Wednesday night in Vegas, the Libertarian Party held an event in the Arts District for #FreeRoss , which his mother and staunchest advocate, Lyn Ulbricht, attended. If YOU haven’t signed the petition to free Ross Ulbricht, please do so NOW.
At ReBAR, I got to hang out with Scott Horton of the Libertarian Institute, Michael Heise of LP Mises Caucus, Flote, and met some wonderful new people, including Yaakov Markel’s girlfriend who took me on a side quest to a super funky little art gallery, Recycled Propaganda, that was already closed (it was after 9p) but magically opened up for us, and I got to snap some pics (see above).
I also experienced my first ever drive-thru dispensary, strongly resisted the urge to get a $10 tattoo, and accidentally ordered an egg white omelet (wtaf? this is most certainly a Crime Against Culinary, as in, genuinely, whyyyyy?). I had to laugh when my $15+ box of coffee this morning came with a warning to keep the box upright when removing the lid to pour. Umm, you would clearly burn otherwise, doh!
Safetyism is going to kill us all if we don’t stop. It’s supposed to be “survival of the fittest” not “incentivize moronic weakness.”
Speaking of safetyism: Whenever I travel, I’m struck by how much noise pollution exists out there, beyond the borders of the Free State. What if we demanded that the noise trucks make when backing up be banned nationwide? Isn’t it worth at least a study to determine how much less crazy people would be if they weren’t constantly bombarded by unnecessary noise pollution? What if reducing just these extra beeps and sirens from our daily lives remarkably improved, say by 2-5%, mental health? Wouldn’t that be a boon to mankind? Small incremental steps to make everyone a little less cray-cray?
This is just one example of the fascinating conversations you can expect at “Freedom Fest 2022: Turning the Tide,” where the schedule is, frankly, overwhelming. There are simply too many events I want to attend, and I’m torn between the curated documentary films, fascinating smaller breakout sessions, and the impressive Main Stage draws.
I do manage to catch: Mark Skousen interviewing Rand Paul and showing clips of the Senator from Kentucky taking on Fauci’s lies–heroic!; Justin Amash telling us, “DC is worse than you can imagine”; Fox’s Kennedy in her white “Taxation is Theft” dress; and Reason’s Nick Gillespie interviewing a personal hero of mine, comedian John Cleese.
Del Bigtree moderates a panel with Dr. Malone, Dr. Richard Ursa, and Dr. Pierre Kory about “The Long Haul: Ongoing Effects From the Medical Response to Covid,” where these brave gents tell it like it is, including that the mRNA vaccines are leaky, and NOT, statistically-speaking, “safe and effective.”
At the start of this talk, the audience of hundreds is asked who has been vaccinated, and I am genuinely surprised to see more than 3/4 of the room raise their hands. I appreciate the question, because it influences how one should talk to people about forced vaccinations. We need to be mindful that for some, this is an irreversible medical decision that may have led, or may lead, to serious negative health outcomes, which is a stressful position to find oneself in.
Sadly, as I often say: Bad government decisions are good for the liberty business. Every time the government oversteps its bounds, new people enter the greater liberty community. These new folks may have been mentally and/or physically harmed by the government, like our veterans, and the victims of the military-industrial complex, the Pizza-to-Pills-Pipeline, and those hurt by the destructive crony capitalism we now suffer under.
We must show compassion while teaching the most important lesson: Trust government at your literal peril.
This is a lesson independent media outlets are also now learning. Watching the First Amendment panel discussion about press freedom moderated by James O’Keefe, I feel somewhat frustrated because this panel of legal experts is missing one thing… moi!
My widely-cited 2014 First Amendment case, Gericke vs. Begin et al, should be better known in libertarian circles. This landmark First Circuit case affirmed the right to record police officers in public–on the job; on the record!–and was foundational in the resulting nationwide calls for police accountability and police reform.
Why? Because for the first time in human history, thanks to the low cost and ubiquitousness of technology in the hands of “We, The People,” we can finally prove that cops lie. (They hate this.)
During Bigtree’s panel, I was again struck by this feeling of now being part of the vanguard of a growing movement, when Del said, “One night, we went to bed as physicians and woke up as ‘domestic terrorists’.” James O’Keefe said something similar about becoming an “enemy of the state” overnight. I know the feeling. Back in 2013, Free Staters like me were called “domestic terrorists” in a Concord Police Department federal grant application for a militarized BEARCAT.
Back in 2013.
I emphasize this point, because while I am thrilled we keep attracting more freedom fighters in to the greater liberty movement, we must also acknowledge that people like me, inspired by people like Ron Paul, have been warning people like you for decades.
In fact, hanging out at his booth, Ben Swann and I were lamenting this, reminiscing about an event we did together in Concord in 2013 called “Liberty is Rising, “which I write about in my book, The Ecstatic Pessimist: Stories of Hope (Mostly).
My prescient track record–moving to New Hampshire in 2008; fighting police militarization, unlawful surveillance and medical tyranny; adopting Bitcoin and crypto early; promoting free speech; running for office; suing the state–means YOU should seriously consider moving to the Free State. If the past few years taught us anything it is this: Where you live and who you are surrounded by matters A LOT. Choose your neighbors carefully!
As the rest of the world becomes less free, Free Staters are continuing to expand personal and economic liberties in New Hampshire. For example, in addition to being rated #1 in Overall Freedom by Cato and having no state income tax, our Interest and Dividends tax will taper to zero by 2026.
This trip to Vegas was the most I have ever been “ma’am-ed” in my life. Waiting at LAS Starbucks for my flight back to the Free State, I have to remind myself: Growing old, as the saying goes, is better than the alternative, and, at 50, I’m just entering my prime, so stand-the-f-back and get ready for what’s next! (Which is me in the state house!)
I kept a pretty low profile this year at Freedom Fest, only participating on one panel discussion about “Startup Nations,” moderated by Max Borders. I find the glitz and glam of Vegas exhausting when not fueled by booze (which I quit in 2017), and preferred low-key, intimate meals and meetings, spending quality time with friends.
One quick but meaningful connection was with Nick Gillespie, Reason’s Editor-at-Large. We’ve known each other for years, and have both quit alcohol, putting us in a small but growing “pick your poisons/good habit” club. Many of us have discovered alcohol is a neurotoxin and depressant, and, as society liberalizes alternative substances, and as we gain better scientific understanding of “our poisons,” more and more people are eschewing alcohol.
Vegas is about vices and escapism, so when you are striving for balance, Sin City can be a challenge. Instead of alcohol or gambling or party favors, I did indulge in ALL THE CARBS for one meal, a classic favorite of mine, fish and chips followed by bread pudding. Nom!
And guilt-free too! I usually follow a keto diet, but as I was chowing down on my fries, I reveled in all the progress I have made with my physical and mental health. Old Carla might have felt guilty but done it anyway or pretended it wasn’t “bad” <—- applies to all bad habits or behaviors not just “having pudding” naughtiness. New Carla was able to just eat the damn food and write an entire blog post about it later. (Heh.)
My point is this: good habits are hard-earned and worth keeping. Habits, ultimately, are your life, because developing habits is how you are spending your time. The Good Life exists only when practiced in the ever-constant now, but now and then, indulge in a pinch of sugar, and, for a moment, savor its lingering sweetness, too.