Human Interest: Liberty Forum, Winter 2009

FSP Liberty Forum underscores steady progress

The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit.
The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.
— Marcus Aurelius


This year I’m going to try to stay as current as possible with day-to-day activities, so no one has to wait for a few weeks to get the news. And news it is, at least in the Live Free Before You Die crowd, the Free State Project minions now well established in New Hampshire and planning to make their stands here come hell or high water. Things can always go our way, too, even with the advent of the Obamanon.

Day 1, 2, 3, 4

1: Wouldn’t That Be Nice—Transit and Thursday Night

For those who haven’t been following my day-by-day, the biggest thing in my own little universe these days is this idea I call the Sacred Nonaggression Principle (SNaP). I’ve written a short book of the same name. Basically the SNaP elevates the simple nonaggression principle that all normal, well-adjusted humans learn from kindergarten—don’t hit, don’t steal, be honest—into the highest moral imperative for the species; accordingly, invoking the SNaP is to stop any proposal for systematic legal aggression in its tracks.

MX Fast Money Success System :: Banner 04

As a consequence of implementing the SNaP immediately in high priority areas—drug deprohibition, ending the American military empire, and legalizing agricultural hemp—Americans improve their financial situation by approximately $3 trillion per year. That averages to more than $10,000 per man, woman, and child in America. Pretty good payoff, I’d say. But you know, nobody from Obama’s economic stimulus team—who manage what David Nolan calls the BARF (Big-Ass Relief Fund)—has seen fit to contact me for details.

Well, this SNaP book and the whole prosecution of that idea are important reasons for my attendance at this year’s Liberty Forum. I have attended the previous two Liberty Forums—one in Concord, NH, in 2007 (where Texas Congressman Ron Paul hinted he was considering a run for president) and the next one in Nashua, NH, in 2008 (where Ron Paul had become the phenomenon that the corporate media were terrified of).

The I-90 shuffle w/scary encounter w/NY SWAT wannabes

But there are other reasons to be sure, connecting with my friends, my compatriots, there again as I come back across the northern tier from Michigan. The thousands (well, Joe, Dave, and Sue) who read the Coffee Coaster religiously are also aware that I have one foot in Michigan and one foot in New Hampshire.[1] So when these annual shindigs occur, I must traipse hither and yon, in my automobile, down prosaic highways. (I always remain state-side, preferring not to tempt fate by crossing the Canadian border and back in these days of Homeland Stupidity, not to mention surly immigration and border clerks.)

 I usually stay at the Knight’s Inn off Exit 37 by the NY  Turnpike (I-90), making a two-day trip of it. The distance  between this Knight’s Inn point is approximately 450 miles  from my Michigan starting gate, or eight to nine hours of  time in the saddle. This time, however, I get it into my  head that these NY Turnpike yingyangs are raising their  rates too much. “I’ll show them” by taking the lower  interstate (I-86) and come up through the Fingers Lakes region, etc. So not only is the road quality along I-86 abysmal, I manage to turn an 8.5-hour leisurely drive into an 11-hour gruel. And I didn’t even get to see the new scenery, because it got dark. Sigh.

Next morning, up and attem. The first service island I hit probably 60 miles from my Exit 37, I decide I’ll double up on a Starbucks dark roast and a Roy Rogers fishburger. First to the john, where a couple of dead-eyed looking black dudes in blue uniforms are washing up; something doesn’t look right. These guys don’t look like anything commercial. I know what it is: they’re packing heat! The lettering says Emergency Services Unit, and in smaller type, “NY Corrections.” What the flock, over!

Yeah, sure enough, I stay away from them but follow them inconspicuously outdoors where I see two armored vans presumably carrying a couple of hardened 15-year-old marijuana smokers. All together, I count four burly meatheads, who move slowly under the weight of their nightsticks, mace canisters, tasers, walkie talkies, cellphones, body armor, anti-aircraft guns, heat-seeking missiles, and two or three holstered .45 automatics. (At least two of them had .45s wrapped aside their calves.) When they finally shuffle on, I walk over to the convenience store and ask the clerk what gives.

