Boston's Letter to Free Staters
An Open Letter to all Free State Project members, from Boston T. Party, author of "Molon Labe!" [posted October 30, 2003]
First, I want to congratulate Jason Sorens and his staff for the superb marketing and media efforts of the FSP. That the vote happened a year ahead of schedule is a testimony to their effectiveness in spreading the word about the FSP.
Nevertheless, I will not be joining the FSP in NH. I had opted out of all but WY, MT, and ID. I did this for sound reasons, arrived at after having researched the free state idea since 1997.
For those of you who in part voted for WY because it was/is my favorite choice, I thank you for your confidence. As I will explain shortly, your WY vote was not in vain.
And now to NH as the FSP pick.
I am baffled why a majority of FSP voters chose the third most populated state on the list, and the one with the second most voters. There are 2.7X the voters in NH vs. WY. That means the FSP is automatically operating with only 37% the leverage they could have had in WY.
How did those voters completely forget that the FSP was and is--first and foremost--a numbers game?
We cannot redirect politics unless we first control a majority of the vote. By necessity, this strategy must begin at the county level. And how will that be possible in NH?
According to 1990 figures, its least populated county (of 10) is Coos (KOE-os), with 33,405 people. NH Coos County has more people than WY's six least populated counties.
It will take as many as 15,300 Coos County FSPers to counter the indigenous voters if they fully go head-to-head against the FSP. That means 77% of your hoped-for 20,000 FSPers can be locked in battle for just one county. The remaining 23% won't be enough to take the next county (Sullivan).
Sullivan Co. has 40,987 people, and thus about 18,772 voters (at 45.8% of pop.).
Carroll Co. has 44,330 people; 20,303 voters.
Assuming that the NH/FSP coopts 25% of the local voters, you'll need 17,038 FSPers to win a majority in Coos and Sullivan. To take Carroll as well, you'll need a total of 27,190 FSPers.
So, with 25% indigenous voter support, to control only 3 NH counties will take 136% of your desired 20,000 relocators.
(And why do I keep reading about FSP enthusiasm for Grafton County? It's got 83,174 people and 38,094 voters, more than Coos and Carroll combined.)
The numbers are much better with 33.3% indigenous voter support, but that's pushing it, especially for the more controversial issues.
Below are some figures for NH, and then WY.
To win NH's first 3 counties with 33.3% local support will require 18,127 FSP voters, which is 90.64% of their hoped-for 20,000.
Those same numbers will almost achieve 13 of WY's 23 counties, and with only 25% local voter support. So, for less local effort, we could have half of WY vs. just 3 counties in NH.
With 33.3% local voter support and only 75% of the NH/FSPers we'd have over half of Wyoming.
With the 5,101-7,651 NH/FSPers needed to gain their first county of Coos, we'd have 7 WY counties (the northern third of the state).
The NH/FSP needs a minimum of 5,101 relocators who have coopted 33.3% of Coos County voters. Anything less than than is "close, but no cigar." With less than half that (2,364) we could have 3 counties in Wyoming. My point being, we are guaranteed multi-county success in Wyoming with less than 2,500 relocators.
That's possible right NOW!
Heck, with only 25% local support, just 1,030 of us could gain supremacy of Hot Springs County and its seat of Thermopolis. It's a very nice county, with the world's largest hot springs.
What can 1,030 people buy in NH? Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.
The "secret" to assured WY success isn't so much the low number of people/voters, but that those 13 counties each have fewer than 13,000 people. Eight of them have fewer than 9,000 people!
How much riper can you expect a piece of fruit to be?
I mean, did anybody really do the WY/NH math here?
Why does anyone want to work so much harder in NH?
The key to a state victory is an accretion of county victories.
It isn't so much that NH has 2.7X the voters than WY, but that its least populated county has 15.8X the voters than WY's. 8.2X the next two least pop. counties, 7.4X the fourth, 6.4X the fifth, 6X the sixth, 4.8X the seventh, and 4.7X the eighth.
Even if we didn't eventually win all of Wyoming, we'd still have several counties, which is a lot more than we have now, and a lot more than is realistic in NH.
"But Boston, we'll get the numbers we need!"
Oh, really? Well, if only 46% of the 5,000 FSPers actually bothered to vote in September, how do you justify such an assertion? If more than half of the brethren could not be troubled to fill out and mail a one-page ballot, then what percentage can we expect to quit their jobs, sell their homes, uproot their families, and move? This bodes very poorly for any NH success.
By the way, what excuse do the other 54% have, that the pre-addressed envelope was not stamped as well?
(You 54% nonvoting toads are beneath my contempt. We shouldn't have had even 54 no-shows, much less 54%! Thanks for proving to the world that not 1 in 2 libertarians can keep their word, even on an issue directly related to their future freedom. If I were Jason, I'd post all 3,000 of your names on the FSP website, like bad checks thumbtacked on a barroom wall. We need to know who the welshers are in our midst.)
