(Note: This essay launched The American Redoubt movement. It was first posted on March 28, 2011. It was last updated on March 24, 2021)
To begin, I recognize the fact that “all politics are local”. I also recognize the international readership of SurvivalBlog. Therefore I de-emphasize politics in my blog. However, an article got my blood boiling: Motorists illegally detained at Florida tolls – for using large bills! So, not only are Federal Reserve Notes not redeemable “on demand” for specie, but effectively they are now no longer “…legal tender for all debts public and private.” It is often hard to pinpoint a breaking point–the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back”–as impetus for a paradigm shift. But reading that news article was that last straw for me.
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 documented. There comes a time, after a chain of abuses when good men must take action. We’ve reached that point, folks!
Voting With Our Feet
I concur that Pastor Chuck Baldwin was right when he “voted with his feet” and moved his family from Florida to Montana. Like Chuck Baldwin I believe that is time for freedom-loving Christians to relocate to something analogous to “Galt’s Gulch” on a grand scale.
In March 2011, Ol’ Remus of the weekly Yer Ol’ Woodpile Report blog quoted an essay by economist Giordano Bruno, titled The Return Of Precious Metals And Sound Money. In it, Bruno stated: “If there is anything good to come out of our present predicament, it is that Americans, from average citizens to elected officials, are beginning to understand the reality of coming collapse and are preempting it with measures designed to insulate their communities from the inevitable firestorm. Eventually, as this movement escalates, certain states will come out ahead of the pack, gaining a kind of “safe haven” status, and attracting liberty minded people from around the country to the protective shelter of their borders.”
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.
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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.
Why Exclude Some Adjoining States?
I’m sure that I’ll get e-mail from folks, suggesting expanding the Redoubt concept to include Utah, the Dakotas, and Colorado. Let me preemptively state the following: Utah is a conservative state, but its desert climate makes it unsuitable to feed its current population, much less one swelled by in-migration. North and South Dakota have some promise, but I have my doubts about how defendable they would be if ever came down to fight. Plains and steppes are tanker country. It is no coincidence that the armies of the world usually choose plains for their maneuver areas, for large scale war games.
Why Include Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington?
Next, some might argue that I shouldn’t have included eastern Oregon and eastern Washington. The population densities are suitably low, and the populace is overwhelmingly conservative. But the folks there are still at mercy of the more populous regions west of the Cascades. That is who dictate their state politics. However, who is to say that their eastern counties won’t someday partition to form new states, like West Virginia? This same factor is just as pronounced in rural Colorado. Just a few large cities call the political shots, and they have been overwhelmed by ex-Californians. For this reason I reluctantly took Colorado off the list.
Take a few minutes to look at a map that shows unpopulated regions in the United States. As you can see, a lot of that is in The American Redoubt.
To Clarify: Religious, Not Racial Lines
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.
Emulating Switzerland, Not Germany
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.
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).
Cloistering: Old School is New School
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.
Are You With Us?
Most of all, you should read my Precepts page. If you aren’t in agreement with most of those precepts, then I don’t recommend that you relocate to the Redoubt–you probably won’t fit in.
I suggest that you follow these guidelines, as you prepare and then move to the American Redoubt:
- Research geography, climate, and micro-climates very carefully.
- Bring your guns.
- Sell your sports car and buy a reliable crew cab pickup.
- Keep the practical items but sell your junk and impractical items at a garage sale.
- After you’ve set aside cash for your land, convert the rest of your Dollar-denominated wealth into practical tangibles.
- Develop a home-based business.
Lighten The Load
- Sell your television.
- Sell your jewelry and fancy wristwatch. Buy a Stihl chainsaw instead.
- Switch to a practical wardrobe and “sensible shoes”.
- Sell your bric-a-brac and collectibles. What is more important? A large collection of Hummel figurines, or having a lot of good hand tools and Mason jars?
- Donate any older bulky furniture to the local charity store before you move.
Prepare Your Mind
- Leave your Big City expectations behind. There probably won’t be cell phone coverage, high speed Internet, or Pilates.
- Expect a long driving distances for work and shopping.
- Begin homeschooling your children.
