"The Troubles" Of American Redoubt
Come what may, the Mountain States could end up being the nexus of the American internal conflict, the location where all our national flashpoints converge to form a point of singularity.
Once upon a time, I considered relocating to a “red” state (I currently reside in “blue” country) due to lower taxes, lower cost of living, and, most important, a desire to live in a place whose culture and values align more with mine. I’ve long since nixed that idea for a variety of reasons, most of which are personal. One less personal reason I want to share is that moving won’t take me away from our country’s problems.
America is a big country, but we also have a lot of people and many more continue to come in. There’s a lot of land out there, but much of the habitable land is occupied at this point. More specifically, despite political polarization, this hasn’t exactly resulted in geographically well-defined “blue” and “red” areas that could potentially form separate nations. Yes, the divide exists and yes, some states are bluer or redder than others. But when you zoom in and break it down by county and locality, a more complicated picture emerges. Even in the red areas, there are are healthy doses of blue residents, many of whom came from elsewhere, seeking lower taxes, lower costs of living, and more land. The reality is, you could be living in a reliably blue or red area of the country or your state and many of your neighbors will still be the types of people who support policies you wanted to get away from. And they have a say in the political process.
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The bottom line is that there are few to no “safe” zones from American internal conflict and decline. Yes, there are cheaper places which also provide a better quality of life, but it’s precisely these places people will increasingly fight for as life becomes more crowded and expensive. You might think it archaic for people to fight over land in 2023 America, but people still do, it’s just that they do it with lawyers and paperwork these days. Sometimes, it devolves into violence.
I know I tell readers to prioritize the personal over the political. However, you’re never going to be able to escape political realities - you may not be interested in politics, but politics are interested in you. If you live in an area of the country whose culture and politics don’t match yours and seek greener pastures, just remember - those greener pastures are going to be the literal battlegrounds of the coming American internal conflict I expend so much of my mental bandwidth talking about. You may think you’re escaping hostile territory to the refuge of safe harbor, yet the truth may be that you’re heading into a war zone, instead.
That all said, have you heard of something called “American Redoubt?” It’s the brainchild of James Wesley, Rawles (the comma is intentional on his part), who’s something of a mystery man, as relatively few have met him in person, nor does he make regular public appearances. He’s a real person, however, and he’s a survivalist, writer, but more importantly, undoubtedly the leader of a movement to establish a safe haven for American Christian conservatives in the territory of the Mountain States.
It’s a controversial proposition and we all know the media cannot be relied upon to give either the idea nor its creator a fair shake, so why don’t we let the man speak for himself?
Not A White Ethnostate
Sociologist Albert O. Hirschman in his book Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, identifies the growing libertarian trend of “Exit” strategies, all the way from the individual level up to the level of nation states.
Giordano Bruno identified a trend that has been developing informally for many years: A conscious retrenchment into safe haven states. I strongly recommend this amalgamation, and that it be formalized. I’m calling it The American Redoubt. I further recommend Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, eastern Oregon, and eastern Washington for the réduit.
Some might call it a conglomeration, but I like to call it an amalgamation, since that evokes silver. And it will be a Biblically sound and Constitutionally sound silver local currency that will give it unity.
I anticipate that this nascent movement, and the gulch itself will be a lot bigger than most other pundits anticipate. It could very well be a multi-state amalgamation like The American Redoubt, that I’ve advocated.
Right off the bat, it’s important to emphasize what Rawles isn’t proposing: a separatist movement. Critics have attempted to characterize his proposal as such, but see for yourself - nothing Rawles describes suggests an intention to establish a nation in the Mountain States that could eventually be used to secede from the union. All things under the sun are possible with enough twists and turns, but let’s stay grounded in the present. For now, there’s no indication Rawles seeks to establish his own country.
It’s also not, as critics irresponsibly suggest, a racial nationalist movement. Again, from the horse’s mouth:
I’m sure that this brief essay will generate plenty of hate mail, and people will brand me as a religious separatist. So be it. I am a separatist, but on religious lines, not racial ones. I have made it abundantly clear throughout the course of my writings that I am an anti-racist. Christians of all races are welcome to be my neighbors. I also welcome Orthodox Jews and Messianic Jews, because we share the same moral framework.
In calamitous times, with a few exceptions, it will only be the God fearing that will continue to be law abiding. Choose your locale wisely. I can also forthrightly state that I have more in common with Orthodox Jews and Messianic Jews than I do with atheist Libertarians. I’m a white guy. But I have much more in common with black Baptists or Chinese Lutherans than I do with white Buddhists or white New Age crystal channelers.
The Mountain States and the Pacific Northwest do have a reputation of being a breeding ground for the far-right and it’s not entirely unfounded. From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, right-wing extremist groups were active in the area, at times resembling a low-level insurgency with sporadic bombings and shootings, often targeting law enforcement officers. Groups like the defunct, but still-notorious Aryan Nations were based in Idaho and the infamous Ruby Ridge incident involving survivalist Randy Weaver also occurred in the state. During this period, the federal government frequented the area and even today, remains a sanctuary of sorts for the far-right.
