Skip to comments.Free-staters eye New Hampshire, Wyoming
Posted on 09/08/2003 11:01:44 AM PDT by archy
Free-staters eye New Hampshire, Wyoming
By KATE McCANN
Associated Press Writer
CONCORD, N.H. -- About 20,000 liberty-minded people soon may be putting New Hampshire's "Live Free or Die" motto to a serious challenge.
Members of the Free State Project, inspired two years ago by a Yale graduate student, will announce their chosen state on Oct. 1, and New Hampshire could well be it. The group is also considering Wyoming and several other states.
If it's New Hampshire, 20,000 of them say they will move here within five years to work for smaller government, fewer laws and individual liberty.
Project members are college students and retirees and small business owners. Not all are Libertarians, though their principles are similar. They describe themselves as nonviolent, freedom-loving people. And they call their project the biggest experiment in democracy since the Revolutionary War.
Graduate student Jason Sorens came up with the idea in an essay written in July 2001. He posted it online, and was immediately flooded with e-mails from people ready to put it into action. With the Web site (www.freestateproject.org) as a forum, the movement began.
A year ago, members narrowed the choices to 10 states based on their small populations, libertarian tendencies, strong economies and other criteria.
New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont are on the list, as are South and North Dakota, Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. But New Hampshire and Wyoming are generally seen as the leaders.
New Hampshire is tops for its lack of dependence on federal dollars, projected job growth, low crime rate and small government. It also gets high marks for its lack of a general sales or income tax, the relatively weak powers of its governor and, of course, the "Live Free or Die" motto coined by Revolutionary War hero John Stark.
There's also the New Hampshire Constitution, which both guarantees the right to revolt and does not prohibit secession. Project members say secession is not their goal, but the provision could be a useful bargaining chip.
Strikes against New Hampshire include its lack of support for Libertarian presidential candidates and its relatively expensive political campaigns.
The campaign to choose a state is being waged mainly on the Internet. But an "Escape to New Hampshire" picnic in June attracted more than 200 people from 22 states and Canada, including Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Nolan.
And James Maynard of Keene, one of 150 project members who already live in New Hampshire, has been recruiting in Massachusetts.
"With the attitude of everyone in Massachusetts, that freedom is just to their north, that would be a great source," said Maynard, 30.
Voting began last month as membership reached 5,000.
Results of the balloting, which ends Sept. 22, are a closely guarded secret. A contractor is doing the counting, and board members say even they have no idea what the early returns show.
Though the premise of the project is that 20,000 committed individuals could be a genuine force in a small state, members bristle at the suggestion they want to "take over" a state.
"New Hampshire gets 20,000 new residents annually. So 20,000 people is not like locusts," said Vice President Elizabeth McKinstry, who lives in Michigan. "And in no state that's on our list will 20,000 people be enough to come in to 'take over.'"
Even if it were, members say that is not what the project is about.
Henry McElroy, a freshman state representative from Nashua, says the biggest change would be getting people involved in government.
"You should be reading, you should be studying, you should be doing a better job of understanding your place in society," said McElroy, a Republican. "And that is not to be a couch potato that maybe votes every four years."
However, some members say they will work to eliminate laws against "victimless behaviors" such as marijuana use for medical purposes, prostitution and gambling.
That's partly why New Hampshire State Democratic Chairwoman Kathy Sullivan considers the project "sort of a very fringe group that can best be described as anarchists."
Sullivan was appalled when Republican Gov. Craig Benson told free-staters this summer, "Come on up, we'd love to have you."
"Is Craig Benson for legalized prostitution? He's for legalizing drugs? Is he for eliminating public schools?" she asked.
"He doesn't understand what these people stand for," she said.
Benson spokesman Chris Reid said it's Sullivan who doesn't understand.
He said Benson met with project representatives and welcomed them after being assured that in addition to favoring smaller government and less taxes, they were for the rule of law and against bigotry.
"Based on that, he told them they were welcome in New Hampshire," Reid said.
Sullivan doubts the free-staters would find a receptive audience in New Hampshire. But University of New Hampshire professor Mark Wrighton believes the state might indeed be fertile ground.
"The words 'Live Free or Die' pretty much explains a lot of what goes on in New Hampshire," Wrighton said.
Actually, that is the job of the Constitution.
The job of the government is to obey the Constitution.
If the FSP movement does pick NH, not only is her *turf* threatened, but her party hack job as well, particularly if the Democrats there are driven into the status of being the Granite State's third-largest political party. And if that condition begins there, it could grow to relegate Democrats in other states to the same status as well.
She has good cause to be concerned.
And we welcome and appreciate your good wishes for our efforts. While I expect we'll neither get *all* the anarchists in one place nor figure that they're any sort of sizable proportion of our numbers, I hope we do include at least a few sufficiently suspicious of governmental authority wielding its axe over the heads of those it would dominate to keep our governmental efrforts limited to the role of that government that governs best by doing so to the minimal extent necessary.
I seem to recall a couple of Robert A. Heinlein's characters who described themselves as *rational anarchists,* though I suspect the grand old man hisself would not have as easily worn that tag- he had himself been a political party's candidate, after all. But I'd like to think his fictional creations are along with us in spirit, and if he were still on this world, I bet he'd be watching the proceedings with great interest, even if not as a participant.
You're added, and welcome to the list.
Like others here, I'm from FL and warm blooded. I dig the FSP, but I'm kind of waiting for Castro to keel over and invade Cuba with the pissed off group of liberty lovers in Miami.