- Encourage your kids to XBox and Wii less and read more.
Strengthen Your Faith
- Choose your new church home wisely, seeking sound doctrine, not “programs.”
- Expect persecution and hardship. You will be despised for being true to your faith. (Just read 2 Timothy 3:1-12. and Matthew 5:10-14, and John 15:18-19.)
Buy That Land
- Buy land that will maximize your self-sufficiency.
- Make a clean break by selling your house and any rental properties. You aren’t coming back.
- If you buy an existing house, get one with an extra bedroom or two. Some relatives may be joining you, unexpectedly.
Then, after you move, consider:
- Be active, politically, but use a pseudonym in letters to the editor an internet posts.
- Use VPN tunneling, RSA encryption, firewalls, and anonymous remailers.
- Conduct as much business as possible via barter or with precious metals rather than credit cards.
- Choose your fights wisely. Don’t tilt at windmills, but when you feel convicted, don’t back down.
- Respect the property rights and the traditions of your neighbors.
- Don’t try to change things to be like the suburb that you left behind. You are escaping all that!
- Pitch in by joining the local Volunteer Fire Department (VFD), Ski Patrol, Sheriff’s Posse, or EMT team.
- Be a good neighbor.
- Do your banking locally, preferably with a credit union and/or a farm credit union.
- Encourage like-minded family and friends to join you.
- Be active in local home school co-ops and service organizations.
- Gradually acquire a home library that includes self-sufficiency books and classic books–history, biographies, and novels.
- Join the local ham radio club. (Affiliated with the ARRL.)
- Build a Deep Pantry of storage foods for lengthy power failures, or worse.
- Patronize the local farmer’s market and craft shows.
- Support local businesses, and companies that are headquartered inside the Redoubt, not Wal-Mart.
- Attend gun shows in your state. (This keeps money circulating in the state and keeps you legal, for private gun purchases.)
- Find and visit your local second-hand stores. Watch for useful, practical items that don’t need electricity.
- Get accustomed to eating venison, elk, moose, antelope, trout, and salmon.
- Visit some farm auctions in your region to gather a good collection of useful hand tools and a treadle sewing machine.
In conclusion, I am hopeful that it is in God’s providential will to extend his covenantal blessings to the American Redoubt. And even if God has withdrawn his blessings from our nation as a whole, he will continue to provide for and to protect His remnant. Pray and meditate on Psalm 91, daily!
Addenda (April, 2011): 33 Ways to Encourage Atlas to Shrug
Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel “Atlas Shrugged” is enjoying renewed popularity following the release of the new Atlas Shrugged movie. Rand’s story describes a group of American industrialists that lose patience with onerous regulation and taxation. They decide to “shrug”–to disappear from their normal lives and secretly relocate to a hidden valley called Galt’s Gulch. While this tale is fictional, it has some strong parallels to modern-day America. Granted, Ayn Rand was an atheist and favored legalized abortion. But she was a good judge of both character and the inevitable tendencies of elected governments.
I was born in 1960. I shudder when I consider the regulatory and tax burdens that have been added in my lifetime. Ayn Rand had amazing prescience in predicting those changes. It is most noteworthy that we no longer live in a free market capitalist nation. At best, it could called a “mixed” economy with statist tendencies, and verging on socialism.
To continue, reading the news headlines in recent months has led me to believe that the Galt’s Gulch concept has a lot of merit. If The Powers That Be wanted to encourage the Atlases of the world to shrug, they couldn’t have done a better job. So, what is the best way to get the most productive Citizens of our nation to go on strike? How to make us retreat to “gulches”? Consider the following “to do” lists for those whom Ayn Rand called “The Destroyers”:
- Continue to increase the size of the government (and its debts). The Federal debt increases are looking inexorable.
- Provide free education to illegal immigrants.
Increase Old Taxes
- Remove the homeowner’s mortgage interest tax deduction. Yes, they’re pushing for it.
- Raise import tariffs. Each new tariff causes problems. Didn’t they ever hear Ben Stein’s high school Economics lecture on the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? (OBTW, Ben Stein is now warning about an economic collapse.)
- Increase taxes for unemployment-insurance funds. This is already in progress.