But even as far-right groups exist in Redoubt country, they’re outnumbered by those who don’t belong to these groups. As you’ll see in a bit, the region is in fact attracting those who hold views more conservative, more right-wing than even many natives. Many of their views may place them further on the extreme (in case you haven’t noticed, so do mine), but there’s a difference between holding such views and effectively waging war against the state. Most of these people simply prefer a more orderly society in accordance with Christian values and have no interest in killing anyone.
If someone wants to label American Redoubt a Christian nationalist movement, that’d at least be more consistent with what Rawles himself says. Personally, I don’t think calling it Christian nationalist is any strike against American Redoubt, but we’ll save that talk for another time.
The term redoubt itself is a source of controversy, as it refers to geographic regions where a country can retreat to in order to make a last stand in the event defeat in war appears unavoidable. Like all things without the official endorsement by the Regime, it’s become associated with Nazi Germany, though as Rawles explains, it’s hardly a Nazi concept:
I also expect that my use of the term Redoubt will inspire someone to accuse me of some sort of neo-Nazism. Sorry, but I use the term in honor of Switzerland. When I chose the name I was thinking of the Schweizer Alpenfestung (aka Réduit Suisse), rather than any reference to the Nazi’s “National Redoubt” scheme at the end of World War II. I am strongly anti-totalitarian, and that includes all of its forms, including Nazism and Communism.
I’m inviting people with the same outlook to move to the Redoubt States, to effect a demographic solidification. We’re already a majority here. I’d just like to see an even stronger majority.
Once more, Rawles makes clear he’s pushing neither separatism or a nation-within-a-nation. He simply doing what people have done since the establishment of civilization: associate with those who share their beliefs, aspirations, lifestyles, and values. More important, Rawles expresses no intention of using force to bring American Redoubt into fruition:
One important point: I do not, nor have I ever advocated asking anyone already living here to leave, nor would I deny anyone’s right to move here, regardless of their faith, (or lack thereof).
Closing ranks with people of the same faith has been done for centuries. It is often called cloistering. While imperfect, cloistering got some Catholics in Ireland through the Dark Ages with both their skins intact and some precious manuscripts intact. (It is noteworthy that other copies of the same manuscripts were burned, elsewhere in Europe.) Designating some States as a Redoubt is nothing more than a logical defensive reaction to an approaching threat.
By the way, leftists are quite good at establishing politically homogeneous communities. How come nobody in the media gets on them for that?
Rawles talks about much more in that blog post and I hope you’ll all take the time to read it. If you’re into prepping/survivalism, the blog itself is a must-read, so make sure you bookmark it and check it regularly. It’s up to everyone to decide whether Rawles is genuine in his intentions, but I’d focus as much attention to the results as one does to his words. In the dozen years since that essay which started it all, have the Mountain States become a breakaway republic where only Christians and Whites are welcome? Is there any sign of it happening any time soon? Is American Redoubt even a thing?
The answer to the first question is a self-evident “no.” The answer to the second is “probably not.” The answer to the third is open, but it’s a question Jacob Furedi, Deputy Editor of Unherd magazine, attempted to answer recently.
Furedi visited Idaho, arguably the heart of American Redoubt, and even met with James Rawles. Furedi summarizes why the Mountain States are an ideal geographic retreat:
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.
That last part smells like apocalyptic fantasy. But military considerations aren’t entirely far-fetched. If the U.S. is going to see another civil war on its soil, it just might happen in the Mountain States. We’ll get to that later, however.
More from Furedi:
But the Redoubt isn’t just an idyll — it is also a militarised fortification to fall back on and defend. And it’s in discussing this that Rawles shows what the Memsahib called his “eccentricities”. When I ask about impending cataclysms, he describes how the microcircuits in all modern devices could be destroyed by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) caused by a nuclear explosion in the earth’s atmosphere. It is a common fear among the Redoubters I meet; they invariably point to the nuclear capacity of Russia and China, as well as the US Government task force dedicated to preparing citizens for the inevitable EMP.
If you read the article, you’ll see that not everyone who resides in American Redoubt territory is doom-pilled to this extent, even as they’re undeniably concerned about the fate of the country and focused on preparedness. Personally, I don’t think people who reside in the Redoubt are going to be much better off long-term than those who don’t in the event of something like a civilization-threatening EMP attack. But these “The End Of The World As We Know It,” or TEOTWAWKI, scenarios aren’t worth being preoccupied with anyway due to their low likelihood and the fact that if they occurred, the outcome would be extremely unpleasant for all involved, regardless of the extent of one’s preparedness.
Not all of Rawles’s concerns are over-the-top:
Rawles’s greatest concern, however, is economic collapse brought on by the size of America’s national debt — and the lawlessness that would follow. “My fear is that we’re just a few meals away from anarchy,” he says. “Inflation is massively underreported. People are not keeping up. Tent cities are appearing everywhere. I think that’s where we’re headed…”
The national debt is something which is gaining greater attention as of late, in particular the fact the government is spending an increasing percentage of its revenue on servicing the debt, even as the debt grows ever larger. Mathematically, this is unsustainable, but as Roger Bootle recently put it in The Telegraph, “America isn’t a normal country.” The U.S. spends wildly because it can and because the alternative would cause short-term economic pain and there are still elections to win. It’s not an entirely irrational choice, but there will come a day, potentially within our lifetimes, where the U.S. cannot keep spending money like this. The sentiment among Americans is that the economy is nowhere near as good as the 5% GDP growth rate suggests. I don’t know whose reality is more accurate, but something will eventually have to give. Either we’re going through an adjustment period and everyone will get used to the new normal, or it’s all going to come crashing down.
