Skip to comments.Thinking small, Free State Project hopes for big things
Posted on 09/24/2003 12:15:27 PM PDT by archy
Thinking small, Free State Project hopes for big things
By Kenric Ward
Press Journal opinion page editor
September 22, 2003
On Thursday, a group called the Free State Project begins its countdown to freedom. That's when balloting closes for selection of a "free state."
Over the past year, the libertarian-minded organization has been gathering members, mainly in cyberspace, with a goal of designating a single state as a new home. Not since the Mormons' transcontinental migration of the late 1840s has there been such a large, organized effort to move an entire group of Americans to one location.
But Utah is not one of the 10 states in the running for a libertarian-style invasion. And, relax, neither is Florida. That's because size matters most, and the smaller the better. Free Staters have winnowed the field by targeting states with a maximum population of 1.3 million so their group can leverage an immediate electoral impact.
Some small states, such as Rhode Island and Hawaii, were axed early for their leftist leanings or federal control. Yet Free State leadership eschews any partisan litmus test other than its motto, "Liberty in our lifetime."
"The Free State Project is a coalition among libertarians, classical liberals and constitutionalists," explains Jason Sorens, the group's founder and president. He believes that anyone living outside strict Republican or Democratic Party orthodoxy can fit into this new "third way."
Sorens, a Texas native and doctoral student at Yale University, says the focus is on "states where the FSP would have a chance of winning majorities in the state legislature and the governorship."
To calibrate those chances, Free State volunteers fanned out across the country to analyze the top 10 prospects. Here's their alphabetical ballot of finalists, with a few of the strong points (you can fill in the downsides, starting with the weather):
Alaska Lowest tax burden, loosest gun-control laws, more oil and gas than any other state except Texas.
Delaware Smallest area, key port access, proximity to larger population centers.
Idaho Fewest trial lawyers per capita, ranks first in the nation on Clemson University's "Economic Freedom" index, based on low welfare and public aid payments.
Maine Most politically independent state (Ross Perot came in second here in 1992).
Montana Bordered by four other Free State candidates, several libertarian Republicans in Legislature.
New Hampshire No income or sales taxes, lowest dependence on federal dollars, highest number of elected Libertarians.
North Dakota Liberal initiative, referendum and recall laws, Legislature controlled by conservatives who are cutting state government.
South Dakota Both Democratic senators vulnerable, among lowest tax and crime rates.
Vermont Proximity to jobs, well-educated citizenry, environmentally aware.
Wyoming Fewest number of voters, elects the most conservative/libertarian candidates (including libertarian Democrats).
Tim Condon, a Tampa attorney and director of member services for the Free State Project, calls himself a "glass eater" who will go anywhere members decide. As a project leader, he won't divulge his personal preferences, though he acknowledges that Alaska is his least favorite destination.
"I'm hearing a lot about Montana, Wyoming and New Hampshire," he says of his colleagues in Florida. The Sunshine State, by the way, has the second most Free State members, behind California.
Condon, a self-professed "native cracker" who describes himself as "right" on fiscal issues and "left" on social matters, sees a geographic and attitudinal split among Free Staters.
"The Western mindset is to just be left alone. Sort of an open-sky mentality. The Eastern attitude is more cerebral and academically oriented."
That melange shatters the stereotype of a gun-toting, black-helicopter crowd. While drawing heavily (though unofficially) from Libertarian Party ranks, many Free Staters, like Condon, hue closer to the Green Party on several issues.
Irene Davis, a former Titusville city councilwoman, is a prototypical Free State "porcupine" with her prickly political proclivities. She got into hot water when she opened a council meeting with a Wiccan invocation and resigned in a dispute over tax issues.
Her pick for a free state? Delaware, for its favorable business climate, as well as its comparatively benign weather.
The Free State Project expects to announce the results of its election Oct. 1. But the official call to move won't come until five years after the group reaches 20,000 members. With nearly 6,000 currently on the rolls, and limited media exposure thus far, Condon expects that the migration could begin around 2010.
Will it be history in the making, or just another utopian dream gone bust? You can find out more by logging onto (www.freestateproject.org).
Give it time. If it works in the first state, it'll spread to others. It may come to NC sooner than you expect.
This concept is actually the mirroe image of what the Democrats have actually done: drive out the most prductive peope from the smallest states and get 2 senators for each such miniscule state for not much expense.
For those of us who are not in a position to move, a "free district" project would be a nice assistance to their effort. If we could elect many "libertarians" or "constitutionalists" from our states, any efforts that the "free state" made could be assisted by supportive federal votes from our districts.
Notice that I used a little L and a little C in those descriptions above. I do not necessarily mean members of the Libertarian or Constitutional Parties, but people with libertarian or constitutional beliefs.
"Libertarians" have a VERY bad reputations. Perverts and druggies, basically. I consider myself a "libertarian" in the same sense as the Founding Fathers. You leave me alone and I leave you alone! Free association, the government operating on Constitutional mandates and NO others, government doing it's job of defending citizens from enemies, but NOT acting as nannies.
If the Libertarian Party wants to make REAL progress, it will drop it's "pro-abortion" stance (pro-abortion is contrary to the ONLY ligitimate function of government which is the defense of life from emenies foriegn and domestic.)
The third post has links to still more threads.
Since you think this is obviously a bad idea what are your suggestions for turning the tide of creeping Hillaryism? Just curious.
I'm not a Libertarian party member, and I probably consider myself more of a conservative than libertarian in terms of political philosophy but it seems a worthwhile attempt to create positive change.
Working to elect Republicans in Oregon certainly hasn't been a good use of time. The R's just caved and increased the income tax here. Bush, well I'm glad he's in there and not the other guy, but he's not exactly Barry Goldwater II, now is he?
So if we, the citizen frogs, are not to be gradually boiled in the hot water of creeping socialism SOMETHING different has to happen. If this is a bad idea, or a useless one, what's a good one?
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