- Increase the tax paperwork burden by requiring “1099-MISC” reporting of all cash transactions over $600. (Attempted, but thankfully set aside for the time being.)
- Raise sales taxes. Several states have increased sales taxes since 2009.
- Increase property taxes, even if home values decline. Many counties have hiked their tax rates.
- Increase license, permit, and vehicle registration fees. In progress. Meanwhile, institute “temporary” tax increases. These surtaxes on income, sales, or real property are described as “temporary.”
- Inflate the currency to rob those who save money–a hidden form of taxation. Standard practice for 40 years.
Invent New Taxes
- Create a European-style Value Added Tax (VAT). Yes, they’re still pushing for it.
- Nationalize IRAs and 401(k)s. Yes, its under discussion.
- Mandate payment of state sales taxes on out-of-state purchases for Internet and mail orders. Yes, they’re still pushing for these taxes, and for regulation of the entire Internet.
- Drag out approval of new mining operations with endless Environmental Impact studies. They’re already doing it.
- Drag out approval of newly-developed medicines. Now the status quo.
- Make it illegal for owners to protect their livestock from predators.
- Increase the cost of doing business through mandatory insurance. (The “labor burden” for an employee with a nominal salary of $17 per hour ($35,360 gross, annually) is an additional $20,029 per year.) Workman’s compensation, in particular, is getting painfully expensive.
- Over-regulate small firms out of business. Dry cleaners are a prime example.
- Implement carbon taxes and credits. Still in early stages of implementation.
- Remove the salary cap on Social Security tax “contributions”. The liberal think tanks are pushing for it.
- Fine farmers and ranchers for using traditional practices.
- Sue the makers of guns that actually work just as they were designed. (At least a partial law shield law was enacted, in 2005.)
- Reinstate the Federal estate tax and pre-Bush Administration income tax levels. They want to impose the old tax rates on anyone with an income of $250,000. Oh, and the CBO’s budget predictions are all using the assumption that the 2001 tax cuts are reverted. Is this wishful thinking (to make the increases in the Federal debt not look quite so bad), or a fait accompli?
- Push up the rates for “sin” taxes on tobacco, alcohol, and other items. Already implemented in 2010.
- Levy taxes on home schooling families for services that they don’t use.
Burden Business Owners
- Lobby for mandating that companies pay for three weeks of paid vacation per year for all employees.
- Legislate expansion of company-paid health insurance to cover pre-existing conditions and everything from same sex “domestic partners” and autism to sex change operations.
- Institute dozens of unfunded mandates from the Federal level, that must be compensated for with higher state, county, and local taxes.
- Increase the Minimum Wage. Several states have done so, but even worse yet, some unions are pushing for more socialist “Living Wage” laws
- Push for increased mandatory employer-paid benefits for company employees like mandatory health insurance for part-time employees and European-style long term parental leave. Also, push toward excluding companies from government contracts unless they have expanded health care coverage.
Socially Engineer Us
- Create a pervasive Nanny State mentality. For example: penalize companies and consumers for high trans-fat foods, and alcoholic beverages that taste too good.
- Encourage a litigious society where huge lawsuits are filed over trifles, and where the makers of products can be sued even if product buyers intentionally misuse products.
- Use taxpayer funds to destroy classic cars that are in running condition, while subsidizing hybrid cars that use batteries that will pollute landfills for centuries.
- And lastly, the big one: Implement socialized medicine. Despite a strong public outcry, this is now Federal law. But thankfully there is a push to rescind part or all of it.
In response, the shrugging and gulching has already begun:
- Because many states define “small business” as a company with less than 50 employees, some business owners have frozen their employee headcount at 49, to avoid onerous costs.
- Companies and individuals are now consciously relocating from high tax states to low tax states.
- Wyoming has neither a personal income taxes nor corporate income taxes, so some wise individuals are moving there, or at least incorporating there.
- Millions of Americans are moving offshore and some have even renouncing their citizenship, in part to avoid high taxation. (It’s not just Mel Gibson buying property offshore.)
