Christian conservatives are building a fortress and preparing for anarchy
North Idaho has long been home to those seeking to escape the looming collapse of America. This is a region doused in frontier spirit; a land where people openly carry guns, and where bounty hunters still operate, tracking down fugitives hoping to bolt into Canada. It is here, on rugged fringes stalked by mountain lions, bears and wolves, that the American Redoubt was born.
The Redoubt is both a prophecy and a movement: a pre-emptive response to the anarchy on the horizon. Economic meltdown, nuclear war, the lawlessness that will follow the total defunding of the police all, its followers warn, could bring an end to American civilisation. And so they have started to prepare. First, by relocating to easily defensible ranches in the wilderness; and second, by stocking up on food, firearms and fuel. While their country teeters on the brink of bedlam, they are building a fortress.
Like what youre reading? Get the free UnHerd daily email Your email address Sign up, for free Already registered? Sign in
If the Redoubt has a Messiah, it is James Wesley, Rawles. (The comma is an affectation.) A former US Army intelligence officer, Rawles has spent decades preaching about Americas imminent implosion to thousands of Christian conservatives, and the importance of them retreating to the mountains. They first flocked to him in 1998, after his book Patriots, both a survivalist manifesto and a novel about the countrys descent into disorder, became a surprise bestseller. The Daily Beast called it the most dangerous novel in America; others claimed it could one day mean the difference between life and death. Such hyperbole only widened his appeal.
Every Redoubter has read Rawles yet few have ever seen him in person. He disguises himself when he needs to emerge from his secret ranch to get supplies. Otherwise, he communicates through his blog to 320,000 readers a week. Its a peculiar assortment of survivalist tips and Christian precepts: recent posts consider the benefits of stun guns, the southern border crisis, and a recipe for potato soup.
It was in 2011 that Rawles issued his definitive call to arms, informing his readers that Americas death spiral had reached its climax. Following a news report about a couple in Florida who were unable to pay for a road toll using cash, he decided the time had come for good men to take action to move to the mountains and join the Redoubt.
Rawless inspiration was the Schweizer Reduit of the late-19th century, when the Swiss Government, faced with the increasing likelihood of a German invasion, proposed the construction of Alpine fortifications from where its army could make a final stand. This time, however, as Rawles explained in a clarion essay, the threats were far more profound. For decades, he wrote, secular capitalism had defiled the Christian- conservative values on which America had been built. Just as in Europe before the First World War, the forces of modernity could no longer be tamed. Instead, civilisation had become a thin veneer. The centre was not holding, and the United States of America was degenerating into a state of nature.
If it sounded like a programme for religious separatism, thats because it was: I am a separatist, but on religious lines, not racial ones, Rawles wrote. The reason for his Christian criteria was as much pragmatic as it was theological: In calamitous times, with a few exceptions, it will only be the God-fearing who will continue to be law- abiding.
With low-density populations and abundant hydro-electric power, Rawles decided Idaho, Montana and the eastern sectors of Oregon and Washington were the perfect places to retreat. Neighbouring North and South Dakota, he explained, would not be as easy to defend: their vast plains and steppes would provide ample room for large armies to manoeuvre.
Click for Full Text!