A Guide to the Very Best Radical Separatists in America
Paul Craig Cobb's white supremacist safe haven in North Dakota, covered by several outlets, including The New York Times, isn't the first extreme separatist group to form in this country. There have been so many over the years it's hard to keep track.
Paul Craig Cobb's white supremacist safe haven in North Dakota, covered by several outlets, including The New York Times, isn't the first extreme separatist group to form in this country. There have been so many over the years it's hard to keep track. You've got your varying white supremacist communities, your libertarians enclaves, your gun-wielding fortresses, and your Christian fundamentalist kingdoms on Earth. Most modern separatists won't be as successful as the Amish, but they're trying. Here's a rundown of who wants to free themselves from our morally corrupt and oppressive government, hopefully not in a town near you.
Leith, North Dakota's White Supremacy Settlement
Creator: Paul Craig Cobb, wanted in Canada on charges of promoting hatred
Type of extremism: White supremacy. Or white nationalists, if you prefer.
Rundown: Cobb moved to Leith last year and started buying up lots for a couple hundred bucks. He's passed on ownership to a few other prominent white supremacists, including a former KKK leader, and they're recruiting people who'll help create "an enclave where residents fly 'racialist' banners, where they are able to import enough 'responsible hard core' white nationalists to take control of the town government," the Times reports. One of Cobb's supporters is April Gaede, the blogger behind Pioneer Little Europe, who wanted white supremacists to take over her hometown in Kalispell, Montana.
Where: Leith, North Dakota, population 19, though some say it might be as high as 24. It's two hours southwest of Bismarck, if that helps. Or just knock on the door of this house:
How to sign up: Move to Leith and ask any of the 19 to 24 residents if they know where Cobb lives.
Creator: According to their site, III Citadel was developed within the Patriot blogosphere last year. The only real "leader" is this Thomas Jefferson quote on rightful liberty: "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others."
Type of extremism: They say Patriots, we say some sort of heavily-armed libertarian-Tea Party hybrid. As Glenn Beck wondered on his show, is it "militaristic, isolationist, a recipe for disaster, or is it some sort of constitutional utopia?"
Rundown: In their words, the Citadel is "a developing community of Patriots, currently evolving in the mountains of Idaho. We believe in Jefferson's Rightful Liberty and have chosen to live amongst one another, have sworn our Lives, our Fortunes and our Sacred Honor to defend one another and Liberty." The community would consist of an inner, walled off "urban" area and a surrounding rural area for farming. According to their Patriot Agreement residents have to be up for things like "annually demonstrat[ing] proficiency with the rifle of his/her choice by hitting a man-sized steel target at 100 yards," if they're 13 or older. Same goes for handguns, but with targets 25 yards away. And you need to "maintain one AR15 variant in 5.56mm NATO, at least 5 magazines and 1,000 rounds of ammunition." Basically, you need to like guns.
Where: They haven't quite gotten that far yet. According to their website it'll be somewhere in Benewah country, in the mountains of Idaho. They've purchased 20 acres of land there, where they intend to open a gun factory. Remember what we said about guns?
How to sign up: It cost $208 to apply, but the good thing is they'll refund your money if they reject you, minus a $33 administrative fee.
Creator: Cory Burnell, who also works as a financial advisor.
Type of extremism: Christian fundamentalism. Their motto is "Forsake the Empire, Seek the Kingdom!" which sounds like it could be from the Bible, but it's not.
Rundown: Basically, America is a heathen land. According to ChristianExodius.org:
ChristianExodus.org was founded in November of 2003 in response to the moral degeneration of American culture, and the rampant corruption among the powers that be. The initial goal was to move thousands of Christian constitutionalists to South Carolina to accelerate the return to self-government based upon Christian principles at the local and State level. This project continues to this day, with the ultimate goal of forming an independent Christian nation that will survive after the decline and fall of the financially and morally bankrupt American empire.
Where: They were thinking South Carolina, but they realized it's hard to take over an entire state. Or, as they put it on their site, "the chains of our slavery and dependence upon godless government have more of a hold on us than can be broken by simply moving to another State."
How to sign up: You might have missed the boat on this one. Christian Exodus has lost momentum over the last 10 years, and their last blog update was in April.
Free State Project
Creator: Jason Sorens, the original Porcupine (as Free Staters are wont to call themselves)
Type of extremism: Libertarian utopianism
Where: New Hampshire
Rundown: The Free State Project was started in 2001 by Sorens, a political scientist. Here's how the Project describes itself on its site:
The Free State Project is an effort to recruit 20,000 liberty-loving people to move to New Hampshire. We are looking for neighborly, productive, tolerant folks from any and all walks of life, of all ages, creeds, and colors, who agree to the political philosophy expressed in our Statement of Intent, that government exists at most to protect people's rights, and should neither provide for people nor punish them for activities that interfere with no one else.
How to sign up: Sign their Statement of Intent, and move to New Hampshire. They're really nice. This guy (video below) grew a beard, bought a Tacoma and moved with his new wife. Thirty Porcupines showed up to help them move in.
Peter Thiel's theoretical libertarian ocean colony.
(Photos of Paul Craig Cobb and his house via AP. III Citadel screenshots via Glenn Beck; Brother Gregory screenshot via CNN; Porcupine via Shutterstock.)