Skip to comments.N.H. said a front-runner for libertarian splinter group
Posted on 07/17/2003 10:25:47 AM PDT by archy
N.H. said a front-runner for libertarian splinter group
By DEAN ABBOTT
Like most mothers, Michelle Dumas is concerned about the kind of society her young daughter will grow up in. "I want to raise my daughter in a place free from violent crime, where she will have access to high quality education, and where personal responsibility is inherent in the culture," Dumas said.
Concern for the kind of society where her daughter will grow up is one of the reasons why the 33-year-old Somersworth woman joined the Free State Project after discovering the group on the Internet about 18 months ago.
According to the groups Web site, the Free State Project is a group dedicated to "the effort to sign up 20,000 advocates of limited government to move to a single state" with the goal of influencing public policy in that state. The group hopes to concentrate the political efforts of its libertarian-leaning constituency in a state with a small enough population where 20,000 activists could make a difference.
And make a difference they could. University of New Hampshire Political Science Instructor David Corbin said an influx of 20,000 focused activists could have a tremendous impact on New Hampshire politics. "The world could be theirs in New Hampshire," he said.
While the short list of options for where the group may be headed currently contains 10 states, including Alaska, Delaware, Maine, Montana, Vermont and Wyoming, New Hampshire is a front-runner to be chosen as the destination state when the group votes in little more than a month, said Dumas, who serves the group as a media coordinator.
If New Hampshire is chosen, some members would begin moving here immediately though none are obligated to come for five years. Members of the group would likely settle across the state since they will not be required to live in any particular region.
The projects Web site describes the political position of many of its members. "Most FSP members support policies such as the 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 wide-scale privatization."
The group began its drive to recruit members all of whom promise to move to a particular state in September 2001, hoping to reach 5,000 commitments by September 2004. The projects founders planned to hold a member vote to select the target state once membership reached the 5,000 mark.
The group has beaten its goal date by more than a year. The number of people who have joined so far is about 4,500. The group plans to hold its vote in on Aug. 15.
"New Hampshire has seemed to be in the lead, or one of the states in the lead since the beginning of the project, and there are good reasons for that," Dumas said.
Dumas gave several reasons why New Hampshire is attractive to FSP members, but first among these is New Hampshires long-standing tradition of limited government and self-reliance. "New Hampshire has a spirit of independence that has survived 200-plus years. Its almost legendary" Dumas said.
UNHs Corbin echoes this observation. "A lot of people when they think of New Hampshire, they think of Live Free or Die. Its part of life here, its on our license plate, and it means something," he said.
Corbin said this political spirit stretches back to the beginnings of the United States. "At the founding," he said, "some states incorporated a much more centralized view of government and others a much more Jeffersonian (view), ... that emphasized decentralization. New Hampshire had a Jeffersonian upbringing."
FSP members like Dumas are advocating within the group to persuade other voters to select New Hampshire in the upcoming election. "New Hampshire is a state where the values of small government and self-reliance are already primary in the culture. Since what the Free State Project is seeking to do is to find a state where these values are already inherent in the culture, New Hampshire seems like the number one choice. Im optimistic that New Hampshire will be the choice. Very optimistic," she said.
Part of the efforts aimed at persuading FSP members to choose New Hampshire in the August election involved a recent convention in Lancaster. "People came to New Hampshire from all over the country. Many went around the state speaking to individuals they came into contact with, and the reports that came back to me were that nearly everyone was receptive to the Free State Project," Dumas said.
Jason Sorens, president of the Free State Project, said there are more tangible reasons than just a tradition of independent spirit that might make New Hampshire a good destination for the group. "Many think New Hampshire is best for us because it has low taxes and a strong anti-tax movement, a wide range of personal freedoms, a strong tradition of local democracy, and low dependence on federal government subsidies," he said.
Sorens also said New Hampshire has attracted the attention of the Free State Project because it has "resisted some trends in other states toward controlling peoples private lives. For example, New Hampshire has no motorcycle helmet law and no seat belt laws for adults."
Many factors making New Hampshire an attractive place for Free Staters are institutionalized in the way New Hampshire is governed. Dumas said the nature of the New Hampshire Legislature is a good example; "We have a 400-member Legislature. It offers the best representation in the nation. The government is closer to the people. Even more important is that we pay our legislators only $100 a year, so we end up with a government of the people."
