As the U.S. empire falls apart, things are going to get pretty unpleasant for a lot of people. Just how unpleasant it will get depends largely upon whether people know how to act like rational, civilized human beings when they don't have politicians, police and others aggressive parasites--I mean, "noble leaders"--to cry to. The deeper someone has been trained into authoritarianism, the less practice he will have had at running his own life, and taking responsibility for his own actions and choices.
The irony is that many statists proclaim that we're just stupid animals, and therefore we need "government," when in reality, it is the gang calling itself "government" that has trained so many people to act like stupid animals. In fact, many of the flawed attitudes and behaviors which statists point to as proof that "government" is necessary are the result of "government" in the first place. Here are a few examples:
1) Many people don't think they need to give to charity, or help their fellow man, because the state has trained them to believe that that's government's" job.
2) Many people don't have the knowledge or equipment to protect themselves and their families, because they've been taught not to "take the law into their own hands," but to call "the authorities" if anything bad happens.
3) Many people are really bad at settling disputes like adults, because hey are taught that every serious conflict should be solved by lawyers or men with badges.
4) Many people have an entitlement mentality, and will steal because of it, as a result of "government" teaching them that "need" gives them a right to something.
5) Many people whine about "fairness," while having no idea how to feedthemselves, how to be productive, or how to trade with others for mutual benefit. They speak of "needing jobs," and wouldn't have the first clue how to be self-sufficient. On command, they can mindlessly perform simple tasks (slowly and begrudgingly), while having no idea how wealth is actually created. All of this is how "government" trains people to be: easily manageable, but profoundly ignorant, human livestock.
When the poop strikes the air-propulsion unit in this country, and there is an economic and/or political collapse, and millions of well-trained subjects are accidentally let off of their authoritarian leashes, what will happen? And how should those of us who believe in individual freedom deal with them? After all, such people aren't all evil; they're just what they were trained to be: easily controlled subjects who are mentally and physically dependent on "the system." When the system goes "splat," then what?
The good news is, a lot of people, when they're hurled into the position of having to be responsible, do a pretty good job of it. Whenever there is a major natural disaster, some people may sit around waiting for "authority" to save the day, but others swing into action, saving whomever needs to be saved, fixing whatever needs to be fixed, doing whatever needs to be done, without waiting around for permission from "the powers that be."
In a poop-striking-fan scenario, it's really important to know who people are, and whether they are capable of functioning as rational adults outside of the confines of an authoritarian arrangement. As a general rule, if you meet someone whose first two questions are "Who's in charge?" and "Who's going to give me food and shelter?" I suggest you avoid him like the plague. Because, frankly, such people are the plague: the philosophical plague that is going to bring this empire down.
However, a whole lot of people, even many of those now stuck in the mainstream statist paradigm, are quite capable of quickly shifting into responsible, rational being" mode if they have to. Probably the biggest challenge will be getting such people to think outside of the "legal" mentality, in the case of economic or political collapse.
In any crisis, acquiring food, shelter, protection, power, transportation, communications, and so on, can only occur among people who have gotten over automatically thinking "Are we allowed to do that?" every time an idea is proposed. If someone's mind is still looking for an "authority" to obey, it's probably better to just avoid him. The people who are in the most trouble in the case of a collapse are the people who sound like this:
"Are you allowed to have that gun? Do you have a license to hunt? Isn't that garden against zoning codes? Does that guy have a license to sell food? Shouldn't we be paying taxes on what we trade at this place? Is all of this legal? I wonder when the authorities will get things back to normal. Maybe we should just sit tight until then."
In contrast, the people who will thrive are those who can look past what is familiar, what they're accustomed to, what those in power have "let" them do in the past, and who can figure out how to do whatever needs to be done--the people who can quickly organize trade, figure out ways to cooperate with others, including complete strangers, while completely ignoring and disobeying (and resisting, if necessary) any "rules," "laws," or other worthless, illegitimate decrees issued by whatever group of parasites wants to pretend to be "in charge."
Probably the quickest way to make people into voluntaryists is to make their lives depend upon it. Consider how many people starved to death in the Soviet Union and in Red China, by obeying the decrees of a group of politicians. I find it unlikely that America--with the possible exception of some people living in major cities--will be so ignorant or cowardly to allow that to happen to them. On the contrary, I expect the coming collapse to revitalize "rugged individualism," as well as the spirit of community cooperation, throughout a lot of the country.
Humanity can very easily thrive, if the people all accept a very simple concept: if you don't try to force your will onto others, by yourself or through any so-called "authority," then we can all get along just fine. If we're of different races and religions, speak different languages, or have different values and priorities, then we might just ignore each other for the most part. Or we might find ways to cooperate. Either way, there is no need at all for us to be enemies.
Ironically, people might have a better chance of figuring this principle out during times of economic disaster, even though the rule always applies, in all places and at all times, during poverty and prosperity alike. It's called being civilized. And considering all the wars, oppressions, and economic disasters caused by authoritarianism, it's an idea people had better figure out pretty darn soon.