By 1LT Chris Post

Famed 19th century Scottish writer and historian Thomas Carlyle once said:

“Democracy is cumbersome, slow and inefficient, but in due time the voice of the people will be heard and their latent wisdom will prevail.”

Carlyle rightly observed that democracy is a highly effective form of government under most normal circumstances, but what about when managing small group dynamics in a zombie outbreak?

In a democracy, everyone gets a vote and is given the opportunity to explain his/her position. Furthermore, in a healthy democracy mistakes are allowed. If a plan doesn’t work, you can slowly learn from the failure and simply vote to go in a different direction.

But when the dead rise to eat the living, time will likely be a luxury you simply don’t have, and even a single innocent mistake could spell death for you and your entire group.

Extreme emergency situations of all types demand a leader who can quickly and confidently make decisions without being questioned. Second-guessing and arguing over several proposed plans will only serve to reduce your chances of survival.

If your group feels the need to maintain some semblance of democracy, your best bet is to vote for your leader. Decide ahead of time how long their leadership lasts and then stick to it.

Once the leader is chosen, let them do their job and fall in line like a dedicated foot soldier. The key to group survival in a disaster situation is for everyone to contribute–even if they don’t have a direct say in how things are done.

The last thing you can afford in a zombie world is to make yourself, “cumbersome, slow and inefficient.” Instead, remember the immortal words or Rick Grimes:

“This is not a democracy anymore.”


  1. Unlike everyone else, I agree with this advise. Many people will be hardened by “personal” experiences an will there fore act rashly if they act at all. With a well respected leader many things can be done. But the type of leader depends on that individual person. A good leader will always be two steps ahead. In order to work well in such a situation as a Combe epidemic one must know something about a humans way of thought. A good leader will be able t manipulate his followers skills and use them for the good of the group. I take ROTC. People whom you might know very well DO NOT act the same as under extreme pressure. A leader has to understand that. A democracy will jeopardize the groups survival. Throughout time democracies have been used by big countries whom fear rebellion and anarchy. In a small group a leader can focus on individual members and releive them of their concerns by making them feel as though they contributed.

    Small GOVERNMENTS ARE ALL ABOUT MANIPULATION……. All for the better good in this case. To much freedom (DEMOCRACY) will make people bold and want to make ther own decisions when what they proposed is over turned by the majority. Once again jeopardizing the group……

  2. “quickly and confidently make decisions without being questioned.”
    While this has been, and likely will continue to be, disected, I believe what you are trying to put across is that a confident leader needs to make “rational” and “Intelligent” decisions while keeping the groups best interests in mind and not leading them to disaster. Let’s face it, anyone who doesn’t question a leaders decision will inevitably get bitten in the ass… here more literally. In a life or death situation of the species survival, a leader needs to depend on his or her subordinants to maintane a cohesive network. We would like to look at the idea of a ZA as a black and white issue, Romero taught us that if we only think in Black and White we will fall.

  3. Yeah this is poor advice. All you need is one crappy / power hungry leader and Your screwed. Plus you can’t rely on one person to make life or death decisions for everyone . I agree that there will be No time for proper voting and debates, but you also can’t just follow blindly. My suggestion would be to stick to small groups of people you know Well, so there will be less chance of disagreement and betrayal. If Your in a large group with one unquestioned leader, Your bound to have uprisings.

  4. Following orders blindly can also turn out disastrous as well. Just ask the 6th army surrounded in Stalingrad. Paulus blindly followed the orders from Hitler and lost a whole army division. Follow the leader, yes, blindly follow, no.

  5. I feel this is misleading. With a democracy there is a wider variety of skilled people and thinkers involved leaving less room for mistake… Yes time is essential but surely a well thought out and agreed upon plan would be better than following the potentially deadly orders of a rash dictator?

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