Corbin said the states Constitution reflects a strong view of individual rights as well. "When you look at the New Hampshire state Constitution you see its divided into two major parts. The first part is a Bill of Rights. The second part is the form of government. So, when the framers of the New Hampshire Constitution framed it, they purposely began by stating what the individual rights were before turning to a discussion of what form of government would be necessary to secure those rights."
Sorens pointed to New Hampshires practice of allowing political candidates to run on two separate party lines as an attractive political tradition. This practice, he said, "would allow us to have direct access to the Statehouse. We could run people who are Libertarians and they could also get the Republican nomination and pick up Republican voters and, of course, the same thing could be done with Democrats."
New Hampshires most well-known political event, its presidential primary, is not a major draw for the Free Staters, according to Sorens. "Some members would say it matters, but for most it is a positive, but relatively minor consideration, because were focused on state politics."
One issue sure to be contentious should FSP members move to New Hampshire is education. "Currently, our educational system is really a government monopoly. What we would want to do is create more school choice, to return educational decisions back to the hands of the parents," Dumas said.
FSP members have ranked the desirability of the 10 candidate states by a variety of factors. One of those desirability factors concerns states with fewer members in the National Education Association, a nationwide union and professional association for educators. New Hampshire tied with Idaho for first place in this category. Terry Shumaker, executive director of the New Hampshire NEA, was puzzled by this fact. "Im surprised by that statement." he said, "We have over 14,000 active members in New Hampshire. Were the largest education association in the state."
Sorens said ranking the states by NEA membership was a way of trying to measure how open the area would be to the groups efforts to introduce full school choice. "The NEA has generally opposed any efforts toward educational choice or competition, so a state with a higher NEA membership would be less fruitful ground for those policies" he said.
Shumaker said the New Hampshire NEA "doesnt necessarily oppose it (school choice) so long as the field is level." A level playing field, Shumaker said, means that "if public money is going to go to a school, then the same requirements should be placed upon any school receiving public funds," he said.
Sorens claimed introducing full educational competition and choice would "lead to higher quality schools at lower costs just as other markets are better off when they are freed from government monopoly control."
If New Hampshire is chosen as the destination state for Free State Project members, some members have pledged to move here immediately, though none would be obligated to move here for five years. Consequently, quality of life projections have been important to the group. "New Hampshire has a very strong job market, and areas of New Hampshire have affordable real estate. I dont have any worries about being able to assimilate into New Hampshire both economically and culturally" Sorens said.
Dumas indicated that Free Staters moving to New Hampshire could benefit the state. "It is my impression," she said, "that people in the Free State Project tend to be overwhelmingly entrepreneurial, so they would be moving here and creating new opportunities and jobs."
If New Hampshire should be chosen by the Free State Project and even if all 20,000 members should move to the state, Corbin wonders how effective they would be. "Libertarian thought rests on the idea of leave me alone he said. "When you get a bunch of those people together, how do you get them organized?"
Corbin says the activists ability to organize is even more important than their numbers. "To say 20,000 people move to the state and the game is over, I think, is incorrect, but if 20,000 move to the state with means to support the activities you need to do in politics, they could have a tremendous impact," he said.
When asked about what the official response from the state would be should FSP members choose New Hampshire and begin moving here, Chris Reid, a staff member for Governor Craig Benson said "As long as they believe in the rule of law, I cant imagine the governor being opposed to anybody moving to New Hampshire because of their political beliefs. The sign at the border say Welcome and we mean it."
Because FSPs plans are not yet firm, some New Hampshire members, though hoping to stay put, are preparing to move should another state be chosen. Dover member George Reich, 45, said "I think freedom is more important than living in a particular state. I would be willing to move to another state to be a part of this."
© 2003 Geo. J. Foster Company
Yes, it means, "I made sure I had the government's permission before utilizing the roads."
Oh, you meant the slogan.
Thereby demonstrating once again that Libertarians have no grasp of practical politics. This is elementary stuff -- like having enough people in a state congressional district to actually elect somebody.
I did like this, though: This practice, he said, "would allow us to have direct access to the Statehouse. We could run people who are Libertarians and they could also get the Republican nomination and pick up Republican voters and, of course, the same thing could be done with Democrats."
