“Live Free or Die,”
- New Hampshire State motto
Do you support abolition of all income taxes?
Would you like to see regulatory bureaucracies eliminated, and most gun laws repealed? Do you think there should be complete free trade and that the government should be decentralized?
Does the repeal of most drug laws sound good to you? Finally, how does wide scale
privatization sound? If any of this sounds appealing, you may want to become a “Free Stater.”
The Free State Project is the brainchild of Jason Sorens, a card-carrying libertarian who back in 2001 came up with a concept to give the then irrelevant Libertarian Party, a national presence in politics.
Soren’s idea was to get 20,000 libertarians to move to a small state and pledge to carry out certain ideals where their numbers would carry some political clout. He and like-minded associates settled on New Hampshire for several reasons. It was known for to have low taxes and high regard for minding your own business.
According to the Free State Project web site firstname.lastname@example.org , this is a non-profit corporation, organized for mutual benefit and “social welfare” functions. They do not endorse candidates or legislation.
The goals of the Free State Project can be accomplished without the election of any candidates or the passage of any legislation,” according to the site. The Free State Project is not affiliated with the Libertarian Party, but welcomes its members along with “classic liberals” (not the modern liberals, but followers of Thomas Jefferson and similar thinkers), paleoconservatives, constitutionalists, and anyone willing to sign on to the movement.
Organizers are quick to point out that the Free Sate Project does not promote secession. Soren’s idea to wield political power by bringing large numbers of sympathetic people together may sound like a gathering of a radical, wild-eyed, ideologically separatists, at first glance. That impression has been gradually dispelled by articles in the mainstream press, including Reader’s Digest. The New York Times ran a respectful piece about Free Staters in October 2004.
Despite what legitimacy that has been conferred upon the organization, they are not without their detractors. Some residents of New Hampshire find the displays of rambunctious democracy unsettling. Free Staters use civil disobedience and street demonstrations to get their points across
Roderick Long, a philosophy professor at Auburn University and the brains behind the Libertarian Nation Foundation, told the Associated Press in December 2004, “We don’t want to live by ourselves but simply want to demonstrate to the world that libertarian principals actually work.”
Meanwhile, Sorens’ dream is slowly unfolding. There aren’t 20,000 followers, but those who did move to New Hampshire have made a political impact. Although the Free State Project doesn’t endorse political candidates, some members have been elected to local office, including staunch home-schooling advocates elected to local school boards.
Still, it’s apparent that most Americans don’t feel tyrannized enough to uproot themselves and join the Free Staters.. You never know however; as the paths of communications continue to open via the Internet, more people may embrace the Free Stater ideals and actually move to New Hampshire.
I think it’s important for people to follow a dream. It’s one of the many liberties that we Americans enjoy. Is the Free State Project a revolutionary plan or just a pipe dream? Only time will tell.
As It Stands, we are a country of dreamers always looking for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.