November 10, 2003
The NH/FSP muttering I'm hearing about my Wyoming initiative is sounding increasingly collectivistic. Apparently, my critics expect every free stater (present and future) to join the NH bandwagon, and those who do not are "splitters."
It reminds me of the Highlander declaring, "There can be only one!"
The invective has been astoundingly laden with recrimination and imposed guilt for potentially derailing the NH/FSP's success. "Those who don't join us in NH will wreck our chances!" -- that sort of thing.
This, dear readers and colleagues, is the strident bullying of unionism. "If we fail in NH, it'll be because of you WY scabs!" Well, is the FSP a closed shop, or an open shop? Does the NH/FSP truly believe in free competition?
Evidently, at least Jason Sorens is realizing how foolish this attitude is because I now read in the NY Times (10/27/03) that he said the FSP may eventually designate a second free state out west.
"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!" -- eh?
If the FSP can't resist putting their ex posto facto stamp of approval on a Wyoming free state movement already well underway -- largely due to the efforts of just one author, and without significant FSP help -- then the FSP is welcome to not only admit a kind of defeat, but also to embarrass itself by such a blatant political ploy. I think the FSP caving in to the idea of Western second state now would generally be ridiculed by us out here.
It's growing more and more obvious that the NH/FSP needs the WY/FSP, and not the opposite.
The FSP should have offered a dual choice from the beginning, so don't start pining for the West now. You've already voted, remember? The FSP has made its NH bed, so lie in it (if, at 138 people/square mile, there is any room).
Because of my temerity in pointing out the extreme difficulties of a NH success, my very character has been snidely questioned. "We should have known what kind of man Boston was" -- that sort of thing. No kidding.
Anonymously and indirectly, of course. I've heard directly from only one dissenter, and he was an "abstaining" FSPer smarting over my derision of the 54% non-voters.
(I'm curious about those abstaining voters of September. Once they move to NH, will they then abstain from voting in their county/state elections, leaving the matter up to those with "stronger preferences"?)
The ad hominem attacks rankle, not only because they are stupid and baseless, but because they are unprecedented in my 11-year career as a well-regarded author and freedom activist. And they have come from people with whom I would have thought I had the most in common.
If these character assassins knew what I have sacrificed since 1992 -- socially, emotionally, and financially -- they would wither from shame.
Should this sort of nonsense continue, I will be forced to conclude that the NH vote was retrospectively a blessing in disguise. By choosing NH, the free state movement has installed a filter to trap the whiners, ankle-biters, and back-stabbers -- thus keeping them out of Wyoming.
(And for you quality folks moving to NH, which I've no doubt comprises the vast bulk of the NH/FSP, I still send my sincere wishes for your success, nevertheless lamenting that you must deal with such ilk as neighbors.)
If the NH/FSP feels stung by my WY stance, they shouldn't. I was always remaining in the West, and Wyoming was always my first choice of state.
Everyone . . . KNEW . . . this.
This considered, how could anybody purport that I turned my back on the FSP? If anything, one could make the vague case that the FSP turned its back on me with its NH vote, but I've never even implied that, much less said it.
To the contrary, my Open Letter began with praise and congratulations to Jason and his staff for their work. It also read that "we (of the WY/FSP) will be pleased to work with NH/FSP in any mutual matters," followed by my best wishes for success.
These are the remarks of a "crybaby?"
A final thought on the indigenous voter percentages of NH and WY. In Wyoming, about 70% of the people are registered voters, and of them about 55.5% actually vote. That means about 39.9% of Wyomingites are active voters, compared to about 45.8% of NH folks. That gives the WY/FSPers about a 15% local advantage over NH/FSPers, all else being equal.
(Occasionally, during heated elections the Wyoming percentage pops up to about 43%, but even that is still lower than NH.)
So, not only are WY's counties less densely populated, fewer WY locals vote in comparison to NH. This pro of WY has largely been overlooked. Our target state is ideally politically lethargic, not dynamic. The fewer the voting locals, the easier it is for free state relocater.
The last thing we'd conceivably want is a state of high AND dense population, which is politically active (such as Maine at 50.7%). And that, my friends, is nearly precisely what the FSP chose in NH.