For the residents of American Redoubt, the ending isn’t in any doubt:
But it’s impossible to shake it off completely: the oppressive sense of doom, and the pessimism that underscores his movement. On one level, the Redoubt appears to be little more than “political alienation with more forest and guns”. But its tragedy also runs deeper.
The idea of alienation carries the hope that one day the alienated will find a voice — that they are the product of circumstances that can be reversed. Rawles’s Redoubt, by contrast, seems an acceptance of defeat. After all, it is premised on the belief that America can’t be saved. That its people and their representatives are the cause, rather than the solution, to its very real crises. That the nation, along with its citizens, is Fallen.
Well, that makes more than one of us. In my view, the fact that the people of Rawles’s Redoubt have accepted defeat and believe America can’t be saved is less significant than the fact millions more believe it can, but either have no plan for how to make that happen or think voting and deferring even more to our representatives, along with the ruling class more broadly, is how it gets done. I think I’ve built up a solid case these past few years for why America has passed the point of no return and why backing off and allowing the ruling class to handle things isn’t the answer. As I said in my previous post, if voting made a difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.
I’m not saying this is what Furedi thinks, but I know there are many people out there who resent those who opt out of the system, like the residents of Redoubt are doing. Deutsche Welle, the German news broadcaster, had a documentary out recently exploring Idaho and it’s growing status as a safe haven for conservative, Christian, and right-wing Americans. For some reason, the video, made available on YouTube, has now been set to private, so I wasn’t able to view it. I did catch a glimpse of the comments in reaction to it. Many comments spoke positively of Idaho being that sanctuary for Americans who increasingly feel like a stranger in their homeland, but others clearly felt threatened by the prospect of something like American Redoubt. I suppose this could end up being an entirely separate topic of discussion, so it’ll suffice to say that at the heart of the matter is a more fundamental question: whose land is it? Who gets to live there?
“There’s Gonna Be A War”
Tensions are clearly on the rise across America, but perhaps none more so than within the territory of American Redoubt. In summer 2022, Isaac Simpson, in his Substack The Carousel, wrote an essay titled, “There’s Gonna be a War in Montana.”
Then my wife tested positive for COVID so we fled to Bozeman. Throughout the subsequent week, I explored Bozeman and Big Sky, ultra-hot destinations (and now homes) for the woke bourgeoisie, and Three Forks, the polar opposite, a totally different world a razor thin distance away. I saw two groups of people, an overclass and an underclass, pressed up against each other, spoiling for a fight, just waiting for the littlest spark to set their fury ablaze.
Over what? The soul of Montana of course. One-of-a-kind land. That’s nothing new. What’s new is the character of the warring factions. They aren’t who you see on TV. On one side you have global interests imputing their values, importing cheaper labor, hollowing out Montana’s attractions and selling them to an international bourgeoisie for maximum profits. On the other you have the new underclass. Not the friendly Christian country folk of times past. And not Cowboy Hat Republican Rancher Dad either. No, these are a new kind of country person. Angry, exasperated, poor, Trump-loving service-workers—the Oxy takers, the meth cookers, the eaters of Chick-Fil-A. This group is acutely aware of just who controls Bozeman and Big Sky, and believe that the same people are coming for their territory. And they’re right.
If you listen, you can hear the two groups screaming at each other in silence, waiting for their very own Gavrilo Princip to spark this thing off.
Ultimately, it comes down to something fundamental: the right to have your own slice of land where one can live life according to one’s own precepts, instead of one imposed on them. After all, the Left has urban areas, so why can’t the Right have rural areas? The suburbs are taken, anyway. The availability of living space, especially when it comes to a population so large and diverse as America’s, is the very thing which ultimately defuses tensions and keeps the lid on civil conflict. For all the rhetoric, Americans are a culturally libertarian people and are content to let others have their own space to do their own thing.
At least, one side is. Simpson’s argument is that Montana is at the risk of civil war because the other side, the one with cultural and political power, is encroaching and trying to “conquer” someone else’s land, intentionally or not.
But this is a new thing. Montana has always been the site of land battles—but these warring factions are brand new. The Washington Post presents the risk as one-sided—that angry Trumpists are going to soon resort to violence because, well, that’s what they do when the modern world comes knocking. The media doesn’t notice that Trump flags are being raised in reaction to the rainbow ones, not in spite of them. The anger bubbling up from Three Forks isn’t happening because Montanans, left alone for decades, somehow developed into anachronistic bigots unready for the modern world. It’s happening because Montanans got their sh*t taken. They were intentionally shoved out, left behind. Their music, their signs, their cars, their language—they’re all born from a fresh wound.
