Brandon Roberts

The Machiavellian Lens for Understanding Protestant Militia Groups in Northern California

This project challenges the assumption that "fundamentalism," as understood by George Marsden and others, is a term capable of adequately describing religious phenomena. Drawing from primary sources in special collections at the UC Davis Peter J. Shields Library, I analyze the doctrines of Anglo-Zionist Protestant militias specific to Northern California. The article begins with a critique of "fundamentalism" and argues the term is a pejorative used to label those standing in opposition to the norm. I argue the Protestant theological basis motivating the selected contemporary Anglo-Zionist militias cannot be explained by "fundamentalism" and is best understood through the lens of Machiavellian realism. Applying the Machiavellian understanding of "states" and "principalities" to incorporate the studied militias, I examine each militia as a group of whites that view themselves as being threatened in a domestic power struggle, despite belonging to a majority. As a response to the perceived threat, each militia has chosen to strictly adhere to their doctrinally founded heritage of bearing arms in preparation for conflict.