This is straight out of the Lyndon LaRouche playbook. Pretend to be an R (or D) long enough to grab their votes. Pretty cowardly, but a tacit admission that even in NH they're unlikely to elect Libertarian Party candidates.
Having resided in Memphis for the last half-dozen years, I can only shake my head and wistfully ask the same question: Alaska, Vermont, Montana, Idaho, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and a couple of chilly others. Cold and Northern, and some downright Yankeefied, and where well-prepared grits may even be hard to find...the horror!
I can only figure that clime and climate have likely discouraged others, less hardy, from taking up residence in some of those harsher possibilities and doing their best to ruin those colder spots as they have others to which they've migrated. But it'll be a chance for me to get a little more use out of my skis, which have been out of the storage building around three times since I came to Memphis. When life hands ya a lemon, make lemonade.
Actually, it is straight out of the Republican and Democrat playbooks. They are the ones who wrote the NH elections laws that permit it, and they were the ones who first exploited multi-party nominations as a technique to get elected. It's been going on for years there, and nobody makes a secret of what party they actually belong to.
But no moreso than the grudging adoption of Libertarian platform planks by the other parties to take the wind out of the sails of Libertararian's offering an alternative to *business as usual.* I suspect there'll be more common cause with Republicans that Democrats, but whether the Libs, or more likely, a seperate political coalition pieced together from FSP migrants, disaffected members of longterm residents from both of the other major parties, and younger first-time voters [many recently returned from Iraq/Afghanistan] and others evolve into a statewide power will depend entirely on what they can offer.
I'm neither Libertarian nor libertarian [not a librarian, either!] but I figure they'll make okay neighbors. And if not political partners, maybe political allies.
Members of the group would likely settle across the state since they will not be required to live in any particular region.
Thereby demonstrating once again that Libertarians have no grasp of practical politics. This is elementary stuff -- like having enough people in a state congressional district to actually elect somebody.
The choice of *which state* is going to play a large part in porcupine flocking in particular electoral districts or cities, but you can count on at least some changing numbers in a state capitol city, and maybe even in the emergence of the settlement and development of a new city or two if the effort comes in some of the candidate states. And a couple of near-ghost towns in a couple of the western candidates might be revived. But some very serious studies as to which counties and precincts offer the best political opportunities have been made for a couple of the western states, though employment and family considerations will be more overriding factors for some porkypines.
Heroin addicts line up in New Hampshire's free drug clinics to exercise their inalienable rights to an early death, slavery to vice, and the pursuit of unneeded suffering. Libertarians are expected to flock to this small state for the pleasure of living non-judgmentally next to perverts, deviants, and the personally-irresponsible.
Probably much the same opinion some British tax collectors had about the handfull of troublemakers in warpaint, whooping it up and spilling the Crown's tea into Boston Harbour. I'm sure they figured the overreaction of a few hotheaded rowdies would never lead to any sort of political effort of lasting significance, but 229 years later, here we still are.
And of course, I'm sure the hot tar and itchy feathers were no fun, either. Some politically-inspired total jokes have funnier punch lines than others; you could ask the Nomenklatura of the Soviet Union about that, if it was still around.
Well I'll be durned! I didn't realize you were on board and coming along! See ya in the new Free State!
No state sales tax in NH, AND fireworks are legal there.
If all you're talking about is voters, that number can still change the politics of a state if the margins were close to begin with.
Given that someone willing to move to another state for political reasons s likely to do more than just vote, they can change the politics a lot.
And, given that only 4,500 people have signed up for the effort
A year ahead of schedual.
given that a large percentage of these will fail to follow through with the plan, I'd say that this effort is a total joke.
Hippies did it next door in Vermont.
I'm not an FSPer, but I wish them well.
I'm sure he doesn't want to trust the commoners with fireworks either.
I don't see one keyworded as such. There may have been some responses about the FSP to a news article dealing with other L/libertarian efforts or to news from one of the FSP candidate states, however.
As I bookmark FSP articles for my Freeper profile bookmarks page, I add *FSP* to preceede the title so that they're in an alphabetized bloc on my page. Check out my FReeper profile bookmarks and go to *FSP* there, though I miss one every now and again.