It’s easy to say that nobody really has any claim to land, hence accusations of encroachment unwarranted. It’s interesting then, how gentrification is a major talking point on the Left - if gentrification isn’t encroachment, then what is? Better yet, if rural Americans began taking over urban areas and importing their lifestyles and values along with it, it’s doubtful the Left would suffer in silence. Why would they, when they possess the capacity for mobilizing public opinion like no other?
It’s not just about culture. It’s also about more tangible issues. Since the pandemic, the popularity of remote work has skyrocketed; those who telework permanently are opting to live remotely as well in places like the Mountain States or even rural Appalachia due to their lower cost of living, less congestion, etc. This has the effect of driving up the cost of living, however. Barring some major change which reverses this trend, remote work is set to exacerbate migration from crowded metropolitan areas to places where more land is available:
It seems rural America is broadly becoming the battleground for America’s culture war and, increasingly, economic wars. Both culture and the economy are enough on their own to trigger open hostility. What do you get when cultural and economic disputes collide?
The sense that armed conflict is inevitable seems pervasive. James Pogue, writing for Vanity Fair earlier this year with an article that drew much attention at the time, visited Montana reported back the following [bold mine]:
I had versions of this conversation dozens of times over the next few weeks. “The only fix to what is happening right now,” a man from tiny Augusta, Montana, told me, “is gonna be if we drag that real estate agent who is selling away the soul of this community down Main Street with a chain.” I stopped to fish off the Green River, between Pinedale and Jackson Hole, and ended up chatting with a mother and her adult son who were living out of a camper, having been priced out of rural California. “What’s going to happen when there’s nowhere left affordable to go?” the mom asked. “There’s gonna be a war,” the son said casually.
Fighting over land seems archaic, but that’s only because we’ve exchanged violence with the courts. If you’re in the market for some interesting television programming, watch Investigation Discovery’s Fear Thy Neighbor, whose ninth season debuted a few months ago. It covers true-life stories of disputes between neighbors ending in violence, oftentimes death. These incidents frequently involve or stem from territorial disputes, even if it means deciding something seemingly so simple as where the proverbial white picket fence-line ought to be placed.
The violence may seem senseless. But unlike one’s pride, territory is something physical. If a person doesn’t have their own living space, they’re at the mercy of others or effectively a prisoner to them. This fundamental fact of life is what’s at play in the debates over American Redoubt. Do dissidents of the Regime get to have their own “homeland” within a homeland where they can live according to their values, instead of being forced to adopt someone else’s? It’s a question that’ll need to be answered at some point in the future, whether by action or inaction, whether through violence or civility.
The most straightforward means of turning the Mountain States into a haven for dissidents is to flood the states with dissidents. The states of Rawles’s Redoubt - Idaho, Montana, and eastern Oregon and Washington are seeing an influx of new residents, but contrary to popular wisdom, they aren’t who you think they are.
From Jonathan Rawles, son of James Rawles:
Even the much-derided Californians moving to states like Idaho and Montana aren’t stereotypical liberals. From a Stanford University article published in 2022:
For many, the attraction is price. But of the California counties with the highest home prices in 2021 – San Mateo, San Francisco, Marin and Santa Clara counties in the Bay Area – only one, Santa Clara, ranked among the top 10 California counties sending migrants to Idaho. In other areas, Idaho’s right-leaning political culture provides an antidote to California’s liberalism.
Susan Lehner, a communications professional who moved to Boise last year from Lafayette, a hilly town east of San Francisco Bay, was once a devotee of San Francisco. But her effort to show her fourth-grade son sections of the area she loved turned sour when they passed used syringes, human feces and a half-naked man face down on the ground.
“The joy of bringing my son to my city was gone,” she said. She and her husband liked what they had heard about Idaho. They were given a parting reminder of things that irked them about the Bay Area’s liberal culture. When her house went on sale, a realestate agent infuriated her by advising her to remove the American flag hanging over her entrance.
This all tracks with national sentiments, which show that if anyone wants to move to “red” America, it’s not leftists:
The influx may be driving up the cost of living, but they’re at least ensuring these areas will increasingly being right-wing, anti-Regime bastions for the foreseeable future. For now though, the answer to the question of whether residents prefer lower prices or political solidarity remains more the former rather than the latter.
Also from the 2022 Stanford article:
How have Idaho and Montana reacted? Not well, according to local newspaper and radio stories over the past few years. Rising home prices are one reason. Norada, a real-estate investment site, reported recently that “the median sales price for homes in Ada County, Boise’s home, rose to $510,000, up 21.4 percent in a year – the largest annual gain since local realtors started tracking prices.
In Bozeman, home prices increased at least 18 percent.
In Idaho, the arrival of some conservatives in flight from coastal liberalism has exacerbated divisions in the Republican party of this redder-than-red state. Politico reported recently that “Those who fear and those who cheer the effects of right flight agree on one point: The newcomers are pushing Idaho politics farther to the right.”
At the same time, you can also see a not-insignificant number of Democrats and people of other political persuasions are moving into Redoubt land. These people will likely insist on having a say and, in a national environment which favors the Left over the Right, their neighbors may not support them, but the Regime will and maybe so will a large portion of the public. So while there may be resentment towards newcomers for driving up prices today, tomorrow, it may need to be set aside in order to meet the greater long-term threat: encroachment by the Left and the Regime’s pursuit of supremacy at all levels of governance.
