In a previous post I quoted a financial advisor who called Ron Paul’s portfolio “a half-step away from a cellar-full of canned goods and nine-millimeter rounds”, and I argued this reflected his crazy beliefs about the probability of economic collapse. It might be worth noting then, as commenter Ragout points out, that two of the other GOP candidates probably literally have a cellar-full of canned goods in preparation for a disaster scenario:

So Ron Paul, by investing in gold stocks, is preparing for a hyperinflation apocalypse where the stock market still functions. Note that the Mormon church calls upon its members to store 2 years of dried food, if they can afford it. So it’s likely that Mitt Romney is preparing for a real apocalypse, where there isn’t enough food to feed America.

Of course Jon Huntsman is the other Mormon in the race, which makes two candidates that are potentially literally preppers. This is from the official website of the LDS church:

“Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs as we walk in faith and obedience. He has lovingly commanded us to ‘prepare every needful thing’ (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors and support bishops as they care for others.

“We encourage members worldwide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings.

“We ask that you be wise as you store food and water and build your savings. Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve.”

They advise the creation of a 3 month supply of food, but also suggest if possible storing for longer-term:

For longer-term needs, and where permitted, gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time and that you can use to stay alive, such as wheat, white rice, and beans.

If Romney and Huntsman are actually prepping, what does it tell them about them? Should this be considered a “crazy belief” of theirs as Paul’s prepping is for him? I don’t think so. Their preparations don’t tell us much about how probable they actually think a disaster is, but rather reflect them adhering to a tradition.

You might argue that preparing for disaster because you believe God wants you to is in fact a crazy belief. But religious belief comes bundled with group membership, and many acts are just adherence to tradition, not wanting to rock the boat, or signaling required to maintain group membership rather than true expressions of literal belief. And at the very least religious beliefs are so widespread that I don’t think they all have the same correlation with other crazy beliefs as, say, believing an society destroying economic collapse is coming soon.  I think some religious groups and people manage to hold what I’ll politely call highly unlikely beliefs in one part of their brains, and a pretty non-crazy overall set beliefs in the other part.

In any case, I do find it amusing that there are a grand total of three candidates who are preparing in some form for an extreme disaster.