- Glenn Beck recently mentioned an article about restaurateur Jerry Della Femina selling his business and parking the proceeds in gold and silver. He stated: “I’m just not ready to have my wealth redistributed. I’m not ready to pay more tax money than the next guy because I provide jobs and because I work a 60-hour week and I earn more than $250,000 a year.”
- One recent headline: 69 Companies Leave California in First Quarter: Fastest Rate Ever.
- Alabama coal mine owner Ronnie Bryant became so exasperated by over-regulation that he declared: “I’m quitting.”
In conclusion, many folks are now ready to vote with their feet. Atlas is starting to shrug.
Addenda (May, 2011, with several updates between 2012 and 2017):
Finding a Prepper-Friendly Church
First of all, many SurvivalBlog readers are Christians. For us, the search for a desirable “vote with your feet” relocation locale includes a very important criteria: finding a good church home. I am of the opinion that finding a good church home is our Christian duty, and that it honors God.
Furthermore, it is also an important factor in finding acceptance in a new community. By joining a church congregation that shares your world view, you can very quickly become part of a community, rather than being perceived as just “that new guy”. Therfore, in many locales this shortens the time required for a high level of acceptance and inclusion as a part of “the we”, by years.
In my experience in the western United States, Reformed churches tend to have a very high percentage of families that are both preppers and homeschoolers.
It is most noteworthy that when I put forth my American Redoubt plan, a key aspect was that it would be primarily geared toward fellow Christians, Messianic Jews, and conservative Jews.
Here are lists of my own criteria, for you to consider. (Note: I come from a Reformed Baptist background, so your criteria may differ):
- An edifying church that gives glory to God. (Most noteworthy.)
- Reliance upon and belief in the literal truth of the 66 books of the Old and New Testament as the Inspired Word of God.
- Sound doctrine, with Christ as the cornerstone, and preferably in accord with the Five Solas and the Five Points of Calvinism. (Or at least four of them. This is especially relevant.)
- A strong emphasis on the Gospel of Christ.
- Expository preaching. (A systematic exposition of scripture.)
- An emphasis on teaching and memorizing God’s word with exhortation rather than “programs”.
- Biblical evangelism–the pastor, elders, and congregation all take The Great Commission literally. (Avoid churches with any racism or anti-Semitism.)
- A commitment to Christian Charity.
- An “…in the World but not of the World” outlook.
- A congregation where a substantial portion of the body home schools their children. (Not a necessity, but a nice plus.)
- Some interest in family preparedness. (Not a necessity, but a nice plus.)
- Congregants that focus on their home life rather than their social life.
- Congregants with a conservative outlook, modest dress, humble attitudes, and avoidance of worldly trappings.
Addenda: Reformed Churches in The American Redoubt States
My initial list had just 25 churches that I’ve either visited or that have been recommended to me. This list has gradually grown to almost 50 churches.
- Columbia Bible Church, Meridian
- Valley Life Community Church, Meridian
- Cloverdale United Reformed Church, Boise
- The Well, Boise
- All Saints PCA, Boise
- United Reformed Church of Nampa, Nampa
- Twin Falls Reformed Church, Twin Falls
- New Geneva Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Idaho Falls
- Port Cities Reformed Baptist Church, Lewiston
- Mountain View Baptist Church, Pierce
- Grangeville Christian Reformed Church, Grangeville
- Christ Church, Moscow
- Calvary Independent Baptist Church, Post Falls
- Lordship Church, Coeur d’Alene
- Providence Bible Presbyterian Church, Bonners Ferry
- Liberty Fellowship, Kalispell (Pastor Chuck Baldwin agrees with the Redoubt concept.)
