No Need to Move to Freedom
Dear Mr. Armstrong,
I read with interest your review of Boston T. Party's Molôn Labé! I agree with you that an organized move to either NH or WY would probably not achieve the stated objectives. I've often wondered, if a Free State Project had a long-shot chance of success, why wouldn't a Free County or a Free City movement be even more successful? After all, the movement can achieve a more effective mass, and there's plenty that can be done on a local level (end drug law enforcement, zoning laws, privatize schools, hospitals, courts and law enforcement). Such a county or city would serve as a protector of liberty (mostly by getting out of the way) and would help counterbalance the long arm of the state and federal governments. But that's not really my point.
I think the ultimate reason that both projects are likely to fail is the question I am asking myself: why should I have to move to enjoy more freedom? I am a human being with natural rights to life, liberty, separate property, and defense of the same. The problem is not with me (as long as I do not interfere with anyone else's natural rights), it is with those who would deny me my natural rights.
One key is for us to continue to spread ideas about liberty so that people will understand what it is they have lost. I am wondering, though, if we should not start a "stealth movement" to regain our liberties in the courts. Unless you are killed by the government before trial (which is why running from the cops is usually a bad idea), the court is where you will either regain or nearly permanently lose your freedom. A campaign of jury education is needed, which must be much more hard-hitting than the FIJA campaign, although that one dovetails nicely.
Juries in cases involving consensual crimes, weapons possession, tax "evasion" (maybe we should wait to spring that one) and other unjustly-labeled "crimes" need to know exactly what is at stake here, how best to nullify a verdict, and how to avoid detection as a liberty advocate when serving on a jury. Defendants need to know that they should demand jury trials in such situations, even if the jury will not be fully informed of their rights and obligations.
A website covering such trials could lay out the points of interest and recommend verdicts in general and in particular cases.
The ballot box has failed. We still have the soap box. We must turn to the jury box if we are not to turn to the cartridge box.
Ari Armstrong Replies
It's not quite right that I said "an organized move to either NH or WY would probably not achieve the stated objectives." I argued an organized move to New Hampshire probably won't happen at all, and if it does, it isn't likely to achieve serious political reforms. As Boston points out, because of demographics, liberty reformers could at most change the government of a single county, yet few participants in the project seem interested in moving to that (northern) county.
On the other hand, while I don't think the move to Wyoming will be as organized as Boston describes in his book, I think it will happen, and it will achieve significant political reforms. Of course, the Wyoming project is also a "free county" plan; Boston explicitly advises movers to relocate to low-population counties, and not to the high-population counties in the southern part of the state.
Hall asks, "[W]hy should I have to move to enjoy more freedom?" Of course, you shouldn't. But that's not the point. If we differentiate between "natural rights" and "enables rights," it really doesn't make that much practical difference that you have natural rights, if you're locked in a steel cage. In other words, to have enabled rights, we have to get very lucky in the time and location of our births, or we have to take action to guarantee our rights.
I agree that efforts to educate potential jurors are important. But do you really want to take your chances in areas where libertarians are rare and prosecutors throw most of them off jury panels? Justice is much more likely where libertarians are common, and where they select local prosecutors.