Skip to comments.Group Votes to Pick State for Experiment
Posted on 09/24/2003 8:31:24 PM PDT by archy
U.S. National - AP
Group Votes to Pick State for Experiment
Sun Sep 21, 4:14 PM ET Add U.S. National -
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By KATE McCANN, Associated Press Writer
CONCORD, N.H. - Some 5,000 liberty-minded Americans have been holding an election, but for a state rather than a candidate, and the one they choose will be a laboratory for what they call the biggest experiment in democracy since the Revolutionary War.
Balloting concludes Monday, and the winning state is to be announced Oct. 1. Then members of the Free State Project hope to quadruple their numbers within two years, move there, and start transforming it into a national model for small government, few laws and individual liberty.
"Projects of this kind have been done before on much larger scales," says project founder Jason Sorens, 26. He cites the Pilgrims, the Mormons and the migration of liberal, back-to-the-soil types to Vermont 30 years ago.
With a Web site http://www.freestateproject.org as a forum, members last year narrowed their choices to 10 states with small populations, libertarian tendencies and other characteristics. New Hampshire and Wyoming are considered favorites, ahead of Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Vermont, and North and South Dakota.
Supporters of New Hampshire like its relatively low dependence on federal money, lack of a general sales or income tax, and its "Live Free or Die" motto. The New Hampshire constitution also guarantees the right to revolt and does not prohibit secession. Project members say secession is not their goal, but that the provision could be a useful bargaining chip.
Wyoming scores for its tiny population, low property taxes, lack of statewide land use planning laws, and lack of "politically correct" laws such as those against hate crimes.
Strikes against New Hampshire include its lack of support for Libertarian presidential candidates and its relatively expensive political campaigns.
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.'"
Henry McElroy, a retired college professor and Republican state representative from Nashua, says the biggest change in the chosen state 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," he said.
Some free-staters have ruffled feathers by questioning the need to subsidize public schools and opposing laws against "victimless behaviors" such as marijuana use for medical purposes, prostitution and gambling.
That's partly why New Hampshire Democratic Chairwoman Kathy Sullivan considers the project "sort of a very fringe group that can best be described as anarchists."
One of 150 project members who already live in New Hampshire, James Maynard of Keene, 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.
Project members are mostly men and in their 20s and 30s. Roughly 10 percent are retirees; others are small-business owners. Not all are Libertarian Party members, but their principles are similar.
David Dawson, chairman of the Wyoming Libertarian Party, is a staunch project supporter. Dawson, 60, has run unsuccessfully for governor and Congress twice, and several times for the state Legislature.
"When you're a Libertarian without 20,000 liberty-oriented people in your state, it's not a race you figure on winning," he said. "But you get 20,000 people moving in here and that could change in a big hurry."
But Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat, "has never gotten the impression that many (Wyoming residents) would support legalizing drugs or using secession as some sort of bargaining chip," spokeswoman Lara Azar said.
Libertarian candidates haven't done well in New Hampshire. But University of New Hampshire political scientist Mark Wrighton says the Granite State might be fertile ground for the project anyway.
"The words 'Live Free or Die' pretty much explains a lot of what goes on in New Hampshire," Wrighton said.
Absolutely! FYI, we've got several fairly current FSP-related articles posted at present, if you'd care to read them. And if you'd like, I'd be glad to add you to the FRee Republic *Porcuping* list for news and updates relating to the FSP project. With the election results coming in next week, I expect there'll be quite a few articles showing up.
There are a lot of Democrats in NH holding their breath right now, and really, REALLY hoping that Wyoming or Montana gets the FSP nod. I think they fear the end of their well-paying party hack jobs if the FSP comes to NewHampsterLand, and that's just almost enough reason for me to hope that it is NH that's so chosen- I'd love to see the crushed NH Dems running for taxpayer-paid positions in the neighboring Dem states spreading alarm and despondency.
I was one of those who really pushed for a two-front project, going for it in the East and West simultaneously, but it was thought that we'd be smarter to put our initial numbers and other limited resources into a single successful effort first, and there's certainly wisdom in that, even if it does violate the *all eggs in one basket* principle.
But whether East or West, NH, WY or otherwise, we'll know on next Wednesday. And I expect that'll be a busy day for a lot of folks besides weeping or celebrating Democrats.
If these 5,000 people were to go to NH -- or any other state for that matter -- & build the place into all the good & decent things as set forth in their goals?
