L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 242, October 12, 2003
"Me, me, me, me ...." "And ME!"
Free State Decision Remorse
Exclusive to TLE
Who me? A sore loser?
Shucks, I always try to be a good sport. I wanted to be wealthier and better looking than this, but I got what I got. So be it. I wanted to be working and living on the Moon by now, but was betrayed, I felt, by a nation and a government that lacked vision and courage. I wanted to live in a free country but was born in the United States instead, which is merely the next best thing. I wanted to move myself and my family and coax my friends to a Free State sometime in the next few years and...
Well, we'll see.
The Free State Project got its start, as far as I could tell, on the electric pages of The Libertarian Enterprise a couple of Julys ago when Mr Jason Sorens submitted his thoughts about the diffuse efforts of disparate libertarians toiling in relative isolation and accomplishing approximately zero.
Boy did he strike a chord!
Since then five thousand of us have decided that he was right, and it would probably be easier to liberate a small state of less than a million souls than a huge confederation of three hundred millions.
In the past two years we have debated the relative merits of poitical activism, explored the ideas of moving en masse to the Caribbean, or the Yukon Territory, or clustering in a single county somewhere in the U.S., but kept coming back to the notion of the Free State as a constituent of our Federal Union. Among the fall-out of the discussions was the elimination of two of the original twelve candidate states judged to be small enough to be influenced by Twenty Thousand activists. My own beloved Peoples' Republic of Hawaii along with Rhode Island and Providence Plantations were cut due to their exceptional leftward tilts. And still I stuck. I like to think that I'm no weenie. I knew I could live in the frozen north again, having wintered in New Hampshire, Maine, and South Dakota already. If Washington's troops could freeze their okoles off at Valley Forge in the name of liberty, I could shovel the snow out of my driveway before going to work. Freedom is no quest for snivellers.
Moments ago, we achieved the first step in our quest. The first five thousand of us on board have voted and chosen New Hampshire.
New Hampshire was not my first choice, nor even close, but it could be doable. Weather-wise, it's no Big Island, but none of the final ten are. And, as I have family in Maine, I suppose it would be easier for me to move there than many others.
We were all given the opportunity to opt out of any prospective states at any time prior to the vote, and in fact, when Hawaii was eliminated Mr Sorens was gracious enough to contact me and offer me guilt free exit from the project. I declined. I'd rather live free and freeze than be a slave in the tropics.
New Hampshire was not my first choice, though it has some merit. My first choice was Montana, actually, followed closely by Wyoming. And it was very close. Countervailing factors made them both seem very competitive, and it was a tough call for me to finally choose one over the other.
Quoth Jason Sorens:
"New Hampshire is clearly the consensus choice of Free Staters. New Hampshire won a plurality of first-preference votes from every region of the country except the West."
In order of preference, in fact, among the first five thousand of us assembled, the winning choices were New Hampshire, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Alaska, Maine, Vermont, Delaware, South Dakota and North Dakota. Four of the top five finishers, then, are the four westernmost of the candidate states.
I did not opt out of any of the candidate states. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I will live free or die trying.
We have a long way to go, yet, until the agreed upon number of twenty thousand activists is achieved, and a lot can happen. Competition is good. What's left of the Wyoming Project now? Demographically speaking, eight thousand in Wyoming (population half a million) would have the same impact as twenty thousand in New Hampshire (population a million and a quarter). Is a state with over a million people a little too ambitious?
Wyoming was not my first choice, but it is now. I will NOT opt out of New Hampshire. What I will do, instead, is to OPT IN to more choices. If twenty thousand activists agree to move to New Hampshire before ten thousand agree to move to Wyoming, then I'll go with them. If ten thousand select Wyoming before twenty thousand choose New Hampshire, then I'm there.
Unless I can get ten thousand to move here to the Big Island of Hawaii (population one hundred forty thousand) first and help us win a Free County. I'm OPTING IN to the winning scenario.
(These numbers are negotiable, for comparison purposes only, your mileage may differ, prices may vary in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.)
Who me? A sore loser?
I hope not. I'm just hedging my bets.