the American Empire truly has fallen, if it's rotted from the inside, let's say, then we're going into a period of extreme chaos. This is a year ago. If we're going into a period of extreme chaos, then all of these things that people take for granted are no longer going to be true. So, I need to start thinking about being really serious like what do we do when everything you rely on doesn't work? Meaning, not only do the cops not show up, they don't exist. I'm just saying in extreme cases. What do you do when there's no gas? What do you do when there's no electricity? What do you do when there's no water? What do you do when there's no food in the grocery store?
Ben: Yeah. What do you do if you have to be a sovereign man and responsible for everything that you actually need? What would that actually look like?
Tucker: No one alive in America has had to really actually understand what it means to be sovereign.
Ben: There's a quick subtle nuance there, of course. And, correct me if I'm wrong, Tucker, but when you and I throw a word like sovereign, we're not saying that you should be able to deceive yourself that you can survive in a completely independent lone wolf operative scenario in community. It's enormously important, more important actually I think now more than ever. But, at the same time, even if it means interdependence and community doing that without necessarily having to be reliant upon an external source like the government to care for you, or protect you, or defend you is what you're getting at.
Tucker: 100%. Most people confuse freedom and sovereignty. And, most people's concept of freedom is very juvenile. “I get to do whatever I want.” Okay, fine. If you combine freedom and responsibility, very roughly I'm talking about, that's really what sovereignty is. Assuming it's chosen responsibility.
Okay. So, let me keep going on this. You're exactly right. Community and sovereignty go hand in hand. I'm not trying to go live off-grid. That doesn't work. That's nonsense. The people who survive chaos are people who are in groups effective tight-knit groups that have skills that are in good places, good positions, good leadership. Those are the people who survive chaos, not lone wolf Rambos. That's a nonsense American movie idea from the '80s.
So, anyway, so I honestly kind of panicked a little bit last January. I got a friend who was in Chechnya during the original sort of Chechen Revolution. I got a couple of friends who came over from Serbia and Croatia. And then, I got a lot of friends in the military, specifically Green Berets. And, their job basically is to start revolutions or end them. They go into chaotic places and train people how to deal with chaos. That's what they do. And so, I talked to all of them as many as I could. And, man, the thing that blew my mind, first, the number one thing they all told me is exactly what you just said, Ben, community. Because most people, they think of prepping like, “Oh, I'll build a bunker and I'll go hide for a while.” That's not going to work. You're not going to make it. That is an idea that is a relic of the Cold War nuclear sort of holocaust. Maybe that was a relevant preparation method for a nuclear holocaust, although I think even then it wasn't that great but it was better than nothing, let's say. But, for what's coming for a world of, let's say, broken supply chains, complete cutting off of networks like what's happening to Russia right now of all kinds of tyranny, you've got to be in a group and a good one. It doesn't have to be big. Sovereignty and community go hand in hand for humans.
Tucker: I mean, maybe there's other animals like great white sharks. It doesn't go together. Humans, it does. And so, they all said that. Number one was community. Number two that they all talked about was you need to start thinking on a really primal level about resources. Where do you get your water?
Tucker: Where do you get your food? Where do you get your energy? Can you keep it when a gang of men with guns comes to take it? Not the sheriffs to arrest you for property tax but these is things we've never had to think about in America ever.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Tucker: Right. And, even right now, today in most places in America, I would argue we don't have to think about this right now today. But, if you want to understand what America can be like, if all these very fragile global systems that hold us together don't work, think about what New Orleans was like after Katrina, or what Texas was like last February.
Ben: When it snowed.
Tucker: During the winter apocalypse.
Tucker: No, I'm serious. Dude, I'm not kidding. It's so funny. January 6 happens and then the winter apocalypse hit. I live in Texas. At that point, I was kind of ready, and then the winter apocalypse hit, and I'm like, “Oh, man. I was more ready than 95% of people and I would have [BLEEP] died after two weeks.” I was screwed. I was not ready. And, I had a freezer full of bags, 600 pounds of meat, and I had guns out, ammo out the ass, and all this stuff, and I still, without going too deep into detail, I realized I was not even in the realm of being ready. And so, it's like, oh, man. And, you know why? Because I wasn't sovereign. I didn't own and control my water source. I didn't own and control my power source. I had backup food, but I had non-redundant power supplies like I had not much food. There were all kinds of gaps I had. We didn't have any toilet paper or whatever. 20 things or 50 things that we just didn't have backups on, or supplies on, or ways to get them. There were all these things. And so, that's really when I started diving in with the people I know who have lived through chaos and survived it and thrived it. I'm like, “Alright, we need to go get on land, good land that can support agriculture and can support animals, that has its own water, and that where we can have multiple backup power supplies.” Now, I'm not living off-grid, man. No one lives off-grid. That's nonsense. In the world we live in, off-grid doesn't–you think you're off-grid, what are you going to do when your power coupler fries for your solar? You realize you're not off-grid. You're on China's grid, right?
Tucker: So, I understand I'm not off-grid, no one's off-grid. But, I mean, Dripping Springs is one of those weird places just kind of like coalesced and me and 30 other people like you and I. You're not there, but people like us are there. The reason I picked it and a bunch of us picked it is because they already had a large ranching and ex-military contingent. So, I'm not going to go too deep into that community, Dripping Springs is a great place to be. It is. There's a reason the land up there is going for well over a hundred grand an acre and it's crap land.
