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Drs. Robert and Jill MaloneMaike Hickson / LifeSiteNews

(LifeSiteNews) — Ever since my late husband once, a few years back, encouraged me to stop by the Malone farm in Madison, Virginia, knock at their door, and send them my husband’s respect and admiration, I have felt a special bond with Drs. Robert and Jill Malone. From the beginning, it was for me a question of the heart. And of intellectual joy, because so many thoughts percolating in their minds so often happen to resonate with my own thoughts.

So it was again recently when Robert Malone, the original pioneer of the mRNA vaccine technology and critic of the governmental response to the coronavirus, published some articles on his Substack on homesteading. He described how he and his wife Jill set up their horse farm in Madison some years back, building up a land essentially from scraps, to include their own home on it.

Inspired by these posts, I reached out to the Malones, inviting them to join LifeSite at the October 13-14 Homesteaders of America Conference that takes place every year in Front Royal, Virginia. And they came! You can read here Robert Malone’s own observations about that day.

Some might wonder what the connection is between criticizing the official corona policy and going to a homesteading conference. And there is more than one would think. The coronavirus crisis reminded us of many important things of life: for example, to cherish freedom. Many European settlers came to this country for that very reason, to find a living space for their families where they could live according to their own convictions. And most of them started out in this country as homesteaders. In effect, homesteaders built this country, they formed what “Old America” stands for: family, faith, country. And as one could see at that recent Homesteader Conference, this “Old America” is still well and alive, and even perhaps growing.

The Homesteaders of America Conference is something very special. Some 6,000 people come from all over the country, and even from Europe and other parts of the world, to learn about how to set up, or improve, a homestead. The conference talks are at times very practical and specific: about how to add sheep to one’s homestead; what chicken breeds are best for meat; how to kill and trim a rabbit, just to name some topics.

But then there are also speakers such as Joel Salatin – one of the founders of the movement who went back to homesteading in the 1980s when it was quite unpopular to do so – who talk about why to homestead and how to start. As Robert Malone writes in his own post on this conference, he especially cherishes Salatin and his Polyface Farm and what it stands for.

Salatin read out loud from his newest book, Homestead Tsumani, and the chapters he read were charming. He made the point that we need to free ourselves from being wrapped around the movie and TV and screen world and return to real life. We must produce our own food and enjoy it at the family table. He is convinced that children should early on learn how to work physically and even have little jobs. In his view, it helps them develop a healthy sense of self-worth which comes from accomplishments. His book is essentially an anti-modern-way-of-life book. It is not a hippie book, though, but a rooted one that is nourished by the love of God and man.

Salatin even choked up when he described how his wife was canning their produce late into the night and how he came to the kitchen in the morning to see all the fruit of her hard work. He then described how in winter evenings, the family sits together and enjoys the food they worked so hard to produce during the summer. It is a lovely picture of a family that loves being together and spends time together. The tears in his voice spoke for themselves.

Or then there was speaker John Lovell, a late-comer to homesteading and Warrior Poet Society gun safety YouTuber who is teaching his audience how to protect the homestead, once it is set up. We will return later to some of his comments.

John Lovell

Then there is a lovely Catholic couple, Shawn and Beth Dougherty, who are mostly feeding their family with their own farm. Having raised and homeschooled a bunch of children on that farm, they personify the good life of faith and family on a piece of land, and watching them as a couple present their topics is always heart-warming. What a witness to a marriage of decades!

I would add that I feel the same about Robert and Jill Malone, who are such a good collaborating team, so much out to serve the spouse and not out to aggrandize oneself. And I told them that at the conference.

What strikes the visitor about this conference is the kindness of people. If you think you can buy a hamburger and just quietly eat your lunch sitting on a bench, you are mistaken. Just everybody around you is interested in talking, sharing experiences, stories, loves, and concerns. My son Robby, who came with me, kept reading license plates of the cars showing that people traveled from far away – from Tennessee, Wisconsin, Washington State, and Maine, to name a few places – in order to learn about homesteading. This community does not have an agenda. It does not try to win you for this ideology or that – it just tries to help you raise a family, protect it, nourish it, bring it up to love God and country. And the people are out to help others, humbly showing their own path of learning through making mistakes. There is a lot of laughter, too!

The Homesteader movement as it showed itself at this particular conference is a movement that is out to restore a wholesome and healthy way of living, in community and away from the enslavement of modern technologies. The homesteading family is reaching out to neighbors, connecting with others to help one another, spending time outdoors taking care of livestock and garden. It really is impossible to homestead without the help of other families, just as in the days of pioneer America.

In a sense, this movement is a counter-revolutionary one, because it escapes the grip of the modern world which tries to make us totally dependent upon certain large corporations – for example, in agriculture or the world of media and entertainment. Of course, for such a movement, strong, courageous, and independent men are needed.

On Friday, October 13, I interviewed John Lovell on his new book, The Warrior Poet Way: A Guide to Living Free and Dying Well. It aims at fostering a healthy and wholesome masculinity that is out to protect the weak and vulnerable, without falling into brutishness, but informed by a Christian ethics, which includes a right to life, from conception until death.

Lovell talked about a “bold and dangerous masculinity that the world is in need of,” adding that the “man should be a lover and a fighter,” and men should be both “warriors and poets.”

“A tyrant is strong, but not in the way I mean it,” Lovell explained his concept. The man should follow the “unchanging moral law given by an unchanging moral Law Giver.”

Any tyrant wants “to declaw strong men,” Lovell explained, so that one’s “greatest adversary is taken out.” And he sees such a tyrannical power at work also in our time.

Lovell regretted the “woke” military which is showing an “inner decay” and is a sign of “post-modern deconstructionism” that goes along with “a certain disdain for American history and traditional American values.”

“How can you ask a soldier to die for his country,” Lovell asked, if you teach him “that America is evil?”

No, there is still so much good in America, and if you want to see it, go to one of these Homesteaders of America conferences in Front Royal, Virginia in October. But you need to buy your tickets early: this year’s conference was already sold out in January!

And if your name is Robert Malone, you might be approached by many a person thanking you for your work for medical freedom. I was touched to see how many people came to Robert and Jill, thanking them, at times with tears in their eyes, explaining how their work helped them save lives and protect their loved ones. One daughter and mother proudly told them that they fought against vaccine mandates in their own state. It was truly touching to witness so much goodness, gratitude, and love. Robert and Jill deserved to hear it, and Robert admitted that he seldom had that level of attention from an audience than at that conference.

Well, he and Jill deserved every bit of it.

And I am grateful to have been able to witness it, together with my son, who received thus early a lesson that life is about doing something good for mankind and in honor of God.

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Dr. Maike Hickson was born and raised in Germany. She holds a PhD from the University of Hannover, Germany, after having written in Switzerland her doctoral dissertation on the history of Swiss intellectuals before and during World War II. She now lives in the U.S. and is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.

Dr. Hickson published in 2014 a Festschrift, a collection of some thirty essays written by thoughtful authors in honor of her husband upon his 70th birthday, which is entitled A Catholic Witness in Our Time.

Hickson has closely followed the papacy of Pope Francis and the developments in the Catholic Church in Germany, and she has been writing articles on religion and politics for U.S. and European publications and websites such as LifeSiteNews, OnePeterFive, The Wanderer, Rorate Caeli,, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana,, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.