Political demographics aside, where are you all going to move to in NH? NH is already teeming with people at 138/square mile, vs. 5 in WY. Even Coos (the FSP's best county in NH) has about 25/square mile.
"But NH isn't landlocked; it has a coastline!"
Ooooh, 18 miles of it. That can be blockaded by just 6 Coast Guard cutters.
One final thought; a metaphor. Think of the FSP as a young man looking to marry.
NH is an attractive mature divorcee set in her ways. She's already had children and doesn't want any more. You must live in her house; she's not moving.
WY is a pretty college girl ready to marry and relocate. She's eager to start a family, and grow as a wife/mother. You and her can build a new home together, anywhere.
So, I ask you all, which would make the better bride?
Look, I'm not trying to rain on the FSP parade, but picking NH scheduled your parade during monsoon season.
"Gee, Boston, why didn't you say any of this before?"
Although some excerpts of my upcoming novel "Molon Labe!" were graciously posted on their site (and the chapter "2006" implicitly makes my above points), I was never asked by the FSP to elucidate my WY reasoning. Perhaps I should have offered/insisted, but I would have viewed such as bad form. The FSP organization was not my baby, so I stayed out unless invited to contribute.
Perhaps I should have been involved in the forums, but I've found that they are too often inefficient for a published author and take time away from his business of writing. Also, after composing 3-5,000 words in the morning, the last thing I sorta want to do is pound out a few hundred more in a forum. "The cobbler's children have no shoes"...
If "Molon Labe! had been published earlier this year (wherein I thoroughly make my WY case), it would have most likely brought over enough voters for WY. (I'm not yet sure if I regret this not having happened.) But, every book has its own gestation period and "Molon Labe!" just wasn't ready to birth before the FSP vote--sorry. I tried to finish it before then, but the story is just too involved and intricate for this budding novelist to rush.
A final thought. Before I am accused of fermenting sour grapes, understand that the NH choice by the FSP has not changed my life any more than a WY choice would have affected those who were always moving to NH or the East. There is nothing personally for me to be resentful over.
Astonished and baffled, but not resentful.
If some think my comments graceless, such was not my intention. I know how to be graceless, and this wasn't it. Remember that I have been chewing on the free state idea since the summer of 1997, and nearly full-time since 2000. I've put hundreds of hours into research, including many trips to Wyoming. So, is not the controversy of my comments proportional to their merit?
Perhaps, in retrospect, the FSP plan should have allowed members a two-tiered choice of East and West. Perhaps it still can.
I know for a fact that most Westerners, myself heartily included, would never even consider moving to the crowded East, unable to enjoy our battle rifles, and surrounded by millions of socialists. About 1,000 FSPers had opted out of NH (and also, presumably, the East). We could have 2-3 WY counties after the 2006 general election.
That's a powerful notion: The 1,000 who opted out of NH could be farther down the FSP down in 2006 than the 4,500 pledged to a NH move after 2006--that the "splinter" group would see more (and earlier) success than the main body.
The NH vote will force me to spearhead a Wyoming Free State Project through the vehicle of "Molon Labe!" (due in December, and I'm taking prepaid orders of $25ppd). In a few months I will create a website for the WY/FSP. We will be pleased to work with NH/FSP in any mutual matters.
Instead of asking those who opted out of NH to reconsider, why not also inform them of a second real-world alternative? Let's allow NH and WY to compete for members. I think that there are enough mobile libertarians to go around, probably equally divided between East and West.
Am I dividing the free state movement? No, because it was always divided between East and West. Granted, Easterners may have the raw numbers (hence the NH victory), but Wyoming is a much more viable choice for libertarian assimilation. And, if things get dicey with the USG in the future, WY will have a corps of Riflemen on hand. (Boy, do I ever get into this in "Molon Labe!")
WY has a puny job market? Guess what, WY/FSP will bring many of their own jobs by relocating companies. I forecast that the firearm industry, for example, will be moving from New England, Illinois, and Arizona to Wyoming within 10 years. I've already got some companies interested in doing so.
So, as one kindred spirit to another, I wish the NH/FSP the best of success. I don't envy the effort demanded. You've chosen to "swim the English Channel without flippers." For what my advice is worth, you all should first move only to Coos County. Otherwise, you just don't have a chance.
If you can't take Coos, then forget about the rest of NH. Good luck, and come visit us in Wyoming!
So, free staters will have two choices. Once my novel "Molon Labe!" is finished in several weeks, I will begin to organize the infrastructure necessary for a Wyoming initiative beginning in 2-3 counties. This is a goal easily achieved by just 2-3,000 voting relocators. We could be there way in advance for the 2006 county elections.
At the Freedom Summit in Phoenix I announced that I will be spearheading a Wyoming Free State Project, and the response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic (concluding with a standing ovation, my career first). Not one person told me that that they favored NH over WY. This confirmed my belief that Western Americans prefer the West, Easterners the East, and rarely the two shall meet.
I will keep everybody posted as this progresses. Meanwhile,
email me at: wyoming_freestate*AT*yahoo.com