Tucker: Like the growing stuff or whatever.
Ben: Geez, a hundred grand an acre.
Tucker: Hundred grand an acre, an hour outside of Austin.
Ben: I'm on 9 acres and I paid 90,000 for 9 acres. And, you'll land–
Tucker: [00:53:16] _____, it's in Washington.
Ben: Oh, yeah. Yeah, land in Idaho is getting a little bit more expensive. But, I've got 12 acres over there and I guarantee I didn't pay anywhere close to 100k an acre on that.
But, yeah, regardless what getting at is this idea that there are multiple factors that need to be taken into consideration, multiple things that need to be covered. We could talk about the threat of hyperinflation and what's actually going to happen until we're blue in the face. But, I really want to focus on some of the more practical aspects of, let's assume that you need to be ready for something either way, what are some of the main things that you cover?
So, you mentioned that your source of power, your source of water, and your source of food are all important. But, boots on the ground or axe in the hands, so to speak, what are some of the other main things that you have done or some of the main specific things that you've done in those sectors; food, water, and electricity that you just think people should know?
Tucker: There's five points: defense, water, food, power, community. So, I'll go through some basic parts of each one. Defense is number one. And, the reason I didn't think defense was that important until literally one of the SF guys goes, he went through, like, “Oh, I got this and this, and all my supplies.” And, not just preppings like dried foods, fine, but I want chickens, not dried food. I want stuff that can produce assets. And, he's like, “This is all cool.” He goes, “So, what you've just done is all the work I need to do because I'm going to get 10 of my buddies and come take it.” And, I was like, “Oh, shit,” which is why defense and community are often heavily intertwined. Because even if I have the most badass guns on Earth, I'm not beating to him and even three of his buddies, I'm done, I'm out. They got me.
Alright, so for defense, but pre-COVID, I had a hunting rifle and a pistol. And, I think my wife had a shotgun. Now, I have an arsenal. I mean, I went a little overboard with guns, but I have some badass assault weapons and tons of training on how to use them, a lot of ammo. I'm not going to tell you how much, it's so much, it's ridiculous, dude. It's insane. I bought a lot. I bought ammo by the palette. Anyways, which I wouldn't look crazy there. But, it's not just a gear, man. I mean, god, I've burned through Sheepdog Responses courses. That's Tim Kennedy‘s training.
Tucker: I've trained with Clay Martin.
Ben: Did you and your wife both take the Sheepdog Response?
Tucker: Yes. She hasn't done it yet. Once she recovers from the baby, I'm going to get her trained in long-distance shooting like I'm an okay shot at distance, but she's actually a really good shooter. With a carbine, she's a badass. I'll put her right next to me, I know. But, I want her sniping. We've got her set up. It's insane the person who's going to be training her. It's so cool.
And so, not just that hand-to-hand, I mean there's knife, there's so many levels of defense. What's your car situation? What's this? What's that? So, the guy who really set me up with defense, I actually hired him as a consultant. His name is Clay Martin.
Tucker: He wrote the book, “Concrete Jungle” and “Prairie Fire.” He's an Ex-Green Beret, 20 years in Special Forces. “Prairie Fire” is basically a book about what's going to happen when the shit hits the fan in America. It's an amazing book, man. I read that book and I about vomited in a couple sections.
Ben: Is that a new book?
Tucker: It's pretty new. I think it's only been on about a year and a half.
Tucker: Yeah. Ben, you should actually have Clay on your podcast. I can connect you with him. He's a good friend of mine now.
Ben: Fascinating. Yeah, let's do that later on.
Tucker: Okay, cool. So anyway, so I got really set up not just buying guns and sitting them on a shelf. I know how to use a gun. And, not just like, “Oh, I can plank some metal target 10 feet away.” No, no, like a lot of stress training. I hesitate to call it combat training, but it's the step below combat choice. Serious engaged firefight self-defense strength, right. Hand-to-hand combat with knives, guns, things like that. How do you use a gun when someone attacks you? How do you use a knife? How do you defend against these things? I mean, I've been doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu for years, so I'm a brown belt in jiu-jitsu. That was an area I was already pretty comfortable, but I realized I didn't really actually know what the hell I was talking about and I really wasn't ready.
Ben: Right. Well, what happens when you're rolling and someone actually has a knife tucked into their belt loop or a gun stash in their sock? Because I've done that Sheepdog Course and it's a lot different to roll when you're at the same time keeping your one eye open for someone's weapon and your other eye on their hand. It's a whole new variable.
Tucker: It's so crazy you bring that up. Because I went to the Sheepdog Course–At that point I was a purple belt. And, I know Tim, he rolls at my gym with me. I know him really well. And so, I'm like, I walk in and I know all the instructors because I've rolled with them, half of them I've submitted in jiu-jitsu. And so, I'm like, okay, I'm basically like an instructor for the hand-to-hand part. And, for the first day, I kind of was. I would roll with the women and kind of help them through their stuff. And, when I find some dude, I just smash them and it was super fun. And then, the next day, they added knives. And, those same women that I was like going 10% with because I'm not trying to hurt them were [BLEEP] my world up for like 15 minutes or half an hour. Old ladies were stabbing me in the liver. Dude, it was actually super shocking because I realized, before that, if I had gone into combat or if I had a fight, just a street fight with some smoke and he had a knife, I was going to die.
