Article: The 2004 Free State Project Porcupine Festival

Live Free or Stay Put

New Picture (2)Here in spring of 2014, a full decade later, I’m reassembling my impressions from diaries I kept of the key foundational Free State event in 2004, the first Porcupine Festival. Reviewing the text, I see that I was not all worked out spiritually—who ever is, even a man into his 50s at the time?—and may have stated harsh or overly judgmental impressions of people. I apologize for this, but I have to own my past mistakes and personal shortcomings. (Heck, in 2004 I still pretty much accepted the Official Big Lie of the 9/11 Attacks!) Many regrets to any and all I may have offended; chances are strong I have favorable views toward you today. Also I feel the text shows at the time, as a lot of other men with high hopes, I was in love (or something like it) with Amanda Phillips, the early heroine and spokesperson for the FSP. So please excuse the boyish gushiness in places. I’m sure she’s put all that behind her. 🙂 

As I put tire tracks between me and the (most regrettable) Atlanta 2004 LP National Convention on Memorial Day weekend, the definite plan was to check out the Free State Project (FSP) via the first annual Porcupine Freedom Festival, in Lancaster, New Hampshire.  Recalling the sentiment:

“Next stop, the Free State Project freedom festival.  New Hampshire Freestaters are much in evidence at LP04, in fact you can feel a strong flow of positive energy in their direction.  FSP reminds me of how I felt in the early 70s about Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress[1]~/2: We’ll get a bunch of young (and youngminded) brilliant, goodlooking leader types over there, declare independence from earthbound imperial bureaucrats, and ‘throw rocks at ‘em.’”

The Free State Project has been around since the early part of the current century when Jason Sorens, a poli-sci student at Yale, penned a “what if” proposal in L. Neil Smith’s online magazine, The Libertarian Enterprise, July, 2001.  “’What if’ we set a threshold number of liberty-loving pledgers who agree that upon reaching that threshold they will relocate to a relatively unpopulated and freedom-tolerant state that can be moved further toward liberty by neighborly activity?”

He received hundreds of emails in response, and worked out the basic concept in the course of the next several months.

[note: many indicated links are likely no longer live, but leaving the underline format to show they were active when the article was written in 2004.]

Three issues ago, May 2004, Liberty carried an article from Freestater Tim Condon articulating the progress FSP has made since the Sorens proposal, especially through the previous year leading up to the LP national convention.  For an understanding of the basics of FSP, you can read that article, also check the main FSP website.  Through some recent browsing I discovered one of the best FSP overviews and promotions on a Backwood Homes Magazine page by Ms. Claire Wolfe, written two years ago.

Why hadn’t I caught up with the FSP before?

Well, in 32 years of libertarian activism, yer humble itinerant correspondent has witnessed the “move and liberate” idea several times, seeing them all aborted … so frankly I’m not paying suitable attention, even when nonlibertarian-bud techwriter-colleague Maryjo insists repeatedly “Brian, these are your kind of (crazy) people.”  Still, to paraphrase Jefferson: “we all tend to track in our own worlds while tracking is easy, resisting expenditure of precious mental cycles on filtered-out information.”

The moral of this story is to periodically inspect and replace or recompose one’s information filters.

Friday 6/25

As with the Atlanta convention, I’m driving to the Porcupine Festival.  Living in the greater Detroit area, I’ve decided to take the low road as opposed to the 200-mile-shorter high road across Canada.  I’ve never had problems with customs, but these are strange times, and the image of my baby (2002 Audi A4 1.8 Liter Turbo) being dismembered in front of some snarling, dead-eyed bordercrat is more than I can bear.

Perhaps a mistake this was:  Long two-day drive.

Still, inner Yoda suggests the obvious reason for circling around Toledo and Lake Erie, then down the Ohio Turnpike I-80, and up through the northwest nub of Pennsylvania to head further east along what they call the Southern Tier superslabs of lower NY state, then into Vermont, and finally crossing the Connecticut River into the Promised Land.  Obvious Yoda reason: give me the hard perceptual contrast between freedom’s dying light in surrounding states and freedom’s dawning day across the river.