For now, the conflict, to the extent it exists, remains local. But again, as internal tensions rise in the U.S., internal tensions within places like Idaho and Montana will intensify as well. Readers who’ve followed me for some time know I believe domestic conflict will become a fact of life within the next 10 years. For the most part, this conflict will manifest in higher crime rates and frequent civil unrest. And yet, due to it’s low-level, sporadic, location-specific nature, many Americans will be able to get on with their lives without having to preoccupy their minds with it.
American Redoubt will be an exception.
Civil War In The Mountains
Let me clarify once again that my overall position regarding the prospect of civil war in the U.S. hasn’t changed. As stated above, my scenario is still a low-intensity armed internal conflict, defined primarily by increasingly out-of-control crime facilitated through anarcho-tyranny, civil unrest caused by the increasingly unstable political situation and culture wars at all levels of society, along with an inevitable armed conflict along the U.S.-Mexico border. Overall, however, we’ll be able to avoid a major civil war engulfing our land from coast to coast, forcing us to into separate warring factions, though we’ll come to the brink a few times throughout the next generation or so, at least until this current crisis cycle comes to an end.
American Redoubt won’t be as fortunate. For reasons previously explained, the Mountain States will emerge as an epicenter in the U.S. domestic conflict, becoming the one place where Americans not only separate into conflicting factions, but will clash violently with authorities as well. This is because, again, there’s still land to be fought over in this region, the concentration of anti-Regime dissidents, and disputes requiring adjudication. Local authorities may be able to resolve most of them, but the intractable ones will ultimately draw federal intervention.
For example, abortion has become a major issue at the state level after the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year. Idaho has one of the country’s strictest abortion policies and state officials are attempting to establish even more punitive measures to prevent abortion. There’s a high likelihood the federal government may need to get involved and one can expect the Regime to mobilize political and public opinion to pressure Idaho and the rest of the Redoubt to conform or die.
For a recent, real-world example, consider when right-wing anti-government militants, led occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Oregon in 2016. The incident ended mostly peacefully, though one of the occupiers was killed. They were all heavily prosecuted, but the point is that there exists both historical precedent and burgeoning flashpoints for civil conflict, whereas in other areas of the country, one but not the other exists. In the major cities, you have a history of riots, but far less a history of direct challenges to authority. This is the distinction between “civil war” and mere armed conflict. Rioting, killing, or even bombings are attempts at overwhelming authorities, but they aren’t in themselves attempts at overturning authority on a given stretch of land. In American Redoubt, you’re likely to see confrontations stem over who ultimately has political legitimacy within an area, not arguments over the rules.
In addition to political tensions, you have lots of radicals, lots of guns, and a willingness of some to actively resist the authorities. Depending on the circumstances, including the political climate of the country overall, more residents of the Redoubt could be mobilized. Civil war isn’t a fire waiting for a spark, as prepper Fabian Ommar says, but not only does the fuel exist in vast quantities in the Mountain States, there have been sparks and will be more in the years to come.
Which brings us to the question of who’ll be waging this war. The simplest answer: the usual suspects. Militia’s like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys are prevalent in this part of the country and are clearly quite active, often running afoul of the authorities. You can see their activities will likely increase if tensions in the area rise. There are also many smaller, less well-known militias in these parts, to say nothing of the millions of gun owners who may not be militiamen, but share similar political views.
Let’s focus on the militias for a moment. Despite their history of violence in the area, I’m somewhat bearish on their prospects of waging war against the state today. One, their efforts haven’t been successful. Two, these groups are so heavily monitored and infiltrated by the authorities, their ability to take action against the state is quite limited. Three, coordination is required between all these militias for their actions to be effective, but not only are these groups harbor different ideologies, they’re also pursuing different aims. As James Pogue wrote last year in Unherd, many of these militias simply want to be left alone by the government, existing only to protect their communities. The American militia movement is hardly as activist as often portrayed in the media and cannot be regarded as the militant wing of the Republican Party, the same way groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter have become the militant wing of the Democratic Party.
This isn’t to say militias won’t get into the mix in a future civil war in American Redoubt. As political disputes mount, the militias will at least become more vocal and many local politicians do have ties to these groups. As we saw in the 2016 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation, militias do take action under certain circumstances. Some of the more extremist groups, particularly the White supremacists, may be more willing to get their hands dirty, but again, these groups are also under heavy surveillance and infiltration. Even militias that choose to keep a low profile and maintain a defensive posture may end up monitored, infiltrated, and eventually pursued by authorities.
A common theme of this civil war will be that it’s the Left and the Regime who’ll be on the offensive. American Redoubt is a reactionary, not a progressive, movement which seeks to get away from, not go towards. It’s a big reason why the Regime’s attempts over the last few years to sound the alarm on civil war being triggered by the far-right are falling on deaf ears, because it’s just not happening. By pursuing dissidents to places like Idaho, the Regime is hoping they can either force acquiescence or provoke them into firing the first shots, thereby triggering domestic armed conflict. Domestic armed conflict requires state intervention, especially when it involves political dissidents.