Tucker: And, I would have thought I was going to be fine.
Ben: Right. Not because you suck but simply because you're not yet unconsciously competent in that scenario.
Tucker: Right. They have no chance against me unarmed. But, old women with knives at that point were killing me. And, dude, it was such a crazy refrain because I'd literally realize man, if I had gotten into a knife fight on the street the morning before, I would have died. It's not that I couldn't handle it, after about half an hour, I got the skills and I integrated with jiu-jitsu. I was solid with defending against a knife. But, I didn't know. The unknown, unknowns are the ones that kill you. And so, that was one of those where it was like, “Oh, my god.” I sat in my truck afterwards and I'm like, “Oh, my god, I thought I was a badass and I would have gotten myself killed.”
And so, that's actually when I hired Clay to really run through all my gear and everything. And, he was just so good, man.
Alright, defense. Here's the thing. A lot of people are like, “What are you going to do? You're going to fight the U.S. military?” I'm like, “I'm not talking about secession.” Although the U.S. might break up in some way shape or form. No, civilians, I don't think it's a realistic scenario that civilians are going to be fighting the military in the street. But, what is a very realistic scenario is the summer of 2020. In Austin where I live, Antifa was doing riots. They were just doing their riots. Seriously, some dude, and I know this for a fact because I trained with all the SWAT cops, some dude rolled up and was handing out AK-47s to rioters. And, a Lyft driver pulled around the corner and some random guy who had gotten handed an AK-47 like half an hour before, he raised his AK at the Lyft driver. Turns out the Lyft driver was an off-duty sergeant in the infantry who had his 45 right there. And, who done two tours in Iraq. He saw a dude pull an AK on him, he did what a soldier does. He pulled his gun and put two in his chest. So, could that happen? Hell, yes, that could happen. Absolutely.
Tucker: In fact, that did happen. For an entire summer, there were massive horrific pockets of violence in America, unrestrained violence in America which we haven't seen since the '70s.
Ben: If you were to ask in the 1770s or whatever, any of the American patriots, these farmers prior to the American Revolution whether they were preparing for war, preparing for a secession, or preparing for a massive cataclysmic event, you probably wouldn't get a ton of yeses. They were all just basically caring for their farms, their land, preparing themselves to be able to defend themselves against anything from a bear, to a raid, to anything like that, but they weren't necessarily preparing for war. So, it sounds to me like really, the mentality should be just prepare yourself to be able to be a responsible free sovereign individual. And, yeah, defense is going to be a natural byproduct of that. Not so you can go to war, but just you can protect your family from anything.
Tucker: You can stop the people who are trying to go to war on you. I hope to God, I never have to pull my gun in anger and shoot someone. Seriously. Dude, pre-COVID, I had a hunting rifle because I like to hunt, and I had a pistol and it was in a case in my closet. I'm not one of those dudes who was buying up all this gear. I was not a tactical wannabe pre-COVID. I just wasn't, man. I liked hunting and that was it. I only hunted once a year. And, I hunted deer. Come on, right?
Tucker: Post-COVID, you see me with a fanny pack, it's got a gun in it. It's actually on a podcast I did in person. I showed the dude, you just moved to Texas, it was hilarious. But, yeah, dude. Downtown Austin is not safe.
Tucker: Not anymore, man. There's all kinds of shooting. It used to be like, “Man, no problem.”
Ben: Well, if you see me walking through Walmart, my fanny pack has fingernail clippers in it. But, if you have my wife walking next to me, hers has the Glock Gen 4 rapid recoil. So, just don't mess with her. I'll be able to clip your nails though.
Okay. So, defense, defense is one. You got your knife skills. You got gun skills. I'd imagine home defense, security system, just anything that would go into defense. That's the first thing to be thinking about.
Tucker: Best home defense, a dog, big dog. We have two big ones. Two big ones.
Ben: Good point.
Tucker: Lots of other things you can do, very little beats big dogs. Defense locked in. That's the prong I'm probably the most confident with in my life right now. Then, after that is water. Again, this is survival. In all degrees of survival. And, survival first, sovereignty second. You can't go very long without water. Part of the big thing we were looking for when we were picking property was we want wells. On rivers or creeks in Texas is good, but it's iffy because the way water works in Texas is super weird. And so, being on full year-round creeks and rivers doesn't actually always guarantee access to water. Without getting into water rights and all that nonsense. But, having a well, a good well means you're good. So, we have a well where the water table is at 400 feet, and the well's dug to 700. So, we're good to go. And, that thing just pumps water all day all night, no problem. We are actually also installing a rainwater capture, a 30,000-gallon rainwater capture thing. Now, we're in Texas like where you are and you just have a bucket, you're good with water. I'm in Tennessee right now. Seriously, it rains 20 inches a month here, something nonsense. But, we don't worry about water here.
Tucker: Texas water isn't the most important thing. So, where you are is highly dependent on how important. Water's the most important to everyone, but how much focus you have to have on.