Particularly from the view of an eastbound rational motorist, New York is the worst.  So what does New York have a prohibition or compulsion for?  In the immortal words of Marlon Brando, “Whaddya got?”  The greeting signs on the sparse, hilly terrain on the SW edge of the state declare:

  • No handheld cellphones.
  • No radar detectors.
  • Seatbelts mandatory.
  • Helmets mandatory.
  • State speed limit 55 (65 on the Interstate, by the legislature’s extreme tolerance).
  • Aircraft used in speed enforcement (!)  (Like putting speedtraps in Siberia)
  • Move over for police vehicles or else.
  • Injure a highway worker (even if he jumps in front of you), “you in a heap o’trouble, boy.”
  • Fines doubled in work areas.
  • Felony to transport a firearm.
  • Don’t drink (Perrier?) and drive.
  • No facilities at most rest stops, so don’t even think about pissing in the bushes.
  • No dogs allowed, lock down small children in back seat at all times.
  • Drunk driving, you can’t afford it.
  • No one-fingered waving at police officers.
  • Do not speed up, slow down, move out of your lane, or fall asleep while reading these signs.
  • Ignorance of the law is punishable by death.

Welcome to New York, mother flockers!  You sleazy would-be miscreants!

In the welcome center, a sign posted by the greater NY benevolent association of Iron Fist Clubs respectfully asks me to support “our local donut-popping, gun totin’ po-pos double-parked in the median every six-tenths of a mile along the upcoming Interstate;” they’ll be sharing meaningful drug(caffeine)-laced conversation with one another about indispensable drugbusts, jovial headcracking, and all the prom queens who got away—or issued restraining orders on them.

“We Heart NY!”  And, have a nice day.  J

During the stay at my journey’s midway point near Oswego, NY, I learn of other major transgressions by the great state of New York.  Farm-stealing and other eminent domain incursions, historical-building despotism, etc.  Unbeknownst to me in the hotel bar that night, California’s smoking ban has also made it eastward.  NY is now part of the Gang of Five (w/CA, Maine, Connecticut, and, most recently, Taxachusetts) all of whom will soon be breaking down the doors of a private, allegedly smoke-filled property near you.

I shouldn’t really pick on New York—after all, Michigan and the other people’s paradises in the US have their own nitpicking-to-bonecrushing family of statutes, traffic and nontraffic varieties—but it’s in line with both my story and my destination.  A compendium of the various state-statist aggressions is pointless in Liberty, it’s in the category of “intuitively obvious to the knowledgeable libertarian” (IOKL).  [and please forgive the comic hyperbole about cops, despite the hue of sad truth; it’s way too personal]

Will New Hampshire be that much different?  This is the question.

I head into Vermont where NY7 turns into VT9.  Maybe even further down the statist road than NY, Vermont (I later was told) once was the “move-to” darling of workers of the world uniting, the Left’s version years ago of FSP, or was it SSP (State State Project).  “Come to Vermont to practice universal self-immolation!”  Images of Starnesville in Atlas Shrugged come to mind.  On either side of VT9, everything seems to be a hill, a rock, a tree, an antique shop, or a sign directing me to a ski lodge.

I get lost for a while, which was instructive—I learn not to willingly return to Vermont—but to get to festival campground before dark, I have to stay on the Vermont side northbound on I-91.  By the way, Vermont road signage, to use an exact technical term, sucks.  It makes Houston, Texas, seem like a harbinger of motorist enlightenment.

The minute I cross into NH, time stands still.

A highway placard says “Moose,” and by golly I drive along slowly and see a real moose.  Near dark now, I see people parked on the side of the road with their emergency blinkers flashing actually moosewatching.  (Disney movieplexes no doubt have a hard time competing in these parts.)  Also see a wild turkey.  The most recent wrong turn takes me north several miles along a two-lane highway (NH2) interrupted occasionally by a small rural town… like riding through a Normal Rockwell painting in the Twilight Zone.

And the A4 is driving terrific!  As testament to the great riding, I’ve probably seen 500 big bikes today, mostly headed westbound into NY along VT9 and NY7.  But it is getting dark and I have to get to the camp so I can pitch the tent while there’s still some light.  I negotiate my deal with the desk attendant at Rogers Campground and Motel, proceed to my site, and start in.  Moisture hangs in the air, but the mosquitoes are tolerable thanks to some ointment.

