'Free Staters' should bypass Granite State
|Title:||'Free Staters' should bypass Granite State|
'Free Staters' should bypass Granite StateEditorial 06/24/03
BACKGROUND: A group of out-of-state Libertarians is considering New Hampshire as a place to move en masse to establish a Free State.
CONCLUSION: Libertarians are welcome to visit but they ought to pick another state for their 'small government' project.
A group of people wishing to launch a political movement in a small state looked over New Hampshire during the weekend as a possible site for the endeavor.
According to press reports, Libertarians from different parts of the country visited the state as part of their plan to establish a Free State Project. Ultimately, these Libertarians want to have 20,000 followers move to a state and get politically involved to reduce the size of its government.
Thanks, but no thanks. Let the Libertarians pick Idaho or Wyoming or even Alaska for their project. New Hampshire already has its fair share of small government advocates.
And in case the visiting Libertarians hadn't noticed, New Hampshire is already trying to downsize its government. It does so every time it faces a budget crunch, as it does this year.
Gov. Craig Benson is at odds with members of the Legislature over budget increases. With 424 members, the New Hampshire Legislature is all about grass roots in action. Republicans who dominate the state and its government are decidedly of the conservative, keep-government-simple type. Yet, they have a hard time agreeing about a new two-year budget.
Keeping the budget numbers down proves a difficult process. It's about setting priorities, and setting a balance between needs and revenue, overlaid with differing points of view about the role of government.
The Free Staters hope that by 2006 some 20,000 Libertarians will begin moving to the state selected for the project. The state must be small in population and of conservative bent so that their voices will be heard and their influence felt.
Libertarians do run for public office in New Hampshire and a few have been elected to the Legislature, though not in the 2002 election. Libertarians want government to provide only minimal services, such as police, courts, military defense and roads. Most everything else would be left to charities or private endeavor.
The small government they talk about is utopia, but the notion appeals to the highly individualistic and the successful self-starters.
However, society becomes more complex as communities grow and the population increases. Without a well-functioning government, life could degenerate into a free for all. (Check out Iraq or Afghanistan, for example.)
From our perspective, life under the Free Staters has no appeal. But Libertarians are welcome to visit New Hampshire any time. We're not inhospitable, we're just wary of their quixotic politics.
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