Free Staters - Friends or Foes?

by Richard Barnes

I should preface this piece by saying I am not a 'Free Stater'. I moved to New Hampshire in 2000, about a year before Jason Sorens announced the creation of the Free State project in The Libertarian Enterprise, so I am writing this from an outsider’s or friend’s perspective.

I have gotten to know a number of members personally and it is because of this that I’m shocked by the recent negativity against the Free State Group in the press. In an earlier article I wrote, one commenter even suggested that the Free State group will “have you start committing crimes for them”.

Clearly, there is a misconception here. The Free Staters I’ve meet, even those on the far ends of the spectrum of opinion, seek change in a positive peaceful way. They wish to be good neighbors to those of us already living here in NH while pushing for less government and more freedoms. Is that really a bad thing? The Free State group highly discourages any form of violence and aggression. In fact their website reads, “Anyone who promotes violence, racial hatred, or bigotry is not welcome.”

What exactly is the Free State Project? It’s a line in the sand. People who, together, have said “enough already!” People who are tired of seeing a third to half of their pay being taken away from them to fund things they want nothing to do with or in which they see no reason for the government to be involved. People who are tired of having our elected officials tell us how to live our lives and who somehow think they are smarter than we are when it comes to knowing what’s best for ourselves and our families. And, people who are tired of seeing their lone voices scattered across the country, ignored.

How many of us already here in New Hampshire moved for those same reasons, to escape the high taxes and intrusive government in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York or some other neighboring state?

What types of action do they advocate? None. They simply push to get people who seek liberty and less government intrusion to get together and move to NH so their voices can be consolidated into a chorus advocating for freedom in our lifetime.

So are they a group we should fear? If you fear having more control over your own life, less reliance on government, and wish to live in less of a nanny state then yes you should fear them. But, if you are like most of us who actually do wish for less government and lower taxes then clearly the Free Staters are people we should welcome with open arms into our communities and work with them to lessen the overall control the government has on each of us.