Skip to comments.Turn me loose, set me free
Posted on 11/20/2002 4:01:42 PM PST by watcher1
Turn me loose, set me free
by Wayne Laugesen (email@example.com)
Grab your gun, and tell the old lady to start packin' up the kids. It's time to move to Wyoming to create a free state. That's exactly what libertarian-minded people, from all over the country, are planning to do in droves.
For too long, Libertarians have comprised the party of refreshing and popular ideas but no results. Like members of all third parties, Libertarians have enjoyed victories that are really just hollow consolations. Libertarians, for example, took majority control of an entire city council recently. Unfortunately, the pothole politics of Leadville, Colo., don't free American citizens from oppressive taxes, big business and excessive government.
What Libertarians need, if they are to become a real player in American politics, is this: two members in the United States Senate, at least one member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and a governor. (Holding onto the Leadville City Council won't hurt them, either!)
How do they accomplish this substantive step toward the major leagues? They take over Wyoming, Vermont, or one of the other 10 states (or the District of Columbia) that consist of fewer than 1.5 million residents. (Other possible targets are: Idaho; Maine; New Hampshire; Hawaii; Rhode Island; Montana; Delaware; South Dakota; North Dakota; and Alaska)
The invasion of one of these states will happen within the next decade. In the works is a well-organized political maneuver headed by the Free State Project. Already, more than 1,500 Libertarians have signed a pledge to move to the soon-to-be-freed state once the organizers of the project decide which state to liberate. The goal is to get 20,000 Libertarians or libertarian-minded people to commit to taking over a state by moving to it and voting.
Getting 20,000 people to agree to live free is no gargantuan task, so don't make the mistake of writing this off as a pie-in-the-sky dream of the political fringe. And don't make the mistake of thinking 20,000 hardcore voters, who all believe in less government and lower taxes, isn't enough to take over most federal, state and local political offices in an entire state.
Wyoming, which would be the best selection, consists of only 493,782 people. Wyoming has fewer people than live in the tiny cities of Wichita, Kans., or Colorado Springs. Wyoming's population base isn't twice the size of Boulder County's. Would it be a stretch to believe in an effort by all the country's Libertarians to control the politics of Wichita? Nope. So it should be no harder to visualize a successful political coup in Wyoming.
Despite Wyoming's sparse population, it has as much clout in the United States Senate as does California-a state that's home to 33,871,648 people-or 33,377,866 more people than live in Wyoming. California has two Senators; Wyoming has two Senators. Each U.S. Senator, whether from California or Wyoming, has one vote on any given bill. Likewise, California has one governor; Wyoming has one governor. Wyoming has one U.S. Representative, even though the state's entire population falls short of comprising a congressional district.
Liberal Democrats-who hold the uneducated view that America is a "democracy"-loathe this dynamic of American politics. They would like to see the Electoral College vanish, so the urban majority could dominate all aspects of American government. The founders knew better than to allow that to occur. They knew that pure democracy would result in tyranny of the majority, not liberty. So they designed a system that empowers minorities so much power that they enjoy a mighty hedge against mob rule. We're not a "democracy," but a constitutional republic that employs some democratic principles such as elections. If we were a pure democracy, my right to own guns would have long ago been taken by a whimsical vote of the majority. My right to publish editorials that ridicule the majority would have long ago been taken away. If this were a democracy, the opportunity for a minority political group to take over an entire state-a state with seemingly lopsided clout-would have been nixed by now.
Wyoming is so important to the national political landscape that outside interests pumped tens of millions of dollars into the most recent senatorial race. ABC's Robert Krulwich ran the numbers in creative ways designed to give people some idea of how much money individual votes are worth in a state with fewer than a half million residents. Krulwich proved that with the money spent on the Senate race, mostly by outside sources, each candidate could have taken each potential voter to dinner 11 times.
Money doesn't guarantee victory, even in a tiny state, because the other side of a two-party political system can usually match the spending dollar-for-dollar. Human infiltration, however, can't be defeated. Imagine 20,000 voters, who each cast straight pro-liberty ballots, diluting the tiny electorate of Wyoming. Also consider the fact that Wyoming-like Vermont, the second smallest state with 608,932 residents-already has libertarian leanings. Both are rural states, where the native culture tends to value self-sufficiency while rejecting the kind of urban interdependence that statist, liberal, big-government politicians so like to exploit.
After moving 20,000 voters to a small state, here's what the Free State Project hopes to do: repeal state taxes and wasteful state government programs; end grants and collaboration between state and federal law enforcement; repeal all state gun control and drug prohibition; end asset forfeiture and abuses of eminent domain; privatize utilities and untwist big business monopolies. When all that's done, the free-staters plan to negotiate with the federal government for a return of the state's constitutional autonomy.
Then, let's hope they'll "take over" and free a few more states.