Ben: Yeah. And, one subtle nuance regarding water by the way is don't assume that if it's a well or a spring that you're drinking clean water. I mean, I have a really great well with a good flow rate but I also have high levels of bacterial-based iron and manganese and could look like I've been eating heavy metal-laden sushi for a year if I don't address that.
Tucker: What do you use? Berkey filter?
Ben: Oh, for my well water? Oh, no. I have a hydrogen peroxide-based scrubbing filter for the iron that then passes through a manganese filter for the manganese, then that goes through double block carbon filtration. And then, finally, before it enters into the pipes in the house, it goes through a structured water bore testing system to kind of restore it back to its natural vibratory frequency before it goes through all those other filters. So, it's a pretty elaborate setup, but it's for a well. I'm not filtering out my neighbor birth control supplies or municipal water issues, it's literally that nice romantic clean well in the backyard. But, even those, you got to test the water and make sure you have the right filtration system set up.
Tucker: Yeah, okay. Well, you're way ahead of me. I have Berkey filters. Those kept the British army healthy for 130 years.
Ben: The only reason I'm ahead of you is my dad is a water filtration ninja. His company is water filtration system, so I just know. I can connect you with him if you want.
Tucker: Alright. But, yes, filtration, extremely important, cleanliness with water obviously.
So, the next, food. So, we live in Texas, not easy to grow stuff but definitely possible as long as you're smart with water and how you do stuff. But, what we decided, my wife and I, we prioritized. As soon as we got on the land, we put cows on. We deep freezes, of course, like multiple huge ones, bought a full cow and a full bison, slaughtered them, put them in the freezer, bought two cows for the land, which it doesn't sound like much but that's two years of meat basically as they grow and mature. So, we're pretty good on meat. Then, we're adding sheep and also chickens.
Ben: Yeah. You got to talk to Jordan Rubin. Yeah, Jordan Rubin. I had a fascinating discussion with him because he runs all these redundant farms. He said that if he'd go back and do it over again, he wouldn't start with cows, he'd start with yaks and water buffalo. He said their ability to be able to care for themselves, the meat, everything is superior with those, which is interesting. If I ever get livestock, I'll probably go for yaks.
Tucker: Really? In Texas?
Ben: Yeah, yaks, water buffalo, and then duck instead of chickens. Those are his recommendations.
Tucker: Yeah, my wife has been talking about duck. Because she loves ducks. So, we did get red angus, and we got only steers.
Tucker: In terms of caring for themselves, we don't need it. We're good to go. Red angus, they're almost as hardy as longhorns with that stuff. But, hold on, who's milking a water buffalo, man? Or, is he milking the yak?
Ben: I don't know. I really haven't had the opportunity yet to wrap my hand around a yak nipple.
Tucker: Those are mean animal.
Ben: But, when I do, I'll let you know.
Tucker: Okay. Alright. That's actually super interesting. I want to look into that. Thank you for that.
Alright. So, dealt with protein, then next we're adding smaller protein: sheep, chickens, ducks. Then, we're going to start adding this spring. We're putting in our garden beds and start growing stuff.
Tucker: Which on land and be like, “Well, you're on a huge ranch.” Two acres. There's great ones. I can't remember what it's called. There's an amazing one about how–I feel it was a quarter acre. It may have been a half-acre in LA. This couple figured out how to grow 7,000 pounds of produce on a half-acre in the city of Los Angeles.
Ben: It is ridiculous. The argument against not enough space that someone might bring to the table. I have a closet. I mean, we have a greenhouse. We have eight raised garden beds and we have food just coming out the wazoo up here that's growing outside, but also, and this is just more of like me as a curious podcaster want to see what's out there thing. I've got a closet next to the garage that's got enough vegetables growing in a vertical growing system. This one's called a Lettuce Grow. Literally just bursting with vegetables that could feed my family for the entire month from a produce standpoint. And, that takes up about, oh gosh, 2 feet wide, 8 feet high worth of space. It's nothing.
Tucker: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Most people are very, very doomer about this instead of optimist. It does take some effort and a little bit of a learning curve, but not much.
Our goal this year is 50% of our protein either comes from our land or animals I harvested. And so, right now, we're well over 50% because basically everything we eat at home, and the bison I harvested. I've got a bunch of whitetail that I've shot, we got their stuff, a little bit of a hog, whatever. So, we're not eating grocery store meat anymore unless we're out at a restaurant or something.
Tucker: Which also it's soup, you can tell the difference, man. It's so healthy.
Alright, so that's food. And then, the next one is energy. Energy's rough, man. Do you have a solar array?
Ben: Yeah. I've got a solar array. I live in a north-facing slope that only gets adequate sunlight from average 10:00 am until 3:00 pm or so. So, it's not harnessing a lot of energy, but it's there and it's basically I've tested it multiple times. And, when I shut down everything else, most of my house and the freezers in the refrigerator can all switch to that polar or that solar pretty efficiently. And, I'm one of those biohackers who's nervous about dirty electricity. So, I always tell everybody make sure that you can basically get a switch on the generator that when it converts from DC to AC power, it tends to generate a lot of dirty electricity. So, people are concerned about the EMF thing. You can hack that with a little solar switch. But, yeah, I have solar right now and then municipal's still coming in as well.