A darling little girl negotiates her training bike on the access road near to me, obviously having a time of it.  She falls a few times, but she’s too small and too close to the ground to get hurt badly.  I say “Hi,” which elicits her life story.  “My name’s Sophie and I’m here with my mom and dad, and my brother is older and can already ride a bike, he has a big bike, this is a nice place, my dad can drive a car real fast, when I’m finished learning, like tomorrow, I’ll ride fast like my brother, our dog is named Joe.”

As a solitary man here, I feel anxious about striking up conversations or making more than perfunctory remarks toward small unescorted children.  For one thing, I don’t want her to be unwary of strangers, because in the Old World where aggression is legal and commonplace, and sickos lurk—that’s another thing, in the Old World, a single man talks to a small girl alone he’s a sicko, it’s like inviting the gendarmes to swarm down to steal your Playboy collection and throw you in shackles—she needs to be wary, but my being unfriendly would send the wrong message, too.

So we do chat for a while, consisting mainly of me listening while I figure out how to put up this tent for the first time.  Her folks are with the FSP and, in fact, they’re right over there in the opposite campsite.  Whew!

Nightfall now, say 2200 hours, I head toward the Friday Campfire.

[I wanted to be here yesterday, when they held a workshop and the first, probably bigger, welcoming campfire; then early today a bunch of ‘em hiked up a mountain—I heard later some calling it the Trail of Tears—followed by a BBQ lunch.  In the afternoon, a general discussion was conducted specifically for freestater families.  At 1800 tonight, founder Jason and some others are joining NH Governor Craig Benson at a New Hampshire Libertarian Alliance (NHLA) dinner in Plymouth.  They aren’t back yet.]

I settle in, bringing a handful of brewskis, introduce myself, try to arrange for a nametag, find a seat, and just join in the general conversation.  I’m still in long-road-journey decompress mode, which makes me more hyper and chatty than usual.  But “great, stimulating conversations among kindred souls” is what you live for as a reasontofreedom guy.  Several: home schooling, irrationality of drug and gun laws, transportation alternatives, private space travel, self-protection origin of the sawed-off shotgun.

I’ve landed in a rational universe where people let you be, at the same time eager to share their knowledge and interests, their “being.”  It makes me feel proud to be human, hanging out with all these different and wonderful people.  Who are going to be successful!  This is how I felt at the LA Libertarian national convention in 1979 when we nominated Ed Clark to realize our aspirations.  Only those libertarian aspirations, at least nationally, have proven illusory.

FSP, being more life-centered (i.e. it’s “Live free… “), may deliver our liberty more naturally.

Friday night in the tent is comfortable, but decompression still keeps me from sleeping well.

Saturday 6/26

Emerge at 0600, shower and clean up, then walk through the snore-filled campground to the coffee shop.  At the order window, my “waitress” writes a ticket for a ham and cheese omelette, then gets me a Styrofoam cup of Joe.  I walk with it to a table across from this young man, big, about 6’10”, wearing a mountain-man hat and a t-shirt imprinted with the famous Ben Franklin quote: Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

I ask if he’s with the FSP, and he said he came down to check it out, yes.  Clearly, this jumbo Ted Nugent is into the firearms-rights side of the organization:

“How are the rules in New Hampshire?”

“Pretty good here,” he says, “a lot of citizens own and use firearms, and realize the Second Amendment isn’t about duck hunting.  It’s the federales we worry about mostly.”  He refers me to American Handgunner as the most politically incorrect, that is politically correct, magazine taking the freedom-lovers’ position on guns.