   “You have prisons around here?”
“Sure enough,” [she names a couple] “and they transport prisoners I guess. They’re not supposed to use the regular restrooms. There’s a separate one outside that takes a key, but mostly they’re too lazy to do that. But it’s not right to come in here… it can scare the children.”
“Geez,” I say, “It scares the heck out of me.”

Police State über alles. I have this uneasy feeling. I mean, these slow-moving land mines obviously suffer (a number of) mental disorder(s), and they walk around in public as if they’re on a SWAT raid… or else they’ve been playing Doom video games into the wee hours. Their presence at this service island is jarring, and it accentuates my sense of urgency about getting the SNaP into the hearts of America. Later, when I arrive at the Forum, Jack Shimek tells me the prison-planet people are going more and more for this type of prison guard… who are beyond reasoning and wouldn’t know a Right if it was posted on the ass end of their bazooka.

Folks, we’re in deep trouble here. What’s worse is how none of the ordinary civiliians in the service island paid any attention to these Transformer pretenders. Yikes! These goons could have pistol whipped the Starbucks girl, raped the mop bucket, and carted me off in their armored trucks… and no one would have bothered to call 9-1-1.

The ego has landed…

Fairly brief notes tonight. The Forum has a reception and welcome with a comic Aaron David Ward. After a short nap and making a quick trip to the third floor where the Altexpo people have been ignominiously bumped, I check into the reception probably about halfway into his routine. He’s good, connects well with this crowd, and has moments of totally effective impromptu humor. For example, he takes a phrase from the floor and then gives a funny twist to it. One lady pipes up, “PBS (Public Broadcasting Service).” He asks her, “What’s your beef with PBS?” to which she stammers, “…er, well, I just don’t like them.” He says, “That’s going to stop them dead in their tracks.”

A few reconnections with my Free State leader buds: a) Chris Lawless, the Indefatigable Irresistible Force (Big Bear), running this year’s show, b) Varrin Swearingen, president of the FSP, c) Keith Carlsen—Keith is a special guy, and I rode with him to a Ron Paul soporific speech back in the 2005 Porc Fest—I mention him in New Pilgrim Chronicles—and he’s young, was from the Memphis area where crime “is considerable,” I think he is in the Army Reserve (or was), and this year is volunteering to run the literature table room or something. I’ll definitely catch up.

I also make a point of saying hi to Don and Kathleen Converse, also in my book; you know how when you get older, you have a harder time remembering people’s names immediately when you haven’t seen them for a year. That’s how it is tonight, but eventually the ol’ memory pushes the names up. D and K are definitely here to stay, building a home. Then I run into Neal Conner: I’ve talked with him many times before, he’s a remarkable young man who totally “gets” the life extension movement and knows what I’m talking about when I mention the Singularity and Ray Kurzweil. [Neal is also one of the few people who actually appreciated some of my diatribes against faith—which truthfully were misplaced (and not very well written)—in my first edition of New Pilgrim Chronicles.]

I so totally love these Free State friends of mine. Every single one of them is a worker, too, who writes their legislators and shows up in Concord and the town halls. Very few slackers in the Free State.

Back to the room, big day tomorrow.

Day 1, 2, 3, 4

2: Friday

Pretty much minding my healthful habits. I have a total of 1.5 brewskis last night over a six-hour timeframe, and even keep the calorie-fest temptations at bay. Tea, green tea, I’ve decided to go spiritual after all these years. So aside from doing some writing in this diary a little past the midnight hour last evening, I get some good rack time.

Got down and registered, no hassles. Opening remarks by Chris Lawless and Varrin Swearingen. In between these two stalwarts a couple representing Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty take the podium. They put up the latest video from that RP campaign follow-on organization, featuring a powerful message in Ron Paul’s voice with some dancing word images that are quite effective. The gentleman puts the case for auditing the Fed, which is a bill Congressman Paul has sponsored… and which may receive some influential support in these days of the economy running amok.