Tucker: Yeah. So, part of the reason we picked the Landway is because it's serviced by an electrical co-op of a hydroelectric dam.
Tucker: Everything can't be [BLEEP] with, but it's much harder to mess with that. Right. So, that's our service provider. And then, we're installing solar. But, dude finding a good provider and getting up batteries, that stuff is way harder than most people think.
Ben: Yeah, it takes a while.
Tucker: A lot of people said, “Yeah, just put a solar and you're great.” No, no, no, no, no, no. Solar is not the answer. It is part of an answer. It's not the answer. And then, we also have backup generators that each have buried–We have two backup generators because we got a lot of buildings and whatever. And, each have thousand-gallon propane tanks.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Tucker: Which should last about [01:13:03] _____.
Ben: With the propane tank generator. And, this is something in the process of going through right now. Just because I have so much wood on my land. I mean, it's basically a forest that I live in. So, I'm looking into a gasification unit, which basically can convert timber or charcoal into wood gas. And then, that serves as the generator. But, it's basically a generator that's fueled by wood rather than gasoline.
Tucker: Well, that's cool. I live in Texas. We don't have much wood. We're not fancy like you.
Ben: Yeah. But, you're rich enough to have a vacation home in Tennessee, so you're good.
Tucker: But, notice though that environment matters a lot like where you pick.
Ben: Yeah. After living through the Texas winter apocalypse, I am absolutely convinced that energy issues, and obviously the price of gas now, of course, energy issues are going to dominate. There's a lot of weird stuff going on with that too without going deep because who knows what's going on. But, I don't know, weird stuff's going on there.
And then, the last one's community. And, this is actually probably the most important, but it's the thing that imbues through everything. We could live basically anywhere we want. We pick Dripping Springs, which I think is probably the best bet other than if I had bought like a thousand acres and tried to build my own town or something, which just wasn't practical in a short time frame. And, I know a lot of people actually. I know several building intentional communities, and I think me and a group are going to end up building our own town. That's five, ten years out. In the short-term, I need to get into a place that both has all the things I talked about but then also around other people like me, around other people who have 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 plus acres who think in the same general sense that I do about sovereignty.
Tucker: I sound like the Dripping Springs Chamber of Commerce except they're super anti-development. Everything in the area is septic because they won't build a sewer. So, it limits development, which is actually pretty nice. And, they won't issue building permits anymore. So, you got to kind of buy something either on unincorporated land or something that exists. But, Dripping was full of ex-military and ranchers. And so, it was like, “Oh, these are the perfect people” where if you need to put your boots in the dirt, and whether it's either fight, or grow food, or support each other, these are the people.
Tucker: Right. And so, I've gotten into that community. I don't want to go too much into detail about that on a podcast people I don't know. But, it's an amazing community of people and it's a really good situation.
You don't have to necessarily find the perfect town. If you can be in a place where you've got almost any country place where you can find good people who are like you, whatever that means, who have shared values, you're going to be in a pretty good situation. But, the point is people who are used to relying on themselves and their neighbors, not city people–and, I used to be one, so I'm not trying to shit on them, but if you live in New York, it's a whole separate mindset to reality than if you live in rural Texas.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Oddly enough, paradoxically it seems as though it's a little bit more of an independent lone wolf mentality in a big bustling city than it is in an isolated community where everybody knows each other's names and is able to take care of each other's banjos and chainsaws but be able to come to each other's aid and know each other. I think that's important. I think it's more from a business and a career standpoint, but I think it was Naval Ravikant who I read, he wrote something like choosing the city that you live in can determine the trajectory of your life. And so, there is something to be said for that from a preparatory standpoint as well. I mean, that is one of the reasons also. I'm looking into Idaho right now just for that very reason, smaller, more close-knit community in a slightly friendlier state. And so, yeah, I agree, the community is a huge piece. Once I realized that I didn't have to be spraying down my mail when COVID first started, I literally began to throw weekly dinner parties. We would have neighbors over friends from the local community, people would bring food, potluck style. We'd all be hanging out in the living room without the masks on, just basically creating friendships and community because at the very back of my mind, even though part of it was I miss people after not seeing people for whatever, was like six, eight weeks with what we were kind of locked in. Part of it too was me at the back of my head thinking, “You know what, I need selfishly enough a network of people who will take care of me when shit goes south and who I can help when”–
Tucker: And, it's not the [BLEEP] on Twitter or Facebook.
Tucker: One of the big things that my buddy, I think was my Croatian buddy who told me. He was in the Bosnian wars and all that. He's like, “When the power goes out, your only reality is maybe 2 miles around you, at most 20 if you have a bicycle. That's your entire reality. And, everything beyond that doesn't exist.” And, at first, I didn't understand what he meant because he told me this before I got the ranch. Once I got onto the ranch, I realized, “Oh, damn, he's right.” If the power went out at my ranch, cops aren't coming. And, nothing against the Hayes County sheriffs because they're great, but how am I going to call them? If the power goes out and there's some emergency, tree falls, whatever, or there's a big county-wide thing, the people who are coming to help me are my neighbors.
Tucker: And, vice versa. That's my reality.
