Episode 8: The 51st State
Way up in the Northern Rockies there’s a sort of mythical 51st state. It’s called the American Redoubt and it encompasses Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and parts of Oregon and Washington. Adherents to its philosophy believe in a kind of theocratic limited government utopia, one with lots of guns. Alex Barron is the movement’s self-appointed “bard” and his rhetoric has all the violence of a Shakespearean tragedy. “What are you willing to kill for?” he asks a crowd of far-right activists wondering about where the line should be when responding to the government with force. Redoubters like Barron talk about their movement like evangelists and in a way they are — they are recruiting people to move there, live off the grid and run for office. And it’s working – they are reshaping their communities in Idaho and surrounding states, and as far as they’re concerned, those who disagree can leave.
Heath Druzin is host and creator of the podcast Extremely American. From 2018-20, Druzin was a reporter at Boise State Public Radio for Guns & America, a national collaboration between 10 NPR affiliates that looked at the role of firearms in American life. Before that, he covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for Stars and Stripes newspaper.
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