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Has 2020 vindicated the doomsday prepper?

Zadie Smith considers herself to have no survival instinct. I stock survival guidebooks on my bookshelf. But are we really that different?

By Cal Flyn   December 2020

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who passively fear disaster, and those who plan for it. During this crazy year—especially the time when supermarket shelves were empty and borders were closing—I think we all found out which kind we are.

While reading Zadie Smith’s recent pandemic-inspired collection of essays, Intimations, I was intrigued to discover that she considers herself to have “no ‘survival instinct,’ nor any…

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