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Free State Project: Striving to be good neighbors
www.lp.org ^ | september 2004 | www.lp.org

Posted on 08/24/2004 11:10:20 AM PDT by freepatriot32

The Free State Project is picking up speed as Libertarians and other freedom-minded people begin moving to a small state where they hope to make a big difference.

New Hampshire was chosen last fall as the destination for thousands of small-government advocates who are promising to move in and try to staunch the onslaught of socialism.

Now they're starting to make good on their promise.

An estimated 300 or 350 Free Staters (or Porcupines, as they call themselves) attended the first semi-official gathering in New Hampshire June 24-27. Though the Porcupine Freedom Festival wasn't officially sponsored by the FSP, "it was as close as you could get to an official Free State Project shindig," said Bill Alleman, a resident of New Hampshire since 1988.

A member of the FSP, Alleman is referred to as a Free State pioneer because he was in the state before it was selected for the project.

The Porcupine Festival was an opportunity for Free Staters to "get to know other members," and for people who haven't committed to the project, it was a chance to check out the state and meet some of the Free Staters before they commit, said Amanda Phillips, president of the FSP.

The project's goal is to get 20,000 Americans to commit to moving to the state by 2011 and start working through the political process to help establish a more libertarian government.

"We had about 250 members in New Hampshire before this state was chosen, and we've had about 50 move in since then," Phillips said. "Even though we're not asking people to move to New Hampshire yet, a lot of people changed their moving dates during the festival, saying they had been planning to relocate within three to five years, but they now intend to move within a year because they are so enthusiastic."

Alleman estimated a significantly higher number: "My guess would be that we have about 300 people who have moved into New Hampshire because of the Free State Project, not including the pioneers who were already here."

Simply by moving into New Hampshire, people from other states will enjoy a higher level of freedom than they are accustomed to, Alleman added -- noting that New Hampshire was selected because it already has one of the lowest tax burdens of any state (there is no state income tax or sales tax), it allows more personal liberty than most states (there are no seat belt or motorcycle helmet laws), and because people in the state traditionally have a pro-small-government mentality.

The state also has few gun laws and the nation's eighth-lowest marijuana arrest rate, and the state government refuses federal highway money, which is how the state gets away with having no seat belt laws, Phillips said.

Governor Craig Benson, a Republican, has signed on as a "Friend of the FSP," which means that although he isn't joining the project, he supports the Porcupines' goals, she added.

This spring, Benson formed a new Task Force for Government Efficiency, which is examining state offices and suggesting ways they could operate more efficiently. Of the eight members on the task force, seven are Free Staters -- including state Libertarian Party Chair John Babiarz and Phillips, even though Phillips still lives in Massachusetts.

John Barnes, an FSP member and vice chair of the state LP's second district, said he is convinced that the project is "the best thing that ever happened to the LPNH.

"We now have several social events every month. This is rejuvenating us, and the press exposure -- both good and bad -- has been fantastic."

That said, the FSP and the LPNH are experiencing "growing pains," he added.

An example of the growing pains is "The Grafton Incident," as some newspapers have dubbed a recent uproar in Grafton -- a town of 1,200 that was selected as the possible target of a Free Town Project.

Unfortunately for the Free State Project and -- to a lesser extent -- the LPNH, much of the publicity surrounding Grafton was negative, Alleman said.

A group of people began talking on Internet chat rooms about setting up a microcosm of the FSP in one small town by moving in approximately 200 activists, and the townspeople became understandably concerned.

"There was some libertarian exhibitionism going on," Alleman noted, pointing to some Free Town Project proponents who wanted to "just take over and not even talk about the interim steps, the things we really want -- like lower taxes and school reform.

"But nothing has really happened, outside of riling the neighbors."

And Grafton residents were riled, to the point that about 20 percent of the town's population showed up for a town meeting to argue with FSP and LP representatives.

"We got a taste of what's going to happen to us if and when a Libertarian candidate becomes electable and the Democrats and Republicans get scared," Barnes said. "The part the mainstream opposition harped on were all the victimless crime issues. We really need to find another issue for the left wing of our party to get behind. The Patriot Act seems like just the ticket.

"Some people promoting the Free Town Project were making outrageous statements about how we were going to take over the town and allow prostitution, and people reading this were understandably alarmed."

Those opponents who were alarmed began making even more inflammatory comments and "totally unsupported statements about the Free State Project favoring polygamy," leading to the largest town meeting in Grafton's history, Barnes said.