Unfortunately, many normal people will be caught up in this fight. Contrary to conventional wisdom, insurgencies aren’t popular - they’re violent and therefore disruptive, and people don’t like disruption. Insurgencies are sustained less by popular will and more by the lack of effective opposition. The credible threat of violence is the strongest currency there is, so as long as nobody’s stopping the violence, insurgencies can be sustained perpetually.
However, just because the militants lack popularity doesn’t mean the authorities have popular support. During The Troubles of Northern Ireland, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) wasn’t overwhelmingly popular among Catholics. However, neither were the British Security Forces. Fear of the IRA and resentment of the British created an environment where the insurgents couldn’t win, but the British couldn’t pacify Northern Ireland, either.
A similar dynamic will emerge in American Redoubt. Most residents aren’t militia members, though smaller-scale community self-defense groups may exist. Most residents, despite strong political views, prefer to live in peace and quiet and will likely attempt to tune out the noise, even if it comes from bombs and guns. After all, they moved to places like the Mountain States to get away from the noise, not to go to war. However, even as they reject the militancy of the more extreme residents, they’ll never lose sight of who the real enemy is, especially if normal, law-abiding citizens with no ties to extremist groups end up in the Regime’s crosshairs, which they inevitably will. I wouldn’t expect residents to support attempts by authorities, specifically the federal government, to bring the region to heel. At least in word, if not deed, expect the region to remain fervently anti-left and anti-Regime. This sentiment will fuel the militants, even without the direct support of the population at-large.
What about the leftists in the region? I’d expect the area to become enemy territory for them. There may be pockets where Democrat and leftist residents could seek refuge - Boise comes to mind - but overall, the ambient atmosphere will be hostile towards them. At a low level, you’ll likely see ostracization, as neighbors turn on those who don’t fit in, making it clear they’re no longer welcome. You could also see more “Fear Thy Neighbor”-like incidents, where disputes spill over into violence, or even terrorizing the unwanted into leaving. In the long-term, there may be out-migration by leftist residents as they seek safe harbor in “blue” areas like coastal Oregon and Washington, or California.
But it’s just as likely they may elect to stay. After all, the arc of history bends towards progress; fueled by the promise of destiny, leftists may choose to stick it out, “resist,” and bank on federal intervention to “liberate” the state from the Right. Even as the cost of living rises, states like Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming are still cheaper than California or the coastal Pacific Northwest. The draw of more land, lower cost of living will still be strong as the quality of life declines in the densely populated areas. At least for a while, the Left could increase their numbers in the Redoubt, even as they remain the minority.
What you see then are battle lines being drawn. One one side, you have right-wing Americans, represented in political realm by local or state authorities affiliated with the Republican Party. On the other, you have left-wingers, represented in the political realm by the Democratic Party at the national level and the pro-left Regime. Locally, the Right has presence, but the Left has more power it can bring to bear.
Which brings us to the question of outside intervention. For the most part, local and state law enforcement will be responsible for keeping the peace. But to bring the region in line with Washington’s dictates, federal law enforcement will need to become involved. Like the 1980s and 1990s, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) will be towing a hard line on gun regulations, leading many gun owners to get caught up in a nasty web of legal code resulting in their arrest. At worst, you could see more Ruby Ridge-like incidents. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will be the tip of the spear with respect to combating a potential insurgency, undermining militias, or even going after everyday citizens for their insufficient fealty to the Regime.
Federal authorities, however, will likely butt heads with local and state authorities, who may refuse to cooperate. In Oregon and Washington, where Democrats control the state-level government, the “feds” may find assistance forthcoming. But in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, where state and local governance tilts right, they may find no assistance at all. This will in turn trigger greater assistance and attention from Washington, who’ll spare no expense at denying the Right safe haven in American Redoubt.
How high up the escalation ladder are they willing to go? At this point, we’re talking about military intervention. Oregon and Washington may be more willing to deploy the National Guard, while Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming may be less willing. However, since the authorities, regardless of which side they belong to, cannot afford to let the situation spiral out of control, may elect to involve the National Guard regardless, if a crisis escalates. It’s just that the blue states will deploy their state militias to assist law enforcement in subduing dissidents, while the red states will likely use their government militias to protect their citizens.
It’s the latter which presents a flashpoint for major conflict. Even when the situation deteriorates to the extent I believe it will, I’m not sure state forces would be willing to resist federal forces, especially in a clash of arms. During the 1950s and 1960s, federal troops were often deployed to the South to enforce dictates related to civil rights for Blacks and the state and local authorities always stood aside, ultimately.
In the coming tumult, the Mountain States will likely play the role the South did in the mid-20th century. Federal military forces will inevitably become involved, though it remains to be seen to what extent. In case of a major insurgency or unrest, the president could invoke the Insurrection Act, allowing troops to act in a law enforcement capacity or even go on the attack.
Here’s a scenario where the active-duty military would need to intervene in a manner similar to what we’ve seen outside the U.S.:
But in the worst-case, Ukraine-style scenario—in which thousands of insurgents seized buildings, destroyed infrastructure, and simultaneously carried out other attacks across multiple parts of the country—the military would have to get more involved. In this situation, the president might direct the Joint Special Operations Command, the agency that chases terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, to look for domestic insurgents and put down attacks.
