New Pilgrim Chronicles:
One man's story of the trials and rewards of moving to Free State
Week Six: Observations During Absence, Part 2
by Brian Wright (copyright 2005)
Getting back on track. Sorry for letting my ideological sails flap too vigorously in some of the former columns, my intention is not to proselytize for any particular libertarian point of view, rather to convey what it's like personally to transition to the Free State. It's only that, personally, I really am a cause-oriented ideologue. But I apologize if what I was talking about came off as an ego trip: my desire is for the general good of FSP and liberty only.
Paraphrasing my disclaimer from Week 4:
The Free State Project is nonsectarian, meaning the project doesn't endorse any particular political organizations or specific ideasthere is a general Project characteristic of attracting people who believe in individual rights and limited government, and you could call the people attracted small-l libertarians. So when I launch in these columns here on some political/philosophical issue, I'm not speaking for anyone but me.
Certainly many if not most of the people migrating to the Free State are cause people, too. But a fair number of you are coming simply to live better. Some noncause-oriented quality-of-life reasons for coming to the Free State:
- Sit on the beach, soak up the rays, and pop bonbons (summer only)
- Ride the roads on your Harley
- Drive the roads in your sports car
- Drink quality microbrew on a daily basis at Milly's in Manchester
- Ski, hike, camp, enjoy the mountain life
- Take recreational fun in lake country of unsurpassed beauty
- Develop a livelihood, fall in love, raise children, teach, learn
- Find yourself in the fresh air and solitude
- Take part in New England history and community, ideas of "the Founding"
- Watch the minor-league baseball team, the fearsome Fisher Cats
- Play golf
Any pledger coming to the Free State just to have a good life is as welcome as the firebrands spitting nails against abusive state power. It almost goes without saying, but certainly bears repeating.
Still, just today I'm reminded of the "free" in the Free State.
I'm traveling to my dentist here in Michigan when I notice three Oakland County (SE Michigan) police cars and maybe a couple of local Batmobiles at a busy intersection. Plus a host of bulbous, uniformed popos trying to look busy and important there in the parking lot. "Whatever the heck are all these wonderful officers of the law spending their time on today?" I ponder.
On the way back, I figure it out: seatbelt checks.
The parking lot is perfect for a major fleecing operation. It's large and sits on the southeast corner, abutting to a restaurant that's gone out of business. Northbound drivers come around a bend and don't see the highwaymen until it's too late. Our state-franchised bandits nab the beltless pobrecitos who slow to enter the right-turn lane.
I see the cops pull over some uncomprehending young Oriental guy driving a beater, an old woman, a student, a redneck hillbilly from way back when... well you get the picture. By and large, the people they grab don't pay much attention to broad concepts of public policy, much less Big-Brother federal-government "Click it or Ticket" TV ad campaigns. They also tend to be least able to afford the fines.
Note: This latest assault on driver freedom is heavily funded by tax money from the federales. Since the national program began, hundreds of thousands of motorists have been clubbed. I've read numbers for Michigan something in the 80,000-person range, and at $100 a ticket, this is high tribute for official thiefdom.
As Free Staters, you know how absolutely destructive of liberty these public safety scams are. Virtually all the states have mandatory seatbelt laws, and virtually all the states now have laws that the police can stop and ticket you solely for not wearing one. New Hampshire is an exception. This is a very big deal, my friends. For me it's the straw that broke the camel's back, the icing on the cake, and several other pertinent clichÃ©Â³Å sending me to the Free State.
Note: Proving that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, we have radio ads in Free State that admonish us to wear our seatbelts... paid for by the state. We must continue to insist on motoring freedom. Otherwise, somebody will pass a law and take it away.
Put youself in the heads of the cops performing this duty. Believe me, the look on their faces today is anything but love for their fellow man, hoping to save him from harm. These county mounties strut and smirk, their mission to remind you they're in control. Well, they're out of control. And you know the time will comeif we sit back and acquiescewhen they knock on the door demanding you give up any Free State sympathizers you're hiding in the basement.
Let me make an appeal to the cops, here. Take a cue from libertarian Sheriff Bill Masters, author of Drug War Addiction. Just say NO! You will no longer enforce any unconstitutional laws. Become a full-fledged human being, absolutely refuse to initiate force. If it means you get fired, great. Join your local People's Front for the Liberation of <whatever state you're in>. The days of arbitrary state power are rapidly ending. Don't be evil. Be on the winning side.
I make the same appeal to any soldier.
I make the same appeal to any citizen:
At the risk of seeming too ideological again, let me just suggest all of us seriously consider discontinuing to "voluntarily" fund through our taxes the multifarious agents of our demise. If they won't uphold the Bill of Rights, why pay 'em? Question: has there ever been a general tax strike in America? Good question for the Randians.
Week 6 is a brief chronicle because I'm away from my newfound home for a couple of weeks of transition. Most of you coming to the Free State will need to leave some stuff behind, at least for a while. Recommendation: instead of storing your stuff in a storage facility, sponge off a friend with a big basement. Thanks to this friend of mine, my monthly fee goes from $170/month to $50/ month... and I think she'll let me slide until I get a job.
It's a lot of work, and my nephew, Josh the Good, travels all the way from Atlanta dodging the detritus of Katrina to be in SE Michigan on time. Another piece of experienced advice: every time you move, throw out a lot of things and give the Salvation Army the big things you really don't need anymore. A move can be an opportunity to introduce more and more efficiency into your life, and even to help your fellow man. At some point excessive "stuff" becomes a mental burden.
Well, I'm going to end this chronicle and write letters to the editor of the Oakland Press, the Detroit Free Press, and the Detroit News... with a copy to the New Hampshire Union Leader. The topic: seatbelt laws and how they contribute to the emigration of the libertarian-creative class.
Seriously, if the residents of Michigan can't rise up and pass an issue petition ending mandatory seatbelts for adults, well, what's that Biblical story? Get the heck out of there and don't look back lest you turn to stone.
Next week, some comments on how painful it is to leave people behind and how the Welcome Wagon and the other great groups of simpatico people can ease your pain.
(to be continued)