- Covenant Reformed Church, Missoula
- Fellowship Baptist Church, Sidney
- Three Lakes Community Bible Church, Troy
- Wolf Creek Baptist Church, Wolf Creek
- Yaak Community Church, Yaak
Elsewhere in Montana
- Christ Covenant Reformed Church, Billings
- Bozeman Christian Reformed Church, Bozeman
- Grace Bible Church, Bozeman
- Old Paths Strict Baptist Church, Choteau
- Beaverhead Baptist Church, Dillon
- Westside Baptist Church, Great Falls
- Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church, Bend
- Living Water, La Pine
- Grace Bible Church, La Grande
- Berean Baptist Temple, Pendleton
- Grace Reformed Church, Clarkston
- Trinity Reformed Church, Pullman
- Emmanuel Church (OPC), Colville
- Marble Community Fellowship, Northport
- Reformation Community Church, Spokane
- Covenant Of Grace Protestant Reformed, Spokane
- Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA), Walla Walla
- Laramie Reformed Presbyterian Church, Laramie
- Sovereign Grace Church, Casper
- Trinity Bible Church, Powell
- Covenant Presbyterian Church, (PCA), Lander
- Providence Reformed Church, Rock Springs
Orthodox Jewish Synagogues and Congregations in The American Redoubt States:
Try to find a truly conservative congregation. The word “conservative” (shamrani) has different meanings to different Jewish people! (Political conservatism is not always synonymous with religious conservatism and a traditional moral code.)
SurvivalBlog reader Yorrie in Pennsylvania sent some notes via e-mail. He recommended:
“…Torah knowledgeable and observant = Orthodox religiously or similar. Which usually overlaps with conservative politically. The more traditional end of the Conservative Jewish movement did not accept the liberal swing [that began in the 1950s] and is called Traditional, Conservadox (Halfway between Conservative and Orthodox), or sometimes Masorti (Hebrew for Traditional).
There are Orthodox and Traditional Jews in Flathead County, Montana, and more formal congregations of the Chabad movement (a Torah Judaism movement with roots over 300 or more appropriately over 3,000 years).
Messianic Jewish Congregations in The American Redoubt States:
Many of these congregations tend to be small “home churches”. So make inquiries, locally.
Here is just one example of what you will find. It is in eastern Washington:
Due to the controversial nature of any discussion of religion, I’m sure that this will inspire a lot of correspondence. I don’t have plans to create a nationwide directory of prepper-friendly churches and congregations. (That would go beyond the scope of my project.) But I would appreciate your feedback on any of the churches and congregations listed.
Also, I would also appreciate recommendations on specific Jewish and Messianic Jewish congregations inside of the Redoubt region.
Addenda (June, 2011):
The Yellowstone “Super Volcano”
I’m often asked by readers about the Yellowstone supervolcano caldera. There have been plenty of sensationalist news reports that have exaggerated the risk. More realistically, volcanologists tell us: “It could still be tens of thousands of years before the next eruption”. And, also the “rapid uplift” that was widely reported in 2004 in 2005 has slowed, significantly.
Because of the prevailing winds, the anticipated volcanic ash fall is probably more of threat to eastern Montana, eastern Wyoming, the Dakotas and the Plains states than it its to anywhere west of Yellowstone. If you consider it a threat in the next few generations, then simply buy property that is at least 100 miles UPWIND of Yellowstone. If there ever is an eruption, anyone in northern Idaho or Northwestern Montana will only get ash fall that first circles the globe. It it will be people the Plains states that would get buried by several feet of ash.
The Nuclear Bonus
Next as a bonus, locating UPWIND of Yellowstone will also put you upwind of Montana’s missile fields. It is noteworthy that Malmstrom AFB (which BTW is a locale in the second sequel to my novel “Patriots“) has dozens of strategic nuclear targets. If we are ever engaged in “nuclear combat toe to toe with the Rooskies”, each silo could be targeted for a nuclear ground burst. (It is ground bursts rather than air bursts that create significant fallout.) Again, I wouldn’t want to live downwind.
Also, as a further bonus, the climate is also much more livable west of the Great Divide. East of the Great Divide, the winters can be bitterly cold, but west of the Great Divide it is more mild.
Finally, also consider: U.S. Game Changing Renewable – Geothermal Power. Note that the preponderance of the nation’s geothermal potential is in the Rocky Mountain States and the Intermountain West. The Redoubt just keeps looking better…
About the Author
James Wesley, Rawles is a former U.S. Army Intelligence officer and a noted author and lecturer on survival and preparedness topics. He is the author of the best-selling nonfiction book “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It”. He also wrote the novel “Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse” He is also the editor of SurvivalBlog.com–the popular daily web journal for prepared individuals living in uncertain times.
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