David Nolan: “Libertarian Strategy in the Age of Obama”

David, who almost everyone knows here as the founder of the Libertarian Party and inventor of the Nolan Chart, has an aura of natural authority about him as a public speaker. He’s tall—I guess we’re all getting more patrician these days—and he projects his voice clearly. Also he’s one of those “smarter than the average bear types,” so I always pay attention.  Very interesting presentation on where  we should be thinking of going as a  movement of freedom lovers.

Short version: now is the time to retreat,  restore, and return; things are not going  to get better within the next several  years. The days of going out and “saving  the world for liberty” are behind us. But  eventually the ideas will prevail.[2] I  thought his characterization of  Republicans as controlling you through  fear and (alleged) security concerns and  Democrats controlling you through guilt  and (alleged) equality concerns was  insightful. (I guess I’ve begun to see the  two older parties as constructs of the  Matrix that do what the Matrix architects  design them to do.)

Matt Simon: Marijuana and common sense activism

Matt’s the longtime numero uno and Big Kahuna of cannabis reform legislation in the “State of Free,” having started in 2006 and, then, more recently to prosecute medical marijuana justice and caring… by not prosecuting medical marijuana providers and patients. This seems like a brilliant move on its face: what moral human being can wish to send grandma to jail for mitigating the effects of her cancer with Mother Nature’s best multipurpose medicine.

His talk surrounds the notable political communicator Frank Luntz’s adage: “It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.” Which brings to mind the Advocates for Self-Government program (and others) for turning ourselves into effective communicators. Like the Advocates, Matt uses the martial arts’ analogy where the successful practitioner has deep awareness of the opposing forces and how best to neutralize or turn them toward our reasonable profreedom objectives. So much perception is tied up in the choice of words… Matt throws up an image of George W. Bush with the caption: “Free-Market Capitalist.”

What more needs be said?

Oh, a great observation, actually due to Luntz: When you carve out and occupy the territory of common sense, your position becomes unassailable. Kind of a chess analogy there. And where did Matt start with his cause? Thomas Paine and the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy.

Ethan Nadelman: To the ramparts for drug freedom

 While Matt makes a convincing case for  incrementalism as a reasonable strategy to  accomplish achievable goals more imminently,  Mr. Nadelman is the fiery abolitionist. Wow, he  totally bowls me over with his passionate  advocacy for ending the slavery of drug  prohibition: “that no one ever shall be  deprived of life or liberty, absent harm to  others, for introducing into his body any  substance whatsoever.” (Nor the horse he  came in on.) My blood stirs. Sign me up. Check  out his Drug Policy Alliance.

This cause Nathan has made his own, and I  cannot impress on the reader enough how  wonderful it sounds to hear such a radical  statement for simple justice. I must say, the  Sacred Nonaggression Principle folds in  remarkably well with what Ethan argues: the root of our sense of justice lies in the righting of awful acts of force unleashed on those who do not deserve to be so ruthlessly assaulted. Here’s a man who speaks for these victims, and gives hope to all of us for an end to the Nightmare.

Consider the United States tonight has half a million—500,000 human beings—people incarcerated for actions relating to illegal substances. In a few decades after we advance to the Singularity our immense enhanced intelligence(s) will look back on these times as barbaric. Imagine that we once in this country called the United States had a person called a Czar (Caesar, i.e. King) who used vast tools of organized brutality to kill, maim, and confine human beings who disobeyed a central government’s pharmaceutical preferences.

Nathan covers mounds of information. His knowledge of every arcane region of the drug prohibition industry—from the nature of addiction (= dependence + problems) to internal and external privacy issues (e.g. drug testing and the prison-industrial complex)—is overwhelming. And he’s completely in synch with his incrementalist friends in the medical marijuana and defelonization movements. Awesome.

