The time to Get Out of Dodge has arrived says Survival Blog editor James Rawles, the survival retreat consultant and doomer author in last Monday's lead article, Move to the Mountain States—The American Redoubt. Such a proposal is not new, it's a long-standing staple among survivalists actually, but Mr. Rawles is the widely accepted center of gravity for mainline survivalism and his opinion carries real weight. In his words,
Consider my paradigm fully shifted. I'm now urging that folks Get Out of Dodge for political reasons—not just for the family preparedness issues that I've previously outlined. There comes a time, after a chain of abuses when good men must take action.
Using the phrase "voting with our feet" made famous by fleeing East Germans during the Cold War, he suggests a self-evacuation of like-minded souls and recommends the area encompassed by eastern Oregon, eastern Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. It's terrain Tito would have chosen. Mr. Rawles has never disclosed his own location but many believe it to be in the rugged Idaho-Montana area. Interested parties can keep up with further developments at survivalblog.com, which is easily the most complete and authoritative on-line prepper reference. Kellene Bishop at Preparedness Pro has some thoughts to offer, and Chuck Baldwin, who made the move some time ago, also has some remarks.
His article concludes with speculation about the redoubt's prospects, his reasons for choosing the states he did and what the redoubt movement is and is not. Those looking for patriotic but otherwise '60s style communes will discover Mr. Rawles has no tolerance for such nonsense, he's looking for committed, traditional Christians and Jews whose prime candidates would be the immovably independent, armed farmer-carpenters in woodland pattern coveralls who can quote appropriate lines from Common Sense while hilling potatoes. He sternly warns of troubles and setbacks and unrelenting hard work.
Expect disinformation about this redoubt from the usual suspects, with sly misreadings of everything from Galt's Gulch to Prester John, sprinkled with tales of John Noyes-like malevolency, the final product presented as a sort of Redneck Rainbow Gathering or a Red Dawn theme park for unreconstructed cold warriors. There's no lower limit to what the truly malignant may say. These are depths best left unplumbed. Somehow we believe Mr. Rawles, a former intelligence officer, has considered all this.
Sympathetic doubters will likely say this proposal provides a self-selected target-rich environment compared to a John Robb-style open source "resiliant community", or even to merely lying low and staying scattered. It's also likely they'll recite the region's shortcomings, there are some, and claim its handicaps are avoidable by merely adopting their preferred alternative. Such things are attendant to any initiative of import, it's understandable, there's always a persuasive argument for doing something else, or something less, or nothing at all.
Woodpile Report's maps of the proposed redoubt
The proposed redoubt is not suitable for many, perhaps not for most. Some are already long settled and deeply vested in their own redoubt, generally familial or with a small group of the like-minded, perhaps in the hills'n hollows of West Virginia or Kentucky, or the remote ridges of Pennsylvania or the deep woods of Alabama or Minnesota. They too have voted with their feet. However, most folks haven't done this or anything close to it, they're committed as-is where-is for good and sufficient reason. Such folks are commonly the target of hyper-survivalists who in their own elitist way deride them as sheeple. One of Remus's correspondents put it this way:
The Redoubt is probably the most practical way—for those who can and have the means to move there. But there's also some good geographical/political/ideological pockets or redoubts in other parts of the U.S. Sometimes, for personal or practical reasons, folks have to make a stand where their roots are. Places where they know "who's who" and who knows how to do this or that, and where to find what you need when you need it, all sorts of things that take time to learn in a new location.
It's difficult to know in any detail the political reasons Mr. Rawles refers to, he rarely allows himself more than a succinct comment about politics. And he can be succinct, he resigned his commission promptly upon the election of President Clinton. If we can't know we can guess, so guess we will.