As a 10-year-old kid and son of a Caltex/Texaco refinery process engineer, my parents thought it would be a swell *learning experience* if I were to accompany him to his new three-year assignment at the Caltex Santa Clara refinery. Neither his position nor the Batista government lasted quite that long, and I did get quite an education, indeed, including firsthand observations of Marine small-unit tactics, my first experience of being shot toward if not quite directly at as the intended recipient, my first brush with the sudden death of another from gunfire, and a lexicon of several Cubano Spanish-language phrases not generrally taught in school courses.
We got shipped off to Miami before Fidel's New Year's Day victory parades, so I have some memories of that town that are not all that pleasant; I always liked Ft Lauderdale and Gainesville better in the south, Jax up north.
Neither do I make it a habit of celebrating the death of another; but when Fidel goes, I'll be breaking out the rum and cigars, if only figuratively, and putting my old Celia Cruz tapes on to dance to. Azucar!
And if I can make the trip from the Free State to Calle Ocho and thence to a Havana that's at least a little more free than previously, that too would be a happy time. There'll be at least as much work for the Cubanos who have to dismantle the machinery of Fidel's human-grinding regime as for the porcupines in our new home, but I hope we can offer at least some example of methodology and perhaps some other more real support to them in their efforts; may they go with God.
You've been added to the *PorcuPing list* and you're very welcome. I suspect there've been more folks sign up for the FSP this week than for the source of Ms. Sullivan's paycheck....
New Hampshire is certainly on my list of acceptable states! I have only been to New Hampshire twice, but I sure liked what I saw.
And, "Live FRee or Die" is as good a state motto as there is! Well, I'll admit it took a long look for me to come around to that point of view, in part because some of the machinations of the FSP *Hampster proponents* have been awfully heavyhanded and shrill.
But ya know what? It wasn't so much the ones already in the Granite State that were the problem, and most other non-FSP residents I've met in the last year seemed to welcome the effort, if sometimes offering honest doubts about the liklihood of real success, often couched in descriptions of a snowball's chance in Hell.
So yeah, though I still favour Wyoming or Montana, I bet we can make a go of it in NH. And if I see you there, that'll work for me.
But it would take me a little longer to arrange my relocation there. I could head West virtually immediately....
Mine goes out tomorrow. I had to run down and pick up my passport from my safe deposit box for my *voters registration* verification. No rush so long as the Post Office doesn't mess things up, but do get yours out this week.
Well, the effect on the NH primary alone would make a FSP success there an eyebrow-raiser, to be sure. But the numbers balance in Wyoming would mean that the chances of success there would be both more certain and come sooner, and success anywhere will likely get a lot of attention, and hopefully inspire duplication in the second and third locales to come.
I prefer to follow the example set for me by the Son of the carpenter from Nazareth and hang around with hookers like Mary Magdalene, even if I don't generally choose to do be one of their clients. They make better neighbors than many clergymen and supposed followers of Christ I could name.
Not so in this country, where the XII Amendment to the US Constitution did NOT *outlaw slavery,* but rather established it as a governmental monopoly:
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
You're added, 'Sailor. Welcome aboard, and kindly salute the flag on the fantail as you come off the gangplank.
Hey, does that make me a porcupine plankowner?
Matthew 11 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. 19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
Thank God He is a friend of sinners
Might be so in some circumstances, most assuredly is not in others.
Like gambling, prostitution is usually viewed with suspicion and alarm by government, at least until they can figure out how to efficiently get as big a slice of the proceeds as possible. Then, as with other monopolists, they do their best to drive independent operators and contracters out of that line of business.
Stop applauding activist courts when they infringe upon the powers of states and the people who reside in them just because the infringement accords with your ideology.
That go around, come around thing will get you every time.
Here's another: Read Article Three, Paragraf three of the US Constitution very carefully, dust it off and use it. That too could help reduce the propensity of judicial activists to meddle in the nests of others.
I have a minister pal who translates *Samaritan* for his flock as *bikers,* Samaria being reasonably distant from his parish's location.
Come to think of it, if we settle in Wyoming or Idaho, I'll need a well insulated log cabin/garage there too! But, a log cabin it will be!
Depending on which Wyoming county you're in, you may find that unfenced land, basements and garages are not taxed, as was the case in the county my Granddad's Homestead Plot was in. Accordingly, he built a 4-car garage over the living quarters in the basement. And while it's an unfenced sqyuare mile, it has the fence from a federal game preserve across the state line for one boundary, and the BNSF railroad tracks for another, and what's saved on taxes can be spent on a hardwired sensor system instead.
I may try something similar if New Hampshire is the pick, depending on how urban/rural a setting I may find myself in there. But I have a few other tricks up my sleeve as well.
A few years back when I was a newspaper transportation columnist, I read one of the tiny legal ads regarding the sale of a portion of railroad right-of-way in our county, got out the plat book, and found a sectuion with some interesting neighbors. I bought it, reinstalled 880 feet of rail on the ties still in place on the roadbed, and parked a surplussed-off caboose and boxcar on it; no property taxes on rolling stock, since technically they weren't *structures*. And I had a tractor for my *locomotive*.
Eventually, the former grain elevator adjoining went up for sale, and I snapped it up. The rail siding there was still in place, and I acquired a couple of switches and more track, which I hooked back up to the section where I was living. I sold off most of the remainin building and structures and had a neat little piece of property at a minimal cost, though kinda linear in nature. But I got to toot my own whistle [actually a Nathan air chime] and ring the bell....
The Class I railroads didn't have much to worry about from my little homebrew operation, as it wasn't quite as long as theirs. But it was just as wide....
I might try something along those lines in the new free state location. I've got a couple of ideas I've not found obvious flaws with yet, and there's only one way to find out for sure....