Phillips and Tim Condon of the FSP "acquitted themselves extremely well, given the fact that they were taking a beating from the crowd."

Babiarz, who lives in Grafton, and Mike Lorrey, another Porcupine who lives in the area, both had credibility with the crowd, which eventually calmed down.

Since then, the rhetoric surrounding a potential Free Town Project has been tamed somewhat, Barnes noted -- adding that the Free Town Project has been disbanded.

"The upshot of it was, we got a lot of press -- and that's a good thing," he said. "We couldn't have gotten that much press coverage if we had paid for it. We even received international media attention."

Now the challenge will be to promote the project in a way that characterizes the FSP as "political refugees from socialist states," Barnes said. "'Live and let live' is the sound bite that works."

Some of the characteristics that made New Hampshire appealing to the Porcupines are the same characteristics that lead some in the state to reject the FSP, Barnes said.

"New Englanders in general and New Hampshirites in particular are very stubborn, and they're very suspicious of flatlanders moving in from out of state," he said.

Because of this, Porcupines moving to the state need to make one point very clear, he said: "We're moving here to be left alone, not to change things."

And Barnes has some sage advice for FSP immigrants: "When you move here, the first thing you want to do is become a good citizen in the eyes of your neighbors.

"Help out with a church charity, start a business or get a good job, and above all, listen to people. After you've been here for a while and have proven that you're willing to help and that you're primarily interested in freedom, people will begin to listen to you.

"Put politics aside for a while and enjoy yourself."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Extended News; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections; US: New Hampshire
KEYWORDS: 20somethingslist; be; free; fsp; good; libertarians; neighbors; newhampshire; paleolist; project; state; striving; to

1 posted on 08/24/2004 11:10:22 AM PDT by freepatriot32
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To: Capitalism2003

ping


2 posted on 08/24/2004 11:11:47 AM PDT by freepatriot32 (today it was the victory act tomorrow its victory coffee, victory cigarettes...)
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To: freepatriot32
"the state government refuses federal highway money"

There's a rare exhibit of political will.

3 posted on 08/24/2004 11:15:07 AM PDT by Redbob
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To: freepatriot32

This is an excellent idea but it has to start at the community level. And the community level is where the most resistance surfaced. It is amazing that people in power rise up in fear when their positions of power are threatened. They find ways of distorting the facts in order to rile up oppposition.

Is another good free zone state candidate Wyoming?
I would assume states with low populations and small urbanized areas are the best candidates?


4 posted on 08/24/2004 11:21:07 AM PDT by o_zarkman44
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To: freepatriot32

This is an excellent idea but it has to start at the community level. And the community level is where the most resistance surfaced. It is amazing that people in power rise up in fear when their positions of power are threatened. They find ways of distorting the facts in order to rile up oppposition.

Is another good free zone state candidate Wyoming?
I would assume states with low populations and small urbanized areas are the best candidates?


5 posted on 08/24/2004 11:21:30 AM PDT by o_zarkman44
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To: o_zarkman44

So nice, you posted it twice :)


6 posted on 08/24/2004 11:23:58 AM PDT by correctthought (Hippies, want to change the world, but all they ever do is smoke pot and smell bad)
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To: correctthought

oops, internet moving slowly today cuz of the storms.


7 posted on 08/24/2004 11:29:46 AM PDT by o_zarkman44
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To: o_zarkman44
Is another good free zone state candidate Wyoming?

I also think that there needs to be "Free Districts" across the country. I may not be able to move to NH, but I can work to elect a local Congressman who will be sympathetic to their cause. (i.e. One who will NOT vote to send troops to NH when they refuse to abide by their first unconstitutional federal mandate.)

8 posted on 08/24/2004 11:30:03 AM PDT by Onelifetogive
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To: freepatriot32
"'Live and let live' is the sound-bite that works."

NEWSFLASH: 'Live and let live' is the societal principle that works.

I highly recommend giving it a try.

9 posted on 08/24/2004 11:32:31 AM PDT by headsonpikes (Spirit of '76 bttt!)
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To: o_zarkman44
Is another good free zone state candidate Wyoming?

Free State Wyoming Project

10 posted on 08/24/2004 11:58:54 AM PDT by AdamSelene235
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To: o_zarkman44

Wyoming came in second in the state selection vote. There is some talk of making it the 'Second Free State', as many Porcupines just cannot envision living in the New England area, alongside so many Socialist states.