Mary Ruwart’s talk and the Friday night banquet

Some gear shifting has to go on in events of this nature: not only am I self-appointing myself to write this little record of the affair, I also have to tend to my business of promoting my Sacred Nonaggression Principle[3]. Plus get enough sleep, etc., not being as young as I used to be. I’m finding I don’t miss the beer drinking and boozing into the wee hours; well I do—I have had so many conversations in which I was absolutely brilliant or at least was highly regarded by immediate others, though the next morning I forget who they were, and have this headache—but I’m learning to find that clarity and energy in the morning more rewarding.

As we move into the evening events, particularly the banquet, some things need attending to. But not too many. I work out a deal with Lydia Harmon—she comes to all these things, and I think she sort of likes the freedom people, but as I recall she’s a Toastmistress and is trained to like everyone, anyway—to lay out a small number of books on her promotional table: give her one Liberty Dollar for the favor. Cocktail reception, a few good conversations.

I’m deciding that I’m not the best promotional person. I mean, I’m friendly enough I guess, and if you’re in the elevator for a while and it looks as if you’re with the group, I’ll introduce myself and try to make conversation. I do enjoy discussing the books I’ve written, because I’m familiar with the flow of the ideas. Lately, I’m staying much lighter in this area. I don’t get into any depth unless I see a real understanding in the eyes of who I’m talking with. Later, after Mary’s talk, I do manage such a special talk with an individual:

This big guy who—because I haven’t had time to show the prices on the books (and the books are on the thin side)—seems to feel they’re free, walks off with a couple of them while I’m talking with someone else. I do find him, then mention I have to charge him for those. His name is Devin, and he buys both books, then we sit down and continue a really cool back and forth, especially about the SNaP and its relation to the Free State Project. I’ve commented on these intellectual-emotional encounters about ideas before: this deep interchange of ideas is actually what I live for.[4]

 Mary’s talk is killer. People who have not seen  Mary in action don’t realize how effective such  an attractive, diminutive, totally pleasant and  caring woman can be in, like, totally skewering  the modern cartel-bloodletting industries. The  topic tonight is the hidden price of Big Pharma  concoctions. Dr. Ruwart once worked for  Upjohn in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and completely  gets the primeval barbarity of the Food and  Drug Administration (FDA). The stats on  avoidable death and destruction of the humans  near you are gut punches. The FDA basically  deals death like the Inquisition… without the  crosses, and other priestly accouterments.

Somehow when Mary points out with her positive, smiling, can-do, quiet-voiced demeanor that the FDA and the government are friggin murderers—not that she would ever put it in exactly those terms—one gets the picture far more emphatically than if her talk were accompanied by a slasher video. It’s an Ethan Nadelman “to the ramparts” message with a laid-back, love-everyone style.

Plus, we get quite a history lesson, e.g. the Kefauver-Harris FDA Amendments. What can you say? As in Ghostbusters, “It’s true, Mr. Mayor, these men (and women) have no dicks.” Incredible is a word that simply isn’t sufficient to apply to the FDA death squad and its enablers.

And somehow, when Mary ends her speeches, people feel really good… about eviscerating one’s local would-be tyrant, then walking home without a care in the world and with a song of freedom in one’s heart. She is a Zen master in a Quentin Tarantino movie: it’s all over for the Dark Side.


Later I check out the Altexpo “suite.” Brews for the right price, but I will donate when I have the smaller bills. As soon as I enter the suite, I start looking around for the additional rooms or presentation areas. It’s dense packed in here tonight, and I’ve never liked being in crowds. I find a brewski and spend a few minutes in the hallway, talking to some dude who spent time doing police training (though he says he stopped after one of his teams killed an innocent man on a wrong-door drug raid). I mention my “incident” with the ESU from NY Corrections; he says the kinds of men he has trained get off on scaring civilians with the Darth Vader costumes.

