It’s an election year, and we are already–predictably–being inundated with commentaries exploring the roots of MAGA devotion to a mentally-ill would-be dictator. The punditry digs into sociology, political science research–even psychiatric diagnosis– and the result is to obfuscate and excuse what most honest Americans recognize as the roots of MAGA’s attraction: racism and a fear of Americans who can be considered “Other.”
As the more complicated (and generous) “analyses” mount, however, so does the evidence of the bigotry and White Christian Nationalism that is powering support for Trump. There are a lot of areas of our common lives that are genuinely complex, but evidence abounds that Trumpism/MAGA is not one of them.
This blog has frequently highlighted that evidence, and today I am offering yet another example of the willingness of bigots to be “out and proud.” Increasingly, they are willing to be forthright about the world they are trying to create, and candidly, I find it terrifying.
A venture fund and a real estate startup – both with links to far-right organizations – are promoting a residential development in rural Kentucky as a haven for fellow right-wingers.
The promoters have presented the planned development as an “aligned community” for right-wingers who want to “disappear from the cultural insanity of the broader country” and “spearhead the revival of the region”.
The move is the latest effort by the far-right to establish geographical enclaves, following in the footsteps of movements like the so-called “American Redoubt”, which encourages right-wingers to engage in “political migration” to areas in the interior of the Pacific north-west.
Unsurprisingly, the development was announced on X, which is being turned into a racist and anti-Semitic cesspool by Elon Musk. It was also announced in a special edition of the “New Founding” by Joshua Abbotoy, who is described as the “managing director of venture fund New Founding and principal of real estate developer Kentucky Ridge Runner LLC.”
According to Abbotoy, “Most of the leadership is going to be led by Protestant Christians.” (Take that, Catholics!!)
The Guardian contacted Abbotoy via email, asking whether he reserved the right to refuse to sell parcels to prospective purchasers who weren’t members of the “aligned community” and on what basis. He didn’t respond.
Actually, this appeal–closely targeted to a White Protestant Christian market–is a fascinating amalgam of market capitalism and bigotry.
“Utopian communities have long been a feature of the American landscape, but this may be more of a money-driven land speculation project with a culture war angle than an effort to create a utopian project in the classic sense”, said Katherine Stewart, author of The Power Worshippers, a key book on Christian nationalism.
There are two “aligned community” developments underway, and The Guardian calculated the profits if lots sell at the asking prices: in one, the company paid around $6,011 an acre, but buyers will pay up to the equivalent of $88,500 an acre for unimproved lots, or up to fourteen times the rate HRP paid. In the other, sellers will collect a total of at least $2.27 million on 550 acres of land for which they paid $900,000.
Nice work if you can get it….
It’s hard to escape the suspicion that pious Right-wing folks are seen by these enterprising developers not as comrades in utopian “aligned communities,” but as patsies.
The website advertising the lots says the developers seek to “build and back companies defined by American ideals and a positive national vision”, and adds that it “explicitly oppose[s] DEI/ESG and the bureaucratization of American business culture” and targets “customers disfavored by corrosive ideologies.”
The explicit rejection of “diversity” and “inclusion” telegraphs the basis for the appeal.
Financial matters aside, Stewart said the move tracked with the preferences of the contemporary far right.
“This is typical of the far-right’s emotional need for a ‘safe space’,” she wrote.
“It’s not just that some members of this extremist cohort disagree with liberals, feminists, or any number of people who don’t share their views; it’s that they really can’t stand having those people anywhere nearby,” Stewart added.
“The mere existence of people not like them counts as an insult.”
I used to believe that such people were a small percentage of the American public. Now, I’m not so sure. The good capitalists who are targeting them obviously think they comprise a substantial and thus-far untapped market.