These troops would make fast work of any insurrectionist brushfire they were sent to contain. Tactically, special operations units are extraordinarily proficient. But like in the Middle East, that work would result in mass casualties and horrifying violations of human rights. In attempting to preserve the territorial integrity of the United States, the military might rip it apart. If it succeeded in maintaining the authority of the federal government, it could come at the expense of the rule of law.
It’s no doubt a nightmare scenario, one I find unlikely, at least in the manner presented. Even if federal troops get involved, I doubt they’ll be effective at accomplishing their objectives, even with a concerted effort. I don’t agree with a lot of what he says, but Malcom Kyeyune once explained well the pitfalls of military intervention against Americans and how the military would have very little freedom of maneuver in such a conflict.
The real reason you want to use extremely restrictive RoEs in a situation like the one you claim one wouldn't be used is that the American elite will be fighting with forces that are recruited from the very areas they are supposed to police. That means it will be their brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers in the gunsights; if you simply level half a rural town in Texas, the people who die will be related by blood or friendship to the people who load the bombs and hold the rifles. This presents two very basic challenges: number one, if you start killing civilians in these areas, your recruitment prospects will become quite catastrophic, quite quickly. Number two – and this is the big one – soldiers have historically been extremely reluctant to follow orders like this. A smart empire will therefore go to great lengths to source their soldiers from populations that do not even speak the same language as the civilians they're supposed to police; the Austrians used Croats in Italy, and Italians in Croatia…and even then the soldiers were often reluctant to stand in the way of a sufficiently motivated civilian population.
If you park a tank in Anytown, Idaho, and tell it to just go hog wild on the enemy, that tank is either going to end up shooting at nothing, or simply massacre a bunch of innocent civilians. Killing innocent civilians will 1) make your own army much more likely to revolt, 2) make the actual enemy combatants much more able to recruit new militants, and so using an extremely restrictive RoE is actually the only possible way you could even hope to fight a war like this on American soil without just losing it on purpose.
So with the army just not having enough people, it then also has to face the issue of political reliability. If you tell troops to fight on behalf of a regime with very questionable legitimacy, and those troops then have to fight their own families, you can expect massive desertions and mutiny, maybe even mutiny at the divisional level (this is much more likely to happen with Army National Guard divisions).
Obviously, Kyeyune is describing a worst-case scenario, but I also think it applies more generally. A Regime that couldn’t bear to deploy military force against rioters, looters, or criminals is likely going to have trouble justifying it’s deployment against Americans whose only crime is living in Idaho and having different political views. Clearly, any such intervention will be preceded by an all-out propaganda blitz to demonize and dehumanize the “American Taliban,” but propaganda alone often only reinforces existing sentiments. It converts relatively few. This is more likely to be true in my future, where such a scenario is more likely to take place. The state will likely have more control of our speech and thoughts by then, but animosity will be so widespread, only those most loyal to the Regime will likely buy the narrative. Beyond that, nobody will be calling for a full-scale invasion of the Mountain States.
Let’s talk practically. American Redoubt encompasses a geographic area larger than many countries. For a sense of scale, look at what happens when you overlay Spain onto Idaho:
Spain’s own civil war, one of the most violent in the last century, took place in an area that doesn’t even completely cover the entirety of American Redoubt. Even for a low-intensity conflict and a smaller population, that’s still a lot of real estate to lock down. Unless the government is going to concentrate it’s entire law enforcement and military capacity onto this one area, there’s no way they’ll establish supremacy, not without loyal local and state governments, which would de-necessitate a need for such a massive intervention in the first place.
Finally, there’s the geography. James, Rawles talked about how the Dakotas aren’t an ideal refuge due to their open plains, which facilitate the deployment of large conventional forces. While this is likely not the kind of fight to expect, he does have a point in that the mountainous, heavily-forested terrain of the Mountain States does pose challenges few armed forces of the world have managed to master. The U.S. recently got out of 20 years of battling insurgents in the mountains of Afghanistan; today, the country is under total Taliban control. The Soviets fared worse and later the Russians struggled to bring the Chechens to heel as they fought in the Caucasus mountains. Even in the deserts of the Middle East, modern militaries have struggled and continued to struggle against unconventional foes.
The point isn’t that the civil war in the mountains will take on the characteristics of the wars in Afghanistan, Chechnya, or anywhere else. It’s that no amount of force brought to bear is likely to deliver the outcome the Regime seeks.
A Bleak Fate In God’s Mountains
This has been a long piece and I hope you’re all still with me. In the interest of not belaboring the point, I’ll summarize what this war will look like.
It won’t look like the Spanish Civil War. Despite the similarity in terrain, it won’t look like the Bosnian nor Chechen wars of the 1990s, either, to say nothing of our two-decade struggle in Afghanistan. We likely won’t see armor and artillery shelling rebel positions or warplanes dropping bombs on the mountains. At worst, we may see armored units driving up the road, but even then, they’re going to be severely restricted in what they can do.