My omelet is finally ready (Grandma was slow, but she was old!), a little runny, but I’m not sending it back.  Post-breffus, I head to the tent to nap before the main-event opening remarks.  At the main hall, by the swimming pool, I make the rounds of the vendor tables.  Besides FSP, I speak with practically every organization during the course of the weekend:

  • NHLA—Ironically, the only table I didn’t spend any time at, but a fellow techwriter’s husband, Justin Somma, is a freestater and public relations director for the NH Liberty Alliance.
  • The Bottom Line—Libertarian video by Jan Helfeld using self-conceived Socratic questions about the nonaggression principle, normally flustering notable Demopublican officeholders
  • The Save-A-Patriot Fellowship—holding forth for lawful money and lawful taxation as fundamental economic principles that precede any valid political system
  • New Hampshire real estate agent, Dave Walthour—spoke with Dave (he and his wife are also homeschoolers) and looked at some homes, extremely reasonable pricing compared to the Detroit area, West Coasters can probably buy five of whatever they bought out there
  • The New Hampshire LP—I signed up, and have already received its newsletter; first class, even a cut above the national LP News, I’d say, which is an excellent though more staid publication
  • Joe Carringer—aka Joe Hemp, a hemp clothing designer (?),and some supporters put together a table, important up-to-date magazine: Hemphasis
  • Merrimack Valley Seekers—I spoke with a man, believe his name was Jack, and we both were interested in development of a “church of reason” or at least seeking and sharing the truth, Christian alternative

And a handful of others.  Home schooling, gun rights, business networking.

At 1000 Amanda Phillips, president of the FSP, calls the group to order.  By the time we all settle down and people move in from outside, approximately 300 people are seated before her.  The wide, airy building feels like a large revival tent.  Amanda is a tall, striking woman—imagine a cross between Dagny Taggart and Katherine Hepburn—though with a big, easy, warm smile that’ll melt the ice cubes in your Pepsi.

She asks us to stand for a moment of silence.  I’m thinking, “Geez, is there some bad news I missed on the way over?  Didn’t everyone already pay enough homage to Ronnie?  Who else died?”

After about 30 seconds, she says, “That was a moment of silence to mourn the passing of authoritarianism, statism, fascism, socialism…! ”

Which (despite the fact nobody in this building is ever going to mourn the passing of the state) brings down the house, and puts everyone in happy-camper mode.  She continues, “Can you feel the energy!!!”  The vibe level ascends further.

Amanda proves masterly at running a meeting, getting audience participation, and keeping everything on track.  Who is she—this modern-day Athena, “goddess of wisdom and protectress of cities, sprung full grown from the brow of Zeus fully armed and shouting a battle cry”—and where has she been?  Obviously, I haven’t been paying enough attention to who’s who in the libertarian movement.  Sundry statists in New Hampshire and surrounding territory don’t have a chance in Hell.

We acknowledge the “early movers” in the throng, those who have already moved to New Hampshire in accordance with the pledge.  Boomer Sooners!  They stand to rousing applause.  Then, Ms. Phillips opens the floor to people for testifying personally why they have joined the FSP.  Her own reason: “I saw the Free State Project as the first real opportunity to put my ideas into action. Ideas and action are both necessary. Ideas without action are worthless, and action without ideas is reckless. So I joined the Free State Project to live what I believe.”

Several very moving testimonials follow; I’m the last to stand up and speak of my personal concern about the police state(s) closing in, like the ones I just drove thru: “I like the idea of creating a free country by actually creating a free country.”

Then with an unmistakable tone of immense admiration, Amanda introduces Dr. Jason Sorens to a standing O.  Jason seems like an academic because he is an academic, his main J-O-B being to lecture and teach political science at Yale.  There isn’t any question this Wunderkind, this Harry Potter on (figurative) steroids, has a light bulb in his noggin that shines brighter than most.  His topic today is “We’re Making History.”

Though giving a nod to remarkable FSP progress the past year, he wants to focus more on “quality of life” issues now.  He says inevitably the early days of the enterprise drew people with an abstract, almost sacred, vision of political society, people wanting to reify the nonaggression principle.  Today, he feels, we’re at a point we can reach out to people by selling them on a profoundly enriched experience of life.  Here here!

“In terms of slogans, instead of ‘Hi, we’re from the Free State Project and we’re here to help you,’ let’s think more like ‘You have a friend in New Hampshire.’”

Jason’s wife is attending an FSP event for the first time this weekend, and she has remarked to him how unusual and delightful it is to find so many people combining the virtues of productive free enterprise with a loving spirit of voluntarism and community.

