During the last third of the twentieth century, white supremacists moved, both literally and in the collective imagination, from midnight rides through Mississippi to broadband-wired cabins in Montana. But while rural Montana may be on the geographical fringe of the country, white supremacist groups were not pushed there, and they are far from "fringe elements" of society, as many Americans would like to believe. Evelyn Schlatter's startling analysis describes how many of the new white supremacist groups in the West have co-opted the region's mythology and environment based on longstanding beliefs about American character and Manifest Destiny to shape an organic, home-grown movement.
Dissatisfied with the urbanized, culturally progressive coasts, disenfranchised by affirmative action and immigration, white supremacists have found new hope in the old ideal of the West as a land of opportunity waiting to be settled by self-reliant traditional families. Some even envision the region as a potential white homeland. Groups such as Aryan Nations, The Order, and Posse Comitatus use controversial issues such as affirmative action, anti-Semitism, immigration, and religion to create sympathy for their extremist views among mainstream whites—while offering a "solution" in the popular conception of the West as a place of freedom, opportunity, and escape from modern society. Aryan Cowboys exposes the exclusionist message of this "American" ideal, while documenting its dangerous appeal.
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