THE AMERICAN MILITIA MOVEMENT: The Reassertion of Traditional-Hierarchical Values in the Face of Egalitarianism
Haverford College. Department of Sociology
Place of Publication
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Through the election of Donald Trump, the far-right militia movement has been incorporated as a violent wing of a wave of populism in America. By publicly evoking traditional-hierarchical values which are racist, xenophobic, and sexist, Trump created space within which far-right factions can operate and legitimate their activities. Militias violently reassert traditional-hierarchical values in the face of dominant, egalitarian values. Contemporary militias, though, are part of a long tradition of white men reacting to perceptions of changing power structures that I view through the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement as well as in light of legal decisions like Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Militias use traditional-hierarchical values to resist perceived national incursions upon their autonomy; they endeavor to reconstruct hierarchical race relations and the power ingrained in those relations. By tracing the trajectory of traditional-hierarchical and egalitarian values throughout American history, we may dissect the relationship between mainstream conservatism and militias.