Paraphrasing some of Dr. Sorens’ remarks:

As humans we tend to live our lives as projects of sorts.  Most of us are not content to walk around in a blind stupor nor to simply engage in nonreflective hedonistic pursuits, rather we want to shape the environment and see our intentionality reflected in that environment.  Project building comes naturally to us, so why not projectize the general achievement of human liberty.  A particular, doable project such as FSP fittingly seeds the larger goal, making it achievable.

Other idealistic separation movements that aim to develop intentional communities—I (the author of this piece) am personally familiar with The Millennial Project—tend to bite off more than they can chew.  To accomplish their goals in the lifetime of original participants implies extraordinary input of capital and labor.  Ordinary extraordinary people need not apply.

We break.

I go up and introduce myself to Amanda, telling her she’s doing a wonderful job, and thanks.  She kids me with, “Did someone put you up to telling me this?”  Not getting the obvious joke, I say, no, it’s IOKL.  “I know you’re tremendously busy, but I’d like to talk with you sometime this weekend about the article I’m writing about the festival.”

“Sure,” she says.  “But I really have to be going over here and there to do this and such, etc.”  Which of course I understand (I’ve run large gatherings of libertarians in my day, too).  She parts with “What did you say your name was?  Be sure to get a banquet ticket.”

Which I do.

I also buy a whisk broom from the campground store.  It’s $2.99; I hand the girl a $5 bill, she hands me back $2.01!  I almost have a seizure.  This is my first purchase of general merchandise in my entire life that didn’t include a cut for leeches surrounding the state capitol.  I stagger into the coffee shop where I sit down to let my head clear.

For comparison: My general-merchandise overall sales tax at a small town in the middle of New York state (Endicott, NY) was 8.5%.  New York has a mystifying graduated income tax, which would be a minimum of 7.5% for me.  So New Hampshire does not have an income tax, and it looks unlikely it will ever have an income tax.  If a New Yorker (or Michiganian) moves to New Hampshire, he or she sees an instant, approximate 15% improvement in standard of living.

Am I missing something?

As I walk back toward my campsite, I note this older couple’s site, which has quite an elaborate setup with a canopy, foldout table, fancy trailer, and just a lot of nice touches indicating they’re settled in.  They even have a little sign posted with their surname, which happens to be the same as mine, and is the reason I say to myself “what the heck,” and walk up to say howdy.

Wonderful people, not Freestaters, they’ve been coming to Rogers Campground and to this particular campsite since their kids were young, 35 years ago.  They’re from Keene, NH, which is downstate east of Brattleboro, VT.  Our conversation is entirely natural and unhurried; they certainly relish the opportunity to simply talk with other campers—probably not many pass by to chat—and it’s so refreshing for me to share a few minutes of a beautiful day with normal fellow human beings.

Could be another fringe benefit of the project?  Certainly happens more than once this weekend!

In the afternoon sessions, Ed Naille of the Coalition of NH Taxpayers starts things off, giving us some practical tips on getting into the political process in New Hampshire.  He says when he first came to New Hampshire he went to 10 town meetings before he first raised his hand.  Pick an organization and go for it.  Become part of the neighborhood.

Joe Carringer talks about agricultural (or industrial) hemp.  Joe is a tall, goodlooking young businessman, artist, and activist in the hemp legalization movement.  When he asks for a show of hands for how many people are aware of the agricultural vs. pharmaceutical use of cannabis, he’s astounded that maybe 30% of us raise our hands.  Hemp is Mother Nature’s strain of cannabis, won’t get you high (< 0.5% THC), has several benign uses from paper to diesel oil, and grows in these latitudes.

In a normal growing season, hemp has 2 1/2 to 3 full cycles, in which the crop grows densely to between 6 and 16 feet high.  It’s an environment-saving, multibillion-dollar industry that can recreate the family farm overnight.  Which is the reason for the fed’s Schedule 1 designation of hemp as a banned plant.  Government ignorance masks the fact the federales have prohibited hemp purely as a protectionist measure for forestry and petrochemical industries, and for King Cotton in agriculture.  Holding back the tide.

Main day’s session is over.

