L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 180, July 1, 2002
Against the Freestate Project
Exclusive to TLE
The Freestate Project is a project where 20,000 libertarian-minded people move to a state with the intention of taking it over through voting. Jason Sorens, the founder of the project, has put together some impressive essays on what 20,000 active voters can do in a state with a low number of voters. He and his fellow members of the project have also compiled a large amount of data on various qualities of the smaller states to see which state would be the easiest to take over. It appears quite a bit of thought has been put into, and will continue to be put into, this project. However, there is one thing that is left unanswered: What right do these 20,000 people have to impose a state on the people not wanting to live under their "free" state - isn't a free state kind of like a round triangle?
I'd have to say that, growing up, I became a better person after I learned that "Life isn't fair" and "Two wrongs don't make a right." Apparently, the members of the Freestate Project haven't yet learned the latter of the two truisms. They obviously want to vote a freer state because the fedgov and all 50 states are murderous thieves that exist solely for the sake of gaining more money and power at the expense of everyone else. Of course, this is very bad and must be stopped immediately. But, is the Freestate Project really the way to do it? Is it really any different, in principle, than what Republicans and Democrats do? No. Republicans and Democrats try to gain money and power to force their agenda down the throats of unwilling people and the Freestate Project wants to do the same. Just because the Republicans and Democrats use the force of government to rule, it doesn't make it right for the Freestate Project to use the force of government to rule. It doesn't matter that the Freestate Project wants to make the world a freer place, because in the end they are dooming the world to continuing tyranny.
The Freestate Project is dooming the world to continuing tyranny because they are not changing anything. They are playing the game by the rules of the state. By doing so, they lose all moral authority. They will not be able to honestly say that socialized schools are immoral, that socialized medical care is immoral, and that gun control is immoral; for, if the freestaters claim that taxing is moral (how else will this "free" state survive if not for taxes?) then they have no right to claim that the above three things are immoral. If they claim that taxing is immoral, then they are lying to themselves because if they really believed this they would not lend their voluntarily support to any government. Taxing, gun control, and the socialization of industries are all terrible violations of private property and if one of these things is instituted, it dooms all private property. This is why the once limited government of the United States has turned into the behemoth of today. The people in the beginning allowed a little violation of private property thinking the government would stop there. Unfortunately, this type of thinking sets a dangerous precedent for future generations to enforce more violations on private property. This is what happened under the Constitution, this is what will happen in the "free" state. And this is the problem with voting, it legitimizes the actions of the state.
Voluntarily supporting the state through voting and legislative action only legitimizes its existence and its "right" to rule the people it claims to govern. The more people that support the state, the more power it can grab. After all, if the state can be moral, whose to say the freestaters brand of morality is any better than the socialists brand of morality? The socialists only want to use the power of the state to help people in need, whose to say that this is any worse than using the power of the state to protect property? Both seem good, both use the same means, the only difference is the end. By playing the political game, the freestaters are supporting the end of whoever is in power. By voting, they are saying they agree to be ruled by whoever wins the election. This is the nature of the game they are choosing to play, and it will never turn out moral results. But I think Wendy McElroy said it best in her essay Why I Would Not Vote Against Hitler:
Again, what right do the freestaters have to rule me? If the Republicans and Democrats have no right to make me pay for their programs, what right do the freestaters have to make me pay for their defense and courts? Also, while if I live in this "free" state, what happens when I refuse to pay taxes? What happens when I shoot the bastard cop with a lawful search warrant who dares break into my house? What happens when I don't show up in a government court when they want me to? If any of these things get me in trouble with this "free" state, is it really any different, in principle, than the state we live in now?
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