Oldie but goodie! Back in 2016, The Economist said “shock-troops” were coming… Don’t know why liberty should be “shocking” unless you are so quelled that you like your life with a hulking side of Big Bad Bro totalitarianism, but thousands of “allies” have indeed moved to the Free State to join thousands of liberty lovers already here because “Liberty Lives in New Hampshire!” #MakeYourMove #LiveFreeAndThrive
Live Free, or Try: NH’s Free State Project Reaches Critical Mass
“AFTER successful careers in engineering, Dan and Carol McGuire could have pursued retirements of highbrow ease—the couple’s interests range from American history to collecting modern art. Instead they moved across the country from Washington state in response to an essay by a young libertarian, Jason Sorens, arguing that if enough believers in limited government moved to a single state (ideally one with a small population and a “live and let live” ethos), they could exert real influence.
That essay spawned the “Free State Project” (FSP), whose early members voted to make New Hampshire their testbed. This was a nod to the state’s modest scale, its culture of Yankee self-reliance and low taxes, and its unusually accessible political system, starting with the state’s House of Representatives, whose 400 members answer to a few thousand constituents each, and are paid $100 a year. The FSP devised a pledge for activists to sign, by which they agreed to move to New Hampshire if 19,999 other libertarians made the same commitment. Once that critical mass was reached, FSP members pledged to make their own trek within five years. The FSP announced on February 3rd that the 20,000 target has been reached.
In the past decade 2,000 pioneers could not wait and moved anyway. A total of about 40 Free Staters have been elected to New Hampshire’s statehouse at various points, among them the McGuires, husband-and-wife Republican legislators who represent overlapping districts. Free Staters have helped to legalise gay marriage and ease rules on everything from home schooling to selling unpasteurised milk.
Some wins were easy. A repeal of all state knife laws passed in 2010: Mr McGuire shows off a now-legal switch-blade that can be opened with one hand, noting that such knives are handy tools for paramedics. Mrs McGuire is proud of a law making it simpler for farmers to slaughter their own chickens and rabbits. The couple credit Free Staters with making New Hampshire juries more aware of their right to throw out cases that seem to offend natural justice, under the centuries-old principle of nullification. Future battles loom over school choice and over using public money to send children to private schools.
Free Staters are yet to overcome national partisan divisions. In 2015 New Hampshire’s Democratic governor vetoed a law making it legal to carry a gun without a licence, backed by conservatives of all stripes, some of them libertarians. Interviewed at her suggestion in a smoke-filled Manchester cigar bar, the FSP’s president, Carla Gericke, stresses that some Free Staters have run for office as Democrats (though they are a small minority). One Democratic Free Stater is currently trying to legalise prostitution. Others are moved by internet privacy and alternative currencies such as bitcoin.
Ms Gericke would like to see New Hampshire become a “mix between Alaska and Amsterdam on personal freedoms, and Hong Kong on economic freedoms”. That is a stretch. As a fine place to live New Hampshire attracts lots of newcomers, many of them more conventional than the FSP’s shock-troops. Still, Ms Gericke hopes that are allies on the way. Pledge-signers have e-mailed to say that their homes are on the market, she says. New Hampshire boasts a property firm founded by a Free Stater (and former member of the state House) to help project members move. It is called Porcupine Real Estate, after a favourite libertarian animal, honoured as a beast which is dangerous only when attacked.”
Source: “Live Free, or Try” at The Economist.