Free State Project sets meeting
|Title:||Free State Project sets meeting|
|Publication:||The Telegraph Online|
Free State Project sets meetingBy Albert McKeon 11/12/02
FREE STATE PROJECT
Many people savor New Hampshire because it espouses free living, taxes less than other states, offers a decent job market and has a coastline granted not the longest of shorelines but it touches an ocean nonetheless.
So don't be surprised if 20,000 liberty-oriented people move here this decade. The very things that make New Hampshire attractive to its citizens also entice the members of the Free State Project.
Claiming 2,000 members, the project has a goal of creating a "free state" in America. The group does not wish to secede from the United States, but only limit its government.
"We're not trying to change the country. We just want to create a sphere of liberty where people can live their lives in peace," said Jason Sorens, Free State Project president and founder.
New Hampshire places high on the project's wish list of 10 desirable states. The others are Vermont, Maine, North and South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Idaho, Alaska and Wyoming.
The project will vote on the state if it reaches 5,000 members. If the project does not reach 20,000 members by 2006, though, it would likely fold.
The project a nonprofit organization invites free-minded people to sign a statement of intent. The document asks that a member move to the chosen state and "exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of civil government is the protection of life, liberty and property."
Essentially that means a member should but does not have to vote. Non-voters can encourage others in making the free state happen through other means, such as activism and demonstrations, Sorens said.
Once in a state, the project would aim to cut the size and scope of government by two-thirds. Most members support policies such as abolition of all income taxes, elimination of regulatory bureaucracies, repeal of most gun control and drug prohibition laws, complete free trade, decentralization of government and wide-scale privatization, according to the project's Web site.
New Hampshire appeals to the society for a variety of reasons. Foremost, New Hampshire has fewer registered voters than larger states, hence guaranteeing society members a greater voice.
The state?s good economy will also help soothe the move of 20,000 project members, although many have their own businesses so settling in a new state would not prove that troublesome, Sorens said. Coastal access means less dependency on the U.S. market, and the state's "Live Free or Die" motto suggests a potential for greater independence, he said.
"A lot of people are supporting New Hampshire," Sorens said. "We find its culture and history attractive to us."
People have expressed doubts and fears of the project's goals, Sorens said.
"Many of those drastic fears are unfounded," he said. "They've expressed opposition to and fear of changing public policy, but many are already favorable to our policies. We're not out to change a state but make it more like itself: hold politicians accountable and give more control of the government back to the people."
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