Even at it’s worst, I see a low-intensity conflict punctuated by higher-intensity, well-publicized events. These include bombings, shoot-outs with authorities, mass shootings, or sieges similar to the infamous incident in Waco, Texas in 1993. Still, I doubt the Mountain West will become a shooting gallery, even as hostility remains high. It’ll be the overall U.S. internal conflict in concentrated form, but the nature of the fight over American Redoubt will constitute direct challenges to governance over territory, hence giving it a more defined civil war characteristic.
A few groups - likely ones we don’t know about today - will emerge as the primary combatants in this war. They’ll wage an insurgency, while also never quite becoming American Taliban or Hamas, capable of administrating territory, providing services, all while waging war against more powerful adversaries. For the most part, they’ll seek to control what they regard as theirs, while a minority of militants may attempt to take the fight directly to the authorities. It’ll be a dangerous place to be a law enforcement officer or, eventually, a soldier.
Even if military intervention becomes necessary, law enforcement agencies will take the lead in combating the insurgency and stamping down dissidents. It’ll be less a kinetic war and more of an information war; using the vast array of communications technology available today, along with social media, the Regime will attempt to subvert American Redoubt using the same tried and true methods - demoralization, destabilization, crisis, normalization. The real war may end up being the one fought in the shadows, in cyberspace, and deep within the forests.
In the long run, the civil war in the mountains will likely need to be contained and allowed to burn out, the same way wildfires are extinguished. The conflict will probably come to an end when the broader American internal conflict ends or at least de-escalates or when the current political order collapses and is replaced by a successor regime. Even then, violence may still occur sporadically and the region will be left with the scars of years of war. Even if cities and towns haven’t been turned into smoldering rubble, life won’t be as idyllic as it might be now. Quality of life may decline, with many residents leaving to escape the conflict or the bad memories. When it’s all said and done, both sides may wonder: could well enough have been left alone?
For the rest of America, they’ll likely be too preoccupied by events closer to them to be too worried about what’s happening in Idaho, the same way Ruby Ridge and Waco were just news stories for most Americans back in the early 1990s. There’s going to be political crisis and economic instability to worry more about. The same way The Troubles of Northern Ireland happened “over there” for the British, despite the territory being part of the same country, “The Troubles” of American Redoubt will be something that happens in the mountains, “where all the crazy right-wing fascist people who used to support Donald Trump live.”
Come what may, the Mountain States could end up being the nexus of the American internal conflict, the location where all our national flashpoints converge to form a point of singularity.
Still Want To Move?
The preparedness application should be self-explanatory. Certainly, a place like American Redoubt is probably a friendlier place to plant roots for preppers and survivalists. You have land, like-minded people, low taxes, and most important, a culture that encourages independence. The cost of living is increasing in these places, yes, but they remain lower than most other places. The Redoubt is a nice place to live, at least for a certain kind of person, but what attracts new residents is exactly what makes the land rife for conflict. People tend to fight over things everyone wants.
Is it really worth it to relocate, then? You may not like where you live today. It may be expensive. But think long-term - in 10 years, Idaho could be just as expensive as, say, California, is today. What then? Where would you move to? And if my prediction comes to pass and the Mountain States does become a theater of civil war, what exactly have you achieved by moving?
The reality is, where you live today may be culturally divergent or expensive, but it’s at least stable. Sometimes, unpleasant predictability is better than unpredictability in general. You may not like California and California may not like you, but if you can manage to stay below the radar and find a way to live without attracting the attention of the Regime, that may be as optimal a means of weathering the approaching storm as any. If you’re the one preparing for a coast-to-coast civil war or a total collapse, know that the hinterlands won’t provide you refuge for long. You’ll either become isolated and sustain yourselves poorly, or trouble will come find you. Rural areas may be peaceful today, but during times of strife, they become violent. One day, you’ll run out of ammo. This is reality.
I’d wager many readers have at least thought about moving to Mountain America, or rural America in general. I’m not in the business of telling you to move or not to move, but I’ll close with this passage from a post earlier this year on the same topic:
The running theme in Pogue’s article, which again, I hope you read, is that there’s nowhere left to run. Nor is there much use in self-segregation, because the other side will always find a reason to encroach on your turf. The fight has always been about whose country this is, it’s just playing out at lower levels. You’re not going to escape it by simply running for the hills. We’re far too interconnected these days for that to be possible.
I realize this sounds blackpilling, arguably one of my more blackpilling pieces. But it doesn’t need to be. Hard times are coming and there’s no stopping it from happening. However, you can take this time and cultivate strong families and community to weather the storm. I live in a place that hasn’t hit rock bottom, but rock bottom can be seen. I don’t expect this place to turn itself around and go back to being affordable and liveable, nor do I see the politics of this place becoming more to my liking, not any time soon.
What I do know is that this is my home and I intend to stay for the long haul. If I were to move to a place like Montana or Wyoming, which I’d once sought to do, not only would I need to re-establish myself, I’d also need to watch the same dynamic that happened where I’m living to play out in a new state. Again, there’s no running from it. At some point, you need to stand your ground and fight for your family and home, even in a losing effort.
Let’s hear your thoughts. Have you considered moving to the Mountain States or a rural area? Do you already live in such an area? What do you see happening there? Are my predictions of civil war realistic, plausible, or unfounded?
Max Remington writes about armed conflict and prepping. Follow him on Twitter at @AgentMax90.
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