How long before the riff raff would transcend upon 'em to sieze what's these people have earned & built for themselves?
That kind of coming would be inevitable, don'tcha think?
Isn't that, essentially, what's happened in California?
There'd be no way such a move [read: invasion] could possibly be stopped that c/wouldn't be called "discrimination" of one form or another by the beasts at the federal level.
Would mean if push came to shove -- & I certainly believe it ultimately would -- Washington would dispatch US troops to enforce "the law," & do so by force, if necessary.
The people would succumb to the will of the federal leviathon, or else.
Naturally I support this kind of thing 100% & then some.
But isn't the fed threat why whenever this kind of thing has been discussed in the past it was reasoned the "target" would have to be another nation & *not* any single state within the United States of America?
Isn't it Washinton DC & its constitution damning influence that's the problem?
Isn't it Wash DC what any freedom loving person is really trying to flee?
There's just no way any people(s) will be permitted to persue their right to liberty & happiness; IF, it'd mean ignoring the law(s) at the federal level.
Fact is, the way fed laws are written today, when it's all boiled down there exists no "right" of any one person or group which will prevent any other individual or group from destroying the another.
To that end we've seen words &/or phrases coined like, "majority," "protected class" & such malarkey just so the fed insanity can superceed whatever the founding father's had plainly stated would be the rights & rules of the individual states.
Crazy as it is, our constitution's been horribly distorted to reinforce the fed monsters in 2003 America & there's not a lot anyone can do about it.
There's been more than one message sent over the past decade or so which has served to buttress the fed's authority and woe unto those who'd attempt to try this *liberty* stuff.
Waco or Ruby Ridge, for instance, are but only two examples.
I think the feds have made it pretty clear they'll take no crap -- whatsoever -- from anyone, or state.
...who'd dare get in their way of "the plan."
I have lost a fight or two in my life, both in sandpit training sessions and barroom disagreements. But never to an opponent whose pants were on fire at the time.
You are welcome to come aboard as a *Friend of the Porcupines* as a *Static Porcupine,* one who offers the effort of their observation and intelligence without being in the position of being able to participate in the initial relocation and following political followup. There's plenty of work to do, some fun as all get out and some boring to tears.
The efforts, interest and not-so-close-to-the-forest-that-they're-blinded-by-the-trees observations of those who are intelligent and thoughtful are of tremendous importance as well. And don't forget that the idea is for the effort in the pilot state to take root and inspire follow-on efforts elsewhere; maybe your location will be the second in the Free State Project, or the third, fifth or tenth. The idea is for Liberty in our Lifetime. And not just in one state.
If you can't find any other niche within the FSP that interests you- and there are many- I'd like to invite you to the Wyoming FSP discussion group. Whether it's picked as the location for the initial effort or not, it's a mighty interesting place with a lot of possibilities. Come on by and visit for a spell....
That was very much one of the factors that convinced me that there are some real interesting possibilities among the Eastern seaboard choices. I still prefer the Western candidate states, Wyoming and Montana in particular, for the reason that the numbers work out better there and will offer a better probability of more immediate success. And that would bring in jump-on-the-bandwagon followers who could be put to good use in second, third and fourth Free States Projects...one of which should certainly be NH.
I really hate the idea of having all our Porcupine eggs in one basket. Once things are spread out and progressing, even if slowly, in seperate states, I'll feel a bit better and can relax a bit. Maybe.
...who'd dare get in their way of "the plan."
That was, of course, also the attitude of the Communists ruling the USSR in 1990.
And a year later, you see what it got them. If it comes to that here, they can have a choice: go out quietly, like Gorbachav and the Communists replaced by Yeltsen, then Putin in turn, or go out like Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu of Roumania in December 1989.
I really don't want to move to Wyoming or the Dakota's.......
I really wish we were doing both. If the numbers to pull it off at all come along, then I expect they'll steamroller along enough that we would have enough to do so. One of the contingencies we really haven't planned well for is the possibility that we'll attract numbers WAY out of proportion to what we've expected: What happens if instead of 20,000, we get 200,000, or a half-million?
That may be bluesky, but the contingency really should be better provided for. As is, I expect the decision to pour all our limited numbers, effort and finances into a single focal point is a wise one, but I'd really be happier with a back up plan to deal with overwhelming support, just in case.
Hey, lookit all those folks with the pitchforks and torches. And one of 'em's got a rope....