Ben: Yeah, I agree. I mean, just little thought exercise for people because this happened to me three days ago. And so, it's fresh on my mind. Well, here's a little mental picture visualization exercise for you. I'm working in my office with my little red-light panels, stripped-down, buckass naked, doing my whole stupid biohacker thing with my laser lights up my nose and the red lights on, sipping my crazy mushroom tea, and working on my computer and the power goes out, or at least the breaker flips. So, I'm standing there naked, half a cup of coffee, the lights turn off, the computer shuts down, I'm staring at a blank computer screen naked and just completely defenseless. And, I'm standing there and I realize I just need to go out in the garage and reset the breaker. But, I thought okay, so let's just say it was like this for the whole day, and then the week, and then the month, what you're going to do? And, you start thinking about that. I mean, even try it if you're at home, just shut off the power for a day and see if you can get by for a day. And, you realize about a hundred different things from your refrigerator, and your freezer to where the food's going to go, to the fact that you can't make a phone call, to all of the things that you just didn't even freaking think about, and it gets pretty serious. And, that's one day. Or, even try it between breakfast and lunch.
Tucker: Yeah. No, totally. Seriously. Dude, when the winter apocalypse hit in Texas, we were way better off than most people. My company at that point was 70 or 80 people, and a bunch of them, they're the millennials who live in town and some douche cube apartment and they're on Slack. The ones who had power were on Slack like, “Hey, I only have Cheetos in my apartment. What do I do?”
Tucker: And then, the [01:21:10] _____ should be seven hours long or there's no food at H-E-B because the roads were all frozen, so no one could get food. Anyway. So, one girl actually went to H-E-B, stood in line for six hours. H-E-B is a grocery store. Stood in line for six hours, got a tiny bag of food like nonsense. Was walking back to her apartment and literally some dude tried to rob her, tried to rob her for food. This is 13th century England or like the Great Depression. We had 600 pounds of meat in our deep freeze. I took 200 pounds because I knew this wasn't a long-term thing, we're going to be fine. I took 200 pounds, drove it because I had a truck or had a Range Rover. And, we had, I'm not kidding, 35 people walk and some of them up to 5 miles away for 3 pounds of meat or whatever, 5 pounds of meat, whatever it was. There are people still to this day. It's one of the reasons we always win, all the best companies to work for. We won best company to work for in Austin, all of Austin, the number one best company. And, six people wrote, “Dude, they fed me during winter apocalypse” [01:22:24] _____. You can laugh about it now because it all passed after a week and whatever. But, what happens when it doesn't?
Tucker: What happens when it's three weeks? I'm not talking about the world's going to end or anarchy, no, no, no. But, what happens when the chaos is so extreme, grocery stores don't resupply for a month? I mean, how many people can make it a month?
Ben: You as a father of four kids would probably get this. And, this is something that I think it'd probably fall under the community umbrella. But, I think that family and education are two really important factors here. Meaning, what are you teaching kids and how are you teaching them in terms of whether they're going to be creative, free-thinking, independent, and resilient young human beings who can thrive in unpredictable scenarios, or whether you've basically set them up so that they learn everything from someone else and are more of a sheeple, a lemming, and someone who just knows how to put the square peg in the square hole in the round peg in the round hole? I mean, this is like a biblical concept. Children are like arrows and a quiver. Having an educated and resilient family, all of whom who can stick up for and care for each other, I think that's, to me, top of the totem pole as far as the community goes because I think that we need to not just be preparing ourselves but preparing our children and allowing our children to shadow us and follow us and see what we're doing as we're preparing. And, I think that's incredibly important as well.
Tucker: 100%. I know you do this too. I take my kids hunting with me almost every time I go. My kids know where our food comes from and they're all part of it.
Okay. With the cows, the cows came and they're all cute, they want to name them like “Okay, you totally can, but you know what's going to happen, right?” And, they're like, “Yeah, yeah, of course.” And so, they named him Beef and Steak.
Tucker: Was like, “Okay, cool. Those names will work.” But, even chopping, all this sort of stuff. They all understand that we live on a ranch, and a ranch has responsibilities, and that we all get to be a part of it. We don't have to. We get to. We talk about sovereignty. If you want to be sovereign, it comes with responsibility. It comes with things that we all have to do. And so, I do all the cooking in my family, and my daughter loves it. I call her my little sous chef, sous chef Vaughn. So, she, almost every night, cooks with me. Of course, she's 5 and she's terrible. She makes one mess and she helps. But, eventually, she's going to be good at it. All that investment will paid off. My son doesn't want to cook at all, but he wants to go hunt. She does too, actually, but he's super or outdoor stuff or whatever. Okay, cool. Yeah, they're absolutely all a part of it. They understand everything we have is coming from somewhere. The days of magical America bless its heart, I think, are ending.
Tucker: I think they're over and it's just a matter of time before most people realize it. And, it doesn't mean we're all going to die, it doesn't mean it's chaos or anarchy or end of the world. No, it just means we're transitioning to a new phase. This is the optimism part. A lot of people read my piece like it's all gloom and doom, what's the optimism part? This seems like it sucks. And, it kind of ties back into what we talked about with chopping wood is when you live on land, and I mean any land, and you are the one doing most or a lot of the meaningful work to produce a lot of what you consume, your entire reality changes. You are no longer a passive consumer, you are now a creator.