The regional redoubt concept is in keeping with the phenomena of re-Balkanization currently raveling up the knitted sleeve of union, again, partly a consequence of the hugely successful divide-and-conquer strategy of our major political parties, a strategy which amounts to the creation of tribal politics and, therefore and necessarily, of creating tribes. Others say it's because the glue pot of federal bribes and payoffs is running empty so the nation is reverting to its natural, low-maintenance, 1790s-like form. There may be more to it however. Marc Armbinder at National Journal had this to say about the American electorate:
The Whιte House never quite understood how much Americans distrusted government to fix the problem that they created... They feel untethered from their government and mistrust concentrated power. They are not confident than their children will do better than they are doing—the first generation to think this way since professional polling began. Neither party has figured out how capture the attention of these voters.
Reading between the lines, disengagement is well underway, which is consistent with the Tainter-inspired notion of the U.S. being too large and varied to be effectively governed as anything other than the minimalist republic the founders meant it to be, and the theory which says such artificial conglomerates begin to fail with the first spoor of illegitimacy—the USSR and that latest permutation of the Carolingian empire: the European Union, for two examples—which is to say such aggregates are temporary conveniences with only ersatz consent from their subjects-to-be and therefore technically illegitimate upon creation, which illegitimacy is set aside for as long as the compact is seen to be beneficial and for as long as it is honored more or less scrupulously.
With U.S. national politics amounting to coup d'états and uncontested decrees, representation without representation as it were, the U.S. government has been trying mightily to simulate consent for a long time now. In the '30s it wanted to be seen as the champion of the working man, in the '40s as the destroyer of war makers, in the '50s as the rearguard against an expanding communist empire. Things really got rolling in the '60s. There came the war on poverty, the war on drugs and appeasement of militant black activists. In the early 2000s came the grand prize, the Patriot Act and an announcement, note, of open-ended war on whatever they claimed to be terrorism, and yes, appeasement of militant Moslem activists. None of these campaigns were convincing, they weren't even plausible. None have succeeded in their stated goal nor were they meant to, they were the weeds that hid the leopard.
Such periodic theatrics are needed to jam gears together which no longer mesh, the citizenry having largely withdrawn its trust and consent. However, the regime is not just losing this game, the regime is ending the game itself, probably in a maelstrom of political and economic chaos. The classic outcome of this path is an imposed lawless totalitarianism, and the more precipitous and convulsive the final transition, the better. The classic path for the aware citizenry is to anticipate the catastrophe, retreat from easy reach of the regime and recoalesce into cooperative communities. Francis Porretto of Eternity Road put it this way in Part 5 of his Shape of Things to Come,
Obama knows exactly what he's doing. More important, he's sensed that he can use the reluctance of conservatives and libertarians to give true coloration to his program and the motivations behind it. We're simply too cowardly, most of us, to admit that America put a destroyer, an enemy of freedom, into the highest office in the land. That would reflect badly on far too many of us, wouldn't it?
Obama and his lieutenants are increasing that tension with every move they make. As it tightens on us, ever more Americans are retreating from civic involvement and resolving merely to protect themselves as best they can. The atomization thus evoked, wherein individuals are too suspicious of everything around them to repose trust even in their neighbors, is a perfect playground for a coherent, well focused program of totalitarian control.
We're past the point of fixing this with civic involvement. Now it's down to self preservation and nurturing the animus of Constitutional government. The stakes don't get any higher, hence the proposed enclave. Unfortunately, the mere fact of such an initiative, regardless of its attributes, may be taken by government as a challenge. Keep in mind government doesn't see opponents so much as it sees itself as an opponent, finding fulfillment where it can. Although the only challenge here amounts to scrupulously legal avoidance of their more egregious intrusions, even this may be enough to tickle a predator instinct somewhere. The feral federal establishment takes self preservation seriously too, and it's notoriously Stalinist in its dealings, meaning a supposed challenger has to lose for them to win. At best they settle for being seen as winning in some symbolic way, if it's costly and humiliating enough to serve as a cautionary tale. At worst we have Ruby Ridge and like crudities.
The redoubt proposal appears to assume a Fabius Maximus strategy, in this case bulking up an already amenable region over time. The goal, to ensure the survival and practice of ideals which could otherwise be snuffed out one pocket at a time, is ambitious and laudable. Whether it will succeed is problematic, there are no ISO standards we can reference. If it succeeds we may be witnessing the foundation of how-to books for generations to come.