I was looking for something else, but ran across this thesis dissertation Q&A from a few years ago, and thought I’d share.
From “Third Parties in the U.S. Political System: What External and Internal Issues Shape Public Perception of Libertarian Party/Politicians?” by Jackie Fiest.
Fiest: First question would have to be if you are okay with my using your name in this thesis?
Fiest: Early on, what prompted interest in first politics and then libertarianism?
Gericke: It would be fair to say, I was always a bit of a rebel. My father was a South African
diplomat, so I was raised in a home where current affairs was always a topic. I first got involved
in politics as a small-time anti-apartheid activist, mostly through creative endeavors like writing
articles critical of the regime for an underground newspaper I founded with some friends at
University, and writing and performing in a play at the Grahamstown Arts Festival, the largest
arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere. I did attend some marches, and was present at Nelson
Mandela’s historic inauguration in 1994. While I was completing my law articleship–a 2 year
“intern” requirement after you finish your law degree to be admitted to the South African Bar–I
also started taking Legal Aid Board cases, representing underprivileged defendants in townships
around Pretoria. I was shocked by how cruel the system was, and that has always influenced my
libertarian views on criminal justice. After winning a green card in the lottery and immigrating to
America, my husband and I settled in Silicon Valley, and after the Internet Bubble burst, and we
both lost our jobs, I was forced to explore why this had happen (like, WTF???) and studied
theories about how the economic bubble had started and why it crashed and burned… and this
led me deep into libertarian thought and Austrian economics (the rabbit-hole of the Internet was
new and minty-fresh back then in 2000), which in turn led me to the Free State Project, and the
rest, as they say, is history… I was a staunch Ron Paul supporter in 2008 and 2012, and here in
NH, he came second in both the Republican and Democrat primaries both times (double check
this, but I think it’s accurate). Libertarianism, simply put, makes sense to me. It is the only
rational, logical explanation I have found for the best way to organize society, with the nonaggression principle playing the core part for me.
I believe we are the neo-peace movement. Government is the world’s biggest bully, and we have
a duty to stop the violence. That is what I am dedicating my life to.
Fiest: What made you want to run for office? Had you run for any local or state offices before
running for senate?
Gericke: I’m a strong supporter of states’ rights, and would likely never run for federal office. I
ran in 2016 and 2018 for NH State Senate in District 20 as a Republican against a now 11 term,
80 year old Democratic incumbent. I hadn’t run for any political office before.
Fiest: I know that you’re very involved with your local libertarian community. I’m familiar with
your battle all the way to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals on the right to film police. And your
entanglement with the Concord, NH police of their attempting to buy a Bearcat saying
libertarians were domestic terrorists. I truly believe that you walk the walk when it comes to
being a libertarian. What prompted you to run as a Republican despite this? Did running as a
Democrat ever enter your mind?
Gericke: I ran as a Republican because I wanted to win. The duopoly, and the corruption that
goes with it, is too strong to win as a Libertarian candidate. The NHGOP’s platform is fairly oldschool Republican, so is still fairly libertarian (although there are some dumb stuff on there too).
Many Free Staters and prestaters in NH identify as Republican, and we’re building a strong
liberty caucus within the party. I would not be surprised if the NHGOP becomes the most
libertarian GOP in the US (if it isn’t already).
Running as a Democrat is something I vaguely considered but decided against… mostly because
in NH, the Democrats vote party-line, with very little deviance or independency, and while my
principles align with them on a lot of issues, like criminal justice reform, drug policy reform,
ending the death penalty, anti-crony-capitalism, etc., I don’t agree with them on economic policy
at all (taxation IS theft!), and the NH Democrats HATE free staters, so I doubt I’d be welcomed.
My district is strange in that it encompasses a big part of Manchester, our largest city, which
swings heavily left, and Goffstown, which is rural and +8 Republican. In this 2018 race, my
district had a swing of 10-15% to the left, but, despite this, I increased my take by 2%, which to
me means my message must have resonated with some of the voters, regardless of their party
My opponent can’t live forever, I don’t have a strong sense of “party affiliation” (being a
libertarian immigrant), and I may either run again as a Republican, switch to Democrat if it
makes sense, or, most likely, run as an Independent in the future. Most Granite Staters are
Independents, and as the two party system continues its death swirl around the swamp drain,
more opportunities will present themselves for people to take new and perhaps radical
Fiest: How did you plan to apply your libertarian principles in your role as senator of NH?
