Porc Fest 2005 draws 450 Libertarians
|Title:||Porc Fest 2005 draws 450 Libertarians|
|Publication:||Coös County Democrat|
Porc Fest 2005 draws 450 Libertariansby Edith Tucker 08/02/05
LANCASTER -- Libertarians and other freedom-loving political activists came from New Hampshire cities and towns last week as well as from states across the nation to network, exchange information, and energize themselves to continue to try to mobilize 20,000 Americans to move to the Granite State.
"It's possible that this is the biggest Libertarian gathering in 2005 in the world," said attorney Timothy Condon of Tampa, Fla., who said that he had traveled seven times to the Granite State and eventually plans to move here. Not only does the "Live Free or Die" state have the lowest per capita tax burden outside of Alaska, Mr. Condon noted, but its citizens also believe in maintaining a small government that "doesn't treat you like a baby" as long as you are not harming anyone else.
The term "porcupine" to describe Free Staters was chosen because of the mammal's "leave-me-alone" defensive attitude and its quills' "don't-mess-with-me" message.
Darian Worden and Helen Nayfield, both New Jersey residents who are undergraduate students at Rutgers University, said on Sunday morning that Porc Fest 2005 was their first exposure to the Free State Project. Mr. Worden started a Libertarian Club at the state university. Mr. Worden, who said he is majoring in history and political science, said he was a committed Libertarian, while his traveling companion said she was an economics and computer science major who agrees with much of the Libertarian philosophy but still has not joined up. New Jersey, she said, already has too many laws and more are being proposed all the time. "Now they're trying to prohibit smoking while driving," she said, indicating that these kinds of restrictions to adults' personal freedom have made moving to New Hampshire look very appealing.
Kevin Ryan of Burlington, Vt., said that he had talked with people from Virginia to California and felt more enthusiastic and optimistic than he had in a long time. Although Mr. Ryan said he is a registered Republican and not a Libertarian, he said that he had been impressed by the number of tables, loaded with leaflets and merchandise, that had been set up on Saturday. "It was almost preaching to the choir," he said, noting that it was easy as a Republican to feel somewhat isolated in the liberal city of Burlington. Nonetheless, Mr. Ryan said, he does not plan to leave hearth, home and friends and move to New Hampshire. He said he did not think it was a good idea for Free-Staters to try to take over an existing community, but, if like-minded people want to live together, then they should start their own "liberal utopia."
He said that, in actuality, some Libertarians are purists, who do not support enacting bike laws, requiring dog permits or prohibiting nudity in public, while others just believe that it is essential to "let neighbors do what they want" and not to use laws to force citizens to adopt certain moral values, such as marriage or gun ownership.
A number of people attending Porc Fest pointed to a recent U. S. Supreme Court decision opening up the use of eminent domain so municipalities could promote economic development as an egregious example of the state overstepping its bounds. One man said that he understood that a permit had to be secured before hikers could climb certain mountain trails in the Adirondacks. "Would a judge really enforce an arrest for walking in the woods, do you think?" he asked.
Others focused on the Second Amendment and the ways in which it now appears that the government is trying to keep guns out of people's hands. Lectures included instruction on the Second Amendment, and shooting instruction for beginners was offered on Sunday at a venue in Manchester. Several attendees carried sidearms conspicuously on their belts. A Second Amendment Gear Swap at which people could sell and trade firearms and related equipment, such as holsters, guns cases, and slings, was held on Thursday evening.
A number of attendees make their living by using the Internet or developing software or being webmasters, all portable jobs, they pointed out, that were easy to move from one end of the country to another. One software engineer pointed out that word about the Free State Project had been spread via the Internet, so that it is not surprising that this cutting-edge segment of the workforce makes up much of those committed to moving to the Granite State.
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