Day 1, 2, 3, 4

3: Saturday

Sleeping off those negative SWAT team images from the final conversation of last night, this morning I awake in a Tolleian frame of mind: I think back on all the work I’ve done in connection with my own “Save the World” attitude in the liberty arena. I’ve paid my dues, but more important, it’s time to lay down the burden of it. This has all been too hard for me, too much tension and grinding it out, worrying, wondering if I’m just using the freedom movement as an excuse to fail at life, to avoid life. Today I open the door and walk into the joy, lightness, and ease of being…

Well, you get the picture, and I really have reached some sort of epiphany this morning—as Tolle would put it, offering no resistance to what is. And sure enough, what happens when you forgive and accept yourself is that the “world of form and appearance” starts going your way: I picked up some money, cleaned up some promotional thinking, and have no doubt that whatever will be will be… and I’ll be totally at peace with it.

Packratting and hotel mechanicals

Stuff happens, eh? So, I figure I’ll use the bit of schedule space this morning to cart half of my “stuff” back to the car. It’s always like this for me, and perhaps this time I’ll finally learn: I’m going solo on a road trip for a long weekend at a hotel in the Northeast and I pack as if I’m on a yearlong trek through the Himalayas. I even brought my printer with me! The only reason I didn’t bring my golf clubs is because there would be too much residual snow on the ground within a 50-mile radius.

For pack rats like me, you’re always thinking, “You know I just might need the tuxedo and dress shoes if they organize a trip to the farewell performance of the retiring conductor of the Boston Symphony after Mary’s keynote speech.”

But it never works out even close to what you anticipate. In this particular case, trying to save some getaway time turns out to be a time burner itself. I go down the elevator to get the cart, come back to my room, load up, go up to the 3d floor searching for a rollable exit to the parking garage, no dice, back to the elevator and down to the 2d floor, roll the cart to the end of the hallway, nope only stairs and not to the parking garage, call the front desk, right, I have to go back down to One, outdoors, and into the parking garage entrance, etc. I sure wouldn’t want to have a real emergency in this hotel, especially if I were in a wheelchair. I’d be toast.

Patri Friedman and ‘seasteading’

Naturally, I’m a little bit late to this fascinating presentation on the prospects of colonizing the oceans, but it appears they ran into some audio-visual equipment difficulties so I’ll be catching most of the presentation… though no accompanying video. No problem. Here’s another young man smarter than the average bear—yes, Patri does hail from the well-known Friedman clan of Milton and David fame, Milton being his grandfather and David being his father. Exciting stuff to be sure. As the photo below shows, there’s a amazing amount of interest.

Patri is the founder and executive director of the Seasteading Institute, which is an (non-profit?) organization devoted “to establish permanent, autonomous ocean communities to enable experimentation and innovation with diverse social, political, and legal systems.” He takes us through several political and social benefits that would materialize were human beings to reside and play on the oceans, then he projects several types of communities—from single-family floating homes, to festivals and resort platforms, to “coasteads” which are more or less permanent arrangements, to larger communities in deep international waters. He’s big on modular.

It’s too bad the electronics aren’t working, because I would have liked to have seen more of the engineering ideas that make such seasteading possible and listened to his description. The essence of his message, though, is that government power is pretty much here to stay and if we want to live more freely we have to noodle our way into a new frontier. Highly original, brilliant work going on there. I’m definitely becoming fond of the concept, but I remain plenty confident the SNaP will be successful on land—along with the Free State—in our time.

My turn in the bucket and Altexpo dreamin’

If I’m going to bitch about anything in the hotel environment this weekend (aside from parking garage accessibility), it’s going to be how someone in hotel management puked up the Altexpo arrangements. The Alties were to have had a convenient suite of adjoining rooms on the second floor, but the hotel basically booked the rooms out from under them.
The Altexpo presentations are in a dual bedroom
suite where the living room (presentation area) is about the size of a large refrigerator. We make do. After all, the Alties are all about the intimacy of
political action.

