My initial, off-the-cuff response to Zandra Rice-Hawkins’ misinformation campaign against the Free State Project, at a public meeting held February 27, 2020 at the Whipple Free Library in New Boston, NH. Rice-Hawkins refused to be recorded, but I didn’t mind. I’m working on a more comprehensive written rebuttal coming soon!
There were, of course, a million things I wished I’d said, but all in all, glad I stayed focused on how progressives and libertarians might work together.
A few things I should have mentioned:
1. There are 49 other states where people can go if they want more socialism. Free Staters wish to preserve and enhance the liberties found in the Live Free or Die state (i.e. *we’re* not the ones trying to change the flavor of the state). Why not allow people seeking more freedom one place to spread our low-tax-low-spending-personal-responsibility wings? America is supposed to be a federation and the states are supposed to allow experimentation. #MakeAmericaStatesAgain 😛
2. The Free State Project is a 501c3 educational nonprofit, and we do not, READ MY LIPS, **do not** do policy work or politics. We attract new movers to NH by showing them how awesome it is here! People who move here DO get involved with all kinds of projects and *other* organizations. E.g. I serve on Right to Know NH, a statewide nonpartisan open government advocacy group.
3. New Hampshire Independence is also a federally recognized 501c3 educational nonprofit that educates Granite Staters about the benefits of peacefully gaining independence from Big Bad Fed Gov. This is also not as “fringe” as Zandra would lead you to believe. In two NH polls conducted when Brexit was announced, with more than 2K Granite Staters polled, 42% (FORTY TWO PERCENT) supported a “free and independent NH.” That said, YUUUUGE SURPRISE, not all Free Staters agree on this approach at all.
4. Reminder! Repeat after me: Free Staters are not a monolithic group who agree on all things. We value individualism and choice. Zandra Rice-Hawkins continues to mischaracterizes almost everything the FSP does. I was particularly struck by the fact that at the end of the evening, after several Free Staters shared their personal stories about their reasons for moving here–e.g. a Chinese immigrant who fled Communist China; a mom with an autistic son who lives in and absolutely loves New Boston (“If it stayed like it was today, it would be still be perfect!”); a high-tech entrepreneur, etc. Zandra must have realized this humanized us after her demonizing presentation, so she straight-up told me she would not give us the opportunity to share our stories at future events. This, to me, says a lot about her motivations…