Tucker: Right. And, I think the narrative around blue-collar labor, and around farming, and all this sort of stuff in our country, it's been the intellectuals and the artists have framed the narrative about other people. And, I think a lot of those people which God knows I was are now becoming the farmers and the workers. People like you and I are the tip of the spear with this. We're years ahead of most people, but I think this is going to come and come fast. And, a lot of people are going to realize, “Oh, wow, I had a lot wrong about my whole life.”
Tucker: I did. I lived in the [01:27:05] _____ in Austin. I could not have been more of a city-type dweller. And, there are benefits to that. There's things that are cool. But ultimately, that doesn't work. And, I don't just mean climate sustainability, maybe that's true. I'm just talking about on a personal emotional level that is extractive living.
Ben: Yeah. I think that folks should know. If you're listening in, you will have imposter syndrome. You will feel stupid. You will be, gosh, like I was eight years ago, a guy who never grew up hunting out in the forest trying to field dress a deer while holding a bloody latex glove in one hand and clutching my smartphone to watch how to field dress a deer on YouTube. And, I felt stupid, but at the same time I was embracing that discomfort because I knew that I wanted to know how to prepare for myself.
So, if you're listening in and you're like, gosh, what are you starting you decide you're going to go. And, I'll link to them, like go read Tucker's “Doomer Optimism” articles, and you're going to maybe pick up the “Prairie Fire” book and start to educate yourself on some of this stuff and google your community and local CSA, or cow share, or all these things that you're going to be starting down the rabbit hole of understand beforehand. Yeah, you're going to feel dumb. There's going to be imposter syndrome. And, furthermore, don't regret having not delved into this before. Be grateful that you're listening to this podcast right now, and now you've got some momentum to start diving in. What's the saying, Tucker? “The best time to plant the tree is 20 years ago or today.”
And so, if you're listening, I mean, yeah, it's going to be uncomfortable, but the other thing that I want to mention and I know we're getting a little bit long on the two, so we'll probably end here pretty soon, is that I also, like Tucker, don't think that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Look, I am not only a Christian, but I am what's called a post-millennial Christian. What that means is that I think that the world is getting better and better and better, and that eventually we'll have this amazing fully restored new heaven and new earth, but there are going to be some speed bumps along the way. However, those speed bumps are sometimes what it takes to shift us into the better scenario. Yeah, maybe we're going to develop a fully decentralized cryptocurrency that operates far, far better and more efficiently and with less problematic scenarios than fiat currency. Maybe we are going to have a whole bunch of people in America and beyond who adopt an educational system that involves parents, being with their children more and actually preparing their children in a far more creative and free-thinking manner. Maybe we're going to all learn how to hunt and care for the land and develop a more intimate connection with nature and with our community, and with our families with our neighbors a little bit more. The way I look at it is all this stuff winds up working out to make us even better. But, I really want to tell you if you're listening in right now, just freaking start but start the way that Tucker has outlined with an optimistic frameset and not a frameset that you're preparing yourself for the next zombie apocalypse, which maybe if it happens that's too bad, but you're going to be ready. And, that's the way I see things, Tucker.
Tucker: I mean, that's pretty optimistic. Yeah, yeah. I'm on board.
Ben: Yeah. Well, we'll see what happens. But, I obviously could talk to you for a very long time, Tucker, because you have prolifically written about a lot of these matters. And, I know you are kind of in the process of getting a whole bunch of really great resources together on your blog. So, folks go to TuckerMax.com. You guys can check out Tucker's essays on “Doomer Optimism.” And, after he really coined that term, some of the things that he wound up doing getting into some nitty-gritty specifics of the food, the energy, the water, the community, some of the other things that we talked about today. So, be sure to check those out. I'll link to all that stuff if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/TuckerMax. And, you can also leave your own comments, or questions, or tips for whatever your favorite prepping magazine over there as well.
Tucker, anything else that you want to leave people with as far as a word of advice?
Tucker: Honestly, one of the shifts I've made in this whole process, I don't give advice. I don't tell people what they should do. I think that's a huge part of sovereignty is realizing that everyone's on their own journey.
Ben: Other than telling me that I have to have a vacation home.
Tucker: What I do is I've shifted my perspective. And so, I tell people what I'm doing. And, I tell people what I've learned and what I've seen. And, I respect their ability to make up their own mind, which is to me, the key of sovereignty is not just being sovereign for yourself but respecting the sovereignty of others.
Ben: That makes sense. I like it. And, it would create a lot less dogmatism and scapegoating if people did approach things with that mentality.
So, Tucker I'm grateful to you for giving your time, sharing all this stuff with us, writing what you do right, and being who you are, man. You really are doing a lot of good for the world.
Tucker: Thank you, Ben. I appreciate it.
Ben: Alright, cool, man. Well, catch you on the flip side. And, folks, until next time. I'm Ben Greenfield along with Tucker Max from BenGreenfieldFitness.com/TuckerMax signing out. Have an amazing week.
More than ever these days, people like you and me need a fresh entertaining, well-informed, and often outside-the-box approach to discovering the health, and happiness, and hope that we all crave. So, I hope I've been able to do that for you on this episode today. And, if you liked it or if you love what I'm up to, then please leave me a review on your preferred podcast listening channel wherever that might be, and just find the Ben Greenfield Life episode. Say something nice. Thanks so much. It means a lot.