After almost knocking over the previous speaker, Kevin Innes, as I come in the door, I stand for a while as part of his audience. He’s giving a talk on alternative money systems and is himself a well-known Liberty Dollar businessman. Liberty Dollars (1 oz. silver) are common currency at Free State events, and truly beautiful coins. We’re running a little over the time schedule, but it’s Saturday and head Altexpo ramrod Jack Shimek is letting the Innes talk slide. Fine with me.

 My talk proceeds quite comfortably.  Let’s just say it’s a little cramped and  perhaps 10 individuals are in  attendance. But we’re all key people  in this movement, and I really feel I’m  connecting with most of them. The  questions are well put. At the wrapup I  hear Jack utter, “this is excellent,”  which is a very important endorsement  for me. I’ve gained several of my  insights from Jack—I would say especially re: corporations, legal privilege, countereconomics, war and peace, spirituality. You know how they say, so-and-so has power, well Jack has freedom. The next speaker, Cynthia Oullette, even casually uses the Sacred Nonaggression Principle acronym SNaP in a sentence on the assumption that everyone knows what it is. (!)

Her talk makes some well-needed points about the importance of simply living as free from the state as possible. She’s so charming in the newness of her quoting of writers like Sam Konkin III, Karl Hess, J. Neil Schulman, and a couple of the other leading “alternative” libertarian writers back in my prime. Jack and I, as well as most of the old guard here, are well aware of these authors. But it’s cool; she really is on a voyage of discovery that wants to bring the “verbal libertarians” in synch with the “living libertarians” in the countereconomy.

After my talk, I receive quite an honor from a former NH representative Henry McElroy, who walks up and points me toward an important work by James Madison: Notes on the 1787 Federal Convention. Henry tells me that Madison had kept his notes private until all the attendees had died; what is revealed is the intention of many of those attendees to be very aggression-oriented toward the several states and against the rights of the people. I will read this work and review it on a high priority. Henry, also a good friend of Jack’s, tells me that he will be glad to help to spread the nonaggression idea through NH.

Saturday Night Alive

If I had to pick one major human limitation that I’d like to remedy, it would be our inability to be omnipresent… in more than one place at one time. By giving my talk to the Alties, and then sticking around for some nice back and forth with Cynthia “Freedomgal”, I couldn’t witness two key authors I very much wanted to hear: John Taylor Gatto the guru of educational freedom and Boston T. Party (pen name of Kenneth W. Royce), founder of the Free State of Wyoming and author of 11 books on guns, history, philosophy, law, politics, and government.

So I missed them this afternoon. Too bad for me. Everyone should check out their links and put the liberating worldviews of these two courageous, if not fearless, men into practice.

But the banquet is most cool. I seem to have a habit of sitting next to people who are truly amazing… and can even lead me to my next personal door to open. [What is that adage my mother is always giving me: every person you meet carries a message that helps you unlock life’s mysteries.] I meet Bill Walker and his wife, Patricia(?). He’s one of the fine writers on the site, specializing in technical topics; we have an interesting discussion of nuclear rockets and nuclear power, and so forth. Plus it turns out he’s working for a company that may need some technical documentation. Onward.

Note I like the photo here, because it shows a miniature digital video camera. And I thought I had the technology.

The speaker tonight is Dick Heller, the unlikely individual who challenged the Washington, DC, ban on guns… and WON! Won at the Supreme Court level, in June 2008 (by only one vote amazingly, but a win’s a win). The anti-self defense crowd, aka the Brady Bunch, is fit to be tied. So the battle for gun rights is far from over. Still, because of this decision, many other gun bans will probably be overturned and many lives will be saved. Bill isn’t at all what I expected: he really was never that much into firearms; he just felt that the Constitution should especially apply inside the federal zone where the laws are made. Kind of a good ol’ boy who never intended to get politically active. He is as thrilled as we are for him to be here.