The “banquet” is on the skimpy side:

  • one piece of chicken (if you’re early you can get a breast)
  • half a cup of a macaroni doodah
  • one handful of potato chips
  • one tablespoon of chip dip

No bread, no beverage.  Did I wander onto the set of a POW training film?  A server, perhaps to allay her feelings of remorse, says “We can’t do much for $6.50.”  Well, yes, I see the truth of your statement.  The chicken, I think, gives me some nausea.  Should have grabbed a wing instead.  Reminds me of that joke from the Catskills popularized by Woody Allen (Annie Hall?):

“The food here is terrible!”

“I know, and such small portions!”

Crashing tonight sans campfire or beer, though I did wuss out and upgrade to a motel room.

Sunday 6/27

Breakfast in town, at a restaurant featuring “Chinese and American Cuisine,” and I ask whether there are any good golf courses around here.  The waitress is super friendly and seems to want to give me the entire AAA experience of golf alternatives in northern New Hampshire.  What is with these people being so friendly and happy to help?!  Stop it!  The golf course three miles from here will be fine.

Back into camp, one of the true highlights of the weekend, if not my adult life, is imminent.  When Amanda learns Christian services will be made available on Sunday morning through “Pastor Garrett Lear of the Well of Living Water Christian Fellowship of a free, unincorporated, unregistered, and unlicensed New Testament church,” she thinks why not give the atheists somewhere to hang out.  I join the gathering of Porcupine Atheists at Amanda’s campsite for our version of a service.

It was a completely charming and invigorating interlude, again with Amanda starting off with a plan and a personal contribution:

“What inspires us, as people who do not believe in divine supernatural anthropomorphic beings?”  And she proceeds to tell us the movie Braveheart always brings her to tears, because he holds to what is right regardless of the cost.  Others agree and affirm that many Freestaters inspire them, because these people see what they want and go out and get it.  I bring up my feelings for Thomas Paine, who fought both state and church, and who I think represents the sine qua non of American Independence.

Several unique sources of inspiration and points of view.  One young man is a Daoist, and a younger woman claims she’s partisan to the God of Nature, and she’s polyamorous.  (Even though I’ve been around the block a few times, I hadn’t run across that term exactly.  I’m guessing it isn’t quite the same as serially monogamous, which is what some in my generation would use as a rationalization for caving into bouts of excessive horniness.)

The number of participants in our little soiree (30-some) is close to what the Christian service brought in.  And in recognition of this remarkable achievement we promise not to gloat, and end by performing a charitable act:

An FSP member, Randall Wolfe, decided to walk from Kentucky to the festival.  On the Appalachian Trail he was robbed and had to go back to recover.  He managed to secure automotive transportation and after a long journey was coming into town Friday night, roughly the same time I’m coming in, when he encountered a moose directly.  Which totaled his car and put him in a local infirmary.  We heard he was all right… but how could he be all right?  We passed the hat and raised maybe $100 or so.

When the meeting adjourns, several conversations continue, Amanda goes to break down her tent and campsite.  Disconnecting from the conversation I’m having with the Daoist and another superbright “kid,” I walk over toward Amanda and ask whether there will be any activities tonight, or will most people be going home.  She says some people are going sightseeing this afternoon if you want to go with them.  I say, thanks, but I think I’m going to play golf down the road.

She’s at the end of packing up the tent, and I give her what help I can.  I tell her I’ll be writing an article on this FSP festival weekend for Liberty, and that I should soon have an article coming out in that magazine covering the national convention in Atlanta.

She still has a lot of other stuff to do, I realize, but manages, “That’s great, please give us a call if you need any information.  Sorry to be running off, but I really have to get somewhere,” and she hands me her card.  “So what was your name again?”

🙂 A price of leadership is not being able to indulge a lot of idle chitchat, even when some scintillating repartee may lie in the offing.  I wanted to suggest my article isn’t a standard descriptive piece, rather a narrative in the fashion of gonzo journalism.  Like Hunter Thompson’s “Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga,” or Tom Wolfe’s “The Electric Koolaid Acid Test,” though I wouldn’t put my skills or the nature of my subject in those categories.

The golf:  Oldest golf course in New Hampshire, Waumbeck, 1895.  I arrive at a good time and have it mostly to myself.  Rugged, certainly not groomed to PGA Tour quality, but a fine walk unspoiled by poor play, this day at least I’m in the zone.  Beautiful weather in the White Mountains resort, and to me it feels as cool, dry, and open as the Montana sky.  I’m in love with the natural beauty alone.  The people in the pro shop want to tell me all about the course, as if I’m somebody important.  “Stop it!”