Idaho has similar NH population (though not as dense), but with only 37.7% active voters.
Only Wyoming has low AND sparse population, AND comparatively low voter turnout.
Is any of this getting through to the skeptics?
From the FSP's own website (and you all should download this before such post-vote embarrassing info is removed) is a very well argued comparison between Wyoming vs. New Hampshire:
"Although New Hampshire is better for the FSP than some states, it does not seem to compare favorably to Wyoming. For starters, Wyoming's population is only 39% as large as New Hampshire's. Wyoming has inexpensive elections at $4,700,000, whereas New Hampshire has the most expensive elections, at a whopping $19,600,000. If these numbers hold, the FSP members will have to come up with well over four times as much money to run campaigns as successfully in New Hampshire than in Wyoming. New Hampshire has a very low estimated rate of gun ownership, at only 36%. Wyoming, on the other hand, has the highest estimated rate of gun ownership in the country at 88%. In addition, Wyoming has 10 gun shows for every 100,000 people, whereas New Hampshire has only 1.5. New Hampshire has large state legislative districts (especially senate) and no term limits or ballot imitative [initiative?] processes, while Wyoming is just the opposite. New Hampshire is not a right-to-work state, and because of this, it has both a large number of members in both labor and teacher unions.
"New Hampshire is surrounded by very statists states (Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Providence Plantation, and Canada), while Wyoming is surrounded by many liberty-friendly states (Montana, South Dakota, Idaho, Colorado, and Nevada). This means that if New Hampshire was picked it would likely attract the few freedom activists that are left in its surrounding states. This would leave the freedom movements of the surrounding states in even worse shape and prevent the FSP from expanding into New Hampshire's neighboring states. However, something even worse is already happening in New Hampshire: statists from Boston are moving to New Hampshire at an alarming rate. This growth is expected to increase, and even more so if the FSP selects New Hampshire and de-regulates business laws."
As the author of the above so cogently put it, the question isn't really why we all should move to WY, but why shouldn't we? What are the compelling reason not to choose WY?
Regarding Wyoming's winters (the severity of which has often been exaggerated) and rugged lifestyle, a quote from Jefferson comes to mind:
"We do not expect to be transported from despotism to liberty on a featherbed."
My question to many of you is this: Do you want to be a Rugged Libertarian, or a Featherbed Libertarian?
Fortunately, there is now a choice for both.
Not that you'd learn of such from the NH/FSP, as I have learned that their official policy is to "ignore" me. While that is preferable to the pettiness of its few random members, such a policy nevertheless is counter to the spirit of a free exchange of ideas -- a spirit I will uphold by linking the NH/FSP site with my Wyoming one, even if they do not reciprocate.
I will even include links to any posts which may purport that I am going my Wyoming way for allegedly selfish, egotistical, nefarious, duplicitous, acrimonious, or wrong-headed reasons. THAT is how deeply my commitment to honest discourse goes.
I formally challenge the NH/FSP to open the broad free state movement to the fullest of discussion. We're talking about the transplanting of thousands of families -- changing lives at the most primal level. The magnitude of this demands the widest possible exchange of idea, fact, and opinion.
The FSP has not publicized my Open Letter to its members, clearly for fear that my tight reasoning for Wyoming will cause many NH/FSPers to waiver (I'm already receiving emails from some of them), as well as offer future free staters a -- my gosh! -- choice in locales and organizations.
Patrick Henry wrote:
"For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to prepare for it."
This has always been my attitude. I am grieved that my Open Letter has yet to be shared by the hierarchy of the NH/FSP. The NH free staters will of course learn of it on their own, though not as quickly as if their leadership had informed them directly.
While the NH/FSP has no formal obligation to post my Open Letters, there still remains a moral obligation to do so. Especially when the letters come from the individual who has longest been researching the free state concept (i.e., since 1997).
Their refusal, if not quite censorship in the Soviet style, is its first cousin. It begs the obvious and uncomfortable question:
"What else isn't the NH/FSP telling its members?"
And now, dear readers and colleagues, I must return to work on my novel. I will keep all of you informed of the WY/FSP as it develops. Thank you for your enthusiastic interest in joining me and many others in America's last undiscovered frontier.
Boston T. Party (Kenneth W. Royce)