Bill is not an accomplished public speaker, but what he lacks in polish and efficiency he makes up for in a genuine manner and pithy comments that seem to come out of the blue. One such comment struck me, to the effect that “simple and uncomplicated is the best way to win.” And I couldn’t help thinking about how that applies to the simple nonaggression principle and liberty.

Well, the banquet is pretty much the end of my formal participation in the Liberty Forum of 2009. I do head up to the Altexpo room for a decent beer at a reasonable donation, and I check to see if there’s been a run on my SNaP book since this afternoon. Not yet. I hand Jack a $10 (or was it a $20?) to contribute to the Altie room fee. Even though they got dicked out of better rooms, at least they weren’t charged as much for these.

Babe factor—off the record

Yes, I know when you bring up babes or hot chicks or however men tend to think about women as sex objects (not that any of us does), all that is very, very non-PC. But what the heck is liberty for, anyway, if you can’t be non-PC?! Candidly, yours truly is ambling off into Boomer Geezerdom—I’ll be 60 in July—where this type of discussion is becoming a bit academic (Damn!). Still, I try to be an honest writer, and, honestly, on a scale of one to ten—where your average libertarian convention I’ve attended through the ages is maybe a three—this Liberty Forum was easily a seven, perhaps even in the eights.

Well, I’m not telling you anything the younger men here—and most of the getting-older-and-not-any-better-looking (Damn, again!) men—aren’t going to be texting to their buds. I’m not naming names, though I managed to meet and chat up (only for my book sales, of course) quite a few of the young women. They all seemed to be bright, quick, happy, funloving, and solidly principled activists… fellow soldiers in the glorious fight. And for potential future young male attendees: THEY’RE NOT ALL TAKEN! One or two were married or with SO[5] present, but the rest were definitely on less-attached orbits.

So that’s all I got to say about that, except, you young single guys better get over here to the Free State for cross-gender mingling purposes before the scientists cure aging for old single guys like me.

Day 1, 2, 3, 4

4: Sunday Getaway

My own goals for the Liberty Forum this year were a) to plant seeds of interest in my recent book, The Sacred Nonaggression Principle, b) to recharge my batteries for pursuing the cause of freedom, c) to learn things, and finally d) to achieve a certain amount of spiritual presence through such a weekend, which tends to push and pull at my various anxieties. And I’m glad to report that in all these categories I feel I made substantial progress, which is primarily due to having done a little better in category d) for a change—not to go into detail, but several potentially stressful environmental issues I feel I faced with improved balance/focus.

Then in the matter of promoting my book, the strategy I adopt (thanks to being more centered) is probably the best strategy for this time and place. Namely, instead of frantically self-promoting to accomplish immediate sales—which rarely happens in any case—I simply hand signed copies to several of the people who are bonafide VIPs to me: David Nolan, Mary Ruwart, Matt Simon, Chris Lawless, Neal Conner, Lauren Canario, Gardner Goldsmith, and one or two others whose names elude me right now… oh, I do leave a book for Dan Stuart to hand to Stefan Molyneux later today.

Early morning slice of life comments

Really nothing too remarkable, but I was thinking how inherently funny it was to have moved the Altexpo rooms from a 2d-floor location more intimate to the main floor proceedings and where many of the Forum guests were staying to the outer regions of the 3d-floor, which seemed miles away. The Alties were first-class partiers in their spartan double “suite.” As you proceeded down the long hallway toward the suite, you noticed the hotel sign “Quiet Zone”. Yes, that’s right, the hotel moved the Altexpo crowd—which carried on in loud, happy, occasionally inebriated voices into the wee hours all three nights—into the Quiet Zone.

My “Sunday morning coming down” by contrast is preceded by virtually no adult beverages before bedtime last night. Still, I’m a bit groggy waking up. I decide I actually need a real-food breakfast vs. the nuts and berries I’d been consuming before. So I take the elevator down to the hotel restaurant where they’ve laid out a brunch buffet—with no other options. I’m thinking all right, how much can it be, maybe $10 max with coffee and orange juice. Wrong. $16.95! Well, I’m no cheapskate and I realize the Crowne Plaza organization has to bring in the ducats one way or the other, but, thank you very much, I’m not going to spend $20 for breakfast… unless I’m in New York City and it’s on an expense account.