I stay tonight in the motel, then drive back.

Monday, 6/28

Stopped by Border Patrol along I-91 southbound in Vermont.  “Are you an American citizen?”  “No, I ride camels for a living.”  Just kidding.  I say yes and get waved through.  So what is that all about?  Vermont, I guess.

Coincidentally, I’d just completed a technical editing project on a C++ book for a publishing services firm in Brattleboro, so I stop by to say hi to the principals.  One of whom is the wife of Justin Somma of the FSP.  We keep the liberty thing under our hats in front of her supervisor—remember, Vermont is not intrinsically FSP-friendly.  That night stayed in NY state again, making do.  Restaurant where I ate was screwed by the highway department, construction without compensation.

Various other situations that reminisce of the trip out.


By rationally projectizing the pursuit of political freedom, Jason Sorens and the many competent people of the FSP have given libertarians a workable solution.  Contrast one’s participation in the Libertarian Party.  Not to denigrate the LP, especially at the various local levels around the country where young (and even Greatest Generation) Libertarians are making a difference.  But inevitably on the mass-public consciousness level, if you’re a Libertarian, you’re in a supplicant position:  “Please, politically powerful elite and your minions, leave my people alone.”  Let my people go.

I remember a line from the TV series Dallas, where I believe it’s Jock, the father of JR Ewing and Bobby Ewing, talking to Bobby.  He says to Bobby, who’s portrayed as the weak, namby-pamby humanitarian brother compared to JR:

“Power isn’t something people give to you, power is something you take!”

Same thing’s true for freedom: Most of us are getting tired of asking for it, and dealing with varying degrees of hangers-on that invariably afflict LP political work.  Freedom is something we’re going to have to take.

Clearly, FSP is reaching critical mass.  The appropriateness of New Hampshire is clear, and can be readily discerned through the website and related links.  IOKL.

But think of what this represents in mass culture, or soon will: FSP is the New World and Freestaters are pioneers.  No less than our ancestors who escaped Europe to carve out a free world on these shores, we are all about creating a new country.  This new country just happens to be within reasonable driving distance.

When that fact dawns on the rest of our population, progress will be swift:

Not wanting to see the brain drain to a free state (and there are certainly copycats), the political class will see it in their self-interest to understand and extend the blessings of liberty to people in their own states.  The federales will cave soon after.  Okay, okay, I watched Pollyanna too many times as a boy.  But I really don’t see a successful statist response to a determined FSP.  The power elite will be hosed.  And all the good people are soon going to be better off.

I want to suggest that each of you who do not live in NH look around and see how slavish your neighbors have become, no one looks you in the eye, or smiles much, or wants to talk with you.  (I don’t think it’s just me.)  Go to the YMCA and work out.  It’s depressing.  Many of my neighbors in Michigan and Texas are wallowing in suffering and self-pity, they’re too often fat and slothful, they resent you if you show the slightest sign of being happy.  Bad karma.

They’re plugged in, and won’t be unplugged.

What’s that apocryphal story of John Galt?… “Galt discovers the fountain of youth on the top of a mountain, and wants to bring it down to the people.  But he discovers it can’t be brought down.”  As reason-loving, freedom-loving people, we are in that position, we’ve discovered the metaphorical fountain of youth, and the broad mass of people would just as soon crush us as listen to reason.  If we stick around, we won’t have much time before the boot of tyranny descends upon us all.

The “Show Me” state is now New Hampshire.  Time to make it happen.

Note: The author became an Early Mover at the Porcupine Festival the following year, SunFLOWerwhich was written up later in his book on the Free State experience, New Pilgrim Chronicles , currently available at Lulu Press, soon to be available via Createspace and Amazon via Free Man Publishing Co.


[1] In this early 1970s libertarian movement inciter, a lunar supercomputer comes alive and suggests that to defeat the Earth’s powerful central government, the colonists (Loonies) can use their high spot above the Earth’s gravity well to pinpoint small projectiles (rocks) toward the mother planet.

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