Fiest: Principles means sticking to what you believe, so I would have voted to shrink the size and
scope of government, and to increase personal liberty. In NH, we have an organization called the
NH Liberty Alliance that was started by free staters and philosophically aligned locals who
provide a weekly “Gold Standard” to advise pro-liberty legislators how to vote on upcoming
bills. I would have used that as baseline guidance.
Being a state senator also provides a more legitimate platform to spread the ideas of liberty and
individualism. I was looking forward to being that voice!
Fiest: Can you tell us about your time as president of the Free State Project and what this project
“NH Magazine, May 2011
She traveled the world as the daughter of diplomats and went on to practice law in South Africa
and California, but Carla Gericke’s life changed when she heard the call of the Free State
Movement for like-minded people to flock to N.H. and promote greater liberty and less
government. She helped organize two recent Porcupine Festivals – the Free State equivalent of an
Old Home Day – even earning the title “The Quill Queen” (note quill crown, left), and was just
chosen as the movement’s new leader. In this exclusive interview, we found her not to be at all
How does one become the leader of the Free State Movement? Are fisticuffs involved? Duel at
dawn, actually. I’m afraid the truth is rather more mundane: the Free State Project’s board votes
on candidates and someone wins.
What do you think is your primary qualification for the post? My royal lineage, replete with quill
crown. The porcupine is our mascot – porcupines are peaceful creatures you want to leave alone –
and after I organized the last two Porcupine Freedom Festivals in Lancaster, I received the
moniker of “Queen Quill.” As the first queen of the movement, I was the perfect candidate to
take over. More seriously, in a decentralized organization like ours, you have to be able to
balance folks’ differing viewpoints and strong personalities, fondly referred to as “herding cats.”
Iz good catz herder.
Since the Free State movement is not political, does that mean you always get to give straight
answers? Er, em, uh, yes.
So give it to me straight. How’s the movement going? This is an exciting time for us. We have
crossed the halfway mark to recruiting 20,000 liberty lovers to pledge to move to New
Hampshire to create a more free society. I appreciate this sounds scary to some, but think of us as
localization on steroids, as wanting to create an even more prosperous state than New Hampshire
already is–a Yankee Hong Kong, if you will. More than 800 activists have already moved, and
we are hard at work in our communities to create a society based on voluntary exchange, free
from state coercion. As government grows and becomes more intrusive, I believe we will
continue to gain momentum. We also have strong local support, with Friends of the Free State
signing up all the time.
Any particular high and low points over the past few years? As an organization, the Free State
Project does not take positions on what participants do once they get here. It’s more the vehicle,
the “bus” to convince liberty-leaning individuals to move. Once in New Hampshire, people
exercise individual activism in different ways. They run for office–twelve participants are now
state reps–they do localized outreach like volunteering at fire departments, they form non-profits
like the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance that rates representatives according to their voting
records, they manage successful businesses, and they practice civil disobedience in the spirit of
Gandhi and Martin Luther King. The media tends to focus on the latter because it is by its very
nature more controversial, but rest assured Free Staters are good neighbors who like ice-cream
Any second thoughts about choosing New Hampshire as the Free State? Absolutely not. I have
lived all over the world, and I love it here. New Hampshire has so much to offer: a ready-built
individualist culture–Live Free or Die, Baby!–and it is consistently named one of the best places
in America to live. With its low crime rate, favorable gun laws, healthy living, buoyant economy,
low taxes and no personal state income tax (which I view as a form of slavery), it is the perfect
place for productive people to settle
Seems like the Free State Movement could use an anthem. Is there a song that you always play at
rallies? We’ve played the Super Secret Project’s “Granite State of Mind” at functions and it
always goes over well. How can you not love lyrics like: “I’m the new Salinger/Cuz I could live
anywhere/But I choose to live here.” This really resonates with me.”
I’m being lazy, but here’s a good resource about the FSP (from 2014, so probably a bit out of
date, but should be good starting point for you):
Fiest: Why do you think they are so few women in libertarian politics? What do you think we
can do to bring in more?
