As the election approaches on Tuesday, you’ll hear many folks who love big government talk about their favorite bogeyman: The Free Stater.
You may recall SEIU President Diane Lacey called House Speaker William O’Brien a “Free Stater” on WMUR during his effort to pass a balanced budget that lowered the spending, taxes, fees and regulations that were stifling job creation. How dare she! Now, so many Republicans (and Democrats) running for office are “Free Staters,” even gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne. Oh no! They’re coming to give you your freedom, ha ha. They’re going to let you keep your money, ha ha, hee hee, ho ho.
Folks, don’t let this type of “name calling” scare you–not even today, because if you love limited government, individual liberty, personal responsibility and free markets, you’re a Free Stater, too. That’s right, folks. We’re all Free Staters now!
Who wouldn’t want to be a Free Stater, after all? And, what are the alternatives of those applying that label to Speaker O’Brien and many of the candidates running for a seat in our next Legislature? These are two very important questions to answer before considering whether the label should be taken as an insult or as a badge of honor.
But let’s back up a bit and focus on New Hampshire, a state made up of Yankee Republicans, Blue Dog Democrats and Independents whohave always been tight with their money, self reliant and carefree about what other people do with their own property, so long as there’s a fence in between that clearly marks the boundaries. New Hampshire is a state without an income tax and general sales tax, and yet citizens here think people should pay their fair share toward our mutual protection based on the amount of land they have taken for themselves. We treasure our small businesses, our innovators and our adventurers, and we long to live deliberately, using our days to do the things we want to do, for better or for worse. What’s better outside of heaven?
Now enter the Free Staters, a group of people born in more intrusive states who wanted to move to New Hampshire so we could live our lives the New Hampshire way. After all, New Hampshire was already a state that more closely reflected our political attitudes. Free Staters abandoned the politics of their former states when they came here with a promise to restore New Hampshire to the New Hampshire way. In other words, they left their former states to come home. We know that many New Hampshire residents came here from other states for the same reasons, even though they weren’t officially part of the Free State Project. That’s why it was just plain common sense for Free Staters to pick New Hampshire. That’s why we’d like to welcome Bill O’Brien and others like him to join our ranks.
Unfortunately, a different group of out-of-staters now wants to make New Hampshire into the places they all left behind. You see, the politicos using “Free Stater” as a derogatory term are a group of people who simply don’t like the New Hampshire way. Many of these folks, such as the Democratic Minority Leader and former Speaker Terri Norelli, who is from New Jersey, brought her New Jersey politics with her to the “Live Free or Die” state. As Speaker, Norelli passed many of the Nanny State laws that assume government knows better than you do, whether you’re trying to start a business, get a job, raise and educate your children or take care of your own property. Consider Maggie Hassan, who brought her Massachusetts spending and taxing habits with her to the New Hampshire Senate. God forbid we let her do it to us again as governor.
Norelli and Hassan want to take more of your money and give it to their friends who work for the government, until they make more than the rest of us who work for ourselves and want to build our own future. Not only that, former Speaker Norelli and former Senate President Hassan want more people to work for the government, and they want these new officials to use their newly created positions to tell the rest of us how to live our lives. In these out-of-staters’ New Hampshire, the government knows best and the rest of us simply need to fall into line.
Voters rightly rejected this snake oil in 2010, and they shouldn’t want to take another taste. To this writer, the name callers’ New Hampshire looks a lot more like New Jersey or Massachusetts, and a lot less like the traditional New Hampshire that has always been a bit of an island of common sense in a sea of big government waste and centralized control.
Free Staters believe in New Hampshire, because we believe in the New Hampshire way of trusting each individual to be an adult who can make his or her own decisions, and then make the best life possible with the consequences. We believe in New Hampshire, because we believe in helping our neighbors through private charity and acts of compassion of our own choosing. We believe in New Hampshire because we don’t believe government is the answer to our problems, but rather a problem itself when it gets too big. We believe in New Hampshire because we know that “low taxes are the result of low spending.” We believe in New Hampshire, because we believe limited government governs best, and that the people are perfectly capable of governing their own lives when they are afforded their natural liberties and personal responsibility to pursue their own idea of happiness.
I have to think that everyone, except those who personally benefit from government control, would agree with what I’ve written here. And that’s why I will assert once more: “We are all Free Staters now!”