How could they?
Before any American votes for a Liberatarian they better fully understand what they are NOT saying.
It's scary indeed.
... so don't make the mistake of writing this off as a pie-in-the-sky dream of the political fringe ...Oh, certainly not. One should write this off as some other sort of dream of the political fringe. E.g. those ephemeral early morning lucid dreams that you can never quite remember: fleeting, vague, lacking substance. I liked it better when our libertarian brothers and sisters were talking about building their own hi-tech floating island or colonizing Antarctica. Taking over a real state would require real commitment and real political pragmatism and libertarians have never had that.
Do you know who "they" are? If so, the answer is elementary.
Could be. It's one of the 10 potential candidates, though it scores fairly poorly in most categories of the FSP comparative rankings [scroll to bottom]
Nope. Please tell me.
It's scary indeed.
What would that be? That, if we were living in a country as envisioned by the founders, there would be no guaranteed security, that you would have to be responsible for your own actions, that no one would be forced to pay for the education of your children, that no one would have to support them if they took drugs and could not support themselves, that no one could be forced to support other's children if they could not or would not do it themselves, that no one would be forced to supply you a job, health care, or to support you in retirement.
Is that what they are not telling you?
Or maybe they are not telling you that no one would prevent you from owning, using, selling, or buying anything you choose. Or maybe they are not telling you, no one would be allowed to force their views down anyone elses throat regarding religion, or philosophy, or any other personal belief.
Many people are scared to death of freedom. It means being responsible for one's own life, and never being able to force anyone else to pick up after them if they screw it up, and never being able to force someone else to make sure they are happy, and never have to worry, or even to think.
No wonder your scared.
You mean, the originators of the George Bush doctrine or "compassionate totalitarianism," euphemistically called "homeland security."
You don't have to. You can participate without making the move and signing the Letter of Intent to do so, and can sign on *here* as a *Friend of FSP* instead, with no cost or financial obligation.
There's a ton of research work yet to be done; coordination of FSPers all over the country [and worldwide- translators are needed too] and numerous FSP projects just now in the start-up phase. But it's almost halfway to the point of choosing and announcing the eventual *goal state* and it's interesting, to say the least.
More ways you can help, whether you can make the move or not. But even if you can't move to stay, it might be worth an entertaining visit.
Well, okay, I'll try.
Seriously, my reponse to that would be LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL.
20,000 IRRELEVANT votes.
Well, or at least to the parts that weren't originally part of Texas....
Actually it's on the list! It ain't gonna make the cut though, too many people and too many dems.
I'd love to live in Wyoming or Montanna. Ef New Hampshire.
Yeah, well, for every Libertarian that moves to Wyoming, the Liberals will pump in 5 illegals, with voting privileges ;-)
Thanks for backing up what I said. I'm surprised your not scared. But, then again, when you consider beauty as being skin deep it all sounds great. Doesn't it?
It is! This is a BIG Freedom thing.
The big L need the small l to make this work
Did you sign up yet?
And other things too but, lets not give'm any ideas!
Agreed. I've never claimed to be either a lower nor upper-case L/libertarian, but I think they'd be better neighbors than a lot of others I could name.
Too, I figure I have a lot better chance at influencing the general direction of wayward Libertarians [...must...pass...tax...measure....!] than *progressive* Republicans who take their party away from it's conservative strengths [as per Bush in '92] or foaming-at-the-mouth liberal Dems.
It's as interesting to watch the proponents for different answers to the key decision of *which state* coalesce as it is to watch a sheepdog working his flock. No biting; it violates at least the spirit of the libbies nonagressive principle.
Hmmm, maybe *Libertarian enforcer* would make a good job description....
I'd take a Libertarian ( big or small L) over a RAT or a RINO any day of the week
No. I don't make commitments unless I'm sure I can follow through on them.
I would like some sort of chance of my children growing up in a free society, no matter how that's acheived. I barely recognize this country anymore.
I'm not a Libertarian, so that's one big sticking point. I think it's immoral and insane to kill babies. Also, I wouldn't have a problem with softening drug laws and ending the WOD, but allowing people to run meth labs next door to me is immoral and insane as well.
I also run a business and have certain family issues. I love Florida, although it's becoming the socialist cesspool that I left back in New York.
I'm going to watch what you guys do and how you handle yoursleves. Your plan is workable if done properly. However if you make it about Libertarian politics you'll get flushed down the toilet. Promise you that.
I don't think so, though they may well try it.
Wyoming has a continental climate, characterized by moderately warm summers at low elevations, long and cold winters, and generally low amounts of precipitation. ... January [temperature] averages are -7º Celsius (19º F) in the national park, and -3º Celsius (27º F) in Cheyenne. ... Thunderstorms and hailstorms are relatively frequent in summer. The annual snowfall ranges from about 500 mm (about 20 in) in the Bighorn Basin to well over 5100 mm (over 200 in)in the higher mountains, where annual precipitation can be 1140mm or more....