F/ree S/tate P/roject, whose guiding motto is *Liberty in our lifetime* and whose representative mascot is the porcupine, smaller than either the Democrat's donkey or Republican elephant, but not to be tangled with in his own surroundings.
I hear you. I'm tired of democrats and liberals running as Republicans, and then passing democrat legislation once they get in like they're doing now.
You need not be one of the *vote with our feet* FSPers to be counted among our number, but in any event your good wishes are noted and appreciated...and thank you.
And you're welcome to be included on the Free Republic FSP ping list, if you'd like; either respond here or drop me a FReepmail.
And if I do not see you in the hiopefully reformed Free State, do know that you're certainly welcome to come visit or vacation there.
I happen to notice that one likely spot I've picked for my relocation should the Granite State be chosen as the goal state is Lebanon, which is located in Grafdton County. And if I do settle there, Mr. Below cannot at all count on my political support.
Concur, and since I was willed my granddad's post-WWI Homestead Act tract in Wyoming, that's pritnear my favoured pick, too, though there's a great deal to be said in favour of Montana as well. Several counties in Montana are particularly ripe for FSP organizing, and wyoming offers but a single US Representative district...the entire state.
But employment is a major issue in most of the western possibilities, particularly for families. And the weather in Wyoming and Montana can be brutal- there are some houses in Weston County with doors on the second floor as one means of dealing with winter's snowdrifts.
I expect it'll take a good while longer for the move to be made if the choice is out west, though if Wyoming is the choice, I can personally be resettled there within 30 days and have *Radio Porcupine* up and running nearly as quickly. My move easternly would take a while longer, but is still do-able.
For a couple of other reasons I also favour the western choices, but it can be made to work on the Eastern Seaboard too, I believe, though with more difficulty and likely obstacles in our path. But the idea is to eventually reform other states as well, possibly within a geographic region or bloc [wisdom: do not carry all eggs in one basket!] so an initial move may not be the absolute final one.
Farm? Commune? Nah. I just figured I'd ride my bike in for Weirs Beach *Bike Week* at Laconia, and sorta forget to ever leave. Maybe they just won't notice that I'm not one of the forever-there locals....
One clue is the number of Porcupine participants in the candidate states' discussion groups, usually run as *Yahoo groups* discussion boards. New Hampshire is indeed well-represented, but so too are Montana and Wyoming. It's interesting to note the numbers of those already resident in the proposed states, who are going to be a particularly helpful asset as the *Porcupine Welcome Wagon* once the moves start taking place. Too, quite a few of the western region porcupines would happily settle in any of the state's in that region [Idaho/Wyoming/North Dakota/South Dakota/Wyoming/Alaska] though the Eastern region proponents are more frequently locked into their own particular state.
The Wyoming's discussion group may be limited to some extent by the particularly dense moderator/founder there, who bears a remarkable resemblance to me, so that may not be a really accurate means of assessing that state's popularity; most of the western proponents hang out on the Montana Yahoo board. But if you'd care to check it out, *Right here it is.*
I suspect the Porcupines might have more in common with the inhabitants of the 1770s than todays. But you're right about New England as the birthplace of American liberty, and sooner or later, the FSP methodology deserves to be felt there.
The same can be said of many of the female porcupines I've had the good fortune to meet in person. In their case, it may be dedication or resolve moreso than toughness, but there's likely a good bit of that in the alloy, too. And a few likely would fit in just fine with either crowd.
Speaking of the north how are the winters in Wyoming and Montana? Pretty rugged I hear. The only times I've been through them is spring, summer or fall. I remember seeing snow on the ground in late April. I understand Idaho, though northern is not as bad in the winter as the plain states, know anything about that?
I think one advantage New Hampshire has is having a port, the others are land locked. Also it is closer to civilization and therefore more economically viable for a lot of people. Boondocks living and subsistence farming is not for everyone. Personally I like the NH choice but I do also favor Idaho.
If you don't know what the heck you are talking about, it is best to say nothing.
That leave you.
NH is now loaded with Massholes.
Second point - the inevitable tendendy of any group of 10 libertarians to form 20 opinions on any given issue, and the high likelihood that at least 30% will bolt in disgust over the statist tendencies of the dominant group.