Reactions to the Free State Project Vote
[On October 1, the Free State Project announced its members selected New Hampshire as their possible new home. Once membership reaches 20,000, members are supposed to move to that state to help create a more libertarian region. The reactions of several Coloradans are offered below. -- Ari Armstrong]
Generally, I think the FSP is a good idea. Personally, I wish they selected Idaho, my home state, for the location. Oh well... I'm not moving to New Hampshire as the weather and the New England attitudes are not to my general liking.
In any case, while being a generally good concept, I don't believe that the FSP will ever come to fruition. Why? I seriously doubt that any but a small fraction of the Libertarians (capital 'L' or otherwise) who "commit" will keep their commitment. If by 2005 the FSP had 20,000 "commitments," by 2015 fewer than 2000 of them will be living in New Hampshire.
Why do I hold this opinion? Long observation and experience. I have argued many times (a few times in CO-Free) that Libertarians can live without government TOMORROW if they simply choose to. It is more than possible to largely structure one's life without government. However, it takes choice. Any choice having real meaning means sacrifice.
Anyone who knows me knows that my family hardly lives like hermits, but we do live mostly "off the grid." Most comments I hear are along the line of, "But how do I work and live and move about without paying the taxes, put food on the table and drive my car?"
My answer is, "If you wish to live within the system the current government laws and policies has created then be prepared to live with the consequences of your loss of freedom. Otherwise, the answer should be obvious."
It's similar to the discussion going on between you and Joe Johnson concerning HOAs. Joe chooses to live in a metro subdivision with their highly restrictive covenants. He chafes under the control of 'his' property that he finds out is not his. Because he chooses to live, for convenience sake, in a "box-on-a-block" which relieves him of many other responsibilities in locating affordable, non-covenanted land, building his own home, putting in his own roads and taking care of providing his own water and utilities, etc., he has sacrificed freedom rather than convenience.
The same goes for employment. If one chooses to work for someone else, then they sacrifice another portion of their freedom to the directives of their employer and the fact that the employer acts on behalf of the state in seizing a large portion of their wages, before he gets paid, to fund the existing system. It is much harder to start a business and make it fly successfully to gain the advantages of being an owner. Again, for the convenience of having "a job" one gives up the effort of having to worry about financing the business, finding new markets, surviving economic downturns... in short being the driver that makes it work. After all, they're just an employee, worrying about and acting on those things is "the owner's job."
Or debt. Our society is literally drowning in debt. As a subset of general society, who claims the wish to live independently and freely, I see very little effort amongst most Libertarians to scour debt from their lives. Debt is the most direct loss of personal independence and freedom I know of. It effects and drives most every decision most people make about where they work, live and how they conduct their lives. If one has too much debt, it is incredibly difficult to tell the boss to screw that $70K/year job and go off and start a business. Then you're left holding the bag of the huge mortgage and credit card debts when THE BOSS (no not Springsteen) decides he doesn't need your $70K position anymore and lays you off with two weeks notice. Having to make all those monthly interest payments has turned most into sheep when it comes to making the important decisions of their lives. It's an easy leap for them to accept all the other controls placed on them by government when their lives are already so well regulated by debt.
I would say debt is more injurious to freedom than government, except for the fact that the debt society was created by government through taxation, deductions, fiat money, credit, etc. (that's a whole other story).
I could provide many other examples but I think you get the point. The bottom line is freedom is where YOU find it and EXERCISE it to YOUR maximum advantage not someone else's. This type of thinking (and EXERCISE!) has almost vanished from larger society. What I find appalling is how little of it (EXERCISING) there is among those that claim to 'be' Libertarian. Among Libertarians there seems to be way too much thinking, WAY TOO LITTLE EXERCISE of real freedom and liberty. And the willingness to sacrifice to employ their freedom to useful purposes.
And being Libertarian, it is also amazing how many want someone else to show them "how" to live independently and freely. I am always happy to make suggestions to people of which direction to look in various areas and subjects of how to "live free in an unfree world" (to steal a phrase). However, it is surprising how few actually set about THE WORK of learning for themselves and taking responsibility for their own destiny, rather than coming back and asking how to do each and every thing along their own path to freedom. It takes RISK, HARD WORK, RESEARCH, PATIENCE, DRIVE AND PERSISTENCE to become free and remain free.
So put me in the pessimist category when it comes to believing that any large segment of the current crop of Libertarians would actually "FOLLOW THROUGH" on their FSP commitment, even if they reach the sign-up goal.
As for me, I've been working more than 25 years on my own Free State Project. It is still a work in progress. From time to time the government does try to interfere. Only then do I focus my attention on government, get past the roadblock and go back to what I was doing. Over the years, I have learned to become fairly adept at using their system against them to leave me alone. So far it has worked pretty well. There is no Silver Bullet. But experience and the willingness to engage in conflict to live free is an eternal struggle. If there ever comes a day when the government believes I am dangerous enough to "put me away" somehow, than I will know that I am fighting the good fight.
As I've written before, if just 5000 fellow Coloradoans were doing what I'm doing and were truly willing to take on the government directly at any level that they would come after us, this fight would already be over in Colorado. Hell, if we just started with a few hundred. But I don't even see 50. And if there are and those 50 sign-up for the FSP, why do they need to go anywhere? That's what has me puzzled.... it doesn't make any sense when you think about it. Why do so many always believe that freedom is someplace you move to?
There, I could handle living. Could leave in a second, no regrets. -- Katrina Damon-Thomas
I believe that the FSP IS the only chance for liberty in our lifetimes. I am especially concerned about the world my child will live in & I do not want him to become one of the brainwashed "new American slaves" (as Gerry Spence puts it). So it is not just my future that I am willing to fight for. It is for the future of our children. Moving to a new state is far less of a sacrifice than the original colonists had to make. If we don't even try, we will never succeed in reverting the current trend that involves the dismantling of the Bill Of Rights. I'm not willing to just accept the kind of world predicted by George Orwell & Ayn Rand. Are you? "Live Free Or Die" (the state motto of NH).
First and foremost, I would like to thank you for running the FSP ad. It was the ad in Colorado Freedom Report that turned me in the direction of the FSP.
I am overjoyed that the FSP chose New Hampshire. It was my #1 choice. The state is already well on its way to government reform and the FSP is just the ticket to keep up the momentum.
The FSP needs to be cautious however. What we can do can just as easily be undone if we do not incorporate strong constitutional protections from the re-inflation of the state government. Tim Condon, a Florida lawyer and FSP board member, had an excellent article posted on the FSP website concerning what he considered the critical 5 reforms that need to happen in the Free State.
I am also a little dismayed at how non-confrontational the press releases were for the announcement of the Free State, they referred to one of the goals as legalizing medical marijuana. What happened to a basic libertarian conviction that the Drug War is a complete and utter failure? I know that there will be people who advocate a platform that will not scare the straight laced types, but having a backbone is nice too. The Free State is a last stand for Liberty in this country without a civil war, let us not slip meekly into the night.