Gericke: I will answer more comprehensively in a sec, but when a reporter from the New York
Times asked me something similar, I retorted: “Well, you are asking an IMMIGRANT WOMAN
who is running a 20K strong libertarian organization made up mostly of men that…maybe we
should just start by acknowledging I exist, and that it’s not such a big deal one way or the
Libertarianism appeals to logical, rational people. Few men, and, frankly, fewer women, are
logical and rational. So that’s one (BIG) hurdle. Also, mal-education is now built into statist,
government-run schools, so less people can think critically, which makes our jobs harder.
In a speech in NYC years ago, I explained the M/F composition this way: “We have a lot of
Spocks, we need more Captain Kirks.”
I am both of these things, but definitely more fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-it-will-all-work-out
Kirk. We need to make our messaging less Spock-like, less about “being right” (logical and
rational) and more about feelings and emotions… YES, we need to learn to appeal to emotion
(without fraud, of course), because we can actually win this way. For example: An average mom
might actually like the message of libertarianism if it’s explained in a way that makes it clear the
government is bad, and personal choice is good… through something like food freedom… like
how bad the Standard American diet is, and through explaining the distortion of ingredients in
our food (making them less healthy) because of sugar and corn subsidies… At the heart, it’s an
economic argument, but you can make it without sounding like a Nobel Prize winning
Women may traditionally also be less good at self-promotion or less comfortable in a public role.
Certainly for me, I had no idea how toxic the online asshole libertarian environment could be.
E..g. We banned Chris Cantwell in Fall 2013–years before he became “the crying Nazi”–and
I took the flak, I was the problem, even though I was right, and I’m still waiting for
someone to be like, ‘Good fucking call, Carla.’ 😛
We need more women thought-leaders to step up. We need more women role models. We need
to celebrate and encourage the ones who put themselves out there. We need to be pushier about
getting speaking slots. We need to demand equal treatment and perks on the speaking circuit. I
LOVE IT when new women movers come to NH, and tell me I inspired them to move. I need to
finished my goddamn book. 😛 [I did, and you should buy your copy of The Ecstatic Pessimist: Stories of Hope (Mostly) today! On Amazon or directly from me.]
Fiest: Another person I’m interviewing has talked a bit about steps that some Democrats and
Republicans have taken to keep libertarians off the ballot in the state of Arizona. Having to
obtain ungoldly amounts of signatures, and things along those lines. Were you met with any of
these roadblocks, and, if so, how would you have handled this?
Gericke: The NH Libertarian Party regained ballot access in 2016 for the 2018 election… and
then lost it again. In NH, you have to get 4% of the governor’s race to retain ballot access.
Unfortunately, in 2018, the LPNH didn’t do the work, or field feasible candidates. They failed to
fundraise in any significant way (which, sadly, is an important metric). The person who worked
the hardest in 2016 to get ballot access, Max Abrahamson, switched back to Republican in 2018,
which certainly couldn’t have helped. Until the LPNH becomes more professional in their
operations and takes themselves more seriously, it’s going to be an uphill slog.
Fiest: According to the LP website, there are 177 Libertarians (or small government
conservatives, if you wish) holding some kind of public office in the U.S., but they are all local
positions. Various school boards, utility boards…but very little at the state level and there are
currently no Libertarians in Congress. Why do you think that is?
Gericke: The Leviathan hates freedom, grows and thrives under socialism like the parasite it is,
and they will do everything in their power to stop our message of individual liberty. It’s that
simple. Unless there is a radical overhaul of how the system works (and there are some
interesting things cropping up, look at this, fyi:
https://www.facebook.com/RepresentUs/videos/410253132875542/), only efforts like the FSP
will be viable. Most of us have already given up on the federal government, and we’re here to
make a difference on a state level. I serve as president of the Foundation for NH Independence, a
501c3 nonprofit that educates Granite Staters on the benefits of more independence from the
federal government. As I have been saying for years: Make America States Again! It’s for the
Q&A from “Third Parties in the US Political System: What External and Internal Issues Shape Public Perception of Libertarian Party/Politicians?”
I was looking for something else, but ran across this thesis dissertation Q&A from a few years ago, and thought I’d share.