Gonna hoof it. I figure the strip mall that contains a Market Basket grocery store and several small stores has got to contain a coffee shop. Sorry Charlie. But the weather is nice, probably in the mid 40s already, sunny, and the snow’s melting off. I spy a McDonald’s drivethru across 101-A. [For the record this stretch of 101-A in Nashua is about as non-New Hampshire as you can get and still be in New Hampshire: except for the scattered snow piles, I could be in the concrete jungle of Houston or LA.] But it is Sunday morning and traffic is light enough that my chances of getting run over are less than 50%. I cross the highway without incident.

Even though MD is a drive-thru, there are a few indoor tables, whew! Observation: Most of the fast-food and hotel-maid-service personnel in Nashua find it more comfortable to speak Spanish than English. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The nice friendly young lady and the culinary regime working behind her manage to get my Big Breakfast out in a flash. (About halfway thru I notice they forgot the greasy potato pancake suppository, but I figure I’ll take this opportunity to add one hour to my life by avoiding the extra fat hit.)

So it’s all good, but when I arrive back a half-mile later, and feel around in my sport jacket, I seem to be missing my Daytimer schedule book. (I use it mainly to keep notes from which much of this article is written.) I retrace my steps in the hotel, but I know it’s back in the Mickey D. Sure enough, as I leave I drive over there and ask the same counter girl about the “negro libre.” Sure enough someone noticed it on the floor near my table and handed it in. [Later down the road, I notice that the $20 bill I keep in there for emergencies is gone. I guess whoever turned it in feels that I would have gladly given him that $20 as a reward. How considerately forethinking of him. But he didn’t take my Liberty Dollar silver certificate! Probably, I can thank government-school ignorance for something. :)]

Back down the westward, winding road

It’s a beautiful day for driving as I head west along US 101, then Vermont Highway 9. Temperature in the 50s already, snow melting off, the rivers full of ice chunks in the slower moving currents. In Bennington, if the time is right, I like to grab a soup and sandwich at Jensen’s (which is off the main drag about 3/4 of a mile or so, easy to find by just going northward at one of the downtown intersections). I seem to recall a birth date for Jensen’s of about 1961, and I can definitely imagine it being around at the same time as Ricky and David Nelson at the malt shop.

Well, the rest of the trip, the part of significance anyway, consists of ideas kind of springing up in my head spontaneously, most of them having to do with what next for the SNaP. And I now have in mind the SNaP Program. Complete with aggression-free zones, aggression monitors, auditors, remediators, wealth-recovery experts, etc., and just a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on. Seriously, I think I have struck the mother lode or the golden egg or several other cliches signifying dumb luck. I want everyone who has the least bit of interest to contact me here with ideas.

I intend to formulate a business plan for my site:

Here’s a bumper sticker to start with:

Live free and flourish!
The Freedom Rider, signing off, March 9, 2009

[1] Check out my book on the Free State, New Pilgrim Chronicles. I’m a committed Free Stater and a legal resident paying rent, only as yet I have been unable to swing the finances to stay more permanently. When the new book takes off…

[2] Dave is starting an “enclave network” named December 11 (which is the day the Libertarian Party was founded in 1971 in David’s living room in Colorado). He tells me the Website should be up at imminently.

[3] Not to mention the two setup monographs: New Pilgrim Chronicles and my personal drug war story, There Must Be Some Mistake.

[4] If you watch golf, you think of Tiger Woods’ victory in the 1997 Masters as a peak experience, and maybe several others. As a person who values freedom and thinking about freedom and deeptalking about freedom as the breath of life, I’ve had about 20-40 “golf major” conversations in the course of my life. This one with Devin qualifies. Worth the price of admission.

[5] significant other

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