19 March 2022
Tucker Max has written four New York Times Best Selling books (three that hit #1), which have sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide. He’s credited with being the originator of the literary genre, “fratire,” and is only the fourth writer (along with Malcolm Gladwell, Brené Brown, and Michael Lewis) to have three books on the New York Times Nonfiction Best Seller List at one time.
He co-founded Scribe Media, the premier professional publishing company that has helped people like David Goggins, Tiffany Haddish, and Dan Sullivan publish their books, and was also nominated to the Time Magazine 100 Most Influential List in 2009.
Tucker received his BA from the University of Chicago in 1998, and his JD from Duke Law School in 2001. He currently lives on a ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas, with his wife Veronica and four children.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-How Tucker developed the skill of writing…07:07
- Know what you want to say
- Authenticity and clarity are key
-Tucker's writing process…09:11
- Deal with the kids, then write in the morning
- Done by noon most of the time
- 3 hours of creativity, max
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- Need a dedicated space for writing
-Tucker's life post-Scribe Media…13:37
- The Quest of the Simple Life by William Dawson
- Summary on Slow website
- Something real and authentic about working with one's own hands
- Chopping wood increases testosterone; fantastic workout
- Chop Wood Carry Water by Joshua Medcalf
- Sabbath Ramblings: Chop Wood, Carry Water.
-How chopping wood in the yard led to Tucker's “doomer optimism” philosophy…28:53
- Doomer Optimism: What I See Coming, & How I’m Preparing
- Combination of SHTF and an optimistic worldview
- Going into a major period of chaos
- Tucker's calling bullsh*t on the Covid response
-Why tight community is the answer to surviving chaos…46:01
- Media will coalesce around a common narrative (Jan. 6, Russia/Ukraine, etc.)
- Americans live in the safest era & country in the history of the world
- We confuse freedom with sovereignty
- Sovereignty is freedom with responsibility
- Community and sovereignty go hand in hand
- Tight-knit groups are the ones who survive chaos; not lone-wolf existence
- Awareness of resources
- Do you own your water source?
- Do you own your power source?
- Do you grow your own food?
-Practical tips for surviving a SHTF scenario…53:30
- 5 main points:
- Tim Kennedy's Sheepdog Response course (use code BENGREENFIELD to save 10%)
- Podcast with Tim Kennedy:
- Books Concrete Jungle and Prairie Fire by Clay Martin
- The best home defense is a dog
- Greenfield Naturals water filtration system
- Podcast with Jordan Rubin:
- Podcast on sprouting, with Doug Evans:
- Lettuce Grow
- Energy issues will dominate the headlines in the years to come
- The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson
- Your entire reality is a radius of 2 miles if the power goes out, fuel is out, etc.
-The importance of raising educated and free-thinking children…1:22:55
- Children must know where the food comes from
- How to look for, get, and prepare food
- Learn how to be a creator, not a passive consumer
-And much more!
- RUNGA – The Gathering (May 12-14, 2022). Register for the event now by clicking here
- Health Optimization Summit! (May 22-29, 2022).
- Keep up on Ben's LIVE appearances by following bengreenfieldlife.com/calendar
Resources from this episode:
– Tucker Max:
- Assholes Finish First
- Mate: Become the Man Women Want
- Sloppy Seconds: The Tucker Max Leftovers
- I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell: Unabridged Selections
- YouTube channel
- How To Become A “Sheepdog,” Grappling With Weapons, Making Yourself Harder To Kill, Are There Fringe Navy SEAL Smart Drugs & Much More With Tim Kennedy.
- Ducks Vs. Chickens, Yaks Vs. Cows, Eating Locusts, Unique Permaculture Practices, Bible-Based Eating & More With Jordan Rubin.
- How To Tap into the Power of the Planet’s Most Nutritious Foods: Sprouts, Shoots, Microgreens & More With Doug Evans.
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- The Quest of the Simple Life by William Dawson
- Chop Wood Carry Water by Joshua Medcalf
- Concrete Jungle by Clay Martin
- Prairie Fire by Clay Martin
- The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson
– Other Resources:
- Greenfield Naturals
- Tim Kennedy's Sheepdog Response Course (use code BENGREENFIELD to save 10%)
- Doomer Optimism: What I See Coming, & How I’m Preparing
- Lettuce Grow
–Seed Daily Synbiotic: A formulation of 24 unique strains, each of which included at their clinically verified dose, to deliver systemic benefits in the body. Save 15% off your first month's subscription when you use discount code BEN15.
–Dry Farm Wines: 100% Happiness Promise: Every bottle is protected by our 100% happiness promise. Any bottle you don’t love, Dry Farm Wines will replace, or refund. Receive an extra bottle in your first box for a penny (because it’s alcohol, it can’t be free).
–Clearlight Saunas: You can be sure that I researched all the saunas before I bought mine and Clearlight was the one that stood out from all the rest because of their EMF and ELF Shielding and their Lifetime Warranty. Mention BEN GREENFIELD and you’ll receive an extra discount on your purchase.
–Kion Sleep: Contains only natural ingredients with long clinical research history behind them that are safe to take every night. There’s no grogginess: You’ll wake up feeling refreshed, recovered, and energized!