All preppers need to come to grips with the fact that after TEOTWAWKI, there are not going to be any laws. So you and your group need to have some rules to define acceptable behavior in the group. This is my initial attempt to define what are the basic rules that you may wish to employ. I am assuming you want something more than the biggest, strongest member of the group gets to be in charge and do whatever he wants (or the guy with the best weapon is in charge). Fundamentally, every member of the group is going to have to buy into the rules or they can’t be in the group.
Making decisions: the higher participation you can have in decision making, the more consensus you will have in implementing decisions. Pure democracy is more of an ideal than a practical method (you can’t always stop everything else for everyone to come together and vote on a matter) so while you can delegate certain things to leaders, there should be a method to bring a matter in front of the entire group when necessary. But there may be some matters that your group decides will take more than a simple majority to pass (such as changing some of the basic rules of the group).
Governing the group: You are going to need a method of selecting leaders such as someone to be the sheriff, a judge, head of security, head of logistics, someone who determines jobs assignments (thinking more of activities needed to survive here such as tending flocks, hunting, gathering, gardening but will include some dirty jobs of waste removal or just plain hard work like gathering firewood or hauling water), logistics, etc. The larger the group, the more you might specialize but everyone should be cross-trained to do more than one job as people get sick or grow old and can no longer carry out certain functions. I think you should strive for a meritocracy where those that can best do a function are assigned to do it and that people (especially children) have an opportunity to learn skills and improve their lives. I would also advocate that assignments have terms (that is, they are not for life) and you have an organized way of selecting new leaders at the end of the term. Finally, I don’t think that leaders should be exempt from other work – in other words leadership should be a part time job and certainly not a paid position. When they have the opportunity, they should be helping out with the rest of the workers for the good of the group.
Ok, that’s more on structure so let’s get to some universal rules. First off, everyone has to agree that some things are right and some things are wrong. I think that implies a belief in God that has defined right and wrong (as opposed to each of us get to decide for ourselves what is right for me or you) but if that makes you uncomfortable, I am not going to push this point. I know post-modernists will disagree with me on this point but I don’t think any post-modernists will survive when the SHTF.
2- I like Jordan Peterson’s rule that you should always tell the truth or at least never lie. This might include the right not to incriminate yourself (the right to remain silent).
3-I think everyone should have the right to own property and things. Which means that stealing is not permitted.
4-I would like to think that everyone should retain the right of free speech but everyone also needs to understand that free speech comes with consequences. You threaten someone and they beat you up, well they were expressing themselves too. You may not have the right to not be offended (people can say what they want) but some “fighting words” may result in fights.
5-Everyone contributes to the group to the best of their ability. The group has a right to limit distribution of benefits if someone refuses to work on assigned tasks when they are able. This really comes into play when resources are scarce, but a member of the group can elect to take care of another non-productive member at their own expense.
6-You should not take a life unless it is necessary as defined by the group. Likewise unprovoked assaults (including rape) are not permitted. Self defense is permitted, as is defense of the group.
7-You have the right to leave the group at any time, but if you choose to stay, you have to abide by the rules of the group. Likewise, if you disagree with a group decision, your only options are to either leave the group or support the decision. Members of the group have to be loyal to the group.
The Golden Rule is a pretty good rule but it is more an axiom to guide behavior: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” When you approach a situation, framing it with the Golden Rule should assist fair and equitable outcomes. There are some other guidelines that might be useful are respect for elders or parents should take responsibility for their children that the group might wish to consider. This is just an initial outline for thought for you as you establish your group.
Finally, you will have to assess penalties for those who violate the rules. The goal of the penalties is to deter the violations. But you can almost be certain that there will be some violations. Expulsion from the group might be a death sentence. Let the punishment fit the crime as best you can which might mean the perpetrator makes restitution.
To focus some Game of Thrones: the Lone Wolf, but the pack survives. Together you will be stronger in a group.
De Oppresso Liber