If the people there feel put upon it could be very counter productive. Also, running large "L" libs in elections where you have pro-American repubs could yield Dems. That would suck too.
These guys need some pros and high profile types on their side. That Jason guy is likeable and has some good ideas, but a Libertarian head banger might not be the best face for this huge endeavor.
Although if 50,000 Libertarians did actually do this, you're right. They'd make much better neighbors than the selfish leftist scumbags that are taking over my area.
A lot to think about.
Concur. From the FSP FAQ page:
Put in a positive way, most FSP members support policies such as abolition of all income taxes, elimination of regulatory bureaucracies, repeal of most gun control laws, repeal of most drug prohibition laws, complete free trade, decentralization of government and widescale privatization.
People of this disposition may go by many names: "classical liberals" [not the same as modern liberals at all, but followers of Thomas Jefferson and similar thinkers), libertarians, paleoconservatives, constitutionalists, fusionists, etc., etc.
More difficult still is the nature of the L(big L)ibertarian party. It differs from the two largest established parties in that it is not only formed around a strict body of theory but is led, at the moment, by theoreticians, much as the various flavors of Communists were in Russia before the advent of Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Parties guided by strict adherence to theory tend toward radicalism and a form of puritanism that is incompatible with the necessity of broad appeal outside that body of theory that democratic practices dictate. It is for this reason that they tend to remain minority parties, where parties subject to a degree of compromise unpalatable to theoreticians tend more toward broad appeal by attempting to anticipate the desires of the public rather than dictate them. What I'm trying to say is that with parties such as the Libertarian, or the Green, the tail tries to wag the dog.
There are two examples I can think of offhand where such an inherently minority party did succeed in either becoming a majority party temporarily or exerting its will over the majority despite maintaining a minority status - these are, respectively, the experience of the Mormons in Utah, and of the Bolsheviks in Russia. Both, incidentally, were political movements very much backed up by the force of arms. In the case of the Mormons the party was coerced into allowing dilution in the form of non-Mormon settlers; these in time came to exert a distinctly non-Mormon political direction, as did portions of the Mormon party who deviated from strict party doctrine - the consumption of alcohol, for example, now quite permissible in Utah. In the case of the Bolsheviks, the party maintained dominance despite minority numbers by ruthlessly eliminating the opposition parties - although the populace as a whole were never party members, that party enjoyed 70+ years of guiding that populace by theory. Rigidity had a price - the Mormons still thrive, the Bolsheviki are no longer with us.
So while I wish the Free State Project every success I'm not sure that is a likelihood unless the Libertarian party makes a major change in its composition and its leadership. You simply need more than theory to govern, you need practical decisions over such things as the lesser course of two evils, neither of which is compatible with theory. That is real-world politics. Potholes first, governmental structure later. The only exception to this is in outright revolution and I don't think that's where this is headed. All IMHO and subject to debate, of course.
Another to consider: the Socialists of David Ben-Gurion during the earliest days of Israel's independence, 1947-48.
Ben-Gurion had the assistance of the previous British administration, of course, for whom he was an informant, sending many of his Irgun and IZL political adversaries to the British gallows, and there was the little matter of the deaths of those killed aboard the arms ship Altalena trying to provide arms for the defence of the new state, instead of just Ben-Gurion's faction, but most Israelis were so overjoyed that the miricle had come to pass that they were willing to forgive their first Prime Minister a little blood on his hands.
Oh yeah, sho' 'nuff. We have the technology:
Well, no guarantees. But a chance, anyway, a chance.
Don't laugh. From what I read in a think tank paper once (don't remember which one so don't ask) that the game plan for the future is to have one giant hemispheric bloc under one government. Starting off with a N.American Union by merging Canada, the US and Mexico then adding southern nations as they can be stabilized. Europe would also be one block, Africa another (if anything could ever be done with that mess) and then an Asian block. The mid-east oil could be shared (but controled by us). The whole world ordered nice and neatly by regions.
This may seem an undoable dream but remember that impracticality and past failures never detered intellectual types, communism being an example. Also never underestimate the effects of a university paper. Kissenger used to be a Harvard proffessor writing papers, Nelson Rockefeller was impressed and Kissenger's been forming policy in the real world ever since.
Your sarcasm is noted but that would indeed be the case if the project is successful. Sad case that in all 50 states there is not one that resembles the old republic. BTW what are you doing to restore liberty? (assuming you see the need) I hope it's more than vote GOP every two years.
I am waiting to see the FSP miracle myself. I want to see what a full blown "free" state will look like. I support the project 100% and encourage all FR libertarians to sign up and show the rest of us what it means to be pioneers for FREEDOM!