11 posted on 08/24/2004 12:02:58 PM PDT by diogenes ghost
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To: freepatriot32

surprised to get this ping...thanks! ;)


12 posted on 08/24/2004 12:58:28 PM PDT by Capitalism2003 (America is too great for small dreams. - Ronald Reagan, speech to Congress. January 1, 1984.)
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To: freepatriot32

I'd hate to leave Florida. The Northern part is like "the South" as most think of it. The FSP rocks tho, I'm all for seperating from the commie mentality and actually living free. Let them run themselves into the ground with punitive liberalism.

Imagine... a place where gun control means having a steady hand...


13 posted on 08/24/2004 4:21:49 PM PDT by mbennett203
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To: freepatriot32
"We really need to find another issue for the left wing of our party to get behind. The Patriot Act seems like just the ticket."

Ah geez, and then I read this part. WTH are lefties doing in the LP? Fans of their laissez-faire capitalism policy?

14 posted on 08/24/2004 4:24:48 PM PDT by mbennett203
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To: diogenes ghost

I respect the Free State folks, but I couldn't move to New Hampshire. Not sure I could do Wyoming, either. Don't they like Missouri?

Anyway, best wishes to them, and may the virus spread!


15 posted on 08/24/2004 5:40:59 PM PDT by Tax-chick (The only thing we know about life is that we aren't going to get out of it alive.)
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To: Tax-chick

Outstate Missouri is already a Free State majority. But the St Louis, Kansas City, Columbia blocs of socialist Democrats are hard to beat in elections. Certainly outstate Missouri was not responsible for electing Dickie Gephardt to serve for 20 yrs in congress.
And the 1999 CCW proposition passed in 99 of 102 counties, but failed by a few thousand votes in the urban blocs. (I'm happy to say we now have a CCW law in place after the state legislature overrode a governors veto on that issue in 2003). Outstate Missouri also contributed immensely to the recent loss of incumbant Democrat Governor Holden in the primary elections. Rural Missouri certainly has the values being sought in the Free State ideals. But we like where we live and it hasn't all gone to the rats. Although they would like everyone to think there is no hope left.


16 posted on 08/24/2004 6:44:53 PM PDT by o_zarkman44
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To: o_zarkman44
And the 1999 CCW proposition passed in 99 of 102 counties,

That's encouraging! I've been following your CCW saga - my dad owns land in MO, so I have a personal stake, of sorts.

17 posted on 08/24/2004 7:16:23 PM PDT by Tax-chick (The only thing we know about life is that we aren't going to get out of it alive.)
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To: Tax-chick

The CCW measure initially failed over all because of a few thousand urban votes but passed in 99 counties. But thanks to our legislature (My local Rep was a sponsor of the CCW legislation) we finally have CCW in Missouri although the law needs some minor funding clarification (the governor vetoed that too). We vetoed the governor! na na na na na na na na hey hey hey good bye! hehehe


18 posted on 08/24/2004 7:50:44 PM PDT by o_zarkman44
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To: o_zarkman44
Is another good free zone state candidate Wyoming?

I'm from Wyoming. We're being overtaken by liberals like all the other Rocky Mtn states. This state has the poorest business management mentality in the Union. Our politicians are the whores of the rest. They sell off our natural resources for a song and do exactly nothing to help real industry thrive. No better than the Saudis in that. I would've loved to see Free State settle there.

My new home will be Texas. And that is where we stay.

19 posted on 08/24/2004 9:41:27 PM PDT by Marie (Please don't feed the trolls.)
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To: Marie; o_zarkman44

rest=west...


20 posted on 08/24/2004 9:42:23 PM PDT by Marie (Please don't feed the trolls.)
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To: diogenes ghost
Wyoming came in second in the state selection vote. There is some talk of making it the 'Second Free State', as many Porcupines just cannot envision living in the New England area, alongside so many Socialist states.

Precisely why this project will fail...the state has been overrun by liberals.

21 posted on 08/24/2004 9:51:41 PM PDT by who knows what evil? (Stop the Free State Project...New Hampshire is NOT a good place to live!)
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To: who knows what evil?

Old thread...but, your comment is prescient.

Free State?

New Hampshire?

Pffft.

Free Lunch State maybe.

How about Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota?

How about TEXAS?


22 posted on 06/29/